Few camera companies have the eminence and brand acknowledgment of Leica, the amazing German producer that created watchful, portable road photography with the 35mm Leica 1. Presented in 1925 at the Leipzig Spring Fair in Germany, the Leica 1 brought the 35mm “film” configuration to standard still photography with a little, solid mechanical shooter and premium focal points. Following an enormous arrangement of models with exchangeable screw-mount focal points, another blade mount M-arrangement dispatched in 1954 with the Leica M3 turned out to be ostensibly the most venerated 35mm camera at any point delivered for the general population. Worked with an amazing degree of mechanical accuracy, even the most established of Leica cameras can dependably shoot photographs today. Sound natural? Watches from a century prior can in any case be dependable wrist companions with a comparable degree of mechanical refinement. It just bodes well that Leica would in the end wander into the watch game and it has made two hand-wound watches (L1 and L2) that share DNA with their camera cousins.