Video review Longines Pilot Majetek “1935” [live photos, price]
Longines presented the third edition of the Majetek. This time, the watch is much bigger and more modern. Despite this redesign, the Swiss brand has not forgotten the historical references and the bezel-integrated marker that distinguished the original.
The fact that Longines knows how to use its archives probably needs no convincing. Over the past few years, the company has demonstrated more than once that it is hard to beat when it comes to giving watches a second life (i.e. creating re-editions of vintage models). Whereas in the past we had to do with references to various timepieces from years ago, this time – and this came as quite a surprise – Longines went back to the drawing board for a second time. – What is even more surprising is that, despite the obvious references to the original, Longines has succeeded in creating a new timepiece that is definitely modern and, in terms of size, adapted to the expectations of today’s customers. In my opinion, they have done very well!
Between the wars, many well-known companies produced and supplied watches for the army. Longines also belonged to this group. From the early 1920s it offered pilot’s watches, but the timepiece being tested today refers to the ref. 3582 prepared for the Czechoslovak Air Force in 1935. Equipped with a rotating bezel with a luminescent marker, the watch was used by military aircrews. The engraving “Majetek vojenské správy”, meaning “property of the armed forces”, appeared on the caseback of most pieces – hence the common and graceful-sounding name “Majetek”. And that is it for the short introduction.
As you may know, Longines made a reference to the Majetek in 2015, releasing a fairly faithful re-edition called the Heritage 1935. I had the opportunity to wear and test this watch, and if you were curious how it looked and how it differed from the original – I encourage you to read the review of the watch HERE.
New and modern
The 2023 version is a completely new design. Admittedly, the spirit of the Majetek can be felt here, but most elements have been redesigned. Let’s start with the case. It still has a delicate cushion shape, although this time it measures 43 mm in diameter. It is worth noting that with the crown protection – horizontally – the size is 48 mm. Lug-to-lug is 51 mm and the thickness is 13.5 mm. And although on paper everything looks big and the watch itself gives the impression of being massive, on the wrist it looks surprisingly good. Especially considering the small size of my wrist, 17.5 cm. It is mainly thanks to the redesigned, shorter lugs that connect to the case. The case itself is mostly brushed, but Longines opted for polished, bevelled edges. There was also a nod to history – a two-screw tightened plate with the year 1935 delicately engraved was incorporated into the side of the case. A nice and not exaggerated detail.
Speaking of the external part of the watch, it is necessary to mention what is most important – that is, the fluted rotating bezel, connected with a triangular Super-LumiNova-filled so-called “take-off time marker”. With it, aircraft pilots used to be able to quickly and easily mark important reference points – the take-off time of a flight or the time of the last course change. All they had to do was turn the bezel so that the marker aligned with the minute hand.
Unlike the original, in which the marker was integrated into the glass, i.e. by turning the bezel, one turned the glass and the triangular detail at the same time, in this model these elements have been separated. The convex glass is fixed and the marker itself is coupled to the bezel. This solution reportedly allowed for a higher water resistance class, i.e. 100 metres. The rotation of the bezel is smooth – without any clicks. The glass itself, in turn, is coated on both sides with several layers of anti-reflective coating, which unfortunately „catches fingerprints” a little from above.
Longines opted for simplicity and legibility in the dial design. The matte black base features Super-LumiNova-coated Arabic numerals acting as hour indexes. The luminescent substance is also found on the two centrally attached pencil hands. The composition is completed by a slightly recessed small seconds subdial with white track and a silver hand, as well as the Longines inscription in simple typeface. The time can be set with a convenient screw-down crown, with embossed winged hourglass.
The watch has a full caseback with an engraving showing the name and highlighting the main features of the movement. The watch is powered by Longines calibre L893.6 with automatic winding and a silicon hair spring. This makes the Majetek resistant to the magnetic fields that surround us. In addition, movement works at 3.5 Hz, has a 72-hour power reserve and is certified by COSC, which means that daily deviations are within -4/+6 seconds.
The Longines Pilot Majetek will be available on either a brown or dark green leather strap or a NATO-style strap made from recycled materials in a shade of military green. The leather straps have beige loops and 22 mm at the connection to the case. It’s just a pity that the Swiss didn’t think of a easy switch system.
The watch came to the CH24 editorial team before official premiere and I had a few weeks to wear it and gather a handful of impressions.
First and foremost, in my opinion, it’s a much more loosely related model to the historic 3582 reference than its predecessor, the Heritage 1935. In the new version, the case has been redesigned, which now appears more massive but remains extremely comfortable. The cathedral hands have been changed to pencil hands, which has also revived the watch somewhat, while retaining its military vibe. The heavily visible white Arabic numerals have given way to slightly softer ones in a different shade. There is a triangular marker integrated into the fluted bezel, a cool, domed glass and a new movement with silicon components and a 3-day power reserve. Even the straps – especially the green – look good. I find Pilot Majetek an interesting proposition. Particularly if you like slightly larger models with a vintage vibe, which are quite successfully combined with modern execution.
Finally, the price, which was revealed practically on the day of the watch’s launch. The Longines Pilot Majetek will cost – regardless of the strap chosen – CHF 3,500. The option with an additional strap and a tool for its replacement is priced at CHF 3,600. I have to admit that, despite the quality and all the “flavours” that the watch offers, the price is not low. However, in the context of inflation, as well as the pricing policy of many brands aspiring to position their collections in a price segment, for the time being immune to crises and turbulence, we have to get used to it. Will this approach work in the long term? Time will tell.