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Laco Watch Reviews - Did We Just Find the Best Pilot Watches?

December 3, 2021

Laco is a leading German watchmaker that has been in the game since 1925. Their devices are superb in quality and have a lot of detail to them. You’ll love to know that they are one of the original 5 manufacturers that produced watches for the Luftwaffe.

They’re known for their watches for the skies, but they produce quality sports and navy timepieces as well. For our Laco watch reviews, we’ll be looking at some of their most notable devices.

The Watches - Reviewed

1. Laco Aachen Blaue Stunde 42

When people think of pilot watches, they think of burgundy devices–  the Aachen Blaue Stunde proves them wrong. Not only is it a deep navy shade, but there’s a metallic effect to it.

Aviator watches have large faces. No surprise, the case on the timepiece isn’t small. It’s 1.65 inches (42 mm), and its bezel is thin, so its dial takes up most of the space. We have to say – 1.65 inches (42 mm) is a perfect size – it’s big but it won’t swallow your wrist up.

Like most aviator pieces, Arabic numerals are all over it. There are two rings on it. The primary one reads the minutes in an hour, and the inner one reads the hours in a day in a 12-hour format. Something you’ll notice about its markers is that there’s a tint to them. Before you panic, know that it’s lume. Super Luminova C3 is present which is superb quality. It’s seen in countless Swiss devices.

You don’t have to worry about banging its face up. Laco placed very durable sapphire. It’s also flat, helping it not roll over like other timepieces.

Its blue dial looks extra good as there’s a silver strap attached. No, it isn’t stainless steel – you’re getting Nylon. It is NATO, so it’s easy to put on. All you do is swipe its band through loops. NATO straps are known to be durable. They are also more comfortable than regular Nylon.

You’re looking at a laco automatic watch. The ultra-accurate Miyota 821A movement is inside. It comes with 21 jewels and a power reserve of over 40 hours. The jewels are pieces of glass, as you’re wondering. They’re placed between gears to help them handle friction. The movement provides hacking which is when you halt the second’s hand, making the time more accurate.

It’s uncommon for pilot watches to not be water-resistant. The Aachen can handle 165 feet (50 meters). Nylon is a fabric so it gets wet – normally at least. As it’s NATO, it’s water-proof.

What makes it special:

Its stunning blue dial.

2. Laco Augsburg 42

The laco aviator watch has a 1.65 inch (42 mm) case. As you know, we think the size is great. Laco did a good job with it. Its dial is wide, making it easy to read. Something that makes it even easier to read is black on its face. It’s quite dark, while its hour markers are an almost neon-green. They’re full of lume, Super Luminova C3 is present, so the watch turns into a flashlight in the dark.

Arabic numerals read the hours in a day – they do so in a 12-hour format. We like that they’re on the larger side. There are, unfortunately, no double rings like in its brother discussed.

You’ll be reading the 8616BB through a sapphire window. The one on the Augsburg is resistant.

Like any classic pilot watch, its band is made of leather. It is calf-skin and feels great on you. We aren’t sure if it’s Italian, but we’d bet on it. The leather on it isn’t wide either. This is great as a lot of leather makes you sweat.

You’ll notice “pins” on each end of its strap. They’re its rivets and they’re eye-catching, but they aren’t there for a real reason. They’ve been used on aviator watches since the dawn of time.

The timepiece comes with an automatic movement. The mechanism inside is the Laco 21 – aka the Miyota 821A. What’s appreciated is the fact that the 861688 has an exposed back – you’ll be able to watch its gears move.

With one look at it, you’ll notice that its design is retro. This is as Laco modeled it after the original World War II pilot watch design.

Did we mention that it’s water-resistant? But it can’t handle considerable depths. You’ll be able to go up to 165 feet (50 meters). As its strap is leather, getting it wet may not be a good idea. The material mops water up like a sponge. Considering its lack of resistance, occasional splashes are all it can handle. As it looks so good, this shouldn’t be an issue as swimming with it isn’t the first thing that’d come to mind.

What makes it special:

Its World War II design.

3. Laco 1925 Men's GENF 42

It’s a very retro-looking aviation piece. It’ll remind you of the Augsburg 861688.2 we just ran through. They’re not identical of course. The 861807’s dial is much lighter. Its markers still contrast sharply against its backdrop – you’ll be able to read the timepiece in the darkest of cockpits.

You’ll be able to read it as its markers are gigantic Arabic numerals. If the green tint to them is familiar, that’s because they’re full of C3 Super Luminova. You’re already familiar with how powerful the pigment is, it’s even on its hands.

