The Chief and its manual reveals the secret behind it.We don't know yet how many were produced or it was not a mass production,time will show.
Glycine 'The Chief' Tuerler.The Chief is a model line by Glycine.Due to the minute tail-end the watch dates to the 1953-55 era.'The Chief' was produced for the NAVY.
Tuerler is a famous retailer from Zurich since the late 19th century.The retailer's name on the dial was a sign of prestige and cooperation. Nowadays Glycine and Tuerler are still cooperating.Zurich Airport Tuerler Watch & Jewels corner is housing also Glycine timepieces. The Chief has the mechanical hack function with the pin pop on dial to stop the seconds hand. Detailed pin photo can be seen at the second picture above where it holds the seconds hand. I've never seen another watch brand or product with this mechanical hack feature.It's another spec which makes the Airman and The Chiefs so special.
This timepiece is the only one known and existing,documented 'The Chief'.It cases the Felsa 692 Bidynator movement.
- CH314050 from 1953, registering the famous 24 hours dial
Glycine Cal 29,from 1930s.The curvex case,center jewel and bridge configuration makes this watch really stand up.However the this example from my collection should have a coherent sub-seconds hand also in gold tone instead of the recent blued hand.
Another Glycine early automatic,Cal 20 utilized in the module.This one is also a later model, from late '30s,since it has Geneve on the dial.We see the dial marks 'Geneve' or 'Bienne Geneve' only after from early '30s onwards.Glycine opened a branch in Geneve at that time and was active till 1942.
These models were developed in two varities,sub-seconds and center seconds options.
This watch has shock protection is anti - magnetic and waterproof.They were also presented during the New York World Fair in 1939.The review of the exhibition and the tests that the watches had to go through was simply brutal!A brief text from the review of Le Chaux de Fonds Chronicles:
Through lighted apertures in in the black glass panel running the whole length of the back wall can be seen demonstrators, electrically operated,which give concrete examples of the hardships which waterproof watches can endure with impunity.
The Glycine self-winding, for example, is first held before a magnet, then dropped with a bang on a metal plate before taking a cooling
dip in a water-filled container. There are two toy submarines carrying watches, slowly revolving under water. There is also a moving hand holding a watch indicating the self-winding feature of the Glycine watch.
Swiss patents for the Automatic Module are related:
- CH149137 and CH149138 from 1930,the famous automatic module patent by Eugène Meylan,
- US 567044 & US 587045 patents are applied but not registered,therefore recently unrelated.
1950s and '60s:
The 1950s were the very peak of the Swiss ebauche and watch manufacturers.After the World War II the markets were expanding and horology was constantly growing.The shock proof,even though was invented in 1934 in wrist watches,mass usage started only in the late '50s.Waterproof cases started to be common.Chronographs became more desirable,day&date complications, tricompax and sliding outer dials,mechanical alarms,ring dates dominated the market.In this high momentum times,in 1953,Glycine came up with the idea of 24 hour dial watch.The 24 hour dial patent is first registered by Charles Hertig Evilard, the by then President of Glycine & Altus Watches SA. So is the legendary Airman born.
I am happy for having several significant Glycine Airmen examples in my collection.First one is technically not an Airman though,'The Chief' ( it is the only one documented and known example of this line ), and the original AM/PM Airman which is produced before the patent register,therefore has the 'patent pending' and 'Modele Depose' marks on the case-back. The third one is the Airman with the 'Automatique' in French on dial and tail-end at the minute hand.Another one,the Glycine Airman Special,a later model,1960-65 which varies from other Airmen by jewel count.17 jewels vs 21, 23 or 25 jewel AS calibers.Airmen have the unique hack feature.On the 24 hour mark at top(12 o'clock in classic watches),a hole is existing between the digits 2 and 4.I've pictured them below.A tiny pin is popping out onto the dial once the crown is pulled to set the time.The pin is holding the seconds hand at 'still marche' at 24 o'clock position until the crown is pushed back in.
