Looking at our stats, I see that demand for recommendations regarding diving watches is a seasonal thing with most visitors coming in summer and then gradually declining till Christmas only to start growing again in early January. “Pilots” are different animals: I have an impression that people are always interested in “aviators” regardless of the time of season. So, for your reading pleasure, a choice of fifteen timekeepers from under $200 to more than $10,000 as priced by online retailers that I find worthy of being considered while shopping for your new (or maybe your very first!) pilot’s watch this year.
While the original Glycine F104 (ref. 3933) that was delivered back in April 2014 looked absolutely killer with its clean, vintage-inspired design, somebody at the company’s HQ has probably decided that sales are not quite satisfactory. Enters the Glycine F104 v.2, which is now available in a choice of four or five dials, and even includes a version with a steel black PVD bezel with 46 diamonds (1.80 carats, yuck!)
Commemorating the Swiss brand’s 100th Anniversary, the automatic Glycine F104 Pilot (Ref. 3932.146AT.LB7R) delivers that great mix of a clean, easy to read dial with an easy to recognize pre-WWII styling, and deliberately oversized body: something that you rarely see when it comes to pilot’s watches designed during the last decade or two. Although, like a number of recently introduced timekeepers that try to strike your imagination with monsters that look ridiculous on almost any wrist of a man of a normal stature, this one will not look that great if you decide to wear it with formal suit, it is still an interesting collectible item that one can even wear from time to time. Perhaps, combine it with an equally expensive winter bomber jacket that would be able to somehow hid the gadget’s overall bulkiness?
Claimed to be inspired by Glycine military-style watches that were produced during World War II, this oversized Glycine KMU 48 (ref. 3905.99AT.LB90) has been here for ages. From time to time, the Swiss watchmaking company refreshes the range with new versions, new finishes, and new materials, even including such high-tech ones as carbon fiber. Featuring the same oversized steel case with black PVD treatment, and a refreshed dial, this Glycine KMU 48 Black is the new big thing in all meanings of this word.
Searching for a moderately sized “aviator” with a nice old-fashioned feel and a military-style 24-hour time display? Well, then you should perhaps have a look at the Glycine Airman 1953 Vintage Limited Edition (ref. 3904.14.TB9). The Swiss-based niche brand offers the device in a nice, vintage-styled body, which is equipped with a rotating bezel that can serve as a secondary time-zone indicator, too. Although the self-winding movement that powers it doesn’t look as sexy as those NOS Unitas calibers that you can find in some other recently introduced timekeepers (like, for example, this elegant Archimede Deck Watch R (UA7952)), it still offers you a combination of quality and reliability that you can expect from a watch, which is sold at more than €2000.
Glycine has finally updated its military-styled ‘Combat’ collection with a new version. Offered in a black PVD-treated case with rose gold PVD elements, the timekeeper is -rather pretentiously- named Glycine Combat Golden Eye (Ref. 3863.399 C6-TBA9). Well, I truly hope that next year they will offer the same model with the bezel and crown crafted from bronze. Although not as flashy (if you can apply the adjective to such a noble alloy with its aura of adventure and glory,) on certain markets it’s going to be smashing.
The 2011 Lagunare L1000 (Ref. 3899.18-D9) comes at a fairly affordable price and combines robust design and high build quality with an exterior that many potential customers may find elegant: an important thing in the world where most diving timekeepers spend most of their lives under an impeccably white shirt cuff of an office worker. According to Glycine, the diving tool will be available with three versions of the dial: black, white and blue (which, by the way, looks more like turquoise to me.)
Glycine SA will soon start selling its hand-wound Glycine Incursore II 44mm (Ref. 3901). Presented in a huge stainless steel body around 44 millimeters in diameter (as the name clearly tells us), the new military-styled timekeeper (at least, the version with a so called ‘California‘ dial that combines Roman and Arabic numerals) seems to be deeply inspired by vintage timekeepers from another Italian watchmaker — Panerai.
The Glycine Combat 6 (Ref. 3890.19AT-LB9) comes in a mid-sized 43 mm case and, with its traditional layout, offers superb readability in any lighting scenario. Combine this with almost unrivaled reliability and robustness of the famous ETA 2824-2 Swiss-made movement (they prefer to list it as Caliber GL 224 in some of their ads) and an affordable price, and you get yourself an absolutely gorgeous “entry-level” pilot’s (sort of) timekeeper for a person looking for his or her first “real” Swiss watch.
The 2008 Glycine Incursore Power Reserve DLC (ref. 3880) is an ultimate military gadget: it is as simple, as it is highly legible, and it is as scratch-resistant as it is reliable. It could almost an ultimate accessory if not its price: charging whole four grands (okay, it’s a “recommended” price, but still don’t expect to find a watch below $3200 mark) for a watch that sports nothing more impressive than a mass-market automatic caliber is a bit extreme to me. After all, for the money, you can find a good used Omega in mint condition equipped with a more exclusive movement.