The Glycine Stratoforte
By Michael Disher
At Basel 2000, Glycine formally introduced the Stratoforte, the latest in a successful line of oversized watches. Following the KMU 48's design lead, the Stratoforte improves upon the theme, offering chronograph functions, date, and great looks.
The Dial and Hands
This Stratoforte has a matte black dial with large arabics. Blue and Ivory dials are also available. The stenciling is crisp and the dial is very legible. A 30 minute totalizer is located at 12, quick-set date at 3, and a 12 hour totalizer at 6. The chronograph uses the center seconds hand. The Stratoforte has no continuous seconds. The numbers and hour and minute hands contain a generous application of tritium, making the watch highly legible in the dark. I find the dial and hands well balanced and quite attractive.
The Stratoforte is available only in stainless steel. The case is well finished, indeed better than a few watches I have seen listing in the $2500 range. The space between the lugs is nicely polished, and you must look very closely to find faint evidence of milling on the bottoms of the lugs. The tachymeter bezel is brushed on top for easier reading, and polished on the edge. The crystal and display back are flat beveled K-1 mineral glass with no anti-reflective coating. The back screws on, and the watch is water resistant to 100 meters or 330 feet. The crown is 9 mm in diameter and does not screw down, but is protected by double-O-rings. The crown offers a bit of resistance when being pulled out, due to the water-proofing measures. Hand winding is easy and smooth.
The button at 2 starts and stops the chronograph, and the button at 4 resets the chronograph hands. The push buttons operate smoothly. On this sample, the minute and hour totalizers reset precisely to zero. The center seconds hand always reset to the same spot, which was just a tiny of a fraction of a millimeter to the right of dead center as marked by the tritium dot at 12.
The Stratoforte uses the tried and true Valjoux 7750 automatic winding chronograph movement, which I feel is appropriate to a watch in this price range. The 7750 is designed to be rugged, reliable, easy to service and relatively inexpensive to manufacture. This movement is found in almost every moderately priced mechanical chronograph produced today. TimeZone's Walt Odets has written an excellent, detailed article on the 7750, which provides far more information about this movement than I might. To read Walt's article, click here.
My examination of the this Stratoforte's 7750 revealed it to be "cleaner" than the sample movement Walt reviewed. The polished surfaces on this sample shine like a mirror. Otherwise, the movements appeared identical.
The Bracelet and Strap
This Stratoforte came with both a solid stainless steel bracelet and a heavy leather strap. The Stratoforte's bracelet is well made. The end pieces are solid, and they fit the case quite well. The bracelet is heavy and uses a folding flip-lock clasp. The clasp cover is stamped, brushed, and bears the Glycine name and crown logo. The bracelet links are also solid, with brushed tops and bottoms, and polished edges. Sizing is accomplished by adjusting the bracelet ends within the clasp cover using spring bars, and by adding or removing up to five links that are held together with friction pins.
The brown leather strap is the most rugged I have come across. It measures nearly 4 mm thick and 24 mm wide where it attaches to the lugs. The strap felt a bit stiff at first, but broke in nicely after a few days of wear.
The Stratoforte is a massive piece of horology. At 46 x 14.5 mm and about 7.5 ounces or 230 grams on the bracelet (4.5/140 on the strap), you know you are wearing a watch. I am about 5' 9, 170, with a 7.5 inch wrist, and the Stratoforte pushes the limit of what I can wear comfortably and without being self conscious about what's on my wrist. If you like the oversized look, the Stratoforte deserves serious consideration.
In this area too, Glycine outdoes more expensive competitors. The substantial wood presentation box measures about 6.5 inches square. Inside is a soft velvet-like lining with folding flaps to protect the watch against scratches. Glycine even provides a polishing cloth.
Other Versions and Prices
The Stratoforte on bracelet has a USA list price of $1333. The rubber divers strap model lists for $1239, and on leather strap the price is $1224.
Manufacturer's e-mail address: email@example.com