1965 Glycine Airman (First generation) Vintage Vietnam Era - Ref. 314050
The iconic watch, chosen by the U.S. Fighting pilots during the Vietnam war.
WHY IS THIS WATCH SPECIAL
Glycine’s first 24-hour watch was developed and launched in the USA. In the 1950s a new model was developed and presented within four months. At first there was only the white version with pencil hands and the PM/AM model. It was a success in the USA and further feedback provided the necessary adjustments to turn it into a world hit.
It is most likely that around 1955 the black version with the famous arrow hand was presented in Basel.
Rolex launched one of the first GMT watches with two hour hands in 1954. Glycine therefore was a trendsetter in the field of pilot watches. The Airman could display two time zones with just one hour hand and was therefore easily manufactured without extra costs for the consumer.
This background gives us a better understanding as to why this small watch, displaying
only 24 hours, was sold with tremendous success in a 12 hour dominated watch world. It was the world getting smaller. The civil airlines and their growing number of passengers demanded a modern watch that was equipped with:
-black 24-hour dial with luminous hands and markings for clear visibility
-rotating bezel for setting a second time zone
-hack second to synchronize time
-arrow hour hand
It is very difficult to source one of these iconic watches undammaged with the hacking system working and 100% original, furthermore there were many fakes on the market (As displayed in one of the photos).
Therefore, I am very happy to offer here a superb example that is very well preserved, unpolished and with the hacking system operative.
Today the stately villa at the rue Frédéric-Ingold 5 in Biel Switzerland once again is the residence of part of the Glycine Watch company. The place is still suffused with the grandeur of the old watch age. The glycine (wisteria) is growing against its wall and the green GLYCINE-ALTUS markings are still against the façade. These words in themselves represent the first of many misty historical facts. Two watch companies, Montres Altus S.A. and Manufacture D’Horlogerie Glycine S.A. merged around 1960.
Why the name Altus was dropped to become a model name for a Glycine watch remains unclear.
In the 1920s, watches for the world’s rich and famous were made in this villa. During its early history Glycine became famous for its small movements in priceless ladies watches. Around 1931 Meylan, founder of Glycine in 1914, presented the world with a well functioning self-winding watch of his own invention. Together with his officially tested and past chronometer it was not enough to keep the depression from the door. Glycine, however, survived and was one of the few participants of the Basel Fair in 1938.
Charles Hertig Sr., owner of Glycine since 1953, made the company world famous with the Glycine Airman pilot watch that was launched in the same year.
In 1984 Hans Brechbühler took over the company from Charles Hertig Jr.. Hans’s daughter Katherina teamed up with her father in 1992. This combination had the right ingredients to relaunch the mechanical watch and ultimately the Airman in 1998.
In 2011 Katherina handed the company over to its new owner the Altus Uhren
Holding AG. Stephan Lack took over as CEO of Glycine Watch SA.
- Maker: Glycine
- Model: Airman (First Generation from 1960 to 1967)
- Reference: Pat. 314050
- Case N°: 6998XX
- Year: 1965
- Material: Stainless Steel
- Dimentions (WxHxT): 36,5x46x12mm
- Caliber: Glycine Automatic (Base: A. Schild 1701)
- Bracelet/Strap: Black leather
- Lug width: 20mm
- Box/Papers: N/A
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
This watch is in incredibly good condition for its age. The Stainless Steel case is extremely well preserved and unpolished with the angles still sharp, all parts are original.
The black original dial is stunning. This is a great vintage legendary watch featuring a very useful 24Hrs lockable rotating bezel and a hacking function.
It has a nice presence on the wrist an can be worn daily.