Glycine Combat Sub Review: The Best Rolex Submariner Homage

If somebody asked what the most iconic watch in the history of mankind is, only one single name would come to my mind. I think, every single watch enthusiast also knows the name. It’s the Rolex Submariner.

The design of the Submariner is so iconic that a completely new market emerged with the tag of “Rolex Submariner homages!” Hundreds of brands came up hundreds of models that look uncannily similar to this legendary watch.

Surely, most of you think that all the homages are cheap and fake. But that’s not true!

Especially, if a genuine Swiss brand designed the homage with top-shelf Swiss components, it begs attention from you and me.

Yes, I’m talking about Glycine Combat Subcollection – one of the best Rolex Submariner homages in the market. And certainly, it’s not a cheap knockoff.

So, bear with me as I go deep and give you the detailed Glycine combat Sub review.

A Quick History of Glycine Watches

Glycine Watches

No, Glycine isn’t another nobody in the market.

This Swiss watch manufacturer started journey back in 1914 with the founding name – Fabrique d’Horlogerie La Glycine. A Swiss watchmaker, Eugène Meylan, is the visionary who founded the brand.

Later, they changed the name to Glycine Watch SA to become more recognizable in the international market.

Glycine became popular in the 1960s with its iconic Airman line. With the newfound popularity, Glycine understood their place in the market. They rigorously started manufacturing military themed watches.

The strategy brought them even more success.

A large portion of pilots in the Vietnam war used Glycine watches. Even the astronaut, Pete Conrad, wore a Glycine watch in the Gemini 5 space mission.

The Glycine Combat Sub series started in the 1960s too. They made high quality watches with automatic and chronograph movements covered in high-quality steel. This military-grade watches offered great value for money.

Right now, they have about 73 different models in the Combat Subcollection only.

In 2016, Invicta Watch Group acquired Glycine Watch SA. However, Invicta doesn’t involve in the manufacturing process. They only oversee the distribution and marketing responsibilities while Glycine continues to maintain the manufacturing duties in their Biel facility in Switzerland.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Watch


As most of us use a wristwatch today as a fashion accessory, we don’t feel bothered with the technical specification. If a watch looks beautiful enough, we buy it!

I get it, it’s only normal as we rarely use it for timekeeping.

But there are certain things that you should consider before making up your mind. After all, you’re spending $400 to $500 for a decent piece of watch.

It’s All About Movement

First things first, you must, must know about the movement used in the watch.

What is movement?

Movement or the caliber is the main mechanism of a watch, it determines how the watch works.

If you compare a watch with a car, the movement will be the engine.

Commonly, you can classify the watch movement into three categories –

  • Quartz – Battery powered movement that move the second hand with a tick!
  • Mechanical – Uses a spring-driven mechanism to move the second hand in a sweeping motion. It requires manual hand winding to keep the watch moving.
  • Automatic – An upgraded version of the mechanical movement that winds automatically, using the kinetic energy from your wrist.

Among these three, the automatic movement is the most superior option and comes with a hefty price tag.

Case and Bezel Material

You can’t have the delicate movement open in your wrist! It needs physical protection. That’s the job of the case and bezel.

So, the choice of material for case and bezel very important. Some of the better choices of material in this case are –

  • Stainless steel
  • Resin
  • Titanium
  • Aluminum

Additional Features

Watch manufacturers have come up with many unique features to make their watches more valuable.

Yes, all of these features only cherries on top of the cake, but in today’s perspective, they are important.

Here’s a list of desirable features of a watch –

  • Chronograph
  • Day or date display
  • Water resistance
  • Quality of the dial window protector
  • Luminosity to check the time in the dark
  • Bracelet/band material

More: Citizen Watch Reviews: Are Citizen Watches Good?

Features & Benefits of Glycine Combat Sub

Finally, we’re here on the main topic.

As I said, I personally feel that Glycine Combat Sub is the best watch in the Rolex Submariner homage category.

If you compare all of the watches in this category side-by-side, you’ll notice that Glycine Combat Sub is miles ahead in terms of quality and durability.

Let’s take a look at some of the key features of the Glycine Combat Sub that makes the watch stand apart –

More: The Best Navy Seals Watch

Movement: The Consistency of the Swiss Automatic Movement

Automatic Movement

The biggest selling point of the Glycine Combat Sub is the choice of superior movement. You should already know that the Swiss Automatic movement is the best option you can find for your watch.

Glycine is using its in-house GL224 caliber in this collection. The base caliber comes either from ETA or Sellita.

Some reviewers claim that the GL224 is based on the ETA 2824-2 only. It’s not correct as most of the newer GL224 is based on the Sellita SW 200-1 caliber.

The Sellita SW 200-1 is basically a replica of the ETA 2824-2 but the watch community favors ETA heavily.

Specification of Glycine GL224 Movement

  • Country of Origin: Switzerland
  • Base Caliber: ETA 2824-2 or Sellita SW200-1
  • Jewel Count: 25 (ETA) or 26 (Sellita)
  • Reserve Power: 38 hours
  • Frequency: 28,800 bph
  • Hacking and Hand-Winding: Yes

More: Stuhrling Watches Review: Are Stuhrling Watches Any Good?

