If you’re looking for an example of a well-established brand flexing the advantages of volume manufacturing with the intention of providing a beautiful pair of watches for less than €500, you’ve come to the right place. The taupe-dialed 862125 and 862126 fit into the Augsburg and Aachen collections easily and add another, surprisingly powerful string to Laco’s bow.

When the 42mm version of these watches first hit the market last year, they were unavailable for a hands-on review. Despite that, I wrote an article on the pair for aBlogtoWatch. Honestly, it took me a good few looks before I started to warm-up to the taupe dials. At first, I found them too cold, too steely, too metallic. Then, I became convinced they were too opulent (reminding me of the kind of champagne you might expect to find on a vintage Datejust). Finally, the whole idea seemed to mesh for me and now I have not only come round to the design but also started scribbling notes and sketches of possible limited editions I’d love to build around reference 862126 (because I think the potential for something special is sky-high).


A note on transparency

I want to shine a light on something here that many of our eagle-eyed readers will have noticed. This editorial review is listed as part of our Topic of the Week section. That means that Laco has paid Fratello a flat fee for this article to occupy the same location on our homepage. These long-term-exposure slots generate some of the revenue that helps keep the site (and its writers) alive. Unlike many other sites, Fratello insists on providing unbiased editorial coverage in these slots also.

…our “greatest hits” list…

If you think that we’re too effusively positive about the watches and projects that feature in these columns, that’s because we have consciously selected products we’re excited about, so rather than viewing this stuff as paid-for advertorials, look at it as our “greatest hits” list from whichever brand we’re working with at the time.


I wanted to be open about this because I know this color is divisive. It’s pointless me sitting here, typing away about how much I’ve come to appreciate it (and the overall value proposition) without making it clear that I fully understand that many of you will dislike and dismiss this watch. I certainly disliked it when I first saw it; but now I’ve really had time to think about what this whole proposition amounts to, I am certainly glad I didn’t dismiss it.


A really cool package

Okay, these taupe references are odd. Fundamentally, the only thing that makes them in any way remarkable is the dial color. Other than that, these two references follow the script verbatim. We have effectively the same watch with the same specs, with two different dial designs. Literally, the only difference between these two is whether the Type A or Type B pad print has been applied. I know a lot of people like the cleanliness of the Type A (that’s the simpler, uncluttered version below), but I adore the Type B with the slightly denser layout. I think it looks more technical. For me, it is certainly the more interesting of the two.


One of the things that frequently annoys me about pilot watches is the size. They are often too big. In my opinion, Laco itself also strays into this territory on occasion. There is a time and a place for hefty Flieger-style watches, but the more reserved 39mm of these taupe references is the sweet spot. An 11.5mm height means they wear relatively true-to-size and are comfortable on the wrist, weighing just 80g on the provided strap. The result? A pair of comfortable daily beaters.

And, weirdly, as odd as taupe is for a dial color, it actually looks surprisingly versatile in real life. When paired with the aged brown strap, the overall package is a flexible and easy choice for almost any occasion. Part of that comes down to the incredible price of references 862125 and 862126.


Make yourself a cup of tea and have a nice sit-down…

If you’ve been reading Fratello for a while, you’ve probably heard of Laco. The German brand is popular among the team for producing high-quality stuff at reasonable prices. And when I say reasonable, I mean somewhere between €1,000-€3,000. That’s a fair amount for neatly crafted German watches powered by Swiss movements.


What is less often realized, is that Laco has an entry-level collection driven by Miyota movements instead. While this kind of movement may be commonplace in microbrands or start-ups, it is less common in a brand of Laco’s age and stature. And because of that age and stature, you could’ve been forgiven for assuming that the price is higher than you’d expect for a Miyota 8201A powered watch. However, for these rather handsome pieces, Laco is asking just €390 (including taxes).

To me, that is a bit of a jaw-dropping entry point to a brand that has been going for almost 100 years and produces tough, go-anywhere, do-anything pilot’s watches for everyone. These pieces are limited to just 200 pieces per design and, for this kind of money, I think that’s really refreshing. But what do you think of these models and the price? Let us know in the comments below. Learn more about Laco here.