Glycine and Eugène Meylan:
Eugène Meylan,while owning Fabrique d'Horlogerie La Glycine,created several different companies and co-operated with various watchmakers and industry specialists.Below is a timeline of Eugène Meylan's business activities.The company created in 1926 'Fabrique de Sertissages Precis' was also known and labeled as 'Eugène Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds'.I have one pocket watch with the Cal 40 cased,can be seen in collection page.Since this company was in the market for only 5 years,the timepieces with the dial mark 'Eugène Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds' are pretty scarce.He closed the company due to his ingenious invention the 'EMSA Automatic'.He bought 'Chronomuri Watches SA' and re-named it 'Automatic EMSA' in 1930.The Chronomuri SA was obviously a company which had some facilities beneficial to Meylan.He,for some reasons kept the automatic module patent by EMSA and transferred the rights and register to Glycine only in 1935.Therefore,I believe that the modules with Glycine EMSA mark on it are before 1935.After 1935 we start seeing the automatic modules with only the 'Glycine Automatic' marks.
Eugène Meylan was a true entrepreneur,some of his recorded ventures:
1910: l'Ecole d'horlogerie attendee,Le Chaux de Fonds
1911: l'Ecole d'horlogerie attendee,Le Chaux de Fonds
1914: Eugène Meylan, creates Fabrique d'Horlogerie 'La Glycine'
1917: Eugène Meylan and Henri Jeanerret ( Excelsior Park ) signed cooperation agreement,
1918: Eugène Meylan and Henri Jeanerret register a company together,
1919: Sonex SA is created by Silene, Meylan and Jeanerret and has activity records until 1925,
1926: Eugène Meylan registers a company on his name: Fabrique de Sertissages 'Precis',which also performs as 'Eugene Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds ' name,
1927: Sertissages 'Precis' - Eugène Meylan, takes exclusive representation of 'Bulle Clocks' for Switzerland,
1930: Glycine together with Doxa and Meyer & Stuedeli creates 'Medex', a network to boost sales in Germany,
1931: Eugène Meylan buys the company 'Chronomuri SA',
1931: 'Automatic EMSA' is the new name of 'Chronomuri SA',
1931: The automatic module patent is transferred from 'Eugene Meylan - Le Chaux de Fonds' company to 'Automatic EMSA' company,
1932: 'Eugène Meylan Le Chaux de Fonds' and Fabrique de Sertissages 'Precis' companies are closed,
1935: Eugène Meylan transfers the patents register to Glycine,
1936: Eugène Meylan,re-opens the Fabrique de Sertissages 'Precis' company and takes the representation of 'Bulle Clocks' back,
1955: 23 September Friday,E.Meylan died in Neuchatel
Glycine Watches SA History Timeline & Chronological Records:
18-May-10 Eugène Meylan,élève de l'Ecole d'horlogerie (student at the watchmaking school )
29-Mar-11 Eugène Meylan,élève de l'Ecole d'horlogerie
20-May-14 'Fabrique d'Horlogerie La Glycine' registration
26-Aug-14 La Glycine 13 Calibers register
25-Nov-14 La Glycine,register hands,enamel dial and cases
27-Jan-15 La Glycine 13 lignes first Advertisement in History
6-Feb-15 La Glycine reg 6 cal
20-Feb-15 La Glycine 13 lignes Ad
13-Mar-15 La Glycine 9 & 13 lignes Ad
15-Nov-16 La Glycine Piccola & Jofrette Anouncement
6-Jun-17 Eugène Meylan & Henri Jeanerret (Excelsior park) collective work
18-Sep-18 La Glycine Buckle Ad,Sandoz repr
28-Oct-18 Eugène Meylan & Henri Jeanerret Ancre 7 lignes
7-Nov-18 La Glycine buckle register,L’Agrafe Glycine (pat appl 27 Aug 1917)
27-Jan-19 Sonex SA Creation,Silene,Meylan&Jeanerret
9-Nov-20 Change name to Fabrique d’Horlogerie La Glycine,Piccola & Joffrette
17-Nov-20 La Glycine P&J first Ad with Calibers
25-Mar-22 31 cal reg and La Glycine Ad
