Hands-On With The New Longines Pilot Majetek “1935”
Longines has a long-standing history when it comes to aviation, and today’s introduction is a tribute to one of the brand’s milestone watches from the past — the Longines Majetek reference 3582 from 1935. Today, we have a look at the new Longines Majetek, which has the same rotatable luminous triangle on the dial as the original.
Longines Majetek “1935”
Longines made the original watch upon commission from the Czechoslovak Air Force, who requested a rotating bezel with a triangular marker. Pilots could use this to mark a starting time, a crucial feature for aviators. Furthermore, it was luminous to allow proper visibility in low-light conditions.
Longines registered the design on April 1st, 1935 at the IPO office in Bern. The watch was then put to action by the Czechoslovak pilots and had the words “Majetek Vojenské Správy” (“Property of the Military Administration”) engraved on the back. The original 1935 Majetek measured 41mm in diameter, which was extremely large for a watch back then.
Longines created several iterations with different calibers inside. Approximately 1,700 Czechoslovak Air Force pilots were equipped with these watches during World War II.
A tribute to the 1935 Majetek
Back in 2014, Longines released the first re-edition of the Majetek watch. That model was 42mm in diameter, so slightly larger than the original, and it also had a fixed bezel. In addition, Longines decided that it needed a date window, a historically inaccurate characteristic of many reissues of that time.
Today, we’re looking at the new Longines Majetek watch. It’s not a 1:1 re-edition of the original model because that would not meet the requirements we have for today’s watches, of course. However, Longines kept the slightly curved cushion shape of the case. The brand did change the lug shape, though, as well as the proportions of the watch. Also, the new Longines Majetek now has crown guards.
The Longines Majetek reference L2.8126.96.36.199 measures 43mm in diameter and 13.3mm in height. By no means is this a small watch, but it’s a pilot’s watch, and, well, those should be big (according to Longines). And just like the original from 1935, the rotatable bezel will move the triangular marker around the dial. The triangle is filled with Super-LumiNova for the best visibility in low-light conditions. The Majetek’s hands are rhodium-plated and filled with Super-LumiNova as well.
Longines used a matte black dial to underline the “tool watch” function of this piece. What I love most about the dial are the luminous raised Arabic numerals. The large Super-LumiNova-filled hands make this watch very readable, just as it was intended to be in 1935.
And speaking of that, the reference to 1935 can also be found on the side of the case. There’s a plaque with “1935” engraved as a nod to the Longines ref. 3582.
A movement exclusive to Longines
Inside the new Majetek is the caliber L893.6 (an ETA A31.L91-based movement exclusive to Longines) with a silicon balance spring and a chronometer certification. It has 26 jewels, ticks at 25,200vph, and provides a power reserve of 72 hours.
The Longines Majetek is a tribute to the 1935 model, and it shows a resemblance with the original for sure. However, there are some important differences other than the size and the modern movement.
Guarding the crown
One of these differences is the added crown guards. We see many brands adding these to their classic watches (that had none originally), but obviously, they’re to prevent the crown from getting damaged. Another important change that is perhaps even more noticeable is the shape of the hands.
A new set of hands
The original Majetek watches had cathedral hands, whereas this new version has more modern-looking hands. To be frank, I prefer the modern hands over the cathedral hands, but for purists, this might be a deal-breaker. That said, I’m not sure this watch is aimed at purists but rather at those who like the story and vintage styling but either don’t dare or don’t want to buy a vintage watch. If you want the original, though, examples sometimes pop up, like this 1938 iteration in the Longines Collector’s Corner a while ago.
There are three versions of the new Longines Majetek watch available. They include a version with a brown leather strap with beige stitching (L2.8188.8.131.52), a version with a dark green leather strap with beige stitching (L2.8184.108.40.206), and one with a khaki-green NATO strap made of recycled material (L2.8220.127.116.11).
The price starts at CHF 3,500 (CHF 3,600 for the leather-strap versions with an additional NATO strap).
For more information, please visit the official Longines website, and let us know what you think of this release in the comments.