Last month, news broke that Glycine was acquired by Invicta Watch Group, which, as the name suggests, operates the Invicta brand alongside the lesser known TechnoMarine and S. Coifman brands. We’ve heard for quite some time now that Glycine had been struggling, and acquisitions are certainly no stranger to the watch world. But Invicta’s role in this bit of industry news came as a surprise. Ask any watch lover their candid thoughts on this buyout and the response likely wouldn’t surprise. Invicta’s often gaudy, uninspired pieces—not to mention its misleading pricing strategy—has left the brand with a pretty poor image among enthusiasts. For a brand as storied as Glycine to be scooped up by a firm with a less than stellar track record and portfolio was unexpected. Needless to say, this news was met with nearly universal disdain, with collectors fearing that Invicta would influence the core of the brand.
In an interview regarding the acquisition, Glycine’s CEO Stephen Lack addressed some of these concerns. In sum, Glycine and Invicta will remain two separate entities, with the former still very much focused on making watches the way they’ve been doing, though with a much greater focus on the Airman and Combat collections. “There are absolutely no intentions to have a mixture of the two brands. Glycine will stay Glycine,” says Mr. Lack.
Invicta Watch Group’s role will be primarily to push distribution and marketing heavily in the States and South America. It remains to be seen if that stays true, but something tells me Invicta Watch Group—clearly looking to expand its portfolio and pursue different market segments—won’t interfere with Glycine too much. (Read the full interview here.)
It’s interesting, though somewhat unsurprising, to read that Glycine will focus on the Airman and Combat lines. The former is the brand’s heritage series based on a collection of purposeful pilot watches dating back to 1953, so it makes complete sense that Glycine wouldn’t abandon these iconic pieces. The latter consists of a series of field and dive watches like the Combat 7—a riff on US-issued military watches from the ‘40s; and the Combat Sub—a collection of Submariner-inspired (though I wouldn’t categorize them as “homage” watches) divers that have done well for the brand.
“There are absolutely no intentions to have a mixture of the two brands. Glycine will stay Glycine,” says Mr. Lack.
Last year, Glycine made waves with an especially impressive showing, unveiling three great Airman models—one a faithful recreation, and two stunning variations on the original historical model. To see Glycine expand on that line, and really push it through Invicta Watch Group’s extensive network, would certainly be welcome.
A few months ago, Glycine also released the Combat Sub Aquarius, a watch that, despite a few reservations, really impressed us. Pulling on the DNA of the Combat Sub line, the Aquarius is a modern take with a highly functional aesthetic. The dial is relatively austere—white markers against a black base with a hint of color above six—and it pairs well with the equally subdued sword handset. Surrounding the dial is a prominent ceramic bezel featuring a knurled grip and raised markings, and it’s absolutely striking. The case is rated to 500m and features a HEV at eight—both features being a tad gimmicky, but they are there.
The aforementioned reservation? The watch measures 46mm, so it’s big, and markedly bigger than anything I would ever wear, but there are people out there who can certainly handle that size. That said, I would love to see this line grow with more accessible dimensions, because sizing issues aside the Aquarius appears to be an excellent dive watch, and a relatively unique proposition in a saturated category. And at $1,420, it’s competitively priced within the market.