Majetek Vojenské Správy: Czechoslovak Longines Pilot Watch

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Czechoslovak Air Force pilots, circa 1938, were issued with oversized Longines wristwatches which were worn on a leather band around the cuff of the uniform tunic. The earliest examples of these unusually styled wristwatches employed the 15 jewel Longines calibre 15.94 movement, which had its origins in 1904. Later this was changed to calibre 15.26, but by 1939 Longines were supplying these watches with their most modern calibre 15.68Z movements, which were jewelled to the centre. Importantly, the last two movements were designed to have anti-magnetic properties – a valuable attribute in the cockpit of an aeroplane, surrounded by equipment of an electromagnetic nature. A painted dial had by now also replaced the older enamel face, which had an unfortunate tendency to shatter under a sharp blow. A rotating marker bezel was also common to all models.

To fulfil the urgent need for these timepieces the Czechoslovak authorities issued the first batches of Longines wristwatches without waiting to apply property marks. Then, as supply caught up with demand, remaining stores of these watches were serially numbered with the running total and engraved with the military inscription “MAJETEK VOJENSKÉ SPRÁVY”. It is believed that only about 3,000 Longines wristwatches were supplied to the Czechoslovak Air Force.

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