Glycine Airman 1953-1978 >

Name: Glycine Airman
Nick Name:
Old Airman
Time display: 24 hour
Dial colors:
Black, white and champagne
Variation in dial:
24 or 12 on top, pm/am indication
Date indicator:
Black or red color
Some early models have a loupe date window
Text on dial:
Glycine Airman or Glycine Airman Special Automatic, antimagnetic.The famous Glycine LOGO first appeared on the 60's models.
Arrow shaped hour hand with counter arrow pointing to opposite hour. Note that the famous counter arrow on the hour hand is rarely to be found on the white variation. Instead it has a counter arrow on the minute hand which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Some models have a triangle hour indicator at 12 and 24, often the same models have hour markers at the odd hours, positioned in the second/minute scale.
Lots of the airman have the famous "cross hatched" crown, although not the early models.
stainless steel, most white versions are brushed.
Screw-down till mid 60es after that push-down.
Mineral dome shaped
Hack function for second hand, not on all model but for sure on the special model.
Rotating bezel which can be positioned by a spacer system (second crown).

glycine airman

rollover image for an early rare airman model

Movements used over the years:
1953 - 1960 Felsa 692, 23 jewels
1960 - 1967 A.Schild 1701, 25 jewels
and 17 jewels in the Airman Special
1967 - 1971 A.Schild 1903, 25 jewels
1971 - 1974 A.Schild 2063, 25 jewels
1974 - 1978 A.Schild 2163, 25 jewels

Who was the designer?

All we know is that Charles Hertig, one of the former owners off Glycine, instructed his designers team to develop a pilot watch. This watch was developed in close cooperation with pilots of civil and military aviation.
The result was a timeless model with a well balanced 24 hour dial.
It displays all 24 hour numbers, 5 minute numbers and a minute/seconds scale. There are even hour markers at 5 min interval. The early models also have odd hour markers.
It has a topring that can be set for a second timezone.
Also there is the famous hack function for accurate time synchronization.
The absents of any AM or PM markings (except on an early and rare white protype) leeds me to believe that the pilots involved in the project where mainly from Europe. Most European countries do not use the AM/PM concept. In Europe AM/PM is mainly used in the English-speaking regions.

It didn't stop the Airman from becomming a number one selling pilot watch in the USA. It was embraced by the military pilots in the Vietnam era 1959-1973.
Probably many thousands are sold worldwide. Nowadays one can even buy a replica of the famous model 1 on tourist markets in the far east.

Ever since 1994 I was hoping Glycine remakes the classic model 1. They did a fine job with model 8 but I was still hoping for a model with all the missing characteristics of the old airman, the dome shaped crystal, the arrow hour hand and the famous "cross hatched" crown. September 12th 2005 Glycine launched there 12th model, The Airman Vintage V. It's a crown on there work so far.

.pdf of the original airman 1 manual front.
.pdf of the original airman 1 manual back.

many thanks to Geoff Quickfall for his manual scans



It even went into space with C Conrad during the Gemini 5 mission in 1965.



25 years model 1 impression

famous hatched crown

simple but effective hack mechanism

C Conrad during gemini 5 mission in 1965

visit the official glycine website
big picture by Billy Schorr
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