7-Jul-23 La Glycine P&J change to Fabrique d’Horlogerie La Glycine(P & J gone)
19-Oct-23 La Glycine receives Chronometer grade Cal 17 prize
14-May-26 Eugène Meylan,Fabrique de Sertissages «Précis» (E. M.,du Chenit),Fabrique de' Sertissages reg
28-Dec-27 Eugène Meylan,Sertissages Precis Ad
4-Jan-27 31 cal reg La Glycine
14-Oct-27 Eugène Meylan,Fabrique de Sertissages Précis,La Chaux-de-Fonds taking representation of Bulle Clock
17-Apr-29 Basel Fair Glycine 10K + francs ''haute de luxe ' timepieces
3-May-30 Liege Fair La Glycine
9-Aug-30 Glycine,Doxa and Meyer&Stuedeli (Roamer) Medex Sales Office for German Market
25-Oct-30 Eugène Meylan buying Chronomuri SA
28-Mar-31 Basel Fair Glycine Watch SA
9-Jun-31 Automatic EMSA reg and 5 digit patents reg on company
5-Sep-31 Glycine Jump Hour Watch window patent reg
9-Sep-31 Automatic patent (24.Oct’30) transfer from Eugene Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds to Automatic EMSA company
24-Oct-31 Basel Fair 1931 list and Fernand Engel of Glycine et Pretto
8-Dec-31 Automatic EMSA Company creation
23-Jan-32 Eugène Meylan,Le Chaux de Fonds closed
07-Mai-32 'Precis’ Eugène Meylan closed
31-Mai-33 Exclusive use Warning for the Automatic EMSA for Glycine and Pretto Watch Companies
14-Mar-34 Basel Fair Glycine Participant
23-Aug-35 Automatic EMSA patent moved to Glycine
15-Oct-36 Eugène Meylan,Precis Sertissages, Bulle Clock repr,
26-Mar-38 Basel Fair Glycine
30-Apr-38 Glycine Fernand Engel registers Glycine Fountain Pen
3-Aug-39 New York World Fair Glycine Ad and review
17-Apr-41 Glycine anticipant in Europe Tour Fair
25-Apr-41 Basel Fair Participant Glycine
24-Jul-41 Basel Fair Glycine Review of precious stones and 17 lignes slim movement
12-Nov-42 Fernand Engel proxy off due to death
1942 Glycine’s ébauche divisions are acquired by ASUAG
22-Apr-43 Basel Fair Glycine participant
23-Jul-43 Glycine,M.Vital Robert Engel proxy off for Genève branch manager
11-Sep-43 Vital Robert Engel proxy for Board of Directors
1943 Charles Hertig Evilard takes over Glycine. Hertig has also ownership relation with Certina (Kurth Freres,Grana)
01-Mai-46 Glycine Basel Fair participant
1953 Glycine launches the legendary ‘Airman‘ watches.Applies for the 24 hour bezel patent.Swiss Patent CH314050 ( applied 2 Dec 1953, registered 31 May 1956 )
Dec '53 - Mar 1955: Different configurations of hands (dauphine,pencil), dial marks (black and off white white AM/PM, civilian version,anti-
magnetique,23 rubis) and bezel (even and uneven 24 hour bezels). Case-back markings Pat. Pend. Modele Depose
+314050. No date magnifier on crystal. No hacking mechanism. Felsa 692 modified to 24 hours has been utilized in these
Apr '55 - 1957: Hands are uniform, tail-end at the minute hand. Date magnifier has been added to crystal. Hacking mechanism has been
implemented via patent CH323980 exclusively for Glycine. Black and silver dial colors do exist.Movement F692.
1957 - 1963: The tail-end on the minute hand has been moved to hour hand.Movements are still F692 with the hacking pin at 24 o'clock
position. AOPA and 'Special' models have been implemented.
1963 - 1968: Movements switched to AS1700/01. Hands, dials and bezel configurations are uniform.Hacking mechanisms still exist.
1968 - 1974: Glycine Airman SST is introduced. Movements have been switched to A.Schild 1903 and A.Schild 2063 are being utilized
in Airman watches.
1974 - 1978: Movements are switched to A.Schild 2163 since the earlier calibers are not available anymore. This made the 20 years
served hacking mechanism disappear. The AS2163 is a hacking movement by itself. Watches received at service centers in
this era have a movement switch treatment and the older hacking mechanism is being removed from the case.
