Monochrome Watches
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The New Laco Oliv 39 are Cool-Looking, Affordable Pilot’s Watches with Historical Relevance

A pair of cool looking pilot’s watches, with real heritage, for enthusiasts on a budget.

| By Robin Nooy | 3 min read |

Pilot watches are renowned for their legibility, an important factor when engaging in a dogfight in mid-air. You have to be able to read time at a glance in such lairy situations. And even though dogfights are very much a thing of the past, the style has remained ever popular. There are lots of brands offering a personal take on the concept of a Flieger watch, but not that many with real-life credibility such as German watch manufacturer Laco. It was, after all, one of only 5 brands to supply B-Uhren to the German Luftwaffe. Even today there’s something about those historically inspired Flieger watches, as the new Laco Augsburg Oliv 39 and Aachen Oliv 39 Limited Editions prove once more.

The Augsburg and Aachen collection both rely on two very distinct types of Flieger designs. On one hand, we have the more typical clean layout of the Augsburg, modelled after the (in)famous B-Uhr Type-A. The other, named the Aachen, takes after the B-Uhr Type-B and comes with the trademark inner hour scale. Both watches rely on the standard criteria for B-Uhren, issued in the mid-1930s.

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While at first, you might expect bronze cases, the Augsburg Oliv 39 and Aachen Oliv 39 use stainless steel for their exterior components. Both have been given an aged, bronze-coloured coating though, for that little extra touch of utilitarianism (at least in looks). At 39mm across and 11.5mm in height, both should fit just about anyone’s wrist petty good. The crown has a domed design, with knurling on the edge for extra grip. A sapphire crystal covers both the dial and the movement.

In terms of dials, the Augsburg and Aachen are faithful interpretations of the designs specified for the original Beobachtunsuhren. The Augsburg Oliv 39 is the “cleanest” of the two, with Old Radium Super-LumiNova coated hands and indices on a matte olive green dial. The Aachen Oliv 39 differentiates through its shorter hour hand, and separate scales for both the hours and minutes.

Laco offers a range of mechanical movements in pretty much all its collections, with prices depending on the selected calibre. Coming in at the more affordable end of the spectrum, the Augsburg Oliv 39 and Aachen Oliv 39 are powered by a Miyota 821A, an updated version of the well-known and reliable Miyota 8215. The biggest difference between the two lies within the level of finishing, with the 8215’s finishing basically being non-existent and the 821A’s best labelled as basic. Regardless, it does its job and does it well. It runs at a frequency of 21,600vph and offers a power reserve of 42 hours.

The Laco Augsburg Oliv 39 and Aachen Oliv 39 are both worn on an olive green calfskin leather strap with bronze-coloured rivets and pin buckle. Only 250 pieces of each one will be available, at a very reasonable price of EUR 440. For people looking for an interesting, reasonably sized pilot’s watch with genuine heritage on a budget, these are hard to pass up.

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