My three Czech pilot watches (Longines, Lemania, and Eterna) are now all assembled in one place, finally, so I can post some photos. Also known as "Majetek" or "Tartarugone" models, they were made for the Czech military in the 1930s and 1940s. In some cases, civilian models were also sold.
Much has been written about these watches and I've included a few links below. For the Longines, there were three series made, using different movements. Some have enamel dials, and some have metal dials. Mine is the least common second series (cal 15.26, enamel dial), with only about 500 made, dating to ~1938. Given the desirability of this second series, and the condition of the dial and case, I was willing to make some compromises in other areas. There continues to be a debate about whether the Longines were all issued with cathedral hands, or whether two types of hands were used. (Certainly, MANY of the watches with cathedral hands have incorrect cathedral hands, which greatly confuses the situation). Correct or not, the hands are obviously re-lumed, and the crown is not correct. The Lemania and Eterna both appear to be all original (or correct, at least), although there is some weirdness around the numbers on the dial of the Lemania, that may be radium-related damage, or perhaps the result of an attempt at cleaning.
IN-DEPTH: The Lineage of the Longines Czech Aviator Chronometre â€” THE WATCH ADVISER
Eterna Majetek and Longines Tartarugone: Czech Aviator Watches - Grail Watch
Longines Czech Aviators watch..
My Longines does not have the case-back engravings that would prove it was actually issued, so it may be a civilian version. The Eterna has the crossed-swords stamp on the front of the lug and the correct case-back engraving. And the Lemania has the correct case-back engraving. So both of those were apparently issued.
These are all large watches, but the Longines is huge, 40.5mm across, and feels gigantic on my wrist because of the large distance across the diagonal. Uniquely, it also has a knurled rotating bezel that moves the internal pointer. The other two are 38.5mm across. The Longines has 24mm fixed lugs (yes, seriously ... good luck finding an appropriate strap), and the other two have 21mm lugs, with spring-bars.
Apart from the issues mentioned above, from a collectors standpoint, it's important to find cases that still show some remnant of the bevel on the diagonals (i.e. dividing the lug from the side of the bezel). Sometimes they are completely polished down to the point where the whole "bezel" is completely smooth with no facets. If you look at my Eterna, you can really see how the case is supposed to look. The other two have been polished, but the facets are still visible. Importantly, for the Longines and the Eterna, there are numbers stamped on the back of a lug that should match numbers stamped on or in the case-back.
It has taken me nearly two years of patience to assemble these, and while they are far from perfect, I'm pleased overall, and I really enjoy wearing them. And I am still trying to learn more about them.