“Vintage,” “heritage,” and “antiquing” have become buzz words in today’s watch community. These terms attract some that love nostalgia while having the ability to trigger others who see nothing but red when faux patina is suggested. Laco’s newest release, the Laco Erbstücke Collection, is going to be polarizing, but the nod to history and focus on craft will be attractive to any watch fan. Laco has been making watches since the 1920s and earned its reputation from the 55mm pilot watches (or Fliegers) made during the Second World War. In order to recapture the feeling these vintage pilots imbue, Laco has released a series of watches meant to look antique. Although this isn’t the first time we’ve seen something like this from Laco — check out the Laco RAD-AUX Limited Edition here and the very similar Laco Flieger Erbstück.
These watches have been treated with a series of surface applications, leaving them looking like they were pulled from the wreckage of an unfortunate Messerschmitt immediately after the Battle of Britain. Laco has produced two different versions of this watch. One with the traditional type B dial (pictured above with the prominent five-minute markers surrounding the 12-hour center ring) and one with the type A (pictured below with a much cleaner dial). Both watches will come in 42mm stainless-steel cases and feature sapphire crystals. The cases will also retain the traditional engraving, “FL23883.” This marking used to denote watches that met the requirements needed by pilots. As expected on traditional Fliegers, the Laco Erbstücke watches will also feature large onion-style crowns.
Laco has opted for two different movement choices in the Erbstücke Collection. The first option is the venerable ETA 2824-2 Elabore, and the customer has the option to upgrade to an ETA 2801-2 Elabore hand-winding movement for an additional €150. The movements highlight the contrast between modern and vintage technology present in this collection. Laco has made these watches look old, but they function as new reliable timepieces. For me, that juxtaposition is the most interesting part of this collection.
One thing that sets this collection of watches from Laco apart from previous aged collections is the dials. The two Erbstücke dials are completely filled with Super-LumiNova, offering exceptional visibility in the dark, as well a new twist on these traditional watches. The heat-blued hands are filled with C3 SuperLumiNova and will provide a nice contrast against the cream-colored dials. These watches are available on brown closed-loop pilots straps with rivets, which have also have been treated to appear antique.
I personally love Flieger-style watches. I think any watch collection has a missing slot without some sort of pilot watch. These Lacos offer an interesting option to fill that vacancy but I do think their beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. Laco has taken the surface treatments of their cases so far that these watches do, indeed, look vintage. I believe that the dings and nicks in the case will be somewhat divisive to the watch-collecting public. The Erbstücke Collection will be available in two styles, one A-Type dial and one B-Type dial, for €1,950, available in Spring, 2019. For additional information and details, visit laco-watches.com.