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I have been wanting to purchase a vintage Laco for years and finally made the commitment. I purchased this from a seller in the UK. The watch was aquired during the war by her father in law along with a luftwaffe dagger - both taken from an aviator who was shot down. This is what finally pushed me to go for it - the provenance is solid.

I have several questions for the experts on the site.

1. Looking at the watch can someone tell me the possible year of production
2. It has its original leather strap. Can I condition it with some Picard's or will it hurt the value
3. I have in the past sent my 1940's era Omega's to Omega to be refurbished. Can I do this with the Laco - or will it hurt the value?
4. If the recommendation is to leave it alone - I do want to have it serviced to keep the mechanism clean - who is the best to have it sent to?
5. Is there any general information or link that can give me the best information on the backgorund of the watch

See attached photos
 

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You got a Laco B-Uhr Baumuster A

The German term „Beobachtungsuhr“ goes back to pilot´s watches of WW II. Strictly translated it has to be an „Observer´s watch“ or „Observation watch“ but on most watch related fora you`ll read „navigator´s watch“, „pilot´s watch“, „B-watch“ or even „Flieger“, which is the expression I like most.

These B-watches have been made for the German Luftwaffe by only 5 manufacturers

A. Lange & Söhne
Laco (Lacher & Co)
Stowa (Walter Storz)
Wempe (Chronometerwerke Hamburg)
IWC

and contained high quality pocket watch movements:

Lange & Söhne: cal. 48/1
(due to limited capacities watches have been assembled by Huber/Munich, Felsing/Berlin, Schieron/Stuttgart, Schätzle & Tschudin/Pforzheim, Wempe/Hamburg).
Laco: Durowe cal. D 5
Stowa: Unitas cal. 2812
Wempe: Thommen cal. 31
IWC: cal. 52 SC (SC= „seconde central“)

The specifications of these watches had been defined by the „Reichsluftfahrtministerium“ (RLM) – Imperial Air Ministry (see attached file)



Due to those specifications all B-watches had the following features in common:

- A case diameter of 55 mm
- Marked on the back with FL 23883 (FL = flight, 23 = navigation)
- Equipped with large crowns in order to be used with gloves
- Hacking movement (the second hand stops when pulling out the crown / essential for a precise time setting)
- Breguet balance spring
- Regulated and tested as chronometers
- Long leather strap (to be worn on the sleeve of a flight jacket).

There have been two different types of dials (Pls. note: there are other figures available on the net. not sure whioch are correct)

Type A (Baumuster A) from 1940 to January 1941
a classic dial with numerals 1 to 11 and the triangle with two dots at 12

Type B (Baumuster B) starting in January 1941
Big minute numerals from 5 to 55 and a small inner circle with numerals for h, at the position of 60 min a triangle and a line on its top.


If your are interested in watches of WW II and their history I recommend to visit the hompage of Konrad Knirim (Militruhren: Collectors Site for Military Timepieces) .


The Stowa B-Uhr Baumuster B



A. Lange & Söhne, Baumusuer B:



Stowa, Baumuster A:



IWC, Baumuster A:



Laco Baumusuer B:



More to read: http://forums.watchuseek.com/f7/b-uhr-beobachtung-uhren-438490.html

It has its original leather strap. Can I condition it with some Picard's or will it hurt the value
I wouldn't do anything.
I have in the past sent my 1940's era Omega's to Omega to be refurbished. Can I do this with the Laco - or will it hurt the value?
If it is done very carefully, cleaning, servicing, it will not hurt the value. However, you can't take it to your watchmaker around the corner. Ask LACO for a quote or contact Meister Buse in Mainz, Germany. He's an expert on B-watches.
Is there any general information or link that can give me the best information on the backgorund of the watch
Search google for B-Uhren, look into Konrad Knirim's web site, use the forum search.
 

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Mike,

Thanks for the indepth information. I appreciate you taking the time. Can you tell me what the H 418 number is? - Is it a production number?
 

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3000 to 6000 Euro, depending on the condition.
Good to know - I paid 2025 GBP for it and it came with the dagger the piolot was wearing when he was shot down - I am not a fan of the owning the dagger as I collect WWII US and British Militiaria and stay away from German stuff for a multiude of reasons. But they came together so there it is...

Interesting provenance:

The owner was in grammar school in Nantwich (Cheshire) and his Dad was in the UK Home Guard. His Dad took the watch and the dagger off a downed German aviator and gave it to him. His widow (who sold it) does not know if the aviator was dead or alive when her husband’s father acquired “liberated” it.
 

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Interesting provenance:

The owner was in grammar school in Nantwich (Cheshire) and his Dad was in the UK Home Guard. His Dad took the watch and the dagger off a downed German aviator and gave it to him. His widow (who sold it) does not know if the aviator was dead or alive when her husband’s father acquired “liberated” it.
How do you verify that type of claim?
 

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I agree with Mike's post, except the treatment of the strap. I would use a quality oil meant for shoes. First you need to clean it gently with a weak soap and wate solution, DO NOT GET THE WATCH WET, dry it gently over several days, then apply the leather oil.

Laco restored my B-uhr. They did a fantastic job. They need a very detailed instruction, so they only clean the dial. The markers and numbers on the dial,plus the Minute hand, look suspiciously new, it may have been restored before.

I would not worry much about the provenance, it is a real early WW2 Laco.
I am not aware of that the crew carried a dagger on board.
 

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Having had a second look on the strap, I doubt it is original.
The part with the studs looks cut, so it can be removed.
Original strap ( cut short)



 

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Mike! Do you have any idea how many "Baumuster A" Laco made?

I am on the trail of one.........
 

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Re: New to fourm - Question on WWII Laco I just purchsed / update

I thought I would share some more photos. There was a point on the watch band - it is clearly not what would be standard issue and I am not sure when it was added. The person I bought it from said to her recollection it had always been there. I am curious if it is the original but cut down because the rivets seem to match. I am including some pics so get some feedback
 

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Re: New to fourm - Question on WWII Laco I just purchsed / update

I'm by no means an expert on the historical straps, though scrolling this thread I spot some issues:

- the rivets look too big
- the buckle isn't correct
- the strap is a single layer, with no side stitching
- the strap looks quickly made; there are holes along the leather nearly all the way to the top lugs (which would probably never have been used, indicating a lack of forethought about the strap's design while it was being made), and the stitching on the underside of the buckle looks home made and quickly done, the leather is also too wide at the lugs

This isn't to say that this strap hasn't been on the watch ever since it came off the wrist of the unlucky German aviator, but it appears to be a custom, home made job, rather than original issue to the watch. Perhaps it was sewn up by the aviator in his barracks, using some leather that was at hand. It's got a story to it, somewhere.

Cheers - Jeff C
 

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Re: New to fourm - Question on WWII Laco I just purchsed / update

Not issue. Home made. But it still is nice, as it has been with the watch for a very long time.
I guess it was made by the English owner. He took good care of it, just look on the movement!
Luftwaffe did not issue those watches, they were given to the navigator before the mission, then given back when (if) he returned back to base.
Plus, that strap would never fit outside the flying overall, as it is way too short!
 

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Hi all
Here are two pictures (thanks Poex) of my beautyful 1941 Lacher B-Watch Type A with the original, long, closed strap attached, including the felt interlinings (please see the factory drawing "Werkszeichnung" at the begin of this thread to understand the complexe construction of this genuine strap).
Hope this helps
Regards Dani

LACO_1941_Front.jpg LACO_1941_back_strap.jpg
 
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