This post is an edited and expanded version of content first published on 31/05/2020.
If you are in the market for a tough, legible GMT watch from a brand rich with heritage, look no further than Laco’s new Frankfurt GMT, part of the company’s evolution from its bread and butter World War II-era military watches. It is the recent recipient of a Red Dot design award, which we cited in our last weekly summary.
Measuring in at 43 mm in diameter and 12.5 mm high, the Frankfurt GMT has 20 mm between lugs, and 50 mm lug-to-lug. It is housed in a sandblasted dark grey stainless-steel case. In the example we show above, it matches the dial and bezel inside. It offers excellent finishes: edges are sharp, curves are smooth, and the case transitions well from section to section. The lugs are on the stubbier side and curve down towards the wrist making it wear well even on smaller wrists.
On the right side of the case we find two identical screw-down crowns. The top crown operates the internal rotating 24-hour bezel, while the bottom one operates the movement. Both crowns are diamond shaped harking back to the traditional Flieger style that Laco is known for. Turning the watch around, on the case back is a high quality engraving of a plane traveling around the world, in keeping with the GMT theme.
The dial is where the Flieger DNA becomes obvious with both the triangle and double dots prominently displayed at 12:00 and the blued, sword-shaped hands, combined with more modern elements such as the jet-shaped counter balance to the seconds hand, another reference to aviation and travel.
Since the Frankfurt is a GMT watch, it houses a modified ETA 2893-2 automatic movement (élaboré grade as standard), thus giving it a dedicated GMT hand, independently adjustable. It is grey like the dial, but with a skeletonised orange arrow at the tip, providing a much-needed pop of colour to a watch dominated by its grey tones.
The high level of water resistance (200 m), durable matte finish, and GMT functionality make this piece a great tool watch for both travel and home, which will look great on pretty much any strap combo. For a pilot watch made in Germany from one of the original five Flieger manufacturers, I believe it is definitely worth taking a closer look at this piece.
It is offered in grey (Grau) as shown and described above, as well as in a black (Schwartz) dial variant. Both pieces are part of the 15-strong collection of pilot watch special models. They are available direct from the manufacturer for a base price of €1,650. An upgrade to a top finish movement is available for €130, engravings can be requested for €49 and additional straps can be added to any order, although the 20 mm it has between lugs means that there are no limits to the third-party straps that might work with this watch.