Photos say more than words:
Glycine Geneve, from 1940s.The watch was belonging to Albert Adloff. He was wearing it during the airlift from Berlin to United Kingdom in 1948.The 'Bienne - Geneve' dial marks started in late 1920s when Glycine Watches SA opened a branch in Geneve.Records mention that it operated until 1942.High probably it was produced in that timeline.The lack of shock protection also is another indicator for that era.The case is marked 'Acier Staybrite' with a serial no: 8772.The case-maker of Glycine until the Brechbuhlers era was Piquerez (who also patented the Compressor cases),high probably was cased by him.After the Brechbuhlers, Schmitz Freres became the case-maker of Glycine.
Glycine Vacuum,1960s.The Glycine Vacumatic Series,registered in 1961 as trademark using the Vacuum casing to increase the service frequency with less lubrication.The one with the snowflake minutes hand is the most after sought Glycine Vacuum,it's a '60s model.The second picture,'Vacuum High Frequency' is casing ETA's first 4 Hz - 28.800A/h movement.Early '70s timepiece.
The Vacuum casing is not a Glycine patent (see the patents page),the line Vacumatic is a Glycine line.These watches,thanks to their vacuumed cases,are known for their incredible resistance to water and shocks,their design for long-term use under hostile conditions.
The page : http://www.mikrolisk.de/show.php?site=280&suchwort=Glycine&searchWhere=all#sucheMarker
shows all the lines and trademarks registered by Glycine.Glycine Vacuum which started manufacturing in 1961 onwards through the '60s in different cases and ETA Calibers,date only has the 2472.
These Glycine Vacumatic lines feature the Vacuum case patent:
- CH355742 from 1961, registering the Vacuum case
Glycine Automatic from 1950s.The first watch (first 2 photos)are casing Felsa 690 Bidynator movement with a distinguished '50s look.Round 30-32 mm diameter (w/out and with the crown )case with its matching flexible bracelet,curved lugs.What I recognized the Felsa using Glycines have different case-back engravings( serial numbers )than Glycine manufacture or ETA, AS cased watches.It generally comes with the letter 'A' and 4 or 5 digits. The other watch, another Glycine Automatic casing the Felsa 1560 movement.Both have the US import code 'LOE' on the balance bridge. LOE was the import code for Glycine,Hydepark,Enicar,Delbana and Packard timepieces.Glycine initially had registered its own United States import code as 'BXP',later it has been switched to 'LOE'.
The Bidynator was the first automatic movement whose rotor could wind the watch by turning in both directions.That's why the name bi-dynator.When Rolex came up with the perpetual rotors after the bumpers,the perpetuals were winding the watch only by turning one direction.So the bidynator was a great accomplishment for its time.Glycine Vintage models from 1950s.Glycine Ancre,Glycine Bienne Geneve and Glycine Altus Standard models.All have the Glycine manufacture movement Cal 72.
The Glycine cal 72 and 80 are widely available in the watches from this era.I believe after ASUAG merge in 1942,Glycine had still some movements in stock and these were used in the '50s and '60s.Similar round cases in 30-32 mm diameter case.The straps presented here both are non - Glycine patented inventions,reverse folding clasps from 1946.
Altus and Glycine formed a joint in 1963.Altus was created in 1920 by Hans Troesch and has some significant accomplishments with ebauche manufacturing and developing the Cal 10.1 with Lange/Glashutte and Urofa/Glashutte.
A real collectors piece,mid 1930s Glycine Automatic a masterpiece with 3 Glycine patents in one timepiece.
- CH149137 and CH149138 from 1930,the famous automatic module patent by Eugene Meylan,
- CH159200 from 1932,registering a folding lever crown,
- US 567044 & US 587045 patents are unrelated
Glycine Automatic Module with the dial signed 'Dietrich Bale' in 14 K gold case.Bale is 'Basel' in French.Bienne,where Glycine was and still is based was a trilingual region with German, Italian and French influence.'Dietrich' was obviously the retailer who was selling the watch. I've seen also Longines and IWC watches where the dial was signed with the same retailer,but couldn't find more info about him.
Retailers name on dial were popular.Other known retailers from those times were Tiffany and Tuerler.I've seen also a Tiffany signed dial by Glycine.
