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Hands-on with a 55mm Laco Type-A

Posted: July 31st 2018, 8:53am
by koimaster
From 2012 -

I’ve written before about early ‘navigators’ watches’ such as the Longines Weems Second Setting watch and the Longines Lindbergh. Today, I bring to you a modern version of a very different type of pilots’ watch, with its roots in Germany.

When World War II broke out navigators’ watches, which had become an important military tool, were put into full production. It is believed that A. Lange & Söhne, the principal supplier of the time, could not deliver the watches in time in the quantities required, so the German government recruited four other companies to aid production. The five companies that were assigned to build the watches were A.Lange & Sohne, International Watch Company (IWC), Laco, Stowa and Wempe.

Called ‘B-uhr’ watches, derived from the German ‘Beobachtungs-uhr’ meaning ‘observation watch’, they are also now more commonly known as pilots’ watches. Plotting precise locations during flights was the job of the Beobachter, or observer, who wore a watch over his flight jacket so that it could always be referred to quickly, at a glance.

The core design principles of the B-uhr watch were the 55mm diametre (pocket watch movements of the era were around 42mm-46mm), that it be anti-magnetic, have Arabic numerals, a hacking centre seconds hand, large onion or diamond shaped crowns to allow for easy adjustment when wearing gloves, and a long double riveted buffalo strap to be worn over thick pilot’s jackets (the rivets were used to adjust for different wrist sizes) as mentioned above. In addition, a triangle marker at 12 o’clock with two dots on both sides was required for easy dial orientation during night flight or bad weather conditions. ... co-type-a/