Launch Review : Laco Augsburg Oliv 42 and Aachen Oliv 42

This week Laco launched two new limited edition watches, the Augsburg Oliv 42 and the Aachen Oliv 42.  Both watches are limited to 250 pieces.  They feature dark olive coloured dials and 42mm steel cases which are PVD coated with a bronze patina effect.  The Augsburg has a Type A dial and the Aachen has a Type B dial.  The dial types hark back to the original Reich Ministry of Aviation specifications and are both classic flieger designs. 

 

The 42mm watch cases are water resistant to 5 ATM.  They have sapphire crystal both over the dial and the caseback, so if you flip the watches over you can see the Laco 21 (Miyota 821A) movements in action. 

Traditionally a flieger would have blued hands, but Laco have chosen to use matte black hands, which I think is a sensible choice, they complement the dark olive dial well.  The hands, indices and arabic numerals all use Superluminova “Old Radium”.  Based on my previous experience with the Laco Munchen and the press photos I anticipate that the lume will be very good. 

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The watches are both supplied on an olive green calf leather strap which features light stitching, traditional rivets and a buckle also in the faux patina bronze finish.  The RRP of these watches is 440€/540$.  

So what are my initial thoughts based on the press photos and press release?  If you have read some of my previous articles then you will know that I am a fan of a green watch.  I think it is a colour that can look understated or vibrant depending on the shade chosen and the light at any given time.  It is also a colour that is fairly easy to match with a casual outfit.  I like the look of the dark olive that Laco have chosen for the Augsburg and Aachen, it is subdued and certainly goes well with the old military aesthetic of these watches.  I also like the fact that they are simple three handers, with no date or complications.  They look clean, traditional and functional.   

 

The bronze patina PVD coating on the cases reminds me of the Spinnaker Wreck but the overall look is less extreme.  I can see the appeal of this kind of coating if you like the bronze patina look on watches, but either don’t want to wait for the patina to develop or don’t want to force the patina on a bronze watch. 

I suspect that the PVD coating method is more consistent and hard wearing than actual bronze patina, but this would be very dependent on the thickness of the application.  I am certainly a fan of a bronze watch, and I have enjoyed seeing the patina develop on my Tudor Black Bay Bronze over the last four and a half years, but for someone that wants the bronze patina look straight out of the watch box and wants the patina to remain fixed I can certainly see the advantage of this PVD option.  

I think the olive green strap looks like a good match for the watches and based on my previous experience with the Laco Munchen I anticipate that it will be well made – thick, but flexible and comfortable to wear.  I think the matching hardware makes for a very consistent package.  If you never changed the strap I wouldn’t be surprised at all.  Having said that I do think that both these watches could be strap monsters.  I can imagine them on tan leather, bund straps, green or grey natos, camo cordura…  There are lots of great strap options out there.  

Overall I think that the Augsburg Oliv 42 and Aachen Oliv 42 look like a good pair of watches.  Laco have created watches with a vintage patina look that doesn’t feel too extreme or overdone.  They look like they have been used but not abused.  The look is very coherent, simple and functional.  I am often impressed by the variety of watches that Laco produces while staying true to the traditional flieger design.  These are watches with a lot of the hallmarks of a flieger and a well considered nod to some of the current watch trends – bronze cases and green dials.  Given that they are also limited editions I can definitely see how they could be a good addition to a watch collection.