The Glycine KMU 48
Ref. 3788.19AT P
Côte de Genève
A Review by Michael Disher
November 15, 1999
If you enjoy or appreciate oversized watches, this KMU 48 deserves strong consideration. The 48 mm size sets this watch apart from the crowd, and lovely Côte de Genève decoration, viewed through a display back, sets this watch apart from other KMU 48s. This watch has a suggested USA retail price of $855 on strap, $932 on bracelet.
The Glycine watch company was founded in 1914 in Bienne, Switzerland. In 1934, Glycine introduced its first line of watches to pass the difficult tests of the Official Swiss Quality Control and earn chronometer certificates. Glycine is one of the few companies to exhibit at the 1938 Basel Fair. Glycine’s production has continued without interruption since its founding. The modern KMU 48s trace their roots to a line of oversized military watches.
The Dial hand Hands
This KMU 48 has a matte black dial with large arabic numbers and seconds at 9. This dial and hands combination sets legibility records. In daylight, I can read this watch easily at a distance of 15 feet. The large white numbers are printed on the dial, and tritium is then applied. Tritium is also applied to the hands, and this watch is very easy to read at night, as you might guess. Overall, I like the KMU 48’s dial and hands – they make a strong design statement.
The Case and Strap
This KMU 48 has a flat, extra strong K1 mineral glass crystal which does not have an anti-reflective coating. The crystal is beveled at the edge and mounted just slightly above the bezel. The bezel is thin and highly polished to match the case. The bezel and case are nicely finished solid stainless steel, though some evidence of machining can be observed on the inside surface of the lugs. As the name suggests, the KMU 48’s case is 48 mm in diameter, not including the winding crown. The watch is 11 mm thick, and it measures an impressive 55 mm from lug tip to lug tip. As everything is in proportion, this watch requires a 24 mm strap. The weight is approximately 3.4 ounces or 105 grams, which is quite reasonable for a watch of this size. The caseback screws down and consists of a stainless steel outer ring and mineral glass. The watch is waterproof to 10 ATM, 100 meters or 330 feet. The strap is padded calf leather that is treated at the factory and is highly water resistant. The strap is very soft and one of the most comfortable I’ve worn.
This KMU 48 uses a 17 jewel hand wound Unitas 6497 with small seconds at 9 o’clock. The movement is pocketwatch size: 36.6 mm in diameter. The balance wheel is three spoke made of nickel/guilt and the balance spring is a flat Nivarox 2. The balance wheel oscillates at 21,600 alterations per hour and incorporates Incabloc shock protection. The seconds do not hack. The wheel train bridge, barrel bridge and balance cock are decorated with Côte de Genève, also known as Geneva stripes or Geneva waves. The visible screw heads have been treated to give them a pleasing blued appearance, and the screw and jewel holes are chamfered.
During an informal test, this watch proved to be a fairly good timekeeper. After a break-in period, I tested the watch over 48 hours, wearing it during the day and storing it vertically 12 up one night and horizontal dial up the next. I began with the watch fully wound, and I wound it a second time on the second morning. The watch lost about 4.5 seconds per day, as compared with my atomic signal desk clock.
The movement is a striking sight through the display back. If you are new to mechanical watches or if you simply enjoy watching the mechanism in action, this KMU 48 provides a wonderful opportunity to view and study a hand wound movement. Everything is so large, you don’t need magnification to enjoy the show.
The Wearing Experience
If you’re a person of average size, the KMU 48 can be a bit intimidating at first sight. My wrist circumference is 7.5 inches, and the length of this watch, from lug tip to lug tip, very nearly matches the width of my wrist across the top. Within a short time however, I became accustomed to the size. Wearing comfort is surprisingly good, but you won’t forget this watch is on your wrist. This watch is an attractive watch that makes a bold statement, and at a very reasonable price.
Summary and Contact Information.
Watch reviewed: Glycine KMU 48, ref. 3788.19AT P Côte de Genève. Stainless steel case, leather strap with stainless steel buckle. Screw down mineral glass back. Matte black dial. Hour, minute and small seconds at 9 o’clock. Dimensions: 48mm diameter x 11 mm thick.
*Movement: Unitas 6497, 17 jewels, hand wound, 21,600 alterations per hour. Bridges decorated Côte de Genève.
*Water resistance rating: 10 ATM / 100 meters / 330 feet.
*Suggested USA retail price as of the date of this review: $855 on strap, $932 on bracelet.
© Copyright 1999, Michael J. Disher