1961 Vacuum cased watches are introduced in different forms,registered 'Vacumatic'
1963 Glycine Watch Factory and Montres Altus SA merges in August 1963
1964 Charles Evilard Jr.(son of Charles Hertig d'Evilard Sr) opens a service center in USA for Glycine.Airman watch costs 99 USD at that time
1965 Charled Evilard Jr. returns to Switzerland due to his fathers death.Samuel Werner Glur (Sales Mng at Glycine)takes over Glycine Watch SA
29 Aug 1965: Glycine Airman returns from space on Gemini 5 astronaut Charles ( Pete ) Conrad's wrist. Pete, a former US Air Force test pilot is wearing
Airman from his jet flight days and does continue respecting this serviceman watch.
1967 Werner Siegrist from Glycine Switzerland moves to the USA for the Glycine Service Center 1968-72 and afterwards purchases the company
1967 Glycine starts using the ‘Crown‘ logo in most of his models
1967-68 Glycine launches Combat,GMT,Airman SST Chronograph and Airman SST lines paying tribute to the Super Sonic Transport project, Boeing 2707
1972 Compressor and Spectrum lines are introduced (using ETA's first high frequency 28.800 A/h movement,1968 and onward)
11-Mar-72 'Ditronic SA’ is formed by Glycine- Altus,Wyler,Milus,Delvina,Buttes watch companies.Ditronic is an incorporation manufacturing digital LED
watches for these 5 companies in New Jersey,USA.
1974 Samuel Werner Glur is succeeded by Charles Evilard Jr due to death
1979 First Glycine Airman ‘Quartz’ watch is introduced
1984 Hans Brechbuhler (owner of Belinda Watches SA 1966,ex- Charles Monnier SA)takes over Glycine from Karl Evilard–son of Charles Evilard
1989 Werner Siegrist with his 'Falcon' brand (est 1991) starts producing Airman GMT 2000 model,followed by GMT 2001 and GMT 3000
1996 Glycine launches their first website
1999 KMU 48 is introduced
2002 Glycine and Belinda Watches emerge
2002 F-104 is introduced
2006 Glycine Airman 7 Plaza is introduced
2011 Airman SST tribute to 1968/69 SST Chronograph is introduced
2011 Altus Holding takes over Glycine Watches SA ( Altus Holding has nothing to do with the Hans Troesch ).New CEO is Stephan Lack
2012 Airman Vintage 1953 model is introduced paying tribute the 1953 model AM/PM Airman
2014 Glycine Watch SA is celebrating its first 100 years.
Eugène Meylan was already in horology in 1910 and was preparing himself for his future endeavors by attending the watchmaking school:
Glycine Watches SA owners through the century:
1914 - 1916 Eugène Meylan ( 17 Oct 1891, Le Chenit - 23 Sept 1955, Neuchatel )
1916 - 1923 Eugène Meylan and Piccola & Jofrette
1924 Eugène Meylan
1924 - 1943 Fernand Engel d'Eggiwil ( owner of Pretto Watch SA,merged with Glycine )
1943 - 1965 Charles Hertig d'Evilard ( 1908 - 8 Nov 1965, Bienne - owner of Altus Watch SA,merged with Glycine )
1965 - 1984 Charles Hertig Jr & Samuel Glur
1984 - 2011 Hans & Katherina Brechbuhler ( owner Belinda Watches SA, merged with Glycine )
2011 - recent Stephan & Nicole Lack (2014-2016 DKSH, Aug 2016 onwards Invicta Watch Group )
The letter which gave birth to the legendary Glycine Airman watch
Glycine Watches SA in Bulletins:
Glycine's manufacture movement Cal 17,passed the tests in Bern and was rewarded as 'Premium' grade movement,meaning its accuracy is first grade in various positions and conditions - modern day COSC.Glycine became also a supplier to the wealthy people who valued highly fine craftsmanship,cases decorated with precious stones and diamonds casing high grade movements.
In 1929 Basel Fair,Glycine was one of the premium brands,reviewed with a timepiece of high value stones decorated watches worth 10,000 CHF.