This watch has the unique fold lever instead of the crown.The lever does the same job,sets the hands,and once folded locks the two pieces case.The folding lever is patented by Glycine in 1932.I've not seen another example so far.The base movement is Glycine's manufacture movement Cal 35 which was utilized from Glycine Cal 20 with eccentric seconds,8.75 lignes.Sweeping seconds automatic modules were using the Cal 43.As seen the mark 'EMSA' is not anymore on the module and it is signed only 'Glycine Watch Co Automatic', meaning it's after 1935,when the patents were transferred from EMSA to Glycine.
Glycine DH (Deutsches Heer) early 1940s,produced for Military use during the WW II by using the so called 'Wehrmachtswerk' Army Movement,A.Schild 1130 caliber.Due to the needs,the watchmakers of that era were manufacturing different lines of watches to be used by the military staff.Hands and hour markers were lumed so that the time can be seen by glow in dark also.These examples are surfacing in the market and are accessible.Original cases have the case back marks 'Stahl Boden' and a 5 digits serial number between the letters 'D' and 'H'.
One last timepiece before Glycine is joining ASUAG.The Glycine Cal 52,triple date.These rotating disc day-date movements can be seen also in Venus 206 and FHF 175-3 casing watches. This Glycine has no shock protection and is a 18 jewel manufacture movement.A popular early 40s timepiece.It's one of my most beloved watches in the collection.
Glycine Caliber 23, added sub-seconds on Cal 18, late 1920s. Wadsworth 14K white gold filled art deco case.
The movement was manufactured by Glycine in Switzerland and exported to the United States.Casing was done in the US by Wadsworth. In the early years, complete (cased) watches exported from Switzerland were due to high import taxes in the destination countries. We see many examples from that era, when manufacturers so as Glycine were sending only the movement to their local partners and they were being cased in their destinations to avoid high import taxes. The ebauche here is a desired example which is also used by A.LeCoultre. Further in the above photos is a ladies pendant watch with the same Glycine signed movement. Later in the '30s Glycine has the same caliber with shock protection which is listed as Caliber 24.
Wadsworth was a famous watch case manufacturer which was in production for some 60 years,from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century until it was absorbed by Elgin Watches.There are also earlier examples from Glycine which are mainly ladies watches in smaller calibers and are decorated with highly precious stones.These examples can still be found in online auction sites.
Glycine Caliber 18, from 1926. The manufacture movement with 6,75 lignes is a premium example from its time.The center jewel,and later developed sub-seconds made this ebauche desirable. It's a timepiece given as a prize in 'Schützenfest' (Shooting competition in the German speaking part of Europe). The tradition goes back to 16th Century and is participated gender mixed. The winning couple 'Schützenkönig/in' was being awarded with different items. Watches were premium items as prizes.The bezel of this timepiece reads:'Kantonal Schützenfest Bern 1926'.
It's cased in 18K gold with Swiss hallmarks. The hammer with handle 'Poinçon de Maître' reads 143,which identifies the case-maker. But unfortunately pre-1934 Poinçon de Maître were not recorded. After 1934, the Swiss regulated the hallmarks and the 'hammer head without handle' has been in circulation with registered companies. Therefore, for now we don't know the case-maker of this beautiful timepiece.
Timepieces and information presented in this page are limited to my collection.
I don't copyright my photos but would appreciate referring this website if you intend to use related information.The Glycine watches presented here,cover a period from 1920s to the 2000s.
1920s,'30s and '40s:
Glycine LED from 1980s.Didn't see another one of this LED Quartz model from Glycine.Original Glycine bracelet.There are other brand watches with same cases and layouts,I believe it was a generic model for its time from the 70s or 80's.It has 'light' function.When Glycine incorporated in 'Ditronic SA' with 4 other Swiss Watchmaking companies in 1972,it helped them to survive those times.
Glycine Observer/ Luftwaffe.The work horse ETA 2824-2 automatic movement is powering this after sought timepiece. The Glycine Observer line was launched in 1998, only 1,000 pieces were produced.
'Luftwaffe' dials are discontinued after small amount of production to speak to a larger community via 'Observer'.
The onion crown, dial characters,lume and hands are defining this as 'flieger' type of watch. Very easy to read and a great wrist presence.42 mm w/out crown diameter,ideal for medium wrists.The Observer,has also see through case-backs as well as solid case-back options.Satin/Polished case.
