A Week On The Wrist: The Glycine Airman No. 1
The coming about watch, the fittingly named Glycine Airman, appeared just months after the fact, first introduced in the U.S. with a white dial and pencil hands. In any case, it was at the 1955 Basel Watch Fair, one year after Rolex’s popular GMT-Master was delivered, that the dark dial Airman was introduced to a worldwide crowd. While the GMT-Master, thanks partially to its incredible relationship with Pan Am Airlines, has gone on to extraordinary acclaim, soaring costs, and numerous emphasess, the Airman has unobtrusively stayed a greater amount of a dark clique favorite.
Despite its specialty request, Glycine has never truly quit creating the Airman since 1953, however a portion of the quartz releases of the last part of the 1980s are unfortunate. The watch has experienced many variants, from the utilitarian to the tremendously strange, however in 2014, Glycine turned up at ground zero when it delivered the Airman No. 1, a re-issue of that absolute first release of the 1950s. At the point when one showed up for survey, I needed to twofold watch that Glycine had really sent the Airman No. 1 and not the actual Airman number 1. It is that devoted a reproduction.
The watch market these days is so overflowing with vintage-styled “legacy” pieces, it’s not difficult to get fatigued by them and criticize the subtleties that have been forfeited to suit present day tastes. The most evident determination that is refreshed is the size. Mid-century watches were frequently 36 mm or more modest – small for the advanced purchaser used to greater pieces. Be that as it may, the Airman No. 1 checks in at absolutely 36 mm, the specific component of the first watch it imitates. With the little dial and engraved metal bezel, the watch really wears considerably more modest than its size, giving a genuine vintage feel and one I battled to come to holds with during my week with it. Long hauls and a 20 mm tie width relieve a portion of the extents however I never fully became acclimated to seeing a particularly little watch on my 7-1/4 inch wrist. All things considered, I commend Glycine for being adequately intense to hold the first size. On the off chance that you can’t deal with a watch that little, Glycine offers other comparable Airman references in bigger sizes.
Another vintage highlight that normally gets refreshed in current “re-issues” is the gem. Acrylic offers approach to sapphire by and large, an admission to scratch obstruction over the excellent warmth that a plastic precious stone offers. Here again, Glycine remained consistent with the first, with a pleasantly domed plexiglass precious stone that has more appeal than a sapphire at any point will, and offering the utility of a glass that can be polished out and will not break whenever dropped or smacked.
Aside from the size and gem, the Airman No. 1 proceeds with the vintage vibe with a matte printed dial that keeps a similar interesting serif text style from its chronicled progenitor. The steel case, down to its thin hauls, is high cleaned treated steel, ordinary for a 1950s observe however more uncommon on present day “apparatus” watches, and was another thing to become acclimated to (and hard to photo). The dial markings – little lume pips at the five-minute imprints – and the hands have a velvety radiance to them without the extraordinary fake patina some other legacy watches use. As opposed to attempting to copy matured lume, it appears to be that the paint utilized here copies how the Airman’s unique 1950s tritium lume would have looked when new – more ecru than the wiped out green of so much Superluminova.
The 24-hour bezel that was a trademark quality of the first Airman is repeated here and holds the locking highlight that is unadulterated beguiling 1950s innovation. Instead of a tightening capacity commonly found in uni-or bi-directional bezels nowadays, the Airman No. 1 has a straightforward erosion bezel that can be secured with a little thumbscrew crown at the 4 o’clock position looking into the issue. It functions admirably and is fulfilling to utilize, however the crown no longer has the cross-brought forth example of the first, an uncommon takeoff from history.
Glycine makes two forms of the Airman No. 1. The purported “Idealist” variant, as its name recommends, is an unadulterated 24-hour watch, with an hour hand that clears the dial just once each day. Hence, at high early afternoon, the hour hand is confusingly highlighting the lower part of the dial, where 12:00 is found, while 12 PM, or 24:00, is at the top. This component, with the pivoting second 24-hour time scale, made the watch famous with pilots, since they were accustomed to reading a clock thusly, and the Airman turned into a well known decision of Air Force pilots during the Vietnam War. Yet, a 24-hour observe never fully got on with regular people used to reading a clock on a 12-hour dial. In such manner, the GMT-Master offers a more exquisite arrangement, wedding a 12-hour dial with a 24-hour hand and bezel briefly time region.
For individuals who favor 12-hour time-telling, Glycine yields with the Airman No. 1 GMT, the reference I had for my seven day stretch of wear. This adaptation compromises by driving the fundamental hour hand around two times a day, highlighting the lume pips on the dial for the hours, while a thin GMT hand carries out 24-hour responsibility, and can follow two extra time regions, pointing at the 24-hour scale on the dial just as the bezel’s markings. In spite of the fact that this is a takeoff from the first Airman and one that at first baffled me, I before long developed to value it – particularly when wearing the watch in revolution with different pieces, since going from 12-hour to 24-hour time-telling can be a psychological test, while as yet offering the additional utility of following three time regions.
No matter which form you pick, the hand set utilized on the Airman No. 1 actually utilizes the obvious sharpened stone hour hand with its since quite a while ago pointed tail. A long way from a simple plan thrive, that bolt goes about as a cunning manual for unraveling 24-hour time initially, since it generally focuses to the more regular, non-military time for some random hour. For instance, when it is 20:00, the tail of great importance hand focuses to the 8 on the dial; in this manner it is 8pm. On the GMT form, I found the fragment slender, cleaned GMT hand, which has no lume on it, difficult to peruse against the dark dial.
Driving the Airman No. 1 is a basic Sellita-based programmed development that Glycine calls type GL 293, which kept satisfactory exactness longer than seven days, here and there the wrist. Vintage Airman models (Airmen?) utilized a couple of various developments over their since quite a while ago run, including those from Felsa and A. Schild. While the new watch is hackable (the capacity to stop the seconds hand when the crown is pulled), the vintage ones had another interesting arrangement, like the locking bezel; when the crown was pulled out to set the time, a little pin would spring up through an opening in the dial to stop the seconds hand at 12:00 (or 24:00 by and large) so you could synchronize the opportunity to a radio sign – significant for pilots.
Every watch authority has their chalice, a quarry that is followed, regularly missed, and obsessed about. Mine has for quite some time been the Glycine Airman. I love its haziness, its uncompromising, reason fabricated plan, and its roots in the cockpit of a long stretch aircraft. I’ve savaged vintage deals sites, eBay, and military gatherings searching for the correct model. Numerous old ones are problematic or incomplete, frequently deficient with regards to the legitimate crowns or missing the hacking pin, or are not so great following a couple of years flying fights on the wrist of a F-86 Saber pilot above Southeast Asia. So I never pulled the trigger for one of my own. In any case, presently, having worn the Airman No. 1, I don’t know I’ll keep searching for a vintage model. I may very well search for another one.
Information about the Airman No. 1 can be found on the Glycine site. Some of current realities in this article were gotten from the magnificent and comprehensive digital book by André Stikkers, entitled “Glycine Airman: a 24 hour course of events of flight” which can be discovered on the web.
All photographs: Gishani Ratnayake
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