Glycine Combat Subaqua?

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Glycine Combat Subaqua?

Post by koimaster » July 2nd 2019, 4:44pm

Glycine are a lesser-known brand, although the company was founded as long ago as 1914 by the distinguished horologist Eugène Meylan. Initially a designer of miniature movements for ladies’ watches and automatic dress watches for men, Meylan later devised models for military issue, his most famous contribution to this genre being the Airman series (1953 onwards). Following the Swiss watch crisis of the 1970s, Glycine was acquired in 1984 by Hans Brechbühler who initially oversaw production of quartz models. Aided by his daughter Katherina, mechanicals were re-introduced into the catalogue during the ‘Phoenix era’ of the 1990s. Glycine did not, however, return to producing innovative movements in the manner of Meylan. Instead, Brechbühler followed other Swiss manufacturers and relied on ébauches. Today, the company concentrates on a limited range of automatic models but offers them in a variety of different designs. The Airman and Combat (first produced in 1967) are revivals of older ranges; Incursore (1998) and Lagunare (2003) are two new additions. Altus Uhren Holding AG (CEO Stephan Lack) acquired Glycine in 2011 and at the present time (2014), total output is around 6,000 pieces per year. Relatively modest production runs help to sustain excellent build quality. All Glycines carry serial numbers, this piece’s unique identifier being #137,908.

In contrast to the Omega and Zenith in-house calibers, the 3863 series utilises a 25-jewel ébauche automatic movement. The English translation of ébauche is ‘blank’. The ETA 2824-2 and the ETA 2892 are the most widely used examples. ETA is a reference to Eterna, which founded one branch of the amalgam of ébauche producers whose complex history of mergers eventually resulted in a single company that is now a subsidiary of the Swatch Group. Owing to its dominant market share, ETA is currently obliged by Swiss anti-trust law to provide basic movements to independent manufactures, although this requirement is steadily being relaxed, enabling the company to restrict access to its ébauches over time to preferential clients.

The Glycine Combat Subaqua employs the ETA 2824-2. This highly dependable movement is often described as ‘un tracteur’ (literally ‘tractor’ but better translated as ‘workhorse’). It is assembled and finished to different standards within the watch-making industry. There are four grades, classified according to the quality of materials used and (particularly at the higher end) on the degree of testing and regulation undertaken. In order of quality, the grades are: Standard (B), Élaboré (A), Top (A+), and Chronometer. Glycine’s execution is Élaboré. The specification includes a rhodium coated main plate and oscillating weight with ball bearing races. Rhodium is more durable than nickel and resistant to tarnishing; it is also an expensive material not found at B-grade. The movement, which Glycine prefer to call the ‘GL 224’, carries ‘Côtes de Genève’ decorations (literally, Geneva bars or stripes: a series of wave-like etchings on a finely polished surface) and is engraved with the company’s crown logo.

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