This line is one of the most sought after Glycine models of the millennium era.Glycine Watches official website points to ref. 3782 Glycine Observer
Glycine Automatic Divers style,casing A.Schild 1901/03 caliber from 1970s.This one is a beautiful and rare example from Glycine's water-sports or divers line with screw down crown.Beautiful tritium hour markers.In live its aged and just adds that desired vintage patina on the dial.Automatic movement but can be also hand wound. Bidirectional bezel.Tritium was widely used in vintage watches.It is a low radioactive element which has a half life span of 12 years to degrade. Tritium markers should not be expected to glow efficiently after 12 years anymore.
If there are two so called 'grail' watches within this brand,one is certainly this Glycine GMT Chronograph,and the other one,the Airman Chronograph.The SST (Super Sonic Transport) cased Glycines were introduced in 1967/68.These chronographs along with the Airmen,Divers and Sports models had the special case-back engraved with the Boeing 2707 prototype.That plane unfortunately was a financial fail and has never gone beyond prototype in Mach1 passengers' jet and lost the race against their European counterparts 'Concorde'.I am listing both Glycine Chronographs information in one text since they are very similar except the GMT is a 12 hour watch with a 24 hour GMT hand.The below Glycine Airman chronograph is purist 24 hour watch, meaning the hour hand makes one revolution per 24 hours on the dial.They have no hacking function.Both are powered by the legendary chronograph manufacturer Valjoux,caliber 724 (V72+4th hand).The movement mark Valjoux 724 is punched under the balance wheel.Inner case-back has patent marks from Piquerez and the manufacturing dates.Only 100 pieces were produced.I've sourced both watches from a retired Republic F105 Thunderchief pilot.Jerry!In Thuds we trust !!! To read more about the history of these watches please check my article in WUS.
Glycine Airman Special from 1960-67 era.As seen and mentioned above,hour markers at 12 and 24 are dots,A.Schild 1701/02 caliber,17 jewels.There are also various other A.Schild (AS) calibers cased in Airmen:AS 1701/1903/2063/2163
Again the 'perfection' logo in inner case back.The case-back has the 24 hour dial Swiss patent : 314050.Mine does not have the cross hatched crown,which indicates it to 1960-65 period.It has red and black date versions.I am wearing this very often and I can say it has quite a wrist presence.Comfortable,pure and classical.The only thing is,you need to explain people very often,when they come up 'your watch is broken' because it shows at classic 6 o'clock evening time,the 12 noon.
It takes some days to get used to the 24 hour dial watch reading due to got used one glance reflexes.I also included the pin which hacks the seconds in the above photos.The pin photos are not mine,sourced from the web.
The hour hand tail,can be used as the GMT hand to show the time through the bezel hour markers.
All Airman feature the Glycine 24 hour patent:
- CH314050 from 1953,registering the famous 24 hours dial
Late '20s pocket watch by Eugene Meylan,La Chaux de Fonds. The Glycine Caliber 40 is utilized in the case.The company 'Eugene Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds' has a very short register and activity history,from 1926 to '31 only.
When the company 'Automatic EMSA' was created in 1931 June,the automatic module patent was transferred from Eugene Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds to EMSA.EM Le Chaux de Fonds has been closed after this transfer.
This timepiece is cased by British case-maker Benner Friedrich & Co (BF&Co). Another example of exported ebauche and destination cased timepiece.BF&Co has records from the early 20the century in London (1903).
The Glycine Airman AM/PM. The first produced Airman model,therefore scarce.Unfortunately I didn't see yet any manual for this timepiece (the pictured guarantee does not belong to this era Airman).
It cases like all early Airmen the Felsa 692 Bidynator movement,modified to 24 hour purist revolution.This watch has no hack mechanism,neither a tail-end at any of the hands.It's the watch which is produced before Glycine's famous 24h bezel patent registration.The patent was applied in Dec 1953 and registered in May 1956.Therefore the marks:'Patent Pending' and 'Modele Depose' on the case-back.Andre's website hosts one more example of this timepiece where the 24 hour bezel is divided 1-11 and 12 - 24 hours divisions rather than as this example 2-24 hours.
