The Glycine Airman is one of those models which many watch enthusiasts are aware of. Introduced in 1953, the line is still in production today in a number of different models. At Baselworld 2010, the redesigned Airman line received accolades from many quarters. But were you aware that those beautiful Airman pieces almost never existed?
I’m not talking about 1953; I’m talking about 1984 and the “Swiss watchmaking crisis” that occurred then. Even more specifically, I’m talking about Hans Brechbühler, who just passed away. Brechbühler saved Glycine from extinction when companies were folding financially. Yet not only did he save the company, but he endowed it with the necessary resources and direction so that it would flourish.
Sadly, that entrepreneurial owner and manager of Glycine Watches SA died recently (19 June 2010) at the age of 82. HIs experience in the industry, totalling more than 30 years at the time of the Glycine intervention, was probably what served to stabilise the company and reorient it. Moreover, he made Glycine a family-owned company, involving his youngest daughter, Katharina, in the business. This investment also paid tremendous dividends, as Katharina took over Glycine in 2005. In this sense, he provided for the company’s future, committing his own flesh and blood to its existence.
Those dividends are the wondrous new Airman pieces sparking under the case. They, and Brechbühler’s daughter, are Glycine’s future going forward. For all intents and purposes, everything appears to be in capable hands. After all, the 2010 Airman models were designed and produced with Katharina as the owner and manager.
Paying homage to an industry sage is something that we’re proud to do here. A man with as much influence and respect as Hans Brechbühler cannot pass away silently. The loss is felt throughout the industry, and today we salute his accomplishment and legacy.