Doomsday preppers and the most hardcore of watch collectors are in for a real treat. German watch manufacturer Laco is doubling down on the success of its Atacama.2 by introducing the Atacama Quarz UTC. It’s a more affordable and focused watch with a new trick up its sleeve: GMT functionality. Primarily known for their excellent pilot watches, Laco has collaborated closely with German soldiers, firefighters, and other action-oriented professionals to hone their “Squad and Sport” timepieces. It only takes a glance to understand.
You can learn a lot about this watch in its name. It’s still an Atacama, which means it shares the same PVD-coated treatment, date complication, rubber strap, unidirectional bezel, and matte dial as the Atacama.2. But now it’s powered by quartz, “Quarz” in German, and features an independent GMT – or UTC – hand. The new watch is 46mm in diameter, but the Ronda 515 GMT quartz movement inside has enabled Laco to slim the watch down to 10.5mm with a “contact area” of just 34mm. This is also in part due to the conical shape of the case, allowing the watch to feel much smaller and comfortable on the wrist than its maximum diameter may suggest.
The use of black PVD-coating and generous amounts of lume on the hands, dial, and bezel result in a watch that is supremely legible to its wearer while remaining subdued to would-be onlookers (or enemies). The crown at twelve o-clock is integrated into and protected by the articulating lugs. Down from 50 atm on the Atacama.2, the UTC still remains water resistant to 20 atm. This is a tough watch, and it looks the part.
One of the most overly romanticized aspects of watch collecting and ownership is the notion that watches are true tools. While that was certainly true over the last century, there is an argument that watches today aren’t primarily tools first; rather they are stylistic and expressive objects that happen to be practical, durable, and useful. Every now and then, though, we find ourselves staring down a watch so singularly resolved for utility that we fall for the magic all over again. The Atacama Quarz UTC just might be one of those watches.
The new Laco Atacama Quarz UTC is available now for presale from Laco and authorized dealers for $640, and delivery is expected in mid-October. Learn more at laco-watches.com.