The fame came in 1931 when Meylan introduced an interesting self winding wristwatch.In an important development,the constructors had succeeded in making a winding mechanism that could be detached and leave the caliber 18 movement still functioning (if modified for the automatic module it became the Cal 20 with sub-seconds,Cal 43 for center seconds). For repairs and services,the circular winding module containing the winding pendulum could be easily taken apart.He presented to the world market a well-functioning self-winding watch,entirely of his own invention,a sensational performance that,for lack of capital,could not be exploited commercially.Not exploited in mass,but manufactured in some amount that still are existing in collectors inventories.Swiss made bumper movement,auto winding module,fully signed with patent,dates and Meylan.The crown only sets the hands, Eugène Meylan had confidence in his timepieces,while applying for the EMSA Automatic Module patent in the same time he also initiated Swiss watch sales in Germany.
The Airman and Speedy on Pete's wrist, time reads on both 14:29
Pete and Gordon Cooper ( Gemini 5 Astronauts ) on the deck of USS Lake Champlain after recovery on 29 Aug 1965
- He applied for his invention on 1930 with the following sketches and registered it in 1931 (original patent in the 'Glycine Patents' page)
- His creation was this what we call now vintage Automatic Module/Bumper,the first Glycine Eugène Meylan Automatic
- Screen shots from 1939 New York World Fair's related chronicles
- Glycine,Doxa and Meyer & Stuedeli formed a cooperation named 'Medex' to boost their sales in Germany,1930 August.
- The record from the chronicles August,1930,Medex Association
- The 1931 Ads in the Chronicles of the weekly Le Chaux de Fonds newspapers advertising and looking for distributors for the Glycine Eugène Meylan Automatic Watch.
The automatic module was able to be mounted on hand wound calibers with small modifications and was a smart step for its age.Eugene Meylan started marketing activities and also presented his self winding timepiece in Basel Fairs.The Glycine Eugene Meylan Automatic was also presented in the New York World's Fair in 1939 with developed shock and water proof,anti-magnetic self winding timepieces.
Ads above are from the New York World's Fair 1939 and the Glycine Ads.The Futuristic Exhibition with the high tech and advanced displays.Swiss watchmakers did not miss this opportunity and presented their utmost pieces to the world.The watchmakers of Switzerland who took part in this important fair.
During this exhibition the timepieces were being tested brutally!!! to justify their waterproofness, shockproofness and anti-magnetic specs.The below text is from the Exhibition Records published in 1940 in Le Chaux de Fonds:
La Chaux-de-fonds, Jeudi 31 Octobre 1940. Printed in Switzerland Cinquante-cinquième Année. — N° 44 ORGANE
The novelty watches illustrate the multiple uses in connection with personal jewelry of small Swiss watches,characteristic of the ability of Swiss designers to keep up with the ever-changing demands of fashion.Pendants,ring watches and unusual metal bracelets watches by Invicta- Seeland;a gold golf watch by Mido as well as a unique waterproof diamond ring watch;a self-winding purse watch by Eterna;interesting fob watches by Nicolet and Wyler are shown, as well as a fountain pen watch by Glycine.
Men,of course — young or old — are attracted by the waterproof Watches and the stopwatches. Every modern type of waterproof,shockresisting,non-magnetic,and in some cases self-winding wrist watches is shown in this group.Some of the waterproof watches are remarkably thin,for example the Movado and Eterna models,or very small or even jeweled outside,like the complete selection of Mido.Eterna,Glycine,Mido and Wyler show the self-winding models.
Through lighted apertures 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 Mido Multifort,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 is also a moving hand holding a watch indicating the self-winding feature of the Mido watch.The Glycine self-winding also undergoes the same ordeal without harm, as it falls on a miniature anvil,and there are two toy submarines carrying watches,slowly revolving under water.
2. The Manufacture of CH314050:
Hertig may not know that his invention would be used for decades by most of the watchmaking companies. Every company who built a watch with GMT function started to use the rotating 24 hours bezel. It's definitely a precious addition to the world of horlogerie.
The first badges of Airman manufacture has no hacking mechanism, no magnifier on date window and is a 24 hour automatic and water-proof watch. Serial numbers are below A30,000.
