Pi­lot watches with pedi­gree

Laco Ata­cama ‘mil­i­tary’ model, RRP €930

Pilot - - BOOKS & GEAR - PW

The Ed­i­tor has a weak­ness for nice watches, and Ger­man man­u­fac­turer Laco’s dis­play at­tracted his eye at Aero Friedrichs­hafen ear­lier this year. Based in the Black For­est town of Pforzheim, the com­pany has a his­tory that stretches back to 1925. Laco earned its fame in man­u­fac­tur­ing for the Luft­waffe the leg­endary 55mm sized ‘ob­ser­va­tion watch’, be­ing one of only five firms li­censed to pro­duce it in the 1940s. Peak­ing with more than 1,200 em­ploy­ees in the 1960s, Laco was counted as one of Ger­many’s largest watch man­u­fac­tur­ers. To­day, a small team con­tin­ues mak­ing watches with the motto that it is ‘qual­ity that counts in pro­duc­tion, not quan­tity’. Less well known in the UK, to­day’s prod­ucts range from pi­lot and navy watches, through to chrono­graphs and the purist Clas­sic Line.

New for this au­tumn is the Ata­cama, orig­i­nally de­vel­oped for the Ger­man Army and spe­cial units. This new edi­tion is aimed at ‘emer­gency forces, po­lice, mil­i­tary and those who love out­door ac­tiv­i­ties,’ ac­cord­ing to Laco. It cer­tainly has some fea­tures that suit it to a hard life. The crown – gen­er­ally an ob­ject all too eas­ily snagged on cloth­ing and sharp edges - has been in­te­grated into the watch strap at the twelve o´clock po­si­tion, en­closed within a niche in the ‘dou­ble joint’ be­tween the case and strap.

The ro­tat­ing bezel has a count­down num­ber­ing. ‘This is par­tic­u­larly use­ful when co­or­di­nat­ing joint de­ploy­ments, claims Laco. Handy for any rocket launch one might be in­volved in too…

The Ata­cama uses a self-wind­ing Laco 24 au­to­matic move­ment, based on the Swiss cal­i­bre ETA 2824.2. Sap­phire crys­tals, front and re­verse, pro­tect the face and move­ment (and it’s al­ways nice to be able to see the works of a me­chan­i­cal watch). The screw-down crown en­sures wa­ter re­sis­tance of up to 50 ATM, which en­sures it will keep work­ing in typ­i­cal (well, maybe not this au­tumn) British weather con­di­tions.

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