Laco introduces a new heritage Pilot watch – the München Erbstück, complete with namesake heirloom patina baked right into the case and dial.
Press Release information with historical information and commentary in italics.
Historical background and commentary
Laco Uhrenmanufaktur GmbH (or Lacher & Co) is a German watch manufacturer, founded in 1925 in Pforzheim by Frieda Lacher and Ludwig Hummel under the name Lacher & Co. The company was one of the original suppliers to the B-Uhr used in WWII. When the war began in 1939, the demand for pilot watches for military use was very high. The air forces of the warring parties had their own designs, and as governments do, tendered these with specifications out for manufacture and supply. The British had W.W.W, which was the abbreviation for Wrist.Watch.Waterprooof (and not world wide web) supplied by Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, amongst others. The Americans had the American A-11 watches, supplied by Bulova, Elgin, Hamilton and Waltham. And the Germans had their B-Uhr watches, supplied by A. Lange & Söhne, IWC, Laco, Stowa, and Wempe. Among the Germans, Wempe and Stowa used Swiss movements, and only Lange and Laco used in-house German manufactured movements.
The German Observer-Watch, or Beobachtungs-Uhren, became known as B-Uhr, and were originally designed for the Luftwaffe. The Reichluftfahrtsministerium (RLM), the “Ministry of Aviation” in 1933-1945 Germany, defined strict specifications for B-Uhren. There were two basic designs. The Type A (Baumuster-A), which had simple dials – hour markers from 1 to 11 and a triangle at 12 o’clock flanked by two small dots and an outer chapter ring marking the minutes and were made from 1940 to 1941. This was replaced by the Type B in 1941, and had a more complicated dial which included an inner ring with hour markers. The triangle at 12 o’clock looked like an arrow head and the two dots were eliminated. Both were housed in very large cases with soft iron cages for anti-magnetism and measured some 55mm.
B-Uhren (plural for B-Uhr) were the property of the Luftwaffe, and not the pilots. Before each flight, the watch was issued and had to be returned on completing the mission. The watches had chronometer level ratings, as accuracy was essential for navigation and target acquisition. And the watches had a hacking mechanism to be ensure that it could be synchronized to the standard time signal of the German Naval Observatory (Deutsche Seewarte). Legibility was guaranteed by the huge dial, and clear indicators and visibility in the dark aided by thick radium painted markers and hands. As a result, after the war, these watches became highly prized by collectors. Not only for its accuracy, but also for the reliability and ruggedness.
Chronographs were not regulated by the RLM, so were a bit more varied, though the formula for watches produced for the war made the WWII chronographs very similar. Most of the B-Uhr chronographs were produced by Tutima and Hanhart during the war and both featured a bi-compax dial layout. We are unclear if Lange or Laco had made these for the war effort. In addition to the time display, a rotating bezel with a marker (usually in red paint) was used to mark elapsed flight time (like a diver watch, but in reverse), and the chronograph had a flyback mechanism for precision timing.
The new Laco release is the style of the Type A B-Uhr with chronograph, which is probably not based on any historical chronograph used in WWII. But the design that Laco has chosen is an elaboration of the Type A B-Uhr with the chronograph added. The watch also features a day and date display (not present in the Hanhart nor Tutima chronographs), and had a tri-compax 12/9/6 chronograph layout typical of the Valjoux 7750 movement. Note the authentic 1 to 11 hour markers in Arabic numerals and the triangle with two small dots, indicative of the Type A B-Uhr origins. Of course SuperLuminova is used in place of radium.
The Erbstück is a special implementation of the base München with elaboration of hand patina. This is what makes this watch more interesting to us, is that for the Erbstück (German for Heirloom), Laco has taken the trouble to hand patina the dial, hands, and the case. Even the strap takes on a patina. The entire ensemble looks like it was indeed a heirloom from the WWII, handed down, complete with wear and marks of use. This patina adds EUR 1,000 to the retail price.
We have requested for a sample to be loaned to us for examination, handling and photography. Understandably, as this a limited Edison of only 30 pieces, Laco proposed to send the regular edition München. We will report back with our hands-on comprehensive review once we have spent some time with the watch.
Laco München Erbstück
Limited edition of 30 pieces, each unique because of the patina process. Retail is set at EUR 2,990 inclusive of VAT and worldwide shipping. With options to upgrade the movement (Valjoux 7750) finishing and for additional anti-reflection treatment on the outside of the sapphire glass (anti-reflection on the inside of the glass is standard), and an English day display instead of the standard German.
Since the end of last year, the special edition model “München” from the German watch manufacturer Laco has been delighting numerous collectors and watch lovers around the globe. From November, the pilot chronograph will now also be presented as an exclusive limited edition of only 30 pieces in the Laco “Erbstück” (means: heirloom) look. Small scratches, discolorations and signs of wear invites you on a journey into the past, the aging process developed by Laco nevertheless captures the spirit of the times, because the retro trend is unbroken in the world of watches.
Unique timepieces with heritage charisma
The design is once again inspired by the long history of the company, known for manufacturing the famous pilot and observation watches in the 1940s. While the look is faithful to the legendary models, the technology and features are up to date. Thanks to a special manual surface treatment specially developed and perfected by Laco, this model brings authentic vintage flair to the wrist. This special “aging process” makes each of the only 30 pieces unique. From the case to the dial with hands to the leather strap – all components are “aged” by hand with great attention to detail. This gives each watch an incomparable, individual finish with the authentic appearance of times gone by and makes it a must-have for lovers of exclusive and individual timepieces.
Maximum function & minimalist design
The black instrument-look dial displays the day of the week and the date at 3 o’clock, in addition to the totalizers for the stop and add time measurements. However, thanks to the discreetly kept totalizers and the thermally blued, as well as Superluminova covered hands, the appearance of a classic pilot’s watch is maintained. Inside the Laco München Erbstück beats the chronograph caliber Laco 50 with automatic winding, which is based on the proven Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750. The exceptional stainless steel case with a diameter of 42 mm undoubtedly leaves a lasting impression on the viewer with its extravagant patina. On the closed back is the engraving of the historical observation watches, and additionally the marking with the limitation number. The high-quality, closed leather strap with rivets in pilot style also goes back to the roots of the “big” pilot watches. The watch set is completed by a noble outer packaging, as well as a certificate of authenticity.
Each of the only 30 pieces shows the extraordinary reminiscence of the early times of aviation, combined with the discreet technical flair of modern chronographs. The “München Erbstück” will be available from October at a price of 2,990 euros.
Laco München Erbstück Specifications
- Pilot watch with stainless steel case, elaborately hand-finished in an antique look
- Ø 42,3 mm, height 14,7 mm, lug width 20 mm, water resistant up to 5 ATM, double curved sapphire crystal with antireflecting coating, stainless steel case-back, sidewise marking „FL 23883“, case-back with B-Uhr marking, crown execution according original B-Uhr, engraved limited edition number on the case back, every watch case is absolutely unique
- Automatic chronograph movement Laco 50, basic movement ETA Valjoux 7750, day / date, second, minute an hour counter
- Black mat dial, arabic fi gures and indexes with luminous material Superluminova C3, totalizers and day / date grey, matching to the case in an antique look, individually aged in elaborate handwork
- Hour, minute and centre second with luminous material Superluminova C3, small hands grey, all hands elaborately
- Brown, closed calf leather strap, 2 rivets per band side, antique look, stainless steel buckle, 20 mm lug width
- Weight: approx. 110 g
- Wooden box with cardboard packing, including certifi cate of authenticity
- Estimated date of delivery: November 2021