A look at a vintage Glycine Airman

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A look at a vintage Glycine Airman

Post by koimaster » October 16th 2019, 8:40am

Founded in Bienne in 1914 by Eugène Meylan, for a company whose modern history has been closely tied to functional and “tool” watches, it is interesting to note that Glycine’s early commitment was to create the smallest movements possible for women’s watches in gold and platinum cases, often highly jewelled, and to target the luxury market.

The company continued in this way, even presenting an automatic movement in 1931 (although it did not eventuate into long term production because of lack of capital) and launching a chronometer range in 1934, but it wasn’t until 1953 that their iconic model the Airman, was born.

During a Bangkok to Calcutta flight, Samuel W.Glur from Montres Altus S.A. (which merged with Glycine in 1960) somehow got into a dicussion about the usefulness of a 24-hour watch with the pilots operating on that flight. As a result, he wrote a letter to Charles Hertig Sr., then head of Glycine, outlining the criteria for a 24-hour watch that could be useful to pilots. This formed the genesis for the Airman.

It turned out to be a stroke of genius, and the Airman became popular with both military and commercial pilots, worn by so many USAF pilots during the Vietnam War that it was the number one selling pilot’s watch in the US.

https://horologium.com.au/2011/06/27/a- ... ne-airman/

Danny Harubin shared his first post.


My father bought his Airman No 1 while he was in Vietnam in 1967. After his tours were finished, he put it into a drawer where it sat for 50 years.

A few months back, my oldest son found it. My father thought it had been lost all of these years. He was upset because he had meant to give it to me to carry when I deployed to Iraq in 2010. He said it was his good luck charm. (It’s probably why I got my Purple Heart. No good luck!)
He finally got to pass it off to me, after having it cleaned up at a local watchmaker. Been on my wrist every day since...

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