Since Michael and I are based in Germany, actually not too far from the Black Forrest, which is one of the most significant areas of watchmaking in the country, German watch manufacturers are always on our list of brands to work with. One of those brands is Laco. Laco is famous for their Flieger and B-Uhren, watches that most vintage watch guys probably heard of.
During our meeting with Laco at BaselWorld, they showed me their new line-up of watches. Though military inspired, the novelties we saw are as cool as it gets.
As we already talked about it in a previous article, we saw that blue dials are this year’s trend. A lot of (time-only) watches with beautiful deep blue faces could be seen this year in Basel. Just like last year, when we saw bronze watches all over the place. Think of Oris and Tudor for that matter. Guess what, Laco has both. This year they came out with 2 Flieger-inspired watches that fit exactly into the trends above. The Blaue Stunde (Blue Hour) consists of 4 different models; two models in A-Uhr and two in B-Uhr style. The A-Uhr models are the ones that have simpler dial layout with only Arabic numerals, indexes and the Flieger triangle at the 12 o’lcock. B-Uhr models (or Beobachtungs Uhren) have the little inner circle to show the hours and the big Arabic numerals to display the minutes.
The Münster Blaue Stunde and the Memmingen Blaue Stunde watches look identical. They are both 42mm in diameter and 12mm thick. The case consists of sandblasted stainless steel with a patinated look and the original B-Uhr marking on the case back. The dial on both examples is a beautiful deep blue, just wait for the Sun to hit it to reveal the amazing sunlight effect on it. The only difference between the Münster Blaue Stunde and the Memmingen Blaue Stunde are the movements. The Münster has the automatic Laco caliber 24 (based on ETA 2824-2) while the Memmingen’s movement is a hand-wound Laco caliber 01 (ETA 2801-2). Other than that, the watches are indistinguishable. As far as I’m concerned I love the option of automatic or hand-wound, something you rarely see from the bigger brands.
Laco also released a B-Uhr version of the Blaue Stunde. Everything is the same as above only the dial design is different. It reflects the typical B-Uhr dial layout. The inner circle shows the hours with Arabic numerals while the box indexes shows the minute counter also with Arabic numbers. All 4 watches have large sword-shaped Flieger hands with Super-LumiNova coating. The automatic version is the Paderborn Blaue Stunde and the hand-wound version is the Leipzig Blaue Stunde.
If you don’t fancy blue dials and want a more rugged look, I suggest you take a look at this other novelty from Laco. The Bronze collection. This collection also features four different models. The structure of the collection is the same as with the Blaue Stunde; 2 dial layouts and both models come with an automatic or hand-wound movements. The dimensions are a bit different though. The Bronze watches are all 45mm in diameter and 13mm thick. The case is sandblasted bronze and measure 22mm between the lugs (the Blaue Stunde has 20mm lug-width). The case back is steel has the usual B-Uhr markings and the watch sports a big pilot-style crown.
A cool feature of the Bronze models is that the leather straps they have are basically carbon copies of the original ones pilots used in the 1940’s. Laco has still a few vintage watches in their possession so these timepieces are as close to the original as it gets. Including the leather straps. When I held the watch in my hand it looked huge, even for my wrists. My view changed when I strapped them on. Sure, these models are not small by any means, but despite the size they sit very nicely and comfortably on the wrist.
The Blaue Stunde is the more affordable collection of Laco. Regardless which watch you pick, the price is €850. For a steel hand-wound watch with a gorgeous blue dial and military design it is definitely a winner. If you fancy the bigger Bronze models, again the price is the same for all of the different versions, it’s €1598. You can visit their website and order the watch directly from them, via their online shop. As soon as they’re available we will get our hands on one for a review.