It’s Episode 30 of Ten & Two and today we have something extra special planned…
Today we are joined by Rob Caplan of Topper Jewelers, along with Chad and Sebastian from Laco Watches and OT from the Across Timezones Podcast and Watch the By Meetups as we are in Burlingame, California for a very special event and watch. The guys have been hyping up this watch the entire evening and we are still waiting to see it. For those of you who are familiar with Topper Jewelers, you’ll know that they don’t currently carry Laco Watches but Rob has been excited about this special project for some time.
Laco is a brand established in 1925 and their US presence has greatly increased in recent times. Their beginning comes from designing watches for German pilots and Laco takes great pride in continuing those exact designs and standards for watches today. Rob and Sebastian met at Baselworld this year where Rob brought up an idea that he had been wanting in a watch for some time: blued steel indexes. Before speaking with any of their watchmakers, Sebastian and Chad said “yes” and the partnership with Topper Jewelers began. We chat for a bit about why this idea was so important to Rob and why it is something that isn’t done because of the difficulties involved. Both Laco and Rob with Topper Jewelers are known for their attention to detail, and this has been a driving force throughout this process.
An entire day and we finally get to see it…
As Rob says, “Nothing is as captivating on radio as it is in person” and that is the truth! Y’all, this watch is incredibly stunning and truly German-American designed. There is so much attention to detial that is captured and it really is a watch that you have to see in person to appreciate. We ladies sit there and play with the watch in the light while Rob, Chad, and Sebastian go through all of the details of the watch as well as a bit of detail about the Laco Watches facilities.
Laco has a long and rich history, especially in the field of Flieger watches, and stay true to their DNA while doing things like this to push boundaries. Another watch they did to push boundaries that we talk about is their Laco RAD_AUX. A watch not inspired and designed for yachting, or horse riding, or board rooms, but for video gamers. Check out more details about this limited edition timepiece by clicking here.
Chad goes into their conditions of “unless it is not done all the way right, then it is not worth doing” and we can see that in so many of their designs. We are then shown one of the original prototypes being a sterile dial with no logo. As much as you would think this would compliemnt a flieger, the expansive appearance of the white dial took the attention away from the three dimensional markers. It is a watch in which every detail mattered. And the lume! What you don’t see is Kat and Katlen using their cellphone flashlight and squatting under the table to see the lume while Rob continues to chat about the details here.
This new Laco watch is limited to 100 pieces. And then we talk about failure rate. For those who don’t know, blued steel is incredibly volatile and difficult to work with and match
. For each set of 12 markers, there are at least 50 that fail which Is one of the reasons this is such an achievement in the world of watchmaking.
Topper Jewelers and Watch the Bay
We are joined by OT from the Across Timezones Podcast and who runs the Watch the Bay which will be hosting the launch event for this new Laco limited edition watch. OT goes into some history of how this amazing watch group came to be because, let’s face it, this hobby can get a bit lonely. In building this group up, one thing that always stood out from members was the mention of Topper Jewelers in the Bay area so their partnership was completely natural. The family environemnt at Topper helps provides this great community with enjoyable experiences in this hobby and that is a genuine passion of Robs. They are proud of the fact that they aren’t snobs and encourage everyone in the community to come together in an open environment.
Seeing a jeweler be so encouraging and supporting towards the watch family is incredibly refreshing. As Rob says, they offer a lot of different brands at the store and can provide a unique atmosphere for these meetups. It’s not only a meetup, but they are genuinely events that are specifically curated for the watch community. For example, a quartz day celebrating the Grand Seiko 9F movement and even having a samurai sword polisher come out to their more recent Grand Seiko event.
Laco and Their Culture
Not only is this new limited edition beautiful, but it stands out in their current collection. Chad talks about the importance of standing out amongst the rest of flieger watches. Laco is focused on working closer with people than they are retailers to really push the brand forward. Both Chad and Sebastian spend the majority of their time traveling so they get to be out in front of the people and learn more about their consumers. They explain that Laco is still private and family owned which places them in a unique area in which they can focus more on what their customers want. WIth their strong online presence and presence at events like Wind Up Watch Fair, they are able to personally connect on a level that many brands miss out on.
This new limited edition is 42.5mm and features an ETA 6498 manual wound movement. On top of the movement is then just beautifully decorated and finished, being visible through the exhibition caseback. With 100 pieces available, they will be priced at $1,895 sold exclusively on the Topper Website (click here now to pre-order).
2020 Plans and Final Thoughts
We start with Rob from Topper Jewelers on this one. Not only is next year going to mean more amazing limited edition watches, but you can guarantee more travel with all of the watch fairs that now take place. He talks about having some new projects on the horizon with brands that he has established business relationships with as well as new partnerships coming. As for Laco, their plan is to keep pushing forward by working with strong retailers and doing more collaborations. Sebastian talks about bringing the brand back to the prestigious reputation it had developed before the quartz crisis. As they are approaching their 100 year anniversary, there are a few exciting watches coming out here over the next few years to celebrate.
The biggest thank you to Laco Watches, Topper Jewelers, and Watch the Bay for having us out. This has been such a pleasure and we cannot wait for the watch fam to see this new limited edition!
Be sure to follow along with both Topper Jewelers and Laco Watches on their social media below:
From Burlingame, California we say goodbye to you all! Thanks for listening!
Kat, Katlen, Rob, Sebastian, Chad, and OT
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