The year, 1935, is memorable for several reasons. To begin with, the world got its first can of beer, not to mention its first parking meter. Then the discovery of neutrons fetched physicist James Chadwick the 1935 Nobel in Physics. Radar technology was introduced in the same year. For timepiece maker Longines, the year was significant too, as it created the 1935 Longines Majetek. It was made for the Czech Air Force during the period stretching from the mid 1930s to the start of World War II. After several decades, this year, the luxury watch brand has brought back the iconic watch, honouring its ties with aviation.
It is said that in those days, the Czechoslovak Republic had a very sophisticated air force with a signature wrist watch as part of its paraphernalia. Longines created the first Majetek for the Czechoslovak Air Force, featuring a black enamel dial, white Arabic numerals with a triangle marker at 12 o’clock, a 60-seconds sundial with an in-built date window with a white background and a black numeral at 6 o’clock. The 40 mm stainless steel watch was powered by Calibre 15.94.
The 2023 Pilot Majetek honours the original 1930s model with its signature design elements, such as the cushion case, the size is now bigger in comparison to the original 40 mm though. This new model has been upsized to 43 mm with the same case material of stainless steel. The dial is in textured matte black with Arabic numerals in Super-LumiNova and there is a classic railroad minute track to tie it all together. At 9 o’clock on the outer case, ‘1935’ is engraved, referring to the original year of the Pilot Majetek.
The watch comes with its unidirectional fluted bezel, also found on the original watch, and a 60-seconds sundial at 6 o’clock. The brand has used sword-shaped hour and minute hands replacing the original cathedral-shaped hour and minute hands respectively.
Powering this watch is the ETA-based L893.6 automatic movement. The COSC chronometer-certified L893.6 is a sophisticated movement, delivering a robust 72-hour power reserve.
Turn the watch over and you can read engravings on the screw-in solid caseback, such as ‘Longines Pilot Majetek’, ‘Chronometer Officially Certified’ and ‘Magnetic Resistant’. A trio of strap options completes the watch — brown or dark green leather straps with beige stitching or a khaki green NATO strap.
Even though it’s a pilot watch, water resistance is just 100 metres.
All in all, it is fascinating to see that more and more timepiece makers are bringing back to life their vintage watches, which are part of world history, with modern touches and movements. The Majetek is a case in point.