History of Glycine Watches

Glycine is a company that has been producing watches continuously in its Bienne based facilities in Switzerland ever since the brand was first founded in 1914 by Eugene Meylan. The timepieces have always centred around travel and aviation since the company boasts a rich heritage in supplying military personnel with incredibly reliable tools for assisting with important airborne missions.

Some of the first Glycine watches were developed from materials such as titanium and gold, and admired by watch connoisseurs for their luxurious aesthetics. By the time the Second World War erupted, many watch manufacturers suffered a blow to their businesses. Glycine, however, continued to innovate. At the Basel Fair in 1938, Glycine was one of just 28 exhibitors to attend. As World War II was coming to an end, Glycine was ready to launch with its line of beautifully crafted automatic wristwatches.

In 1952 Vacuum Chronometer watches were proving their worth as water resistant, highly robust timepiece for wearing long term in hostile conditions. Resistant to shocks, their designs would withstand the harsh external environment experienced whilst thousands of feet up in the air, but also provided the wrist with a robust and functional timekeeping tool for land missions too. Just a year later the Glycine Airman was released with its two time zones on the dial. Today it is ever more popular, with the brand continuing to refine and add to this reliable and well loved watch design.

During the 1970s many Swiss watch manufacturers suffered from the quartz crisis. The technological revolution of the Far East’s quartz movement combined with factors like the increase in the value of the Swiss Franc and the worldwide recession pushed so many companies to the brink of financial collapse. Glycine watches were no longer in as high demand as they once were despite their models offering a unique, authentically developed design. The company fought on throughout this 6 year industry crisis and came out the other side. It was sold to Hans Brechbühler in 1984 who had already dedicated years of his career to collaborating with Glycine.

The company once again began building on its reputation branching out to Belgium, Holland, Scandinavia and Italy. The Tjalk model was released with an impressively robust design. This followed the super thin Glycine Amaranth. Brechbühler's daughter, Katherine took over the brand in the late 60s, where innovative timepieces continued to be well received throughout Europe.

Aside from the Glycine Airman with its line of world timers and pilot chronographs such as the Air fighter models, Glycine also produced the Combat watch collection. This family of watches is home to sub-families like the Combat Sub, utilized by those in military or sporting circles, the Combat Classic with a legible three handed dial design, and the Combat Classic Vintage with a retro pilot inspired dial and a precise mechanical movement fitted to its centre. To this day Glycine continues to create wristwatches that stay true to the brand’s signature design codes, along with its heritage in creating timekeeping instruments for the military sporting and aviation industries.