Seeing Blue With The New Laco Flieger Limited - Topper Edition
The Bay Area retailer introduces an accessibly priced lacquer dial Pilot’s watch with unique heat blued hands and indices.
A few months ago, I sat with Rob Caplan of Topper Jewelers and he told me that he had something special brewing with Laco, a German watchmaker. I’ll admit, my knowledge about the brand wasn’t extraordinarily high. But as the months went on, Caplan would call and text from time to time with the same three-word message, “Laco is coming!”
As you’ve read on Watchonista previously (HERE, HERE, and HERE), Caplan is a meticulous historian and ardent purveyor of unique concepts for his clients. His collaboration with Laco is no different. In keeping with the color motifs of previous ‘Topper Editions’, the new Laco Flieger introduced this past weekend at Topper’s Burlingame store is a Topper Edition through and through.
Introducing The Laco Flieger Limited - Topper Edition
As the eight ‘Topper Edition’ this new Laco Flieger is the result of a year-long collaboration between Caplan and Laco Watches. What started as a Baselworld discussion between Laco’s US distributor Chad Tsagris and Caplan turned into a fully-fledged Topper Edition with the support of Laco’s Head of Sales Sebastian Maziossek.
Since 1925, Laco has been renowned for its Pilot’s watches. Laco has been in continuous operation for nearly a century and yet, this new Topper Edition is unlike anything the brand has produced before. Maziossek explained how the relationship between Topper and Laco came about, “Rob came to us at Baselworld with an idea that he had in mind, Chad and myself thought, “yes we can do that” and we soon found out that it would be quite challenging to make.”
This 42mm Pilot’s watch pays homage to historic Flieger Pilot’s watches. At first glance, all of the traditional Pilot’s watch design codes are present. But what sets this watch apart from other Pilot’s watches are the hands and indices. For possibly the first time, Laco has managed to produce a watch with heat blued indices. Where previously, the brand has included only heat blued hands.
While Laco has long been known for their Flieger Pilot’s Watches, the brand has never produced something like this Topper Edition. Which as I learned, the new hands/indices combination was harder to produce than anticipated. As Caplan explained, “I always had a dream about making a certain type of Pilot’s watch. Which is a Pilot’s watch with heated blue indices. I wanted a watch which was so different and so unique. The Laco guys said, “sure we can do that!” but after six months of development, the watch almost didn’t happen.”
Chad Tsagris went on to reveal how challenging this project was, “We were almost to the point where we were going to call Rob and say “there’s a reason why no one has done this”, but in the end, we worked with our German steel provider to make something truly special.”
About The Laco Flieger Limited - Topper Edition
This manually-wound Pilot’s watch is powered by a Laco 98 movement which is based on the ETA 6498. The movement design resembles that of a vintage pocket watch. The movement is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback and features Elaboré and perlage finishing.
The stainless steel Laco Flieger Limited – Topper edition is sized at 42.5mm, with 22mm lugs (49.8mm lug-to-lug, 10.7mm thick). The piece is water resistant to 100 meters or 10atm. Each piece will come fitted to a dark brown leather strap with stainless steel buckle.
The biggest talking point of this piece is assuredly the dial. A rich lacquer dial is accented with a running seconds at 6 o’clock. The stars of the show, the heat-blued hands and indices complete this compelling offering. At first glance, these elements appear black, but when exposed to sunlight, low light, or just from the right angle, the hands and hour markers explode with a bright blue hue. After spending some time with the piece, the result is actually quite stunning.
When I asked Caplan why he chose Laco to make his dream Flieger watch, he responded, “I think the best way to describe Laco is that they’re like a classical musician that does amazing Jazz solos. On the one hand, they have traditional pilot’s watches, but on the other hand, they’re willing to be creative and push boundaries.”
How to purchase
Laco Flieger Limited - Topper Edition is limited to 100 pieces and is only available from Topper Jeweler’s Burlingame store or via the retailers website. The piece is priced at $1,895 USD. Topper and Laco expect to start deliveries February of 2020.
(Photography by Watchonista)