Laco is one of the leading German watchmakers since 1925. Their pieces are superb in quality and vision that were inspired by the famous German Bauhaus school of Arts. They are one of the original 5 German manufacturers that produced watches for the Luftwaffe (German Airforce). This is exactly why they’re known for their pilot watches in the industry from way back. In our Laco pilot watch reviews, we’ll be looking at some of the most notable Laco timepieces available in the market.
A Brief History of Laco
The company started its journey at Pforzheim in 1925. This German city of the Black Forest region was famed for its watchmaking.
By the start of WW2, Laco had a very successful business and was capable of producing 30,000 movements a month. But when the Allied attacks during the war happened, it left the Pforzheim in absolute ruins. Later, using the Marshall plan, Laco was able to quickly get back on their feet. So much so, that by the 1950s they built a new five-story factory and were employing about 1500 staff members.
The first big change happened in 1958. Laco was bought by the American watch company Timex. And in the mid-1960s, Laco was sold to Swiss owners. The introduction of quartz watches had a massive impact on the business in that period. Laco couldn’t survive as a brand.
After their brief struggle, Laco got revived in the 1980s. Unfortunately, Laco also went into liquidation in 2009. It was relaunched in 2010 as a modest enterprise. Now the business has 70 employees and a vision to return the brand to its roots through its Bauhaus ideology.
Our Reviews of Selected Laco Pilot Watches
Laco Basic Augsburg 42 Pilot Watch
Laco Augsburg 42 pilot watch is one of the most recognizable retro designs from the brand. Laco fashioned it after the original design of the World War 2 pilot wristwatch. So let’s quickly check out the specifications in this Laco Augsburg review.
This famous retro model comes with an automatic Laco 21 basic Miyota 821A movement. The 42mm wide stainless steel case has a matt finished. The dial window has a sapphire crystal coating for enhanced safety. Like the traditional pilot watches the dials, numbers, and figures are coated with Superluminova C3 for fine night visibility. To make this timepiece an all-rounder with your wardrobe, Laco used a brown calf leather strap with rivets. And finally, this watch is tested waterproof up to 5 ATM (50m).
Laco Basic Zürich.2 40 Pilot Watch
The Zürich.2 is a model that perfectly combines the advantages of a pilot’s watch – clear readability, modern design, and robust technology.
With this proven Laco trio formula, this model houses a high-precision quartz movement inside a 40mm stainless steel-made case. The movement itself is a modern alternative to the original pilot’s watches. The dial design is inspired by the well-known Baumuster B. It’s characterized by a small hour circle in the center and a larger minutes circle (in steps of 5) on the outer ring. It’s paying homage to the pilot’s watch DNA in this Laco entry-level model. The 40mm stainless steel case holds the Swiss quartz movement made by Ronda 503.
The case has a brushed finish, domed crown, sapphire crystal coated dial window, and a steel case-back. The black mat dials with Arabic numerals and indexes have the luminous material Superluminova C3 for optimal day and night visibility. This fine piece of the watch has a water resistance of 5 ATM (50m) and comes with brown-colored leather riveted 18mm wide straps.
Laco Original Paderborn Pilot Watch
Another 1940’s B-Uhr remodeled series from Laco! This Laco Pilot timepiece is an original-line series that was made with the detailed requirements of the Reichsluftfahrtministerium (RLM) (former German ministry for aviation). With this pilot original, Laco has revived the look and feel of the historically famous pilot wristwatch. Paderborn is that quintessential model in our Laco watches review.
This watch comes with an automatic movement from the Laco 200 basic Sellita SW 200-1 series. The case is made with dark sandblasted stainless steel. The case has a diameter of 42mm. It’s also domed, equipped with anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and has a solid case back with engraving. This original piece has an impressive 10 ATM (100m) water-resistance level too! The numbers, figures, and the thermical blued steel-made hands are filled with Superluminova C3 for low or no-light visibility. The 20mm wide brown strap comes with rivets.
Laco Munster Original Saarbrücken Pilot Watch
With this original pilot watch, Laco presents the most original reconstructions of the B-Uhr type of watches. In addition to the 55mm original diameter, you can also get this model in case sizes of 39, 42, and 45 mm widths. All components do get proportionally adapted to the respective ordered size.
The Saarbrucken Munster comes with an automatic Laco 200 basic Sellita SW 200-1 movement. The 45mm wide case is made with dark sandblasted stainless steel. It has a domed and anti-reflective Sapphire crystal dial window and a solid engraved case back. The thermic-blued dials and numbers are coated with Superluminova C3 for clear visibility. The 22mm wide brown calf leather strap comes with rivets for flexible wear on your wrist. The watch has an impressive 10 ATM (100m) water-resistance also.
