Friday, May 17, 2019

Glycine Combat 6 Vintage Reference GL0122 - A Wise and Good Investment, A Review (plus Video)

I am definitely into the military or infantry watch phase. Everywhere I look, only military style watches appeal to me. When I was crazy for dive watches I used to wear them in every occasion but experience have taught me that contemporary styling is important and a mismatch situation of a timepiece with a specific attire is a fashion faux pas.

The Glycine Combat 6 Vintage Reference GL0122 is a simple watch. Made from 316L stainless steel, it has an original military style dial layout with an automatic movement. Manufactured strictly to the MIL-W-3818B military specifications (see the PDF document at the end of the review), the three handed watch with a date complication is easy to use, reasonably accurate and tough.

Since this is the first Glycine in the collection, it would be good to cover the core history of the brand.

Glycine was founded by Eugène Meylan in 1914, The company has been producing watches at its factory in Bienne, Switzerland. One of its famous series is the Combat range. Combat or military style watches stand out for their classic design, enduring strength and reliability. Since the early 1960s, Glycine has offered a slew of examples made for severe conditions of wear and use using military specifications.

The Watch

The Combat 6 Vintage Reference GL0122 by Glycine measures 43 mm across, excluding the crown. Lug-to-lug length is 49 mm while it has a lug width of 22 mm. Despite having a dome sapphire crystal over the dial, the height of the watch is just 10.9 mm. The sensible dimensions make it a very comfortable watch to wear without much fuss for the vast majority.

Entirely hand finished and made in Switzerland, the watch is polished and satin brushed. This is the only design feature that differentiates it from a truly practical combat watch but for a normal guy like me who is not in the military, it is not a problem.

The Dial

The dial is based on the MIL-W-3818B specifications. It has a high angle polished chapter ring. The dial surface is matte black. At the periphery is a minute scale with 12 applied triangle markers and 42 line markers representing the minutes. Whereas the triangle markers are painted with C1 SuperLuminova paint, the line markers are painted in normal white paint. Next comes the hour markers in Arabic numbers from 1 to 12 and then another set of numbers from 13 to 24 in a smaller font. For the last or innermost scale, the marker for "15" has been replaced by the date window. All these Arabic numbers are painted in white for better contrast against the black dial.

Apart from the applied logo and brand name on the upper quadrant of the dial, there are only three other lines of text on it. The series name, "COMBAT"; the term "AM" for automatic movement; and "SWISS MADE" to signify its provenance. The texts are painted in white.

The rectangle date window has angled cuts for the sides. Framed by a white painted line, the date complication uses a negative date wheel (white numbers over a black background) which fits in nicely with the overall dial. Nevertheless, the location of the date window could have been better placed somewhere else on its own without needing to take over the rightful position of one of the markers. It breaks up the symmetry of the dial. Honestly, if you ask me, I would have preferred the watch to be free of the date complication.
The syringe-style hours and minutes hands are painted with C1 SuperLuminova paint. The seconds hand is arrow-like but painted only in normal white paint. I would expect that at least the ball section at the end of the seconds hand to be C1 SuperLuminova painted. Users of a military watch would want to see the seconds hand move when in the dark especially when counting down to "zero" hour.

In the photo above, you might just see the domed sapphire crystal that covers the dial. The crystal is protected with three layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside for visual clarity under different lighting conditions. Even at this acute angle, you can still see hands clearly.

The crown uses the push-in/push-out system. Located at the 3 o'clock position, the crown has the Glycine logo stamped on the top surface. To protect the crown from any side impacts, two half shoulders juts out of the casing beside the crown to provide some level of defense.

From the photo above, you can see the curved lugs which makes this watch, despite its size at 43 mm, still wearable for a lot of people. I would have liked to see drill-through holes for the spring-bars as it would make strap replacement so much easier. For NATO or ZULU style straps, it is not a problem but for some users, they may want to use leather straps or perhaps bracelet instead.

The watch comes with a display screw-down case-back. Through it you can see the Glycine GL224 movement which is essentially a Sellita SW200 base design, operating at 28,800 BPH or 4 Hertz with hacking and hand winding capabilities. It has 26 jewels with a power reserve of 38 hours. The rotor is decorated with the brand’s logo and some texts. The texts are painted with golden paint.

The water rating of the watch is 5 ATM or 50 meters.  

The watch is paired with an 22 mm wide olive green fabric NATO strap. It comes with steel guides and signed buckle. The buckle holes are reinforced with a thin layer of leather stitched in. The fabric strap is stiff though. If you prefer something softer, replacing it with a leather strap is a viable option.

The whole package which includes the watch casing and the NATO strap weighs in at approximately 80 gm.

As highlighted earlier, the watch does use C1 SuperLuminova paint on key markers as well as on the hands. Below are photos of the watch in the dark. Rather poor illumination in my opinion. Glycine could do better.

I also had the opportunity to test the accuracy of the GL224 movement using a free app from the internet. Straight out of the box, the GL224 movement recorded an accuracy of +2.9 seconds per day. The manufacturer's stated accuracy is approximately +20 to -20 seconds per day for a standard model.

Overall, the Glycine Combat 6 Vintage exhibits great value. The 43 mm size with curved lugs makes this watch comfortable on many wrists. Coupled with the dome sapphire crystal and the accurate SW200 base GL224 movement, the whole package makes this an excellent everyday watch.

The Wearing Experience

For a military style watch, the 43 mm wide casing it a tad wide. Glycine chose to design one in that size as it was deemed to be more 'contemporary'. A more sensible size is 39 mm. Nevertheless, the watch is comfortable to wear and the NATO strap provided is flexible enough to keep it still on the wrist without needing to be tight. For a more comfortable wear, replace the NATO with a nice leather strap and it would feel so much more luxurious.

To have the real 'vintage' feel, I would have preferred it if the surface is brushed instead of polished. The current styling is very flashy especially in daylight. Also, perhaps Glycine can discard the date complication to make it a simple watch to just only tell the time. This will really make it feel classic.

Below is the video of the watch on my wrist.

Overall, I must say that this watch has a lot of positive things about it. The ability to use it in practically any situation is reassuring and this makes it a good investment.

The Buying Experience

I bought the watch from Gnomon of Singapore. As usual, the transaction was smooth and I got it in record time via DHL. Paid USD450 or RM1,929.92 for it. Apart from the watch, Gnomon also gave a complementary 22 mm NATO strap with the purchase.

Glycine has embraced the concept of minimalist only on documentation. The instruction manual is just a piece of hard paper and printed on both sides. One side has the photo of the watch while the other has a very simple instruction how to adjust the time. I tried searching the website for an online manual but Glycine don't seem to have any.

The watch-box is definitely old school. Big and substantial, consisting of an inner main watch-box and an outer storage box.

The Series

There are three members of the Glycine Combat 6 Vintage series.


Maker: Glycine
Movement: GL224 Swiss automatic movement (ETA28214-2/SW200 base design)
Dial: Black
Luminous: C1 SuperLuminova
Date: 3 o'clock
Case: Stainless steel
Case-back: Screw-down with display window
Crown: Push-pull crown at 3 O'clock
Lug: 22 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with 3 layers of anti-reflective coating on the underside
Strap: Green pilot strap
Water resistance: 50 m
Dimensions: 43 mm in diameter, 10.9 mm thick, 49 mm lug to lug
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Weight: 80 gm (approximately)
Warranty: Two (2) years
MSRP: USD1,250

Photo Gallery

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