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Eterna's "Majetek?Pilot's fake watch For The Czech Air Force

Eterna, Longines, and Lemania produced pilot's replica watches based on specifications from the Czech Air Force.

Watches are inextricably linked with the armed forces. Without trivializing the enormous impact of war on human existence, it's fascinating to note the range of models produced by legendary watchmakers for use by soldiers around the world, like iconic MilSub's or Mark XI's. Compared to these relatively well known military-issue watches, there is one model that stands out for its simplicity and unexpected good looks: the Majetek pilot's fake watch issued to members of the Czech Air Force in the late 1930's and early '40's. Together, the cushion-shaped case, black dial, and simple Arabic hour numerals form a sharp package that looks just as relevant today as it was back then. And the Majetek also stands out for its affordability relative to other military replica watches of that time currently available on the vintage market.

This military-spec example features engraved numbers on the solid case back. Some models also feature double-sword insignia on the front of the case, near the lugs.

Both Eterna and Longines produced cushion-shaped pilot's replica watches for the Czech Air Force during the 1930s and 1940s. While all models featured a black dial with Arabic hour numerals, the Longines replica watches were slightly more ornate. Unlike the Eterna models, they featured coin-edge detailing on the bezel, large cathedral-style hands, and a sub-seconds dial at 6 o'clock. Due to the additional level of detailing as well as brand prestige, expect to pay a bit over the $3,000 mark (over the limit for this replica watches in this column) for vintage Longines Majetek watches.

The cushion shaped case is pure in form with no extraneous detailing.

The case was produced at 40 mm, a large size for the time period, though necessary to house a large dial for legibility in-flight.

The Eterna Majetek is simpler in design, opting for a center-seconds hand instead of a sub-seconds dial and no detailing on the bezel. The result is a simpler, more modern aesthetic complemented by Eterna's sans-serif logo at 12 o'clock (versus to the more ornate Longines script logo). Block-form, index-style hands appropriately complement the full set of Arabic hour numerals. The simplicity of the dial also allows for more visual emphasis on the cushion-shaped case, which is an unexpectedly beautiful feature for what was in fact a no-nonsense military-spec watch.

On this example, the patina of the luminous material on the hands matches the patina of the arabic hour numerals.

The fake watch pictured here is currently available at Classic fake watch for $1,295. Models appear often enough on the secondary market and you can currently expect to pay under $1,500 for a model in relatively good condition. As with all vintage watches, due diligence must be completed: pay attention to the condition of the case, noting whether it has been extensively polished. Additionally, observe the dial for signs of refinishing and mismatched patinas between the hands and hour numerals.

Manually-wound Calibre 852S from Eterna has 50-hours of power reserve.

Inside, you'll find Eterna's 14-ligne (roughly 31 mm) Calibre 852S movement with 50-hour power reserve. The manually-wound movement is rather attractive due to its simple layout. In this instance, the beauty of this movement is in the straightforward orientation of components, not extensive hand-finishing.

On the left, the Majetek reissue released in 2014 compared to the original model on the right.

This year, Eterna (like Longines) released a re-issue of the Majetek watch. The new models are similarly in design to the originals, though with the addition of a not-so-elegant aperture for the date above 6 o'clock. For these reasons, the vintage model remains a better option considering both price and aesthetics, even though the new models are priced inoffensively at $2,140 for PVD and $2,390 for stainless steel.

All in all, if you have your heart set on a vintage fake watch with an uncommon case shape, you would be hard pressed to find a more fitting example than the Majetek pilot's watch.

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