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Glycine (originally "La Glycine") is a watch brand established in Bienne in 1914. Originally focused on watches for women, Glycine was a pioneer of automatic watches and 24 hour watches.

La Glycine

The firm of Fabrique d'horlogerie La Glycine was formed as a joint-stock company based in Bienne on March 2, 1914. The company was formed for "manufacture and trade in watches" with share capital of 70,000 francs divided into 70 registered shares. The board of directors consisted of Charles Perret, banker for the private bank of Perret & Cie of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Georges Flury from Mümliswil, and Fernand Engel from Eggiwil, both of whom lived and worked in Biel. The company was originally located at Bözingenstrasse 50a, but moved to a new factory at Champagne-weg 1a on September 1.

The company quickly registered the brands "Glycine" and "Piccola" and patented a number of compact movements for these watches. Another brand, "Joffrette", was registered in 1915 following the similar brand "Joffrench". A distinctive crossed flags logo with "L. G." was registered in 1916 and the company was officially renamed "Fabrique d'horlogerie La Glycine, Piccola & Joffrette" that year.

In 1922 the board was reorganized with specific positions, though management remained the same. Charles Perret, now residing in Geneva, was president, Georges Flury, manager, was vice president and Fernand Engel, also manager, was secretary. A stylized design for the brand "GLYCINE" was registered in 1923 along with Clematis and Pansy. The same management group established Manufacture d'horlogerie Pretty SA on December 12, 1924, with the same address. On August 1, 1926, the firm opened an office in Geneva at Rue du Stand 20, Plainpalais.

Glycine Automatic

In 1931, Glycine became the primary licensee of a new automatic watch movement designed by Eugène Meylan. The mechanism consisted of a ring that fit around a Glycine hand-winding movement and featured a central rotor like later automatic watches. This was widely advertised and strongly defended against competitors and similar designs. It is not clear whether Meylan was officially part of Glycine or was an independent licensee of this technology, though the latter appears most likely.

On February 26 and March 20, 1933, Charles Perret and Georges Flury resigned from the boards of La Glycine and Pretto (formerly Pretty). Fernand Engel remained on the board, joined by his sons Fernand, Vital, and Louis Paul. Charles Perret also resigned from the board of Levrette at this time. Albert Kohler joined the board and management on January 7, 1938. The younger Fernand Engel left the company in 1942 and his father was removed from the board in September 1945 following his death, leaving just Vital Robert Engel as director.