Laco Kiel 2 vs IWC Fleiger Chrono

Folks, I am struggling to choose between the 2 fleiger chronographs. On the one hand, we all know that IWC pilot's chronograph in 41 and 43 mm based on valijoux 7750 and it's derivative so-called inhouse variation in the newer and more expensive version of the watch. On the other hand Laco made a very similar 43 mm pilot's chronograph based on the same valijoux/sellitta movement.

With IWC you have an option to go for the older version with a closed case-back and 6 bars or pay about 30% more and grab the newer version with a see thru case back and 12 bars (and I think a slightly extended power reserve but not a 100% sure on the power reserve duration off the top of my head).

With Laco you get get a 43 mm case with a see-through back, 10 bars, 38-40 hrs of power reserve, and heat-blued hands (which I don't think are offered by IWC). Laco also offers a white dial which IMO looks pretty cool.

I am pretty set on the 43 mm fleiger (as opposed to 41 mm). However, I cant decide which way to go: The previous version IWC (which I believe IWC still carries online) is about double the price of the Laco (you could get it for slightly less in the grey market) while the new one is about 3x the Laco price. Yet spec to spec I cant see so much gap between the 3.

Of course, price is a consideration but at the same time I dont want to end up with an homage watch like Steinhart or Revue Thommen would be for rolex. Most of my watches are luxury pieces - JLC, GP, UN, Zenith, etc. Dont take me wrong, I do own a few relatively cheaper watches like MAD 1, Louis Errard Silverstein edition and Laco Venedig but all of these have special features for which I picked them.

So what should I buy?

Laco https://monochrome-watches.com/hands-on-the-brutally-honest-laco-kiel-2-chronograph-specs-price/

43 mm IWC new https://monochrome-watches.com/new-2022-iwc-pilots-watch-chronograph-43-manufacture-calibre-update-iw378003-iw378002-iw378005-specs-price/

41 mm IWC https://www.ablogtowatch.com/watch-review-debut-iwc-pilots-watch-chronograph-41/

Out of those 3... Laco is the better looking by far

I like the Laco but to me the hour and minute hands don鈥檛 have enough differentiation at a glance - either the length isn鈥檛 that different or the skinnier minute hand results in a similar overall surface area that makes it look the same to me - I dunno. The white dial is cool though.

I do have an IWC 41mm Spitfire chrono and, except for the lack of exhibition caseback, prefer it over the IWC chronos you linked. I think it鈥檚 also 100m but am not sure. IWCs can be had for a discount so don鈥檛 buy at MSRP.

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Arambula

Out of those 3... Laco is the better looking by far

I know, right?! But people telling me IWC is the next level

Bvlgari.Man

I know, right?! But people telling me IWC is the next level

Yeah, but who is "people", and are they paying for the watch?

WAphoto

I like the Laco but to me the hour and minute hands don鈥檛 have enough differentiation at a glance - either the length isn鈥檛 that different or the skinnier minute hand results in a similar overall surface area that makes it look the same to me - I dunno. The white dial is cool though.

I do have an IWC 41mm Spitfire chrono and, except for the lack of exhibition caseback, prefer it over the IWC chronos you linked. I think it鈥檚 also 100m but am not sure. IWCs can be had for a discount so don鈥檛 buy at MSRP.

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Thank you for your feedback! Somebody else (i think in one of the watch review publications) mentioned this thing about hour and minute hands. On my Laco it is a non factor. I don't know how bad it would be on the Kiel chronograph. I had an option to pick up a 41 mm spitfire on a textile strap for 4k usd (slightly used). l Went to a local AD, tried it on and decided to wait until I had a chance to try on the 43 mm version because 41 seemed diminutive and too busy for a fleiger watch. Later on I tried the more classic 43 mm and it felt more like what I was looking for in terms of the wrist presence. Pricewise absolutely! There should be a discount. I don't pay MSRP for any of my watches. Again, thank you for insightful comments!

Arambula

Yeah, but who is "people", and are they paying for the watch?

Lol Unfortunately they are not! I wish they were. Then I'd be gunning for an IWC Perpetual Calendar! Lol Just fellow collectors on various platforms and watch groups. Watch enthusiast community )

Bvlgari.Man

Lol Unfortunately they are not! I wish they were. Then I'd be gunning for an IWC Perpetual Calendar! Lol Just fellow collectors on various platforms and watch groups. Watch enthusiast community )

HAHAHA, buddy, what I meant was, follow your heart, not theirs.

Bvlgari.Man

Thank you for your feedback! Somebody else (i think in one of the watch review publications) mentioned this thing about hour and minute hands. On my Laco it is a non factor. I don't know how bad it would be on the Kiel chronograph. I had an option to pick up a 41 mm spitfire on a textile strap for 4k usd (slightly used). l Went to a local AD, tried it on and decided to wait until I had a chance to try on the 43 mm version because 41 seemed diminutive and too busy for a fleiger watch. Later on I tried the more classic 43 mm and it felt more like what I was looking for in terms of the wrist presence. Pricewise absolutely! There should be a discount. I don't pay MSRP for any of my watches. Again, thank you for insightful comments!

