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