A stunning piece of military history from any angle you look at it, this is probably the best and most authentic example I have seen in a very long time. Please scroll down to read much more about the history and specifications of this rare aviator timepiece. I have made many photos of this watch, including macro close-up shots to give you the opportunity to enjoy the well maintained details of this exquisite example of military aviation. As with all military timepieces, nothing has been done to it [other than a light cleaning] to preserve its historic heritage and authenticity. The watch movement was serviced a few months ago. The plexus glass has not been polished and I have included photos to show that [I do not believe in such practice for historic timepieces]. As with all the watches we handle in-house here at the Localtime Spa, this too comes with a 6-month written warrantee from the date of purchase. Feel free to contact us for whatever questions you might have.
LACO [Lacher & Co. – Pforzheim, Deutschland] Beobachtungsuhr für die Deutsche Luftwaffe.
These watches were issued to the German Airforce pilots and bomber aircraft observers during WW2. The Laco-issued timepieces were assembled by Wempe [Hamburg] and carry Laco-Durowe movements [Durowe Cal. D5, 22j]. This particular timepiece has the serial # 127-560 B-1. The movement number # 5297 is correctly shown on the inside and outside of the case-back as well as the movement. The model Ref. # FL23883 [FL was the item identification label LuftwaffeFlugzeugtaile] is correctly shown on the inside of the case-back and on the side of the 55mm case [almost 65mm when counting the oversize crown that facilitated its use with aviator gloves]. Type FL 23883 were the models with a small hour indicator and large minutes, like this example. Similar watches were issued to the Luftwaffe by 14 different companies, among them A. Lange & Söhne. Very useful information about these historic watches can be found in Konrad Knirim’s invaluable book “Militäruhren”.
As with maritime navigation, aviation required the most precise watches possible in order to determine geographical longitude. Precise, robust and easily-read watches were ordered for air travel, to determine aircraft location and flight duration. Pilots needed watches that could be accurately and instantly read when both hands were being used to pilot the aircraft. Their navigation watch had to be worn on the arm, over their flight outfit. Luftwaffe high Command gave exact instructions regarding operating precision and the degree of movement completion required.
Before being delivered, every single watch had to be tested and given operating certification by the German Naval Observatory. The fine adjustment of each watch had to be conducted in 6 positions and at 3 varying temperatures. LACO [Lacher & Co.] was one of the 5 brands [the other four being IWC, A. Lange & Söhne, Wempe and Walter Stolz] whose watches were regulated as navigation watches and individually tested for chronometer-quality in Gersundbrunnen, near Glashütte.
The watch movements were uniformly cased in 55mm diameter, grey varnished brass or steel housings with snap-on back cover. Printed on the inside of the case-back was the type, device and movement numbers, stock no. and the producer’s name. The dial faces were black with large luminous Arabic numerals and minute and second indicators. The hour, minute and second hands were coated with Radium. The second hand had a counter-weight. All watches also had a balance-stop function for a more accurate time setting and synchronisation.