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For many years, Glycine was a name well under the radar, a sterling company on which few enthusiasts and collectors set their sites.
But in recent years, Glycine has returned to its roots, re-producing the classic and groundbreaking design that they were once known for almost exclusively.
The Glycine Airman was developed in the mid-1950s and is reported to be the first watch to incorporate a 24-hour dial and second time zone capabilities into the same wristwatch. The design, coming straight from the parameters of surveyed pilots, was unlike any watch that had been previously produced. With its relatively small steel case with gently sloping lugs, the Airman was designed first and foremost to be a low-profile timepiece, keeping well out of the way of straps, instruments and gear. The matte 24-hour dial, complete with luminous hour markers, was infinitely observable in any light condition, and paired with the broad arrow luminous hands made for a dial that could be read at a glance.
But most remarkable was Glycine’s inclusion of a steel otating 24-hour bezel with patented locking crown that, when loosened, allowed the bezel to be adjusted to a second time zone and subsequently locked, eliminating the chance of it moving while on the wrist.
This innovation, in concert with its high legibility and 24-hour dial, made the Airman an instant favorite among military pilots. Stories abound about jet and helicopter pilots in the Korean and Vietnam wars gravitating to the Airman as their wristwatch of choice over more the rudimentary military-issued Benrus and Hamilton G.I. (MIL-SPEC) watches.
This particular piece was purchased from the original owner – a pilot – and comes in entirely original condition, including the original wooden display box.
While Glycine has reaped contemporary success with their modern expressions of the watch, and even added several complications, the original Airman will always stand as a benchmark for the company’s innovative spirit and no-nonsense design language.