Laco has introduced new versions of their Genf and Zürich pilot’s watches, two aviation inspired watches that hew fairly closely to tradition. Part of the appeal of a pilot’s watch, particularly those in the German “flieger” style seen here, is the almost relentless simplicity. Dark dials with high contrast hands and numerals, upsized everything for increased legibility, and reliable movements befitting of a tool that pilot’s rely on to do their oftentimes dangerous jobs. The Genf and Zürich meet that criteria easily, and offer an additional level of authenticity coming from Laco, a brand that traces their roots to 1925, and has a long history of producing watches to German military spec.
These new versions of the Genf and Zürich are fairly simple to understand even if you’re not already a flieger enthusiast. The Genf takes the iconic type A dial design consisting of Arabic numerals at every hour except 12:00, which is marked by a triangle flanked by two dots and adds plenty of green Superuminova and oversized flieger hands. The Zürich uses the type B design, which prioritizes a large outer minutes display over a smaller hour track on an inner ring. There’s plenty of lume here as well, and Laco’s decision to not go with the tan, radium colored lume should please the always vocal contingent of enthusiasts who don’t go in for that sort of thing. On a watch like this, it can certainly be argued that the underlying design is vintage inspired enough, and the use of tan lume might be pouring it on a bit thick.
The new Genf and Zürich models seen here have been reduced in size compared to the previous iteration of these same watches, and measure just 40mm in diameter with a thickness of 9mm. Those are modest proportions for a pilot’s watch, which are historically on the larger side, not necessarily conforming to generational size trends. Laco, indeed, produced enormous 55mm pilot’s watches in the early days of the company, meant to be strapped to the outside of a flight suit. There seems to be a recognition here that smaller proportions for pilot’s watches equal greater wearability for those of us who don’t spend a considerable amount of time airborne, and the classic dial layouts of these watches are something everyone can benefit from, pilot or not.
Retail price on these watches is a competitive $320, a figure made possible by the use of Ronda quartz movements (both the Genf and Zürich are available in date or no date configurations, making use of the Ronda 503 and Ronda 505 respectively). The watches are equipped with sapphire crystals and are water resistant to 50 meters, making these solid, inexpensive everyday options, as long as your everyday routine doesn’t have you waterlogged for extended periods of time. The Genf and Zürich are expected to begin shipping this month. Laco