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Thursday, January 05, 2006 

Glycine

Glycine watchesGlycine has been producing watches in their factory in Bienne, Switzerland, continously since their founding by Eugène Meylan in 1914. Their first customers were prosperous gentlemen who valued Glycine watches as miniature works of art and treasured their gold and platinium cases.

Although the Depression of the 1930s and the beginning of World War II put a heavy toll on the company, Glycine was able to continue production, and in 1938 the company was one of only 29 exhibitors at the Basel Fair, the world’s most important watch exhibition. Glycine has not missed a Basel Fair since then.

Glycine introduced their first range of chronometers in 1934. These watches passed the difficult tests of the Official Swiss Quality Control to obtain a certificate for excellent timing results.

After the war, Glycine was among the first to produce automatic watches and in 1948 introduced a complete assortment of automatics, making use of the most advanced technologies. In 1952 Glycine presented their famous Vacuum chronometers to the world markets. These watches were known for incredible resistance to water and shocks and were designed for long-term use under hostile conditions, performing well beyond expectations.

In 1953, their Airman line was presented. These watches featured a 24-hour movement designed for pilots and the growing class of jet setters. Now, world time was available on your wrist. In the early 70s, the Swiss Watch industry was hurt by the quartz movement invasion. Switzerland was very late to introduce good quartz movements, costing the industry billions of francs and roughly 60,000 jobs. Glycine was not spared the effects of these economics but managed to survive.

In 1979 a new quartz collection was created and an international network of agencies sprang to life again. New specialized families of watches were created, such as the Tjalk models for heavy-duty jobs in Holland and Belgium, special waterproof models with scratch-proof sapphire crystals for markets in Northern Europe, and the Amaranth line of super-flat, elegant watches for jewelers in Italy and the United States. The first quartz Airman was introduced in 1989.

When the mechanical watches made their comeback in the 1980s and ’90s Glycine was ready, never having abandoned their line of mechanical watches. Coupled with the development of the high grade 40-microns plated Goldshield line, the Glycine mechanical models produced a breakthrough in many markets where consumers were looking for watches with a clear profile and real value.

In 1996 Glycine’s first big-size, automatic watch was on the drawing board with a 40 mm. case in sandblasted steel presented with grey, blue or black dials with luminescent figures for amateurs of the mechanical product.

Both the 40 mm. automatic and the 44 mm. manual winding Incursore were presented to buyers in 1997. Reaction was beyond expectation, oversize watches being in great demand in trend-setting markets such as Italy and the United States.

The long awaited rebirth of Glycine’s leading model of the 1950s and ’60s, the Airman, brought the mechanical Airman 2000, based upon an automatic ETA 2893-2 movement offering three time zones, unique in the field of 24-hour watches. Glycine’s top selling models today are the Airman, the Incursore and the KMU 48. First introduced in 1953, the Airman was Glycine’s first pilot’s watch. Through the years its popularity has remained high due to its proven quality and its classic and elegant styling.

The Incursore, in English Intruder, features a 44-mm stainless steel case and a Unitas 6497 manual-wind movement. The KMU 48 is a remake of a famous range of military watches, that has been adapted to modern technology and taste. This striking model is equipped with the Unitas 6497 three-hands movement and see-through back. A special black dial KMU 48 with Côtes de Genève decorated movement is being offered to the market. The KMU 48 is available with a leather strap or solid steel bracelet.

During the second half of 1999, Glycine launched the first mechanical chronograph named Stratoforte, featuring a Valjoux 7750 automatic movement in a rugged-looking 46 mm 10 ATM steel case. The end of the year 2000 saw the coming on the market of two rather extraordinary Chronograph watches. One a barrel shaped under the name of ALTUS and a second, a real oversize square Chronograph, under the name of LE GRAND CARRE. The two watches feature a steel 3ATM waterproof case and a domed sapphire crystal.

Summer 2001 saw the birth of model F 104: one of the biggest wrist watches ever produced with a diameter of 52 mm. This watch is designed like a board instrument, with mobile steel lugs for the bracelet and equipped with the very popular sturdy Unitas 6498-1 movement. The F 104 has been an instant success in the market.
In 2001 too, the legendary line of AIRMAN watches has been enlargended by a big size 46 mm model, featuring a special blocking system of the revolving bezel.

At Basel 2002 the model Airman 7 is presented. This watch – a genuine world novelty in the trade - features 3 self-winding movements simultaneously showing time in 4 different time zones on 3 independent dials. The case measures a stunning 53mm in diameter; the sapphire glass back allows a special view on the three finely decorated movements.

Today Glycine’s network of agencies throughout the world is steadily growing, allowing the company to increase production, while remaining within the limits of a quality product. Strong and reliable after sale service remains an important factor in the company’s growth.

Offering excellent value at a reasonable price is an important part of Glycine’s philosophy. The company’s strong foundation coupled with their emphasis on rugged and reliable products with classic and elegant styling have made Glycine a respected name in Swiss watchmaking today.

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