No problem!

Huh I guess the hands thing is not just me then. Hour/minute hands debate aside, that white Laco dial looks fantastic. Is that the one you鈥檇 be going for?

WAphoto

No problem!

Huh I guess the hands thing is not just me then. Hour/minute hands debate aside, that white Laco dial looks fantastic. Is that the one you鈥檇 be going for?

Yes the white one. That's one more reason I am thinking about it. IWC doesn't make white dial chronos these days. Even their white ceramic has a black face which is ridiculous IMHO. Granted the black one is better lumed, but the white one is lumed just like an IWC 馃槀馃槀馃槀馃う馃う馃う

I have the Laco Kiel 2 Weiss.

I鈥檇 say it鈥檚 very far from a homage. Lots of thought seems to have gone into the design and proportions of the watch.

I find the dial has great legibility, including the chrono subregisters. The blued steel hands look great when they catch the light. It is also by far the most accurate watch I own - usually running at +/- 0.5 spd, even when not on the wrist.

43mm is quite large for my 6.75inch wrist (so I鈥檝e considered selling a few times). However, I鈥檝e concluded I like it too much and whilst chunky, it doesn鈥檛 look out of all proportion.

The one downside I can think of (if it bothers you) is that the rotor is quite noisy.

Also, I think you got the power reserve wrong for the Laco. It is 56 hours, and in my experience it does last much longer than my other automatics.

WatchBee

Also, I think you got the power reserve wrong for the Laco. It is 56 hours, and in my experience it does last much longer than my other automatics.

I could very well be wrong. I was just going by standard Sellitta power reserve duration. Overall, I think the power reserve between the 2 brands in Q are comparable. I am not too sure if the new IWC has an extended PR, but I don't this so.

WatchBee

I have the Laco Kiel 2 Weiss.

I鈥檇 say it鈥檚 very far from a homage. Lots of thought seems to have gone into the design and proportions of the watch.

I find the dial has great legibility, including the chrono subregisters. The blued steel hands look great when they catch the light. It is also by far the most accurate watch I own - usually running at +/- 0.5 spd, even when not on the wrist.

43mm is quite large for my 6.75inch wrist (so I鈥檝e considered selling a few times). However, I鈥檝e concluded I like it too much and whilst chunky, it doesn鈥檛 look out of all proportion.

The one downside I can think of (if it bothers you) is that the rotor is quite noisy.

Oh wow! Great news! Now I have a first-hand account from the owner! I want the big and chunky. That IS EXACTLY how I like my pilots ) Besides, like I wrote above - I considered a 41 mm IWC, tried it on and it felt small, and even smaller if you consider the genre (i.e., pilots watches). I have a 42 mm Laco Venedig with straight lugs and I wear it well. How bad can 1 extra mm be? LOL

I would say that my Laco is also quite accurate (not sure if the most accurate but definitely OK in my book). All my luxury watches make noise from JLC to Zenith and everything in between. That doesn't bother me much.

Have you had an opportunity to compare your Kiel with an IWC Pilot Chrono side by side. I mean things like polish and brush, bevels and edges of the case, etc. I am curious, aside from technical specs, how the two compare.

WatchBee

Also, I think you got the power reserve wrong for the Laco. It is 56 hours, and in my experience it does last much longer than my other automatics.

by the way, also the crown - did you notice that IWC's crown on the chronographs are non-onion? To get an onion crown you need to get into the big pilot like

I'm afraid I haven't tried an IWC Chrono before.

For context, it's fair to say that my collection is "mid-tier". The Laco remains the most I've paid for a watch so far (and was around 20% discounted). I have a Nomos tangente datum 38 and a Nomos Orion 38 (both pre-owned), a Monta Noble and a Stowa Marine. I also have previously owned a Sinn 104 and a Christopher Ward C63.

Against that context, the Laco is very well finished. The brushed steel and the printing on the dial looks very well executed to me. I particularly like the fact that there is a small strip of polished steel at the base of the bezel where it meets the case. This is consistent with the tool watch, but slightly dressy look of it:

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You can see the quality of printing quite well in this picture:

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Here's one showing the blued steel:

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I also find the case is good for scratch resistance. Save for a couple of scuffs on the clasp (as normal), I haven't managed to get a single mark on the case.

So I can't tell you whether this is like the finishing on the IWC. I suspect there must be some reason why there is such a difference in price. What I can say that the finishing on the Laco is equal to or better than all the watches I've referred to above.

I mentioned previously that I've considered selling before. That could be one potential downside (to balance against the difference in price). When trying to sell, I've found little interest except at very discounted levels. I expect that the IWC would hold its value pre-owned better.

Bvlgari.Man

by the way, also the crown - did you notice that IWC's crown on the chronographs are non-onion? To get an onion crown you need to get into the big pilot like

I hadn't noticed that. I prefer the onion crown myself, as consistent with the Flieger style.

I suppose you could say that is a further difference between the 2. On the spectrum of Flieger to Modern styles, the IWC is slightly more towards the modern end; whereas the Laco is slightly more traditional.

