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The crisis
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The crisis

In the 70s, the Swiss watch industry – late in introducing quartz movements - was hit by the proliferation of quartz watches from the Far East.

The technological revolution brought about by the quartz movement, together with the world-wide recession and a massive increase in value of the Swiss franc, pushed many manufacturers to the brink of disaster.

The products that had earned Glycine such an excellent reputation, namely high-quality mechanical watches and above all automatic watches, were suddenly no longer in general demand. Customers everywhere were buying Japanese quartz watches or American digital LED watches. The lucrative business with highly-regarded automatic watches was over, and these were now being sold off at give-away prices.

The market went through a turnaround in its values, a tendency which further intensified as the price for the initially exorbitantly expensive quartz watches consistently dropped to a level where it finally drove even the cheap pin-pallet (Roskopf) mechanical movements out of the market. Many market shares were lost, the industry entered into a crisis that lasted six years and cost roughly 60,000 jobs.

Glycine too suffered heavily but managed to survive. In 1984, soldering on with a reduced staff, Glycine was sold to Hans Brechbühler, who had been working for years with Glycine in a loose cooperation based on the joint development and exchange of watch models.


The Glycine newsletter "Glycine Constructor" of 1971 still featured one of the mechanical Vaccum watches on the front page - despite the ongoing Quartz revolution.