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Glycine Combat Sub Review: A Dive Watch For The Connoisseur?

July 15, 2021

On the surface, the Glycine Combat Sub is another Rolex Submariner light. But looking closer, you'll see that this is a watch that deserves to be analyzed on its own merits. And that's what we're going to do in this Glycine Combat Sub review.

I like dive watches, they're versatile, good looking, and I don't have to take them off in the shower. That's why my collection currently contains more than one.

I'm a fan of the Sub (and the Airman pilot watch, but that's for another article). It's an excellent watch coming in under the $1000 dollar price point. It's a fully spec'd diver with everything you want made from first-class materials. And it looks and wears great in any number of color and band configurations.

In this review I'll take a close look at the watch, it's features and build. Let's dive in!

Specifications

The Combat Sub comes in three different diameters, two different water resistances, and a whole host of colors and band options. So there is something for everyone. But the general specs are:

Diameter42mm, 46mm, 48mm
Thickness10.15mm to 11.6mm (depending on diameter)
CrystalSapphire
Water resistance200m or 300m
MaterialStainless steel
BezelUnidirectional
MovementGL224 Swiss automatic (good accuracy and a 38 hr reserve)

Overview

Glycine have been making watches since the early 1900s and are pretty good at it. So far, the purchase of the brand by Invicta has had no effect on quality. And this watch is no exception. This is a diving watch in more than name only. It has all the features required to make it a true diver's watch. Plus an elegance in design and dimensions that speak to production value.

200m-300m WR, excellent build standards, a reliable movement, unidirectional bezel and luminous indices combine to mean you really could take this watch diving.

Case & Crown

The case design on the Glycine Combat is one of my favorite things. It's solid stainless steel construction with a screw down back. Its polished sides and brushed finish on top are excellent without being flashy. And the caseback shows attention to detail with the logo and other information.

The screw drown crown is solid and doesn't give much wiggle when you pull it out. Two lugs provide protection, and Glycine have made it feel substantial.

But the real reason for my admiration is the fit. The watch is a maximum of 11.6mm thick. Which makes it one of the thinnest automatic diving watches out there.

And then there's the lugs. The thickness combines with the well swept back lugs to give the watch an excellent fit on the wrist. The Sub has some of the best designed lugs I've seen. Even the 48mm, which is big for most people, doesn't feel massively clunky and oversized.

Dial and Indices

The dial on this watch comes in all sorts of color combinations. But despite the color variations, they have a host of things in common.

The round face is marked with Arab numbers and most options include 24 hour numbers on the inside. Although interestingly, a few of the designs don't have 1-12 and just have hour markers with the smaller 13-24 in Arab numbers.

Some people think all the numbers make the dial busy, but in my opinion, it just gives it an individual signature and I still find the watch easy to read.

Because of the number of color combinations, there is bound to be an offering of the watch that suits you.

The hands come in two options, thin luminous rectangles or even thinner with a circle on the hour hand. In each example, the second hand is a thin line with a small rectangle on the end for the luminosity. I know reading the seconds isn't that important, but legibility could've been improved with larger hands.

The Date window is quite small and without a magnifier. This makes it hard to read at a glance, especially on those versions where the color of the window is the same as the face. Where there is a contrast, it makes it a bit easier.

A minor thing for me is the text and glycine logo which I don't think are a great advertisement for the brand. With the finishing everywhere else, I think they could have done better.

Bezel

The unidirectional bezel is as well built as the rest of the watch. It has good grip, a satisfactory resistance and a solid click. Depending on the model, there are 60 and 120 click bezels. I personally don't have a preference, but I know some people prefer one or the other, so it's worth looking out for.

The bezel is precise and doesn't have any play. It always hits its mark, and the additional raised bump on the edge at the 12 position gives you an extra reference point in relation to the markings.

But the bezel is also where a minor irritation of mine crops up. For a dive watch, I always think the bezels should be luminous. If you're underwater, you need to see the bezel as well as the dial. Now, I can't say I've tested all of them, but on the ones I've seen, there is no lume. I know it's a feature that probably won't matter to most, but I'm odd like that.

Crystal

A couple of clever design decisions have made this sapphire crystal exceptional. The first is the anti reflex coating on the inside of the sapphire. I don't know why every watch manufacturer doesn't do this as standard. I can't imagine it would cost a lot, and it really cuts down on the glare.

But what really makes this sapphire crystal stand out is the fact it's entirely flat. There are no curves or edges and no doming. This means the dial is always clear, even at sharp angles. Where you might expect to get some reflection, this cover is almost invisible however you look at it. Making the watch easy to read in sunlight. And giving it a slick profile.

Strap

The Combat sub comes with the whole range of band options. So comfort isn't an issue. There are versions with stainless steel, nylon, rubber strap, mesh, leather and nato bands. If you can't find a band you like to wear for this great watch, you don't like bands.

Alternatives

The world of divers is wide and varied, and while the Glycine is a great example, there are other diving watches that give it competition.

If you're looking for a classic watch, look no further than the Seiko SKX009. It has the requirements of a true diving piece, Seiko's top reliability and manufacturing, and that iconic red, blue, black color scheme. It's also at Seiko's competitive price.

The Orient Mako II is a stylish alternative at a very competitive price. While it, on paper, has the ingredients to call itself a true dive watch, Orient says you shouldn't go diving. But for the money, it's worth a look.

Another good option is the Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver. With citizen's eco drive movement technology, it never needs charging and will run for months in the dark. This one is a full ISO compliant watch, so it will definitely cover your water sporting needs. And at a price point that won't break you.

Final Thoughts

The Glycine is a beautiful-looking watch. And while it takes inspiration from a certain classic, it's one of a kind. It's quality with the gl224 movement (it's actually a renamed eta 2824) and the fact it comes in as many model combinations as you could possibly want, make it a worthy piece. And it can be picked up for between $400-$1000 dollars making it more value for money than some brands.

If you want a watch, that says class, style and function, with design and bracelet variety that give something for everyone, the Glycine might be for you. Here is one example on Amazon and here's another (this one I'm a big fan of). But don't forget there are loads of watches to choose from and a new vintage release that looks great.

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Author
Alastair Crombie
I’ve been collecting watches since I bought a ‘Rowex’ for a fiver from a mate when I was 10. He told me you pronounced it Rolex and that’s how it all started. I used to love that Rowex. These days I still tend to stick to the more affordable end of the market. Both my wallet and my wife are happier that way. My favorite watch changes with the seasons, and that’s what I love about watches. Each one doesn’t just tell the time, much more importantly, they tell a story.
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