Wristwatch restoration, servicing and repair

Posts Tagged ‘Glycine’

Glycine Airman SST “Pumpkin” (A.Schild Cal. 1903)…

Every watch collection should have a splash of colour, and this watch certainly ticks that box: a Glycine Airman SST.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

The history of the Glycine Airman dates back to 1953, and although I’ve written about one of the later models before on the blog (see here), I thought this one deserved a mention as it’s a watch you won’t see every day. Made between 1967-71, this Airman is one of the rarer SST models and is nicknamed the “Pumpkin” among collectors.

As you may have noticed in the picture above, this is a 24hr watch (the hour hand only travels once around the dial every 24 hours rather than twice) and the dial is divided into lighter and darker sections for the the AM/PM hours.

The watch also has a rotating internal bezel which can be used to track a second time zone, not only useful for airmen, but for any international traveller. The inner bezel is rotated left or right to denote the number of hours that the second time zone is +/- the current time zone. The hour hand then points to the time in both zones simultaneously.

The inner bezel is rotated using the upper crown which is slotted rather than formed to prevent it being moved accidentally. According to the owners manual it should be operated with either a fingernail or a coin. Also, the bright orange colour of the inner bezel is no fashion statement, but proved to be the most legible colour combination when tested under night-flying conditions.

The SST branding stands for “Super Sonic Transportation” and commemorates the early attempts to create the worlds first passenger jet that would travel faster than the speed of sound. The SST project started in the 1960’s when Boeing won the contract to produce a flagship aircraft for the US market. Codenamed 2707, the aircraft was designed with a ‘swing wing’ which would split for take off and low speed manoeuvres and would pivot backwards at high speeds to form one solid wing, allowing for a theoretical top speed of Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound).

However, Boeing only got as far as building a prototype before the project was abandoned due to design and environmental concerns. More  significantly Boeing had already been beaten to the SST punch by the Russian Tupolev Tu-144 which first went supersonic in June 1968, and government funding was finally withdrawn from the US SST project in 1971.

In keeping with SST branding, the caseback of this watch features an embossed picture of the ill-fated Boeing 2707.

Inside the watch is an A. Schild calibre, the 1903 which runs at 21,600 bph and has a limited quickset (the hands must be moved back and forth between 8pm and midnight to advance the date). In the later versions of the watch produced from 1971-76, the movement was upgraded twice; first to the cal. 2063, and in the final version to the cal. 2163 which increased the beat rate to 28,800 bph and added a quickset for the date via the crown.

Not much of a restoration story this time as the watch only needed a routine movement service, so here it is back in one piece.

Finally, it is interesting to note that although the watch in this post is quite rare, it is trumped in the rarity stakes not once but twice in the same series by two chronograph versions of the Airman SST, both of which were made in 1968-69.

The case design is reminiscent of the chronographs being produced by Longines around the same time, and the watches too are powered by the same base calibre, the Valjoux cal. 72. The inner bezel on both watches is rotated by the crown on the lower left hand side of the case.

It is thought that only around 100 of these watches were sold worldwide and given the disappointing sales they were withdrawn from the market after just 2 years making them a real catch…  if you can find one.

Rich.

** Many thanks to David Brenchley for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **


Glycine Airman 2000 (ETA Cal. 2893-2)…

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a World Time/GMT watch on the blog, so here is one from Glycine, an Airman 2000.

(Click pictures to enlarge)

The Airman is without doubt the most widely recognised model that Glycine have ever produced. It was first introduced in 1953, and has been part of their line-up ever since. Aimed at pilots and travellers, the Airman had a 24 hr dial (the hour hand only makes one trip around the dial per day rather than two) and a rotating bezel which allowed the wearer to track the time in a second time zone.

The original Airman was produced from 1953 to 1978 and needless to say, the early models are now highly collectible. The earliest versions were fitted with a Felsa cal. 692N and at some time during the 1960’s the calibre was switched to a A.Schild cal. 1700/1701.

The watch in this post, the Airman 2000, was introduced in 1998 and differs from the traditional Airman style in that rather than having a 24hr movement like the original Airman, this model is fitted with an ETA cal. 2983-2 which has a traditional hand arrangement; the hour hand circles the dial twice per day.

An orange ’24hr’ hand has been added which rotates just once per day allowing the second time zone to be tracked, (this hand can be moved independently of the hour/minute hands via the crown and so can be set to any hour of the wearers choosing), and just like the original Airman, the bezel also rotates so it can be used to track a third time zone.

As you can see in the first picture, the watch had seen better days; the paint from the numbers on the bezel had been scratched out and some of the lume from the hands was missing. According to the owner, it had probably never been serviced, so it was more than ready for a complete overhaul.

The first thing to do was to repaint the numbers on the bezel and when dry, coat them with a thin layer of clear lacquer.

After the movement had been serviced, attention was given to the missing lume from the hands. Rather than trying to fill in the holes, it is much better to remove all the existing lume from the hands and relume them. That way there is no chance of a ‘patchy’ look on the final finish and an uneven glow when charged.

Here is the watch all back together again.

Rich.

** Many thanks to Marc Vos for letting me feature his watch on the blog. **