Browse through the inventions patented by Glycine Watches SA from early automatic watch to Glycine Airman 24h Pilots watch and more....
I have listed all Glycine patents, total 9, registered by Glycine or its associates in chronological order. Some inventions are registered also in other countries, I excluded them and kept only the main patent from origin of manufacture country, Switzerland. When something was invented, the founder would apply to the patent institute and would get a file number for his application. This would already grant him the use but not necessarily exclusivity. During this period of application until registration the inventor would mark the watch with 'Patent applied for' or 'Model Depose'. The registration period may take up to 3-4 years sometimes and the invention may get copied in the meantime. I am looking at the application dates when I am listing patents since that is also the start use period of the invention. Swiss patents start with the abbreviation CH = Confederatia Helvetica or sometimes just with the '+' sign as in the Swiss flag. While most of the patents are in French language you will see that some are in German. That reflects also the social history of Switzerland through the 20th century.
Time shows that some of the inventions Glycine came up with are more important than others. Proof is that whether they are still being used or the invention became a stepping stone for better innovations. Registering a patent in its 3rd year after being founded, in 1917, is really something spectacular. Glycine's last patent registration is from 1973, just a year before Samuel Glur passed away. It's safe to say that its most fruitful times were the '30's and '50s.
It may look pretty basic and simple but coming up with the baguette style movement shape and patenting it, is very creative. The Automatic EMSA module is an engineering marvel for its time and one of the pioneers in early automatic watches history. It's the third industrial scale manufactured automatic watch after Harwood and Autorist. The folding crown is pretty aesthetic and elegant. The 24 hours rotating bezel patent is the most important contribution to the whole world of horlogerie, which is still in use for GMT watches. The hacking pin is a practical solution to get what you want for a tool watch without other hacking patent infringements. The last patent is also what Chezard 116 dead beat seconds watches have, once you keep pressing the crown in, it hacks the seconds hand.
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This is Glycine's first patent, just after 3 years of its creation. It may look primitive but considering that during WW I wrist-watches were still not norm and trench watches, wristlets ( pocket watches converted to wrist-watches with added lugs ) just proving their practicality. Many countries deemed wrist-watches a womanly accessory, men coped a bit later. Glycine, specializing in ladies timepieces in its early years invented this clasp for strap adjustments for a better fit on wrist.
Specializing in small size movements obviously Glycine was not afraid trying new shapes and invented also the baguette shaped movements. These movements can be seen in calibers page of my website. This particular movement shape has been created to host jump hour, minute and seconds functions which was trendy in those years. A baguette shaped movement had more space than round movements to host gears. Utilized mainly in jump hour watches and ladies' wrist watches with precious stones and cases, Glycine was the trendsetter in 'Haute de luxe' in Basel fair 1929 with timepieces fetching 10K + Swiss Francs.
Jump hour watches were getting popular and Glycine with its baguette shaped movement integrated the jump hour, minute and seconds discs more conveniently onto baguette surface than the classic round movements. The discs would rotate to show change in time and were displayed through windows.
This is Eugene Meylan's most famous invention. The automatic module that can be mounted on any 8,75 lignes manual winding movement and turn them into self-winding mechanism. It's a set of 2 patents CH149137 and 138. He creates a new company to manage his new manufacture 'Automatic EMSA' and transfers the patents there. During manufacture he makes improvements and applies for further patents. This module has altogether 6 patent registers: CH149137, CH149138, CH157572, CH157573, CH160491. Very early Automatic EMSA watch examples have Pat. Appl. for numbers which are 5 digits and don't correspond to any priority or patent number and have wrongly been evaluated as marketing gimmick. In reality they are not. In Swiss chronicles the corresponding numbers 77878 and 77588 are published as applied for in 9 Jun 1931.
Ronald Ranfft claims that back then irrelevant numbers were marked in movements as a marketing gimmick and concludes the same for this module, which is not true.
Here is the printed proof from Swiss chronicles that he application file numbers matching his marks on the module.
This folding lever style crown was specially designed for Automatic EMSA just to set the time, rather than winding the watch. The timepiece was self-winding anyway. You can see an example in models page of Glycine with this folding lever crown, very elegant indeed.
The Airman patent, 24 hour rotating bezel and the locking crown has been patented with this register. Uncontested, this is the most important invention Glycine has made.
The famous Glycine Airman and Combat hacking mechanisms patent. Even though it's only Glycine having used this weird and authentic hacking mechanism, it is invented by Georges Godat. He seems to be not related with Glycine Watch Company and has an earlier patent for seconds stopping mechanism in 1947. Obviously Glycine bought the rights of the patent and used it in its timepieces. Godat fine tunes his first patent with a second patent on Dec '55 ( CH339132 ).
Klingenberg while working at Glycine has developed this technique of closing the watch-cases in a vacuumed tube so that no air would be left inside the watch-case. This way the watch was air+water+condensation proof. It would need less servicing and lubricants would not dry out quick. Time proved him right, Vacuum watches are still around and need minimum attention and are incredibly accurate.
Stopping the balance wheel by the extension of the crown when necessary to regulate time was the function of this patent. Kind of push crown in and seconds hack like in Chezard 116 movement. This is the last patent by Glycine, there are no more inventions from 1973 and onward.
Glycintennial, Vintage Glycine Watches
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