Laco Frankfurt GMT Grau
A staple for the businesspersons, globetrotters, and pilots – all of whom are constantly traveling back and forth between different time zones. The caliber Laco 93 mechanical movement with automatic winding guarantees the GMT precision. It is an aftermath of the tried and trusted ETA 2893-2 caliber – ticking behind a solid 43mm wide steel case back. So let’s check out the specifications in this Laco GMT review.
The stainless steel case, internal rotatable bezel, and anti-reflective sapphire dial window combine to give it a 20 ATM (200 m) water resistance. The dials are Grey with Arab numerals and indices, coated with Superluminova. The hour and minute hands are coated with thermally blued luminous coating. The seconds’ hand is coated in Superluminova orange luminous material.
Laco Original Dortmund Erbstück
Inspired by the original 1940s 55mm observation watches, the Erbstück models are made to look as if they have been worn over several generations. Traces of aging give the timepiece a historic charm of a vintage model. All components are aged individually and by hand, which gives the watches the appeal of a historic timepiece. Let’s look at the specifications in this Laco Erbstück review.
It has a hand-winding movement 210 basic Sellita SW 210-1 movement in a 45mm wide stainless steel case. The case is elaborately hand-finished and engraved stainless steel back. The case window has an anti-reflective sapphire crystal and a solid case back with engraving. Like the original Baumuster B, the dials are black with luminous Superluminova C3 markings. The Brown leathered closed-loop pilot’s riveted strap gives a sharp vintage look. It has water resistance up to 5 ATM (50 m).
Laco Type B Dial Watches
Laco Aachen 42 Automatic Pilot Watch
Laco Aachen 42 is one of the prime examples of Type B dial watches. No Laco basic pilot watch review is complete without mentioning this watch! Aachen 42 is an updated model with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The Laco Aachen model features a 42mm wide stainless steel case design. It’s made to such width to house a Japanese Citizen Miyota 821A automatic and self-winding movement.
The black hands and dial come with SuperLuminova markers for excellent readability in the dark. This model doesn’t have a date window. It has a 20mm brown leather riveted strap that blends with daily wardrobes nicely. The case is sandblasted to provide the iconic matte finish. Aachen is also water-resistant up to 50m and has a 2-year warranty.
Laco Freiburg Mechanical Pilot Watch
This Laco Freiburg or the 861791 model was inspired by the original WW2 Laco Luftwaffe pilot timepieces. It has a mechanical (hand-winding) Swiss ETA movement and it’s visible through the case’s back. Run time on each full wind is over 40 hours.
Its blue hands and type B dial markers are coated with SuperLuminova C3, which ensures excellent readability in the dark. Like the original WW2 model, there is no date window in it. It features a domed mineral crystal dial window that gives a richer look on the wrist. The sandblasted stainless steel case provides a matte finish to minimize light reflection. Its lugs are quite robust like a dive watch. It has a really nice 20mm black leather strap to match its black dials. The watch comes with a 50m water- resistance and 2 years of warranty.
Which Laco Suits You The Most?
So Laco has 10 different watch categories for you to choose from. Among them, the most popular categories are the Flieger, Original Pilot, and the Navy watches. But, we’d still recommend you to surf their official website to have the best outcome suited to your taste. The most encouraging fact is that with this large range they also facilitate a wider range of prices for their products. So, if you’re into vintage pilot watches they will serve your craving very well. Also, most of their watches are suited for all types of informal and formal wear too!
Are Laco Watches Good Quality?
The general consensus is that Laco makes good quality pilot watches. There are 2 key points to consider when it comes to Laco. Firstly, all of their watches are made in Germany, completely. This counts for a lot as most brands can’t do it. In general, all of the German watch manufacturers have a very good reputation in this regard.
German watchmaking since the very beginning was very highly regarded. There aren’t many countries that can produce their own watches. Germany is one of the exceptions and it boasts brands ranging from Archimede to Zeppelin. So you can be fully confident when it comes to good quality from German-made watches.
Laco also uses a variety of quality movements that are modified in-house. Their bases for their mechanical movements come from Japanese and Swiss engineers. Thus, their calibers are built from Miyota and ETA movements.
Are Laco Watches Swiss-Made?
No, Laco is a fully German-made watch brand.
What Movement Does Laco Use?
Laco uses a Swiss quartz movement made by Ronda and Laco 21 movement which is a basic Miyota 821A caliber for their watches.
Are Laco Watches Waterproof?
Yes, they are. Their lowest waterproof capacity is 5ATM and the highest is 20ATM.
Historically Laco exclusively specializes in making pilot watches. To be even more specific, Laco specializes in German Flieger timepieces. Laco was one of the original pioneers who supplied the Luftwaffe with watches during WW2. Our Laco pilot watches review has put together this list because of the classic military tradition and their Bauhaus school of craftsmanship and designs. What’s more surprising is that each series has remained recognizably German. It could be an iconic Flieger or it could be a traditional marine watch – you have a wide range of options. We hope that we’ve dug into their collections well enough for you to make a concise decision.