The iconic Glycine Airman

Every well known brand has is own land mark. For the small Swiss manufacturer Glycine that is undoubtedly their Airman model.

Vintage set

Glycine was founded by Eugène Meylan in 1914. It remained a relatively ‘under the radar’ brand, with some special products like ladies watches, early automatics and chronometers.

It was only in 1953 when the Airman line, with a manual winding 24-hour Felsa 692 N movement, was presented and received an enthusiastic welcome. This first version of the Airman remained virtually unchanged until 1960, when an automatic A. Schild 1700 movement took it’s place.
Picture (c) Eddie Boschma

Nowadays Glycine produces a bunch of models labeled ‘Airman’. Like f.i. Omega commercially (mis)uses it’s Speedmaster for all kind of watches, Glycine offers some very nice Airman watches, however only few of them do justice the original.

Picture (c) Eddie Boschma

In my opinion the current Airman Base 22 is quite close to the original Airman, and at the same time very usable for daily use. There are two versions which – more or less obvious – cheat with a 12-hour hand so that regular local time reading is made easy.

The first version has a creme dial and the main (metal, point and arrow shaped) hands indicate here the 24-hor time. A smaller blued straight hand however indicates the hour in 12-hour format, enabling regular time reading without changing the looks and functioning of the original hands.

Airman Base 22 creme

The Glycine Airman Base 22 creme is available (€ 1.375,=) through the following Chrono24 link: Glycine Airman Base 22 creme

The other version has a black face. Here the main (metal, point and arrow shaped) hands indicate the regular 12-hour time, while a long strait red hand indicates the 24-hour time. On this watch it’s much easier to read the regular time, and the looks are still very original Airman. However technically it isn’t of course.

Airman Base 22 black

The Glycine Airman Base 22 black is available (€ 1.375,=) through the following Chrono24 link: Glycine Airman Base 22 black

By the way, at both above mentioned Airman Base 22 models the 24-hour hand can be off-set from the 12-hour time, and as such can be used as a home time or time at a second time zone.

As said both Base 22 versions are very nice and quite to the original Airman models. However… Glycine recently introduced the Airman 1953 Vintage! Except for sporting an automatic in stead of a manual movement, and using a domed sapphire crystal in stead of plastic, it’s very very close to the original Airman introduced in 1953. It comes in a limited edition of 600 pieces.

Airman 1953 Vintage

Beautiful creme dial with original printing in the dial, beautiful red date wheel and beautiful black NATO type of strap. Except for this even the box and warranty certificate are made ‘vintage’. Of course a real re-edition of the Airman doesn’t have a (second) 12-hour indication, however just uses the original type of hands in 24-hour format. I’m sure you will be happy to get used to that ;-)

The Glycine Airman 1953 Vintage is available (€ 1.990,=) through the following Chrono24 link: Glycine Airman 1953 Vintage

More information on the current Glycine Airman models can be found at the Glycine factory website at:

More and excellent information on the history of the Glycine Airman can be found at:


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