Laco Aachen Review (Type-B)
Laco Aachen Review (Type-B)
Laco is a german watch manufacturer founded in 1925 by Frieda Lacher and Ludwig Hummel. Early in their history Laco began manufacturing Fliegeruhren, or Pilot’s watches, that eventually caught the attention of the German military. With this attention came contracts from the German Airforce to manufacture the infamous Beobachtungsuhren watches for bombers during WWII.
Designed by the Reichs-Luftfahrtministerium, Laco wasn’t directly responsible for the design of the watches, only the manufacturing. After the end of WWII Laco, like many other German watch manufacturers began reproducing flieger watches under their own brand, experimenting with slight design variations and manufacturing techniques that led directly to the commercially available offerings today.
If you visit Laco’s website you’ll find an overwhelming amount of flieger watch variations, each with their own unique names, but today we will be focusing on one of their more popular watches, the Laco Aachen Type-B.
The crystal is a very slightly domed sapphire that sits below the edge of the case. The Aachen has a sapphire display caseback as well, which is a nice bonus.
The case is 42mm in diameter and is made from stainless steel with a sandblasted matte finish on the bezel and lugs. Unlike the front, the case back uses polished stainless steel, which to me seems out of place with the matte finish on the rest of the watch. It is also rather thick at just over 12mm. This thickness is partly due to the deep recess created by the space above the dial and hands, and in part due to the thickness of the automatic Miyota movement.
The dial and hands have a nice balance in proportion. The dial is a slightly grey black, which is more noticeable in direct light. The indices and hands have a greenish hue to them due to the superluminova C3 paint. Some people dislike this, but to me it is a perfectly fine color, and is actually more in line with the original Luftwaffe watches. The hands aren’t blue like the original Beobachtungsuhren watches, and instead are painted black. This makes for a more crisp glow at night, but I still prefer the original blued hands.
Laco uses Superluminova C3 on the Aachen, and with thick type-b hands there is plenty of it. As with most Superluminova watches, they can be spectacularly bright, but are often not terribly long lived in their brightness. This is fine with me. If you want brightness Superluminova does the trick, if you want longevity you’re better off with Tritium gas tubes.
The crown on the Aachen is interesting. Unlike the usual onion crown that is thinner at the base and flairs out, the Aachen has more of a dome shaped crown that is wide at the base and rounded at its point. Where as the original shape was more convenient to grip with a gloved hand, this shape is probably more comfortable for daily use. I should point out that if this is a make it or break it feature for you, Laco does employ the traditional crown shape in its more expensive ETA based watches such as the Replica 45
The strap on the Aachen is aesthetically similar to the thick leather straps that define the Flieger watch style with thick brown rivited leather. The leather and craftsmanship on the strap are slightly lacking, but luckily the strap is the easiest part to replace on any watch. This one does the job, but I wouldn’t expect it to last long or age particularly well.
Movement & Accuracy:
The Aachen is listed as having the Laco 21 movement, which is really just a stock Miyota 8215 movement with a Laco branded rotor. There is nothing wrong with that in practice, in fact many many high end manufacturers do exactly the same thing, but it’s nice to know what you are actually buying. The movement itself is a 21,600BPH movement, meaning it ticks 6 times per second. The rotor winds in a single direction and spins freely in the other, the result being that it winds up more slowly and can sometimes be noisy. I didn’t personally notice much noise in the movement, but it is a complaint that many people have reported.
Laco has a rich and interesting history and makes a wide variety of watches to meet every price point. The Aachen is a very budget friendly watch with a direct lineage going all the way back to the very genesis of this design. If that is something that appeals to you, then this could be the watch to jump on. Every Laco watch comes with a 2 year warranty, and the fact that you can get them on amazon makes it an even safer purchase.Options
Laco produces a dizzying array of options for this design, from different dial colors, to movement options and case variations; too many to list here. Your best bet is to visit their website or download their catalog.Price
I hope you found this Laco Aachen Review helpful! Did I leave something out? Have something to add? Let me know in the comments.
- Great history
- Sapphire glass
- Very affordable
- Available on Amazon
- Lots of options available
- Noisy movement
- Strap is so-so
- Mismatched finishes
- Odd shaped crown