When Glycine Airman hits the market, they are being sold in military base exchange centers across the globe so as Greece, Japan, Germany and mainland USA. It becomes the ultimate tool watch of civilian and military pilots. The AOPA commissions also Glycine Airman watches in 1957 and some of these AOPA dial Airman can be still found in the collectors market - pretty scarce though.
Due to the US import regulations until 1968, watches manufactured outside of US were due to import fees calculated according to jewel and adjustment counts in watches. The more jewels the more fees... Glycine, like many Swiss watchmakers manufactured lower count jeweled watches for the US market ( 17 jewels vs 21 or 25 jewels ). They called it ' Special ' models and were assigned for sales within military base exchange centers. Recommended service duration of watches were 18,000 hours or appr. 1,5 years and servicing was performed by the factory in Bienne until 1964 when Glycine opened a service center in mainland USA.
The clientele of Glycine Airman was mainly military helicopter and jet pilots who served in Viet-Nam back then. The smart and unique hacking mechanism was crucial for those serviceman who coordinated flights and duties within precise seconds.
3. Airman in Space:
One of the Airman lovers was the US Air Force test pilot Charles ( Pete ) Conrad who joined NASA in 1962 and became an astronaut. He was assigned to Gemini 5 flight and set a new space endurance record of eight days surpassing the 5 days in space Soviet record.
Pete,wore Glycine Airman during this mission along with an Omega Speedmaster. When recovered by USS Lake Champlain (CV/CVA/CVS-39) in August 29, 1965, the below photo reveals his space watches where time reads 14:29 in both watches. While Speedy is a standard 12 hour watch the 24 hour dial lay-out of Airman and visible two crowns makes it undoubtedly present on Pete's wrist:
Feedback from end-users were taken serious and research/development started immediately. When calendars were showing 2 December 1953 Charles Hertig applies for the famous Airman patent CH 314050 the rotating 24 hour bezel.
The company first established in 1914 in Bienne was called 'Fabrique d'Horlogerie La Glycine' which had a different logo from the company we know now.Bienne was and is a trilingual area with German,French and Italian influence.In an era where labor strikes were common,the company was created in 20th May 1914 by Arthur Louis Eugène Meylan.
I cover here only the early period of the company,for later years and activities please check my collection page.
I've also published articles in WUS and our Facebook Fan Page which could be for use:
Glycine Heritage Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/GlycineHeritage
Watchuseek Glycine Forum: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f18/glycine-watches-history-timeline-models-933474.html
The first advertisements of 'La Glycine' are from 1915.The building in the below ad,is where Glycine Watches SA was based until 2015.
Samuel Glur, back in 1953 is Sales manager at Glycine Watches SA and is traveling the globe to increase sales. In one of his trips from Bangkok to Calcutta with Thai Airways in a DC-4 class aircraft he accompanies the Pilot Mr. Brown in the cockpit. Samuel Glur, a good sales person asks the pilot/customer what kind of watch would be the ultimate tool watch matching the needs of flying personnel.The answer is simple yet such a timepiece does not exist:
- 24 hour dial
- Hour hand makes 360 degrees in 24 hours
- Minute hand makes 360 degrees in 60 minutes
- Seconds hand makes 360 degrees in 60 seconds
- A bezel that can rotate and has 24 hour increments which helps to read GMT and 'local time'
- Automatic, waterproof and date function
Glur, notes that the Felsa calibers with 21 jewels would be convenient for this timepiece.
