Laco is a underrated brand. At least we should hear more about it. This historic German brand has spanned the ages and has made a name for itself inseparable name of the Flieger, these pilot’s watches that reached their peak during one of the darkest periods in human history. Deeply rooted in German watchmaking tradition, it very recently delivered a chronograph duo which has everything to please fans of the genre, we have named the Kiel.2.
Kiel.2: the alliance of the Flieger style and the chronograph
Since 1925, Laco has been producing watches in Pforzheim, the other cradle of German watchmaking after Glashütte. The brand was one of five manufacturers chosen by the German army with Stowa, IWC, A. Lange & Söhne and Wempe, to equip its pilots. These vintage chronometers (not chronographs) measured 55mm in width, an oversized gauge incorporating pocket watch movements, which were intended to be worn over the sleeves of Luftwaffe pilot jackets. These watches were the B-Uhr, first produced with Type A dials (Baumuster A) and then Type B (Baumuster B). Laco manufactured nearly 6,500 of them between 1940 and 1945. The chronographs that interest us never saw the light of day at that time; only Hanhart and Tutima produced them and with a very different design. The Kiel.2, following a model produced in limited edition, are a evolution of B-Uhr with a Type A dial, or emphasizing the hours at the level of the indexes punctuating the circumference of the dial, with one of the most popular complications: the chronograph.
The strong points
The Flieger is a style exercise that Laco masters perfectly. After all, it’s been his job for nearly a century. From the grip, we recognize the German style or rather the rigor of manufacture in the rules of the art. His finishes are worth the price with different brushes, a polished bezel base to add a zest of complexity as well as a touch of elegance that can also be found at the case back. Her technical sheet is irreproachable and the readability is unsurprisingly excellent. We love it large onion crownits sporty push-buttons and above all its flame blued hands with superb jet blue reflections. An old-fashioned technique that gets lost in this price segment. We also appreciate the subtle variation of SuperLumiNova depending on the model, either C3 on the black background to match the cream tint of the day indexes, then the use of C1 with a white day finish to blend in better with the decor of the white dial. Another interesting point, the Laco Kiel.2 are water resistant to 100 meters, making the use of the steel bracelet even more useful. The latter is also very comfortable due to its 5-link architecture with a small buckle making it discreet on the wrist. Finally, and this is a great strength, Laco offers many options at the level of the movement, engravings (middle or oscillating weight), anti-reflective coating on the glass then the date disc (English or German).
What we regret
It’s hard to denigrate a watch with such a well-mastered style. The only real criticism that could be leveled at him would be in terms of its sizealthough it is true that these are fairly common dimensions for pilot’s watches. 43mm in diameterit’s not for everyone, that’s for sure, especially with a lug to lug length of 51.5mm, which is huge. This is also the problem with chronographs because these moves are thick, which is generally compensated or rather rebalanced by enlarging the other proportions of the watch. Since the execution is very good, we would love to see more contained versions that would fit perfectly on small wrists (and the caliber allows it). Despite everything, everything is so well balanced that the watch is completely logical to wear, it does not look disproportionate.
Our opinion on these Laco watches
We always had much affection for Laco, by their history but also by their perseverance to exercise a style in the rules of the art. Not to mention that the brand has never tried to copy/paste anyone. Some models are completely unique, and others unfortunately have disappeared. As with all the brand’s models, and we know them well, these two Kiel.2s are well executed and their price is also excellent. Those are rugged watches driven by a reliable automatic movement, the SW500 being based on the famous Valjoux 7750. With a price of €2,190 on leather and €2,290 on steel bracelet, almost all of the right boxes are checked. The rest is a matter of taste…and size!
FEATURES – LACO KIEL.2 BLACK & WHITE
Case: stainless steel – brushed & satin finish – 43mm wide x 51.5mm long x 14mm thick – sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment – transparent back – water resistance 10 ATM (100 meters)
Dial: matt white or black background – printed Arabic numerals & minute scale – blued sword hands – SuperLumiNova C3 on hands and indexes on black background & SuperLumiNova C1 on hands then in the cardinal points on a white dial
Movement : automatic – Laco 500 caliber (Sellita SW500 Elaboré) – 56-hour power reserve – 28,800 vibrations per hour (3Hz) – 25 jewels – Incabloc shockproof – ball bearing rotor – stop-seconds function – 30mm wide x 7 .9mm high – hours, minutes, seconds, day, date and chronograph
Bracelet : calfskin with rivets – 22/20mm fitted cut – black satin surface & beige backing – white stitching & boat point – brushed finish pin buckle clasp – optional 5-link stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
Information: references 862153, 862148, 862153.MB & 862148.MB – unlimited edition – available in partner stores and on the official Laco website – 2-year warranty – €2,190 including tax on leather and €2,290 including tax on steel