I’m heading to Philadelphia in a couple of days for a work-related conference. This will be my first time to the City of Brotherly Love, the home of the Flyers and Rocky Balboa, the birthplace of the United States. And the Philly cheese steak sandwich. Honestly, I never really considered visiting Philly on my own, so I’m glad work is dragging me there, especially as I need to time away.
I was in DC not too long ago, but I’ve been feeling suffocated recently, so the clarion call of the of the Philly cheese steak is coming at the right time. Another adventure–albeit a small one–is much needed. Accompanying me to help keep the time while travel across time zones is this little number–my new Glycine Airman 18 GMT.
I recently picked up a bad habit from my brother–watch collecting. While he has a preference for chronographs, I lean more toward GMTs. But even among the myriad of GMTs out there, the Glycine Airman 18 GMT stands out to me for a number of reasons.
First, just look at it. How many watches look like this? The strong, brushed steel bezel, contrasted against the rounded, polished steel case. Two similarly polished crowns, the second one at 4 o’clock to hold the bidirectional bezel in place. Give it a couple of turns and the clamp opens up, and the bezel can be turned to track a third time zone.
The elongated lugs that help give the smaller, 39 mm diameter case some real wrist presence, but at a still manageable 47 mm lug-to-lug. For smaller watch, it certainly does wear larger. (At the same time, the watch is slim, at just a hair over 10 mm, so it slides under a cuff very easily. This is particularly important to me considering how often I wear dress shirts and suits.) Most GMTs are larger, anywhere from 40 to 43 mm, so a smaller GMT watch was definitely appreciated.
Lastly, you have that dial. Granted it’s a bit busy, but I think that’s the charm–the uniqueness–of these Glycines. The top of the face is a dark, dark blue–almost black–marking night time. As the hours progress toward daylight and the GMT hands moves around the dial, the face lightens to a softer blue. Then back to the dark tones as we reach evening and nighttime.
The watch originally came with a soft leather strap, as you can see above. As comfortable as the leather is, it didn’t fit my smaller wrist too well, and it was a bit too much blue overall. It was nice looking, but boring. To spice it up a bit, I bought a the aftermarket strap in what’s called a “toffee” color–a golden honey tone. The contrasting but complementary colors of the golden brown plays off very nicely with the blue dial. I’m loving it! And I’m certainly loving that I didn’t pay anywhere near MSRP, but only about a quarter of it. (Seems like Glycine, and new parent company Invicta, is dumping older models into the gray market–the Airman 18 isn’t even on the website anymore, let alone something in a wearable 39 mm size.)
In case you’re wondering, the company was not named after the amino acid. Rather, glycine is the French name for the wisteria flower. Glycine, founded in 1914 in Bienne, Switzerland, originally made women’s watches, and the wisteria flower reminded the founder of the soft curves of a woman. There is certain irony that the watch company in more recent history projects a more masculine tone, and is closely associated with air force pilots.