History is an important part of my fascination towards watches. Today we are presented to timepieces and brands mostly on the World Wide Web, through fancy homepages, flashy commercials and social media. The evolution is inevitable and when living in a time where the next purchase is just a click away, knowing where it all started, the journey through decades, crisis and flourishing epochs is almost as important as the watch itself. For me to buy a watch impulsively is pretty much out of the question. I need to know the brand, the story and the people behind it. Even if it’s a 200-year-old mammoth or a freshman producing his or her first watch, there is always a reason and story behind a watch.
Laco has a very rich history, from when the company was founded in 1925 by Frieda Lacher and Ludwig Hummel, through Deutsche Uhren Rohwerke (Durowe), Erich Lacher, the second world war, where most of Pforzheim were destroyed, the rebuild of the facilities, the Timex-connection, the quartz-crisis, the revival of Laco in the eighties, the insolvency in 2009 ending up with a short marriage with Kienzle before heading back to the roots, making high-quality and good-looking watches in a non-industrial scale.
Being one of the five companies (Laco, A. Lange & Söhne, Wempe, Stowa and IWC) that produced watches for Luftwaffe under the second world war, the classic flieger has been, and is, a big part of Laco’s trademark. Still, behind the well-known pilot watches, Laco has a quite big catalogue, from chronographs, navy watches, squad and sport watches, classics, limited editions and modern versions of vintage pearls.
The watch I have been testing for a while is the Laco Atlantik RB from the Scorpion collection. For me, this watch is on the tip of the spear of modern Laco, pushing forward towards a new segment of customers. The Squad watches have been around for a while, with models as Tundra, Atakama, Ocean, Seven Seas etc., and with the Scorpion series, Laco brings another “softness” to the table. Don’t get me wrong, the watches are definitely not soft, but compared to the distinctive design of the other watches in the Squad segment, these watches have a design that I think will suit the masses very well.
The Himalaya, Amazonas, Mojave and Atlantik are similar in the build-up but differs in colors to point out that the watches are ready for activities in any environment, from the mountains to the jungle, desert and ocean. The variety of colors, the strap options, being able to upgrade the movement and having the watch engraved, makes it very likely that anybody can find a favorite that suits their lifestyle and mood.
You might think the first thing that hits you when opening the black leather box is the bright blue rubber nato strap and details on the dial, but this time something else caught my interest; the smell. I can’t remember having experienced the smell of a new watch like this before. I got the same sensation as sitting in a brand-new car or opening a box with a pair of new leather sneakers inside. The delicious scent of vanilla and rubber instantly puts my mind into a mood where the beach and summer activities are right around the corner. I’ll admit that my best years as a beachboy have gone by and you’ll probably find me near the swimming pool, accompanied by a drink and a magazine, but the Laco Atlantik makes me want to run back to the waves, proud to wear a watch that matches the pale blue upper body that has been hidden away since last summer.
Behind the vanilla and summer vibes, the Atlantik offers a ton of toughness and functionality. The rugged, unidirectional bezel is a pleasure to operate with its heavily grooved edge. From dead-center at twelve, the sixty clicks around feels very firm and solid. The large screw-down crown is in the same category, very easy to turn due to its grippy surface. Being quite flat, the crown is nicely hidden between the crown protectors when screwed in.
Beneath the double domed sapphire crystal, treated with anti-reflective coating on the underside, is where the real fun begins. Lime-green, blue and white indexes, numerals and hands on a matt, black dial is just as eye-catching as the readability is great. Add the vanilla flavor from the matching 20mm rubber nato strap and I’m two seconds away from wanting to taste the watch.
In the dark, the Superluminova C3 and Superluminova Blue glow like a small powerplant. The indexes, on both dial and bezel insert, the hour-, minute- and second-hand are generously painted, resulting in a color show as soon as darkness appears. The fully painted hands are particularly interesting to observe as they add a lot of depth to the dial when glowing.
I thought lume was something that belonged mainly to the young and restless, but with the Atlantik on the wrist I’ll front the possible fact that proper lume can be a cure to the midlife crisis.
The watch measures 42mm across and 50,5mm from lug to lug. Add a height of 13,5mm and you know this is not a watch that will slip easily under the sleeve. For me, the rugged bezel with the quite slim insert makes the watch appear larger. If I didn’t know, I would have called this out as a 44mm. Even if it’s a well-sized watch, with some weight to it, it sits smoothly on the wrist, even if the blue rubber nato strap lifts it a bit compared to a two-piece strap.
The polished scorpion relief on the caseback is another sweet detail, popping out from the brushed background. If you study the Scorpion closely, you’ll see the effort Laco has put into making it sharp, shiny and delicious.
Inside you’ll find the Laco 24 movement, using an ETA 2824-2 (Elaboré) with 17 jewels as base. It is more than ready to do its job as it is, or it can be upgraded to the top-grade version for even more accuracy. The water resistance is set to 30 atmospheres, making it suitable for some serious ocean activities.
After wearing this watch for a couple of weeks I have found one issue. Even if my mind is always on the hunt for parts that could be improved or changed, this time I have only one issue; the blue rubber nato strap. It’s one of the parts that make the Atlantik what it is, but after some time with the vanilla-flavored strap on the wrist, I think the scent is too strong. Maybe I’m a bit sensitive, but the smell sticks to my clothes and arm for a long time after using the watch. Another thing is that the textured rubber makes it impossible to tuck away the spare part of the strap after you have fitted it onto your wrist, and you’ll end up with a loose and fiddly end. This issue will only occur if you have thin wrists like me and can be fixed by trimming the tip to a suitable length.
So, to finish off this review, I’ll stick to the only issue found a bit more. That’s because this highlights one of the key factors that makes the Atlantik, and the rest of the Scorpion series, brilliant; the versatility. If the rubber nato strap isn’t your thing, you can choose the two-piece rubber or bracelet. If the blue details don’t suit your style, choose the Mojave with the orange details, the Amazonas with the green or the Himalaya with the white. If you are obsessed with accuracy, choose to upgrade the movement. If you want to personalize your watch, add the free engraving option Laco offers.
Whatever style or activity you prefer, Laco, with this robust and versatile all-round sport watch, has made it easy to find the watch that suits you. Wrap one onto your wrist, get out and discover the environments!