Glycine Airman

Glycine Airman

When talking about watches worn during the Vietnam War, there are a few standouts. Many aspiring watch enthusiasts often start their collections with a Benrus or Hamilton GI. These watches were constructed under the GG-W-113 or MIL-W-3818B specifications, and issued to servicemen who found themselves in the jungles of Southeast Asia.

But for those servicemen who desired something a little more off-beat, they could head to any Post Exchange and pick up a robust dive watch like the Seiko 6105.

These no-nonsense watches were fine for the boots on the ground, but chopper and airplane pilots needed something that better suited their needs.

Many of them found exactly that in this watch, the Glycine Airman.

First released in 1953, the Glycine was tailor-made for pilots. It was born from a conversation that Samuel L. Glur, sales director for Altus S.A., had with a pilot on a flight from Bangkok to Calcutta. Though this may hard to imagine happening today, Glur was actually able to go into the cockpit of the plane and talk to the pilot about—what else—watches.

What he needed, the pilot said, was a watch that was automatic, waterproof, and had a calendar function. The dial should show the time in a 24-hour layout, rather than 12. A rotating bezel that also featured 24-hour time.

The conversation galvanized Glur, who reached out to his friend, Charles Hertig, the head of Glycine.

Hertig embraced the challenge, and designers at Glycine sketched a watch to Glur’s exact specifications. The 24-hour dial and bezel were housed in a case with gently sloping lugs. A thoughtful touch, a locking mechanism for the bezel, drove home the fact that here was a watch for pilots.

It debuted a few months later, and became a runaway—or should we say, flyaway—hit. As one can imagine, it became beloved by pilots during the Vietnam War. Although still in production today, vintage versions from the 1960s remain the most desirable.


SKU: AS02461

Stainless steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). A. Schild Calibre 1701 Self-Winding Movement. Circa 1960s.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall, showing moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with patina to the luminescent elements of the hour plots and hands. Unsigned crowns.

Includes one 20mm nylon strap.

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