When it comes to pilot watches – specifically, Flieger-spec pilot watches – Laco is a name that many are likely very familiar with, and their designs are recongnizeable, in that they follow the specifications set out some time ago for the various Fliegers. Their latest, however, is supposed to be a Type C, and is a design that I do not think I have ever seen before. Or, if nothing else, the Laco Spirit of St. Louis is a less-common style of Flieger.
In some ways, the Laco Spirit of St. Louis is almost unrecognizable as a pilot’s watch. Sure, you have the crisp white on black dial, ensuring legibility is there. The handset is a good bit different, as are the more usual elements of the dial. For example, we have a sub-seconds register, but it is actually up above the center spindle. Combine that with the crown position (over at 10 o’clock), a clever mind will realize that the movement was rotated around in the case to get to this register and crown configuration.
Aside from being visually striking, it also means the crown of the Laco Spirit of St. Louis is in no danger of digging into your wrist. Perhaps not a major concern for a 42mm case, but we’ll consider it a value-add for the overall design. What really caught my eye about the design was the handset. The hands have similar diamond shapes to them, though the hour hand is shorter and wider, making it easy to differentiate the two. The hour hand is also a good bit longer than we are used to seeing on a Flieger (well, the minute hand is as well), again mixing up what we might come to expect.
For me, that really is the story of the Laco Spirit of St. Louis. It may have started from a specification, but it ends up looking – to my eyes – like a more refined take of the classic Flieger, resulting in a watch that not only honors the first trans-Atlantic flight, but also finely walks the line between a more casual sport (or tool) watch, and one that will not stand out at the office. Powered by the automatic Laco 18 movement, the Laco Spirit of St. Louis can be had for €498; for those outside the EU, dropping VAT from the equation nets a price of around $436, depending on currency conversion. I know that I like this variant, but please do let us know in the comments what your thoughts are on this Type C Flieger. laco.de
- Brand & Model: Laco Spirit of St. Louis
- Price: €498 ($436 if outside the EU)
- Who we think it might be for: You’re looking for a clean pilot’s watch that, well, doesn’t quite look like a pilot’s watch
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Yeah, this one is curious enough I would consider it
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: As mentioned in the writeup, it’s the elongated handset
Tech Specs from Laco
- Movement: automatic movement Laco 18
- Case: stainless steel, mat sandblasted, black PVD plated, crown between 10 and 11 h, diameter 42 mm, height 12,8 mm, Saphire crystal, waterproof up to 5 ATM, 20 mm lug width
- Dial: numbers and figures with Superluminova C3, small second at 12h
- Hands: hands filled with Superluminova C3
- Strap: grey Nato strap, 20 mm lug width