On Spec: Laco California Dial Limited Edition

German watchmaker, Laco, released two new Limited Edition pilot watches today that bring the West Coast summer vibes directly to a wrist near you. Riffing on the traditional Flieger–which Laco had a hand in creating some seventy years ago–these newest versions offer up huge doses of California cool.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
“California dial” cool (Source)

Laco Santa Ynez

The first offering is a new navigator in the Laco Santa Ynez. The 42mm stainless steel case bleeds traditional Flieger, but the difference is all in the dial. For flight navigators, who track minutes more than they track miles, the Santa Ynez employs bold markers, from 5 to 55, in the stead of more common hour indicators. The markers, outlined in sky blue, match well with the brash navigator’s arrow in the 60 minute position (12 o’clock). A printed outer chapter ring dials in exact minutes, and a further inner sector ring plays with the Cali-dial tradition of alternating Roman numerals and Arabics in the less critical hour indicators. A dotted hour register aids with precision.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
Santa Ynez (Source)

Laco Napa

Also measuring in at 42mm, in an identical case, is the brand’s newest pilot, the Laco Napa. The clean and breezy dial amps up the legibility with a real-estate stealing Cali-dial dominating the space. The result is a playful, toolish watch that pays homage to the brand’s own Flieger heritage–note the prominent matching downward-facing arrow–while injecting the timepiece with stylish contemporary flair.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
The Napa (Source)

Sister Watches

While distinct in their functions and design, the two watches are clearly cut from the same cloth. The blue-outlined indexes and attractive blue handset practically jump off the white dials, making legibility a keystone. At night, Blue BGW9 Super-LumiNova picks up the torch. And the beautiful cognac-colored calf leather straps seem an inspired choice for laid back summer days of casual-chic.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
Casual-chic (Source)

Ready for Heady Adventures

Despite the casual, spirited quality of the design, both watches are up to the task bestowed a traditional Flieger. Both operate on the Laco 21 automatic movement, visible through the sapphire exhibition crystal on the casebacks. The calibre, based on the Miyota 821A, provides a power reserve of 42 hours, and a hacking seconds function.

The Napa and the Santa Ynez will be limited to 100 numbered editions each. So remember, he who hesitates is lost.            

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
Built for weekend adventures…whatever they may be (Source)



Case316L Stainless Steel
42mm Diameter
11.75mm Thick
20mm Lug Width
Screw Down Casback
50m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalFlat Sapphire /w AR
White Dial /w Blue Registers
Thermo-blued Dauphine Hands
BGW9 Super-LumiNova
MovementLaco 21 (Miyota 821A)
21 Jewels
21 600bph
42-Hour Power Reserve
StrapCalf Leather Strap
/w Stainless Steel Hardware

Laco Napa and Santa Ynez

Of Interest

Laco was founded in the black forest town Pforzheim in 1925. Known as the Golden City, Pforzheim has been the brand’s longtime home ever since. Laco made its name during the Second World War as one of the five German manufacturers who constructed the earliest 55mm Fliegers for the Luftwaffe. Twenty years after the war, Laco had become one of Germany’s largest watch manufacturers. In the 21st century, Laco operates with a small team of dedicated professionals, focussing on the handicraft of watchmaking. They manufacture various lines of pilot and navy watches, through to chronographs, and what they dub as their Classic Line. Both the Napa and the Santa Ynez are made in Germany.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
Made in Germany (Source)

Final Thoughts

Enthusiasts expect something specific from a Flieger watch. It no longer has to match the specs originally established by the Luftwaffe in 1940, but it should be a variation on a theme. As such, Flieger makers like Laco have their work cut out for them. The struggle is how to remain faithful to the heritage of a timepiece, while also pushing the envelope as a manufacturer of modern watches. I view the process as akin to a poet bound by the strictures of a sonnet. With both the Napa and the Santa Ynez, Laco have struck the right chord–or should I say penned the perfect rhyming couplet? These watches, from their colourways to their strap choices, hit all the cadences in iambic pentameter–and yet they manage to appear new and fresh at the same time.

The Napa and the Santa Ynez will retail for $540USD. For more information, please visit www.watchgang.com/laco.

Laco California Dial Limited Edition Watch Review Napa Santa Ynez
Laco California Dial Limited Edition (Source)

About the author

Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.

On Spec articles refer to upcoming projects and rely upon available information on Kickstarter, the brand website, and promotional materials provided by the watchmaker. An On Spec article does not preclude a future full-length review in our Off The Cuff section. If you would like your project to feature in On Spec, please contact us here.

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8 thoughts on “On Spec: Laco California Dial Limited Edition

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