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A vintage military watch is more than just a time-keeping device, it is the one of the most personal and intimate pieces of kit a soldier would have carried. Balancing reliability and precision, a military watch must also be easily readable yet small enough to keep from being ungainly and cumbersome on the wrist. The combination of these factors tends to give vintage military watches a spartan, clean aesthetic - a look that has been adopted and co-opted by countless brands looking to breath authenticity into their own offerings.
This watch, known as a Majetek, was a design harnessed by the Czech military (typically the Air Force) during the late 1930s through the 1940s and produced by three different brands - Longines, Lemania and Eterna. While some variations existed between the brands' end products (notably, Longines' Majetek featured a coin-edge bezel and Cathedral hands), the hallmark of the watch was it's unique 37mm steel case with square bezel, round dial aperture and sloping straight lugs. Over the years, the Majetek was seen in two distinct layouts; one with a central sweeping seconds hand and one with a running seconds hand at 6:00.
With its running seconds at 6:00, it is very likely that this particular model was an earlier production watch, probably dating to the latter half of the 1930s. Its modular style case (a case back ring screws into the top case, sandwiching the movement 'dish' and crystal) is pleasingly simple. The top case shows signs of wear, but bears no suggestion of being over polished. The dial, once a matte black, has taken on an incredible tropicalization and the luminous material has aged splendidly. Though it doesn't bear military markings - perhaps due to a replacement back or having never been issued - this watch has definitely seen it's share of battles and lived to tell the tale.
With both heritage models pricing out at over $2000 a pop, we're left scratching our heads and asking, "why not get the real McCoy?"
Steel case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Eternal Reference 852 Manually-Winding non-hacking movement. Late 1930s.
Overall Condition: The watch is in good condition over all, with light wear marks consistent with age and use. The Tropical dial shows some light wear and is without the lume on the marker at 3:00 and missing some at 1:00, but is in otherwise very pleasing condition. Genuine brass hands have been professionally relumed with non-luminous material. Replacement 'Flieger'-style crown. Movement 'dish' internally signed by Eterna. Holed lugs (normal spring bars).
Includes two 22mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.