There is a calendar in place. The date feature is in the 3 o'clock angle, so you won’t be straining your neck trying to read it. It’s small so that you won’t be distracted. We love that it’s bolded well.

The strap on it is leather. It’s high-quality just like its brothers. There are rivets on each end of its band, which you know has been on aviator watches since forever.

You’re looking at a quartz device. No surprise, it hosts a Swiss quartz movement as Laco is all about craftsmanship. If you’re wondering what the name of its mechanism is, we, unfortunately, don’t know. But we have to say, it works like butter.

The glass on its window is not sapphire, it is mineral which is a change. The crystal can handle a beating, but it’s not as durable as its counterpart.

You’re probably wondering how big its case is. We’ve seen 1.65 inches (42 mm) cases throughout our article, and the 861807 Pilot Watch is no different. Its bezel is thin, letting its dial take up the most of the real estate.

It is water-resistant. It can handle 165 feet (50 meters) – don’t expect to dive with it. Hopefully, you remember what we said about getting the leather wet.

We’re huge fans of the crowns on Laco’s pieces. They’re shaped in a way that’s super easy to grip. They’re not that big either, so you won’t be slamming them into your wrist.

What makes it special:

It’s the only Swiss quartz entry in our review.

4. Laco Valencia 42

The timepiece has a quality leather strap. Like the other entries, it is calf-skin and feels superb on your wrist. It’s a lighter brown which contrasts against its black watch-hands. You’ll notice the Valencia from across the room.

Something you might not easily be able to read is its calendar. It reads the date and is in the 6 o'clock angle. We had no idea it was even there – it’s really small.  If it’s any consolation, we appreciate its position – you won’t be straining your neck trying to read it.

Its case is 1.65 inches (42 mm). Its strap is 0.78 inches (20 mm) wide like the other watches we ran through. It’s pretty much the perfect strap length. Wearing a lot of leather is not fun – you’ll collect a lot of sweat.

Although its Arabic numerals are black, they are full of lume. Super Luminova C3 is present. It’s on its hands as well. 

The device is automatic. We know the name of the movement it rocks – it’s the Laco 21. If you remember, we saw it in the Aachen Blaue Stunde 42 and Augsburg 42. It comes with 21 jewels, a 40-hour power reserve, and the ability to self-wind. Just like the Augsburg, the Valencia rocks an exposed back.

We’re glad to see sapphire on its window. Yes, it is water-resistant. If you guessed, it can handle as much depths as its brothers – 165 feet (50 meters). Know that pilot watches are meant for the air, not the sea, so this resistance is fine.

What makes it special:

Its petite calendar in the 6 o'clock position.

laco watches

Things You Should Know

Now that you know about some of Laco’s most notable watches, let’s answer some burning questions you may have.

Is the Company Any Good?

Laco says that synergy is a major part of their devices – they are a mixture of detail and great technology. They have ample history and are made with a very keen eye. Although the brand has gone through a lot, its watches are still wonders of German watchmaking.

Where Are Laco Watches Made?

Whichever Laco piece you pick up, you’ll see a ‘made in Germany’ seal. The brand’s timepieces are made in Pforzheim. The company was founded in the city, and its watches have been made there ever since.

The city celebrated its 250th anniversary and the company created a limited-edition Jubilee watch to mark the occasion.

Do They Offer Warranties?

Laco takes its customer service seriously. They want you to be happy with your purchase for as long as it’s by your side. There’s extensive coverage, which you can learn more about on their website. You’ll probably like to know that you get a 24-month guarantee from the day you make your purchase.

If you have a problem with any of their devices, their site might help. It has informative guides and fixes to solutions.

Where Can You Pick Laco Watches From?

From their official site. If not, they have an official Amazon page too. Countless retailers and shops offer their products – especially ones online.

Final Thoughts

What do we think about the brand? Laco pilot watches are some of the best available. They are made with a lot of craftsmanship, and high-quality materials are used in their production. It’s no surprise that they look good and can last the test of time.

The manufacturer has a long history, producing aviation pieces for the Luftwaffe. Although the company hasn’t had the smoothest history, it’s clear that they know what they’re doing.

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Thomas Vanderlaan
When Thomas Vanderlaan was a child, the moment he learned about mechanical watches he was hooked. His first love being mechanical watches, he decided to pursue a career in engineering as he was entranced by the science behind its gears. As the years passed, his passion grew. Although he worked a hectic career as an automobile engineer, he’d always collect watches during his spare time.
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