The inner case-back has again the 'perfection' logo of Glycine.The Felsa casing Glycine Watches have all the similar method of marking case-backs.They all start with the letter 'A' and then digits.We don't see these markings at the case-backs of in-house,AS or ETA casing movements. There is a visible evolution in Airmen after these models.The mechanical hack mechanism, the 12 and 24 o'clock triangle marks.First the minute hand afterwards the hour hand is extended with a tail-end for the purpose of reading a 3rd timezone.I am happy to own this early Airman,it came with it's original box,the price tag reads:USD 51.95
This Airman Manual would have come with the above white Airman model which has tail-end at the minute hand. It's also a historical document with the 'then recent' state of the world. 'Belgian Congo' and 'Indochina' timezones and geographic sectors are existing.
The white dial,red date Airman,with the French 'Automatique' on dial.Early Glycine Airmen have French influence on their dials,only after 1960 we see the 'Automatic' in English.Also another significant sign of Airman is its 'cross hatched' crown which starts from 1960 onwards,but not available in all models.This example above and the early Airmen have the Felsa 692 Bidynator movements.If the hour markers at 12 and 24 o’clock are triangle,it indicates the Felsa caliber ticking in the case.If there are dots instead of triangles,as in the below ‘Airman Special‘ example,it cases A.Schild caliber.AS calibers also started to be cased in Airmen only after 1960.The inner case-back logo is registered by Glycine as 'perfection' line.This logo can be seen on some other Glycine watches also,which were meant to be the upscale timepieces.
Another distinctive feature of the Airman line is the arrow tale at the hour or minute hands. The Airmen from 1954 & '55 have the arrow tail at the minute hand,1956 and onwards the hour hand has the tail-end.The tailends can be used to read another time zone.
The manual of this earlier Airman describes the use of the tail-end at the minute hand:
“The other feature is the long tail-end to the minute hand. This facilitates lecture of local time where the difference between G.M.T. and local time is not a full number of hours.This applies to Gander,Bombay,Burma,Curaçao,Iran,Uruguay,Venezuela and some others.”
The manual also states that there are new features in the new Airmen:
- ' Fitted with sweep second stop '
- ' date magnifier '
This puts an end to the debate if the early Airmen should have the date magnifiers on the replaced crystals or not. It marks also the start of the hacking mechanism in the Airman models.So, except the AM/PM and patent pending Airman,all should have the magnifiers on the date window and hacking mechanisms until late '60s when AS 2163 is utilized in Airman watches.
1990s and the Millennium (Retro models):
1930 Eugene Meylan Automatic,EMSA.Patent applied in Oct 1930 and issued in 1931.This fine timepiece is a unique example.The see through case back has a crystal thickness of 6,5 mm.If not the prototype,it's one of the first produced automatic examples by Eugene Meylan.What makes me believe this is the movement used in this timepiece- Venus 60-II, rather than the Glycine manufacture movements 20&43.Eugene Meylan after applying for the patent of this module created the company 'Automatic Eugene Meylan (E.M.S.A ) in 1931.He had the exclusive rights and patent for production and distribution.Due to some financial challenges he discontinued EMSA,and his activities continued with Glycine Watch Factory.Glycine produced Automatic Modules with Glycine Calibers only after 1935 when the patents were transferred from EMSA to Glycine.The Glycine Cal 20 and 43 were utilized with the module, the module mounted caliber were called in both ebauches CAL 35.See the Calibers page for the details.Cal 20 has the sub-seconds and Cal 43 center seconds.
This one is casing a Venus 60 - II movement.I believe it was done for exhibition purposes,a prototype.It might be for Basel Fair in 1931 or '32.Documents show that Glycine always was an attendee in the exhibitions starting from 1929 Basel,1930 Liege and Basel,in addition to the Europe Tour Fair.In the New York World Fair,1939,Glycine presented waterproof automatics, meaning this prototype is developed into waterproof cases in later examples with Glycine Watch SA.What also makes me believe that this one is a prototype are the patent numbers marked on the module.The below patents are marked on the module I could find records for two of them being applied but not registered (CH77578 & 88,see Patents page),that's why the numbers are pointing to unrelated recent patents:
CH81653 - jigsaw
CH77588 - a drive-belt protector
CH77878 & CH81251 - two chemical processes for colors
DE114688 - a twine machine
DE114720 - oil can
However later produced Glycine Automatic Modules are having the correct patent numbers marked.