Samuel Glur reports back to Bienne, Switzerland to Glycine's owner Charles ( Karl ) Hertig d'Evilard. He writes this letter where he tells the whole story and the feedback he got from the pilot:
Glycine History Page Index:
- Owners of the company
- Creation of Glycine Watches SA
- Chronology of Eugène Meylan
- Chronology of the company
- EMSA invention, review and New York World's fair review 1939
- The watchmaking Meylan dynasty
- Glycine Airman
I am fortunate to have 3 of these Glycine early automatics.One of them is a prototype with see through caseback 6,5 mm crystal.It's displayed in the Collection page.Unfortunately somewhere during his journey had some misfortune in not qualified watchmakers hands with wrong balance stuff and wrong shape jewel,therefore had a long service period until it became fit again:
Thanks to Dr.Roland Ranfft and his company for his detailed investigation and servicing this early automatic. There are not many watchsmiths around who can deal with these vintage mechanisms. I am attaching below his detailed analyses of the movement ( his movements database is the most thorough one I've ever seen):
In 1942 Glycine's ebauche division was absorbed into ASUAG which owned (at that time),along with many other smaller lesser known companies: Champagne,Derby,Precimax,Gigantic,Glycine, Eterna,ETA,Arsa,Manzoni,Moser,Peseux,Fleurier,Kummer,Hora,Sonceboz and Charles Hahn,Landeron, Felsa,Venus,Root,Bovet,Optima,Postala and Urania,Adolphe Michel,Fontainemelon (FHF),Valjoux and A.Schild.After 1942 until the quartz crisis the movement manufacture ateliers/factories were liquidated and utilized in centralized factories.It is those times we start seeing more ETA,AS and Felsa calibers in Glycines instead of manufacture movements.
Glycine,is one of the very few watchmakers who didn't miss any of the prestigious Baselworld fairs since its first stage in 1929 and Liege 1930 the European Tour of Swiss Timepieces in the same year.
The Watchmaking Meylan Dynasty:
The first known watchmaking Meylan from the historical records was Philippe Samuel Meylan (1772-1845) who established with Isaac Piguet the Maison de Piguet et Meylan and produced fine PW pieces and automatas.Prior this joint venture he was working with his apprentice and brother in law Louis Audemars in Bienne (whose family later joined Audemars, Piguet Co) when he left to Geneve to establish with Isaac a more enthusiast atelier, he left his tools and atelier to Louis.
Meylan's activities covered everything related to precision engineering;his watches were unique of their kind and his automata were as good as anything produced by the great Jaquet Droz.His masterpiece comprised a marvelous grotto out of which emerges a monk who strikes the rock and replies in writing to a question,picked from among 28 by the audience and submitted through a drawer.He made white mice which ran,paused,ran again and finished with a jump.He made pistol with a watch in the handgrip; when fired,a whistling bird emerged from the barrel.Practically the entire collection of his works were bought by an Australian;however,the boat carrying them sank and they now lie at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
He made ultra-thin watches,money-watches and successfully built a watch into an old twenty-franc coin.This feat was made possible by another invention of his,the so-called ‘bagnolet’,a new form of movement which reversed the traditional layout of the gear-train.
He created a large number of skeleton watches,that is watches with two visible plates beautifully engraved with flowers and inter-woven plants;the movement is also visible and the bearings are hidden at the centre of the flowers or crossings of the stems.
He was the first to build chiming watches using spring chimes rather than bells and he even invented an ‘alarm ring’, this was a ring comprising a minute watch which would chim a steel pin into the finger at the appropriate time.
Other famous watchmaking Meylans are Charles Henri Meylan (CH Meylan Brassus), Marius Meylan (Lemania),Walter Meylan,AR & JE Meylan - Meylan Stopwatch Co.( Andre Rochat-Meylan and Jules Etienne Meylan ).
I might add another page later for these watchmakers,especially CH Meylan's timpieces are still sought after watches and chronographs.
Which generation Meylan no idea,but the most recent one Edouard Meylan the co-founder of Celsius mobile phones with a mechanical tourbillon watch.( Interview with Celsius X VI II Co-CEO Edouard Meylan | TechHaze.com )
Other watchmaking Meylans:
Meylan: Maison de Piguet et Meylan (P&M),Charles Henri Meylan (CH Meylan Brassus),Walter Meylan,A.R. & J.E.( AR & JE Meylan) - Andre Rochat & Jules Etienne Meylan.Andre Rochat Meylan invented the Venus 230,mechanical alarm patent with Venus Ebauches.Robert Meylan,Meylan & Silene,Frank Meylan are other records in watchmakers' chronicles.
Lugrin: Lemania (Alfred Lugrin SA 1858 - 1920 & Son in Law Louis Marius Ami Meylan 1930 -1981) directed Lemania Watch Co. Marius Meylan patented with Charles Henri Golay and Albert Piguet the Chr27 C12 caliber- OM 321.
Samuel Werner Glur in 1964
Copyright © Emre Kiris
Material may be used by reference only