In addition to the obvious, world-renowned camera maker Leica also sells lifestyle products like bags and cases, straps, headphones, and now, luxury timepieces too.
This is not the first time Leica’s name appeared on a timepiece, however, the Leica Watch is the first Leica-branded watch collection.
Leica Watch has two models: Leica L1 and L2, both are identical in styling and size, however, the L2 is a GMT model that boasts a 24-hour GMT turning bezel that can be adjusted using the second crown. The L2 model further features a day/night indicator for the GMT function.
The design of the watch is minimal just like Leica’s cameras. While it does not scream “look! I am inspired by a camera!” like, say, the Leica-Valvray Watch did, it does have subtle references to Leica’s cameras that only fans will be able to appreciate.
References like the knurling on the crowns that mimics the shutter release button on a Leica camera, and the domed sapphire crystal, which is treated to double-sided anti-reflective coating, reminiscent of a camera lens.
The power reserve indicator at the 9 o’clock mark is also treated to a subtle camera reference: it has a pair of “shutters” that slide open gradually to reveal a white stripe to indicate the status of the balanced power. Very clever.
And then there’s the push-crown that has a subtle yet the same time, striking red dot on it. Speaking of the push-crown… it also defies the watch engineering convention.
Having the aesthetic of a shutter release button of a camera is just the start; the crown works like one too. The crown is pressed, not pulled. Pressing the crown of the Leica L1 and Leica L2 triggers the secondhand reset and the status display on the dial switches from white to red.
It is the same mechanism to activate when you need to set the date with another date button, and pressing the crown again re-engages the movement.
While most businesses would have sub-contract the job to a specialist, Leica has chosen to work on the watch with Achim Heine, who has been involved in the design of many other Leica products, responsible for the styling.
I have to say the Leica Watch not only is tamer than the Leica-Valvray but it most definitely has the Dieter Rams’ vibe in it, and I love it. Though my wallet will not approve of it. More on that in a bit.
Under the hood, it has a manual winding movement co-developed with Lehmann Präzision GmbH.
Other details include a 41 mm stainless steel case, a sapphire crystal case back (also double-sided anti-reflective coated), water resistance to 50 meters (5 ATM or about 164 feet), calfskin strap with red lining, date window at 3 o’clock mark, 25 jewels, 28,800 vph, and manual winding with 60 hours of power reserve.
The Leica L1 and Leica L2 watches are now available through select brick and mortar Leica stores for luxury watch realm pricing of €9.500 and €13.500 (US$10,000 and US$14,000), respectively. Folks in the U.S. can find the watches sold at Leica Store Los Angeles.
Images: Leica Camera AG.