Case and Bezel: Military-Grade Durability

Durability has always been one of strengths of Glycine watches. After all, they are more popular for their military-themed designs.   

All of the watches in this collection come with 316L surgical-grade stainless steel case and bezel. The unidirectional bezel also features an aluminum ring.

The case diameter varies from 42mm to 48mm depending on the model you pick.

Overall, there’s nothing to complain about here – Glycine went for the standard material choice.



Despite being a Submariner homage, you can notice a lot of unique design choices here.

For example, a lot of the models have Arabic numerals on the hour markers with 24h markers right below them.

However, some of them have dots and bars. But none of the models have complete lookalike dial of Rolex.

All of their watches have three-layered anti-reflection coating on sapphire crystal, which is a very nice-to-have feature.

More: The Best Automatic Watches Under $200: Watches with Highest Value


The primary choice of band is the three-link stainless steel bracelet that complements the SS case and bezel.

However, you can find many models with –

  • Textured leather band
  • NATO-style nylon band
  • Silicone band

So, the choice of bracelet varies from model to model.

Product Specification and What to Expect

Feature Type Feature Specs What to Expect?
 Movement  Automatic GL224  A superior choice of Swiss movement, very few brands offer such high-quality movement
 Case and Bezel Material  316L Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel Very sturdy, can withstand the toll of regular usage 
 Case size  42mm to 48mm Diameter With 10.6mm to 13mm Thickness Suitable for both thin and thick wrists, you can find your suitable size option. 
 Water-Resistance  200m/660ft. To 300/990ft.  Superior WR performance, suitable for swimming, snorkeling, and low-depth dives
 Dial Protection  Three-Layer Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal  Very sturdy, it’s rare to find such anti-reflective features
 Weight  14 Oz. (Approx.)  A bit heavy compared to other watches due to the automatic movement
 Luminosity  Hands and Markers  Offers time visibility in the dark
 Crown type Screw-Down   Offers better water resistance

Social Proof: What Other Customers Say about Glycine Combat Sub?

Glycine Combat Sub is a well-known watch collection in the community. Take this community discussion from Watchuseek for example. The same kind of sentiment is seen in this discussion too.

How about a review from another website?

Well, the results are the same in this discussion in TheWatchForum.

Most of the users showered the Combat Sub with praises. Many even think it to be the best military-style watch in the market.

However, I’ve seen some complaints from some users after the 2016 takeover of Invicta.

Social Proof
Social Proof 2
Social Proof

Best Alternatives to Glycine Combat Sub Automatic

The best way to judge a watch is by comparing it to a good competitor. With the side-by-side comparison, the true caliber of product becomes clear.

After a long research, I have found two worthy contenders –

Seiko Men’s Automatic Analogue Watch SKX007

Seiko Men's Automatic Analogue Watch SKX007

Seiko is a Japanese watch giant who mainly specializes in quartz watches. But Seiko has used an automatic movement (7S26) in this dive-class watch.

However, Seiko’s in-house 7S26 21 jewel movement is very cheap and doesn’t stand a chance against the precision of the Glycine GL224.

This scuba-diving watch offers 200m water resistance, which quite impressive. But some of the Combat Sub models have 300m WR. So, Seiko loses again.

Both of these watches have similar durability and sturdiness. I would call it a draw.   

However, Seiko is fairly cheaper than Glycine, and this is where Seiko gets an edge.

Feature Glycine Combat Sub Seiko SKX007
 Movement   Swiss Automatic (Glycine GL224)  Japanese Automatic (7S26)
 Case Diameter  42-48mm  42mm
 Case Thickness  10.60-13mm  13mm
 Band Width  22-24mm  26mm
 Case Material  316L Surgical-grade Stainless Steel  Stainless Steel
 Bezel Material 316L Surgical-grade Stainless Steel   Stainless Steel
 Band Material  SS/Leather/Nylon/Silicone  Rubber
 Case Protection 3-Layer AR Sapphire Crystal   Hardlex Crystal
Water-Resistance   200m to 300m  200m

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

Hamilton Khaki is also a viable option, but it lags behind the superiority of Glycine. This watch is sleek, small, lightweight, which is a great advantage, but the specs are very poor.

For example, Hamilton offer hand-wound mechanical movement rather than an automatic one. The build materials are also poor.

Plus, the water-resistance performance is horrible!

Feature Glycine Combat Sub Hamilton Khaki – H69439931
 Movement Swiss Automatic (Glycine GL224)   Mechanical
 Case Diameter  42-48mm  38mm
 Case Thickness  10.60-13mm  9mm
 Band Width  22-24mm  20mm
 Case Material 316L Surgical-grade Stainless Steel  Matte Stainless Steel 
 Bezel Material  316L Surgical-grade Stainless Steel  Stainless Steel
 Band Material SS/Leather/Nylon/Silicone   Nylon (NATO)
 Case Protection  3-Layer AR Sapphire Crystal  Sapphire Crystal
 Water-Resistance  200m to 300m 50m 


Overall, Glycine Combat Sub is a much superior product in its category. You’re getting high quality materials and supreme precision. Plus, you can’t find many negative Glycine Combat Sub Automatic review online.

If you were hesitant about the choice, don’t be. Glycine is sure a great buy!

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