Eugène Meylan's patent was first registered under the trademark of 'Eugene Meylan La Chaux de Fonds',transferred to 'Automatic Eugene Meylan SA' company in 1931 and in 1935 to Glycine Watches SA.These automatic modules were very practical after Harwood's bumper.
Harwood was the first one who patented his invention and created the first mass production automatic wristwatch.Patented in 1923.A.Schild supported John Harwood in the movement and Fortis in casing,however later Harwood's are cased by Blancpain.It is known that appr.40,000 Harwoods were produced between the dates 1927 - 1931.Unfortunately with the hit of the economic crisis he did not renew his patent and vanished from the timeline leaving his invention as a first step into automatic wrist watches.
Eugène Meylan took the opportunity as an engineer and entrepreneur,developed the EMSA module which was easier service-able and could be mounted on any hand wound caliber with small modifications.Detailed review of this caliber and module in 'Glycine History' page by Dr. Roland Ranfft.
Glycine Automatic EMSA bumpers are pretty rare and surface very seldom in the market.The ones which are signed with Glycine Automatic EMSA are earlier models (pre-1935),Glycine Watch Co. Automatic are later models (post - 1935).The dial can be found in different lay out and signs.I have seen odd ones also, below are two more examples of the same bumper automatic with same base calibers,but different cases and dials.
A beautifully engraved ladies necklace watch.I've seen other examples,they were a set including earrings.Hand winding FHF 59-21 movement.The movement is only 22 mm long and 9 mm wide.It's the smallest watch movement within my collection. The precise case is marked 'Glycine Watch Co. Switzerland'.I believe it's late '50s or '60s watch.
1970s and '80s:
The '70s were difficult times in the Swiss Valleys.Quartz watches (battery operated) were changing the rule of the game.Japan and United States started to manufacture Quartz & LED watches and exporting to Europe.Fact is,these watches were more affordable versus their Swiss mechanical competitors.Many watchmakers vanished from the market,many were sold or melted within joint ventures in this period.
This era is also a time with a great accomplishment in the Swiss Cantons.The race for the first automatic chronograph caliber finally resulted in the late '60s (1969).It still hosts debates though,who came first: Zenith? Seiko? Or the Heuer-Breitling-Buren-Depraz coalition?
Glycine,while going through hard times as mentioned in the official website of Glycine : http://www.glycine-watch.ch/ was also following the trend with the UFO and distinguished 70s diagonal cases. Glycine also started to produce or label Quartz & LED watches to keep its market share.
The 'Compressor' line is one of the signature products of Glycine from the '70s,as seen below:
Glycine Compressor Automatic from 1970s.Compressor case patented in 1956 as seen in the patents page.The Swiss patent is marked in the case-back.The last watch in above photo window isn't a compressor model.It's a beautiful day&date 70s Glycine casing A.Schild 1906 movement.
The Glycine Compressors are casing ETA 2472 movement.There is a great page for this model's detailed tear down and service progress,custody of its owner: http://watchguy.co.uk/teardown-service-glycine-compressor-eta-2472/.
The Compressor line of Glycine features the below patent by the famous case-maker Piquerez:
- CH313813 from 1953, registering the compressor case by Ervin Piquerez, Bassecourt.
The Glycine Sea Walker,ETA 2824-2 Automatic Movement.35 mm without crown with coin edged bezel and crown guards.Sea Walker models started in 1996 and 1,000 pieces were produced.K1 Mineral Glass,solid case-back,100 m WR.The Glycine Watches official website refers to reference 3700 for this timepiece and the Sea Walker dial was custom made for a retailer : Glycine SW Automatic
Glycine Pocketwatch,full hunter case with the crown logo,casing ETA 2750.The pocket-watch hallmarks indicate 1968.The chain is after-made and has beautiful hunt examples.
Copyright © Emre Kiris
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