Why GMT watches are better when they come from a brand with aviation heritage: The Laco Frankfurt GM
As you might noticed one of the most popular complications/trends in watches today is the GMT, not so long ago this trend was even hotter than the steel sports model craziness we have seen in the last 12 months. Almost everyone was trying to have a GMT in their line up and if you didn't then you were missing out, part of this mayhem was the Rolex GMT Master II which had the 2 trends that I've mentioned previously making it the grail watch for so many, don’t believe me then look at the prices on the secondary market (they are still strong). So ok, we had our fair offer of GMTs but the issue is that the vast majority was trying to imitate in some sort of way the GMT Master II and not only that but also brands started to design GMTs with out having in mind that this is a pilot oriented watch, we saw unidirectional bezels converted in 24 hour ones (sorry Christopher Ward) and diving companies making a GMT watch with chronographs like the Panerair Radiomir Chrono Monopulsante GMT, don’t get me wrong they are beautiful watches but it did felt like we lost the purity of this charismatic complication, if you are seeking for nostalgia then my article of the Glycine Airman GMT might be of your taste (shameless plug).
This bring us to the main topic of the review which is the Laco Frankfurt GMT. For Laco unlike others it feels like a natural progression to have a GMT watch on its line up, much more organic than other brands trying to fill a gap in their offerings and a result, the watch in my opinion is better executed than many not only in quality ( which is a given these days when we talk about German watches) but also in execution.
Before receiving the watch (thank you again Laco) I do what everyone does, go to website, check photos and look at dimensions. The first one I saw (naturally) was the 43mm case size, I have the tiniest wrists so how on earth will I be able to pull this? And then the inner rotating bezel, would it be good?
When I received the watch in its beautiful presentation box, the watch looked very well balanced and not big at all, with a lug to lug of 50 mm and a thickness of 12.5 mm on my 6.25 for some reason it felt just like home, then it was the internal rotating bezel, the clicks are crisp and precise as the German engineering fame, but the main attraction is the case. A dark grey sandblasted stainless steel case which looks very utilitarian and screams I am here to do work and not just pose, the back it's beautifully engraved with an aircraft relief motive too . You might also note that the seconds hand has a plane shape on the counter balance which completes the aviation theme without feeling cartoonish.
The two crowns which are screw down provide 20 ATM water resistance which is impressive for a pilots watch. I always thought that if you are a pilot you will spend quite a bit of flying time above water so if case of an emergency that waterproofness might come handy, but then again you will probably have other problems and your watch is the last thing you'll use to save your life.
On the wrist:
As mentioned the watch felt great, it was very solid but not as heavy and it looks like it can take a good beating (which I did not do with this model they sent us), but it has this reassuring construction feeling which is something that you like to have from a tool watch.
The watch is very legible, those big ''9'' and ''6'' really stand out to understand the time on a glance and the big hands are very easy to read. The lume on the watch is a torch, different colors on the Super-LumiNova (Green and Orange) make it easier to the eye in the dark, specially with that GMT hand.
This watch took me by surprise, I have been following Laco for a while now (we met at Baselwolrd last year) and I was very drawn into the Pilots Original models and forgot to look at what the brand is doing with modern pieces (mea culpa). All the details I've described above are very well executed, and there is a lot of them!! I even forgot to mentioned the date at 6 o'clock and the inner rotating bezel with two colors to distinguish the day from the night hours.
This brings me to the price which is 1.680 EUR, I believe this is a great value considering the overall case design, uniqueness and precision German engineering you get with Laco and in this watch.
What I like so much about this piece is that is that the heritage is there but is not something they are telling you all the time, you can really see it and feel it.
To make a reference and justice to the tittle of the publication, if the Frankfurt GMT was made by a company which did not have this great history in aviation I am sure that it wouldn’t be as well executed nor be the great piece that it is.
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