Hi folks - I've recently received the Airman Base 22 from our 24 hour forum moderator, Dennis, and I thought I'd post some impressions having owned an Airman 18 and the Special II.
I am very happy with the watch and here's some initial impressions in comparison with my previous Glycines:
One thing I like and which is a nice surprise, is that the red writing of the 'Base 22' disappears into the matte black of the face, so that at first glance the dial is very absent of unnecessary text - aside from the Glycine name and the Airman model name at the top of the dial - you can read it / see it, if you want to look, but it doesn't intrude on to the dial - although the Special II was a better name and had very nice font, this matte red Base 22 text gives the dial a more sterile look. That's a nice surprise.
Im also surprised ( not sure why, because the Special II was also gorgeous ) just how beautiful a watch it is - precise - lovely font, good markings, just the right amount and mix of polished and brushed surfaces. I love the bezel and its markings - an improvement on the Special II - the dots inboard of each number for precise alignment, the clear black arrows at odd numbers, the smooth feel of the bezel as you rotate it.
The low profile is very nice and the curved, angled lugs helps the watch head hug the wrist - mould into it, despite the 42 mm diameter and flat profile.
I'm not normally a fan of glass back watches but the back of this is a nice touch - Geneve stripes on the rotor and the Glycine Airman trademark aeroplane, which is also unobtrusive and done very nicely.
Dennis sent me the watch on a MKII rubber dive strap and the choice of strap is spot on, too - lovely profile, comfortable, nicely tapered and with a pleasant vanilla scent, good buckle and double retaining loops which are not too thick as on many 22 mm leather or dive straps.
The black on white date wheel is also much better than white on black for readability.
One compromise of the new, thicker minute hand is that now it obscures the date at minute 15, whereas the Special II minute hand allowed the date to remain readable at quarter past the hour, but the upside is that it now reaches all the way out to the minute marks for better minute read off and the lumed area is much increased. Worth that small compromise.
I really do love this watch - it's unusual and different - something that little bit more unique - Im not going to see anyone else sporting one, unlike with a Rolex, Omega or Breitling and for aviation, the dual 24 hour set up, combined with the 5,10,15 etc minute / seconds prominence of lume marks and numerals really make it a very useful and functional watch.
I loved my little Airman 18, but it was just too small for the dial design and the bezel design wasn't quite right - I had a long affair with the Special II, but I always wished it had the 'original' bezel design in terms of the marks and the locking crown and the minute hand not reaching all the way out to the 60 division markers often niggled - it also felt too thin / feeble for the overall watch dimensions. Glycine had just used an 18 hand set on the Special II - hands designed for a 38 mm diameter watch.
The Base 22 has rectified all those niggles, and while they've boosted the dimensions of the minute hand, they haven't overdone it, like Rolex have with the new Explorer II. It's now in proportion to the watch. Perfect.
Here it is next to its cousin, the GMT Master II:
And finally, in the collection:
I really missed having a 24 hour watch and specifically an Airman, in my small collection since selling my Special II and its great to have one back. They're very beautiful, functional and unique watches with a great history and an enduring appeal. I can recommend the Base 22 if you have yet to buy one and are still thinking about it - the 42 mm case size is very comfortable, especially on a strap, and the low profile of 11.5 mm is nice. I am having a square cyclops fitted to mine to bring the look even closer to the Airman 1 and original Special and I'll post pictures when I do - i know date magnifiers aren't everyones thing, but I love the look and with ageing eyes, it does make a difference!
Hope the above few impressions might have been of use or interest - and thanks Dennis, for passing on such a beautiful and interesting watch!