I also didn't mention the lume. At least on this Weiss version, it won't blow you away! It is fine, but is only on the hands, and on small pips at 12, 3, 6 and 9.

WatchBee

I hadn't noticed that. I prefer the onion crown myself, as consistent with the Flieger style.

I suppose you could say that is a further difference between the 2. On the spectrum of Flieger to Modern styles, the IWC is slightly more towards the modern end; whereas the Laco is slightly more traditional.

I also didn't mention the lume. At least on this Weiss version, it won't blow you away! It is fine, but is only on the hands, and on small pips at 12, 3, 6 and 9.

So do I, I mean the crown. Re lume - neither of them will light up like my Laco Venedig but i can live with that. That is what I meant about when I wrote that the lume is similar to IWC. IWC does it this way with hands and 4 spots. On the Schwarz Kiel 2 we have full lume. I have no idea why Laco skimped on the Weiss version. I should shoot Sarah a quick email inquiring about this ;)

Bvlgari.Man

So do I, I mean the crown. Re lume - neither of them will light up like my Laco Venedig but i can live with that. That is what I meant about when I wrote that the lume is similar to IWC. IWC does it this way with hands and 4 spots. On the Schwarz Kiel 2 we have full lume. I have no idea why Laco skimped on the Weiss version. I should shoot Sarah a quick email inquiring about this ;)

Let me know what she says!

I have a fleet of Laco鈥檚 and absolutely love the brand but I think it鈥檚 hard to put these against each other as they are targetting vastly different markets. Looking at the spec sheet often doesn鈥檛 tell the true story either. Laco鈥檚 tend to be out and out tool watches, so if you want something you can wear without fear then it鈥檚 Laco all the way.

If you want something with a bit more cache and brand recognition then the IWC is hard to go past, but you obviously pay a premium for that as well.

I鈥檇 happily have either of these in my collection, but I鈥檇 also give up a Laco to have an IWC I鈥檓 my collection.

WatchBee

I'm afraid I haven't tried an IWC Chrono before.

For context, it's fair to say that my collection is "mid-tier". The Laco remains the most I've paid for a watch so far (and was around 20% discounted). I have a Nomos tangente datum 38 and a Nomos Orion 38 (both pre-owned), a Monta Noble and a Stowa Marine. I also have previously owned a Sinn 104 and a Christopher Ward C63.

Against that context, the Laco is very well finished. The brushed steel and the printing on the dial looks very well executed to me. I particularly like the fact that there is a small strip of polished steel at the base of the bezel where it meets the case. This is consistent with the tool watch, but slightly dressy look of it:

Image
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Image

You can see the quality of printing quite well in this picture:

Image

Here's one showing the blued steel:

Image

I also find the case is good for scratch resistance. Save for a couple of scuffs on the clasp (as normal), I haven't managed to get a single mark on the case.

So I can't tell you whether this is like the finishing on the IWC. I suspect there must be some reason why there is such a difference in price. What I can say that the finishing on the Laco is equal to or better than all the watches I've referred to above.

I mentioned previously that I've considered selling before. That could be one potential downside (to balance against the difference in price). When trying to sell, I've found little interest except at very discounted levels. I expect that the IWC would hold its value pre-owned better.

Nomos is a very respectable darling of the watch community! So is Christopher Ward. I am waiting for my Bel canto since last December and they just pushed out the delivery to Jan instead of this sept ;(

Thnx for the photos. Yes it looks amazing on the pics! And I think IWC is also brushed so... i don't know what the fuss is all about. Re price it's swiss vs German. Overall, except for a couple of REALLY REALLY high-end brands, I noticed that German watches are more adequately priced. Same as coffee and croissants. Have you ever tried eating a meal in Switzerland? I mean come on people. In Italy for example a pasta or a pizza dish is 12-15 euros, while in Switzerland is more like 35 CHF! That's where the major price difference comes from and I am sick of this money grab operation from the Swiss to be honest with you.

I don't generally buy to sell. I just keep my watches. So value retention only comes into play for me when I'm negotiating a discount for a purchase. I got my Venedig for about 60% of the msrp but on the Kiel haven't been able to find any deals yet. Granted I haven't really started the hunt yet. I was awaiting the bel canto and was going to spend the watch budget on that but now with CW delays I am on for the fleiger chrono

WatchBee

Let me know what she says!

will do!

AussieWatchGuy

I have a fleet of Laco鈥檚 and absolutely love the brand but I think it鈥檚 hard to put these against each other as they are targetting vastly different markets. Looking at the spec sheet often doesn鈥檛 tell the true story either. Laco鈥檚 tend to be out and out tool watches, so if you want something you can wear without fear then it鈥檚 Laco all the way.

If you want something with a bit more cache and brand recognition then the IWC is hard to go past, but you obviously pay a premium for that as well.

I鈥檇 happily have either of these in my collection, but I鈥檇 also give up a Laco to have an IWC I鈥檓 my collection.

We wouldnt be having this conversation if I had purchased IWC Paul Weber when I had a chance ;( I do need to have one IWC in the collection. If I did, it wouldn't even be a debate but being that IWC is notably missing from the collection, I am split between these 2 models.

#laco or #iwc