Also available in: Deutsch
The Longines Pilot Majetek is the next retro pilot’s watch to return from the archives. Nearly 90 years after the release of the original, the Swiss manufacturer with the winged reissues its elegant pilot’s watch. What has been retained and where a hand has been applied, Longines explains in a press release. Afterwards, I’d like to share my initial thoughts and opinions on the revival.
Excerpts from Longines’ press release, February 2023
“With the Longines Pilot Majetek, the brand with the winged hourglass revives a timepiece developed for aviation and appreciated by a wide audience. The new watch combines a spirit of adventure and historical dimension, without neglecting the aesthetic and technical demands of the 21st century. The bi-directional fluted bezel on the cushion-shaped stainless steel case emphasizes the original character of the watch and evokes memories of the 1935 source of inspiration.
With more than 190 years of brand history, Longines has an unparalleled wealth of experience. Its legendary, technically advanced timepieces for pilots and pioneers are an impressive testimony to this. This is why today the brand with the winged hourglass can offer friends of fine mechanical watches timepieces whose DNA goes back to the design codes of historical models. Longines transfers them to the present, for timekeeping as precise as it is reliable, which is characteristic of the brand. The Longines Pilot Majetek is in that very tradition.
In the original model, the curved lines of the cushion-shaped case highlight its unique design, which was registered on April 1, 1935, at the International Industrial Property Office in Bern, Switzerland. Although this watch was intended for aviation, in the past it delighted a wider audience looking for a reliable, solid, precise and easy-to-read watch.
The new Longines Pilot Majetek has been completely redesigned, both technically and ergonomically. Its updated proportions, original, slightly curved cushion shape and rounded lugs meet modern demands. Its 43 mm diameter offers exceptional wearing comfort.
On the outer rim of the stainless steel case, which has a screw-down back, there is a commemorative plaque with the inscription “1935” at 9 o’clock. It refers to the year of origin of the first Longines “Majetek” model and hides a newly patented mechanism. It ensures water resistance to 10 bar (100 m) of the fluted outer rotating bezel system, which is coupled with the fluorescent moving inner triangular marker, or “Starting time indicator”. The latter is located below the sapphire crystal, from which it is detached, and above the dial. In the 1935 model, the bezel and glass with marker rotated as a single unit. Today, the sapphire crystal is fixed, contributing to the water resistance of the new case.
A watch with clear design codes
In the style of classic pilot watches, the new Longines Pilot Majetek also features a matte black dial for optimal readability. White Arabic numerals, embossed and coated with “Old-Radium” Super-LumiNova®, indicate the hours, which are framed by a railroad minute track. Rod hands with rhodium-plated tips glide over them. They are phosphorescent and guarantee optimal readability at night. The small seconds hand, set into the dial at 6 o’clock on a large scale, together with the fluted bezel, emphasizes the original functional character of this pilot’s watch. A design that conveys elegance and balance.
The new Longines Pilot Majetek is powered by the caliber L893.6, exclusive to Longines and equipped with a magnet-resistant silicon hairspring. It has a power reserve of 72 hours. The entire watch head is certified as a chronometer by the Official Swiss Chronometer Control Center (COSC), an independent testing body. The watch is available with either a brown or green leather strap, stitched with beige decorative stitches. A NATO bracelet made of synthetic fibers based on recycled materials is also offered. There is no question about it: the Longines Pilot Majetek, full of character, will accompany you in your everyday life and adapt to your spirit of adventure in all latitudes.”
My opinion of the new Longines Pilot Majetek – Commentary
I keep saying it. A good reissue is not merely an uninspired copy of an iconic watch. At first glance, it may seem so easy to bring old designs out of the woodwork and follow up on past successes with the big names of the past. But that’s easier said than done. If the new edition deviates too much from the original design, you distort the DNA of the watch. That is, what makes it special. If you take over every detail one-to-one, you have to put up with the reproach of not being innovative enough.
Longines treads an elegant middle path between these two extremes with the 2023 Pilot Majetek. That is not easy and deserves recognition. Our standards of comfort and technical capabilities have changed dramatically over the past 88 years. Why not incorporate the modern innovations of the 21st century? The new, ergonomic design with the carefully altered proportions looks coherent. Nevertheless, the three new references have enough retro charm. This is thanks to the successful color selection of the straps, the numerals, and the fluted bezel. It stands out noticeably from other pilot watches like the Longines Spirit Titanium, the Longines Avigation BigEye or the Longines Spirit.
Technically, the in-house manufacture caliber L893.6 is up to date. Its magnet-resistant silicon hairspring, a COSC chronometer certification as well as a power reserve of up to 72 hours are more than impressive. The classic stainless steel case again bridges the gap to the past.
Verdict: Longines has succeeded in creating a well-balanced pilot’s watch with the revived Pilot Majetek. It could do justice to the famous original, but still has its own identity. This is what I expect from good homage models. The Longines Pilot Majetek consists of three references. (L2.838.453.0 – brown leather strap, USD 3,850.00, L2.838.453.2 – dark green leather strap and L2.838.453.8 – NATO strap, USD 3,750.00 each).
Below I have linked you to the watches in the store.
More about Longines and the Pilot Majetek
With brown leather in the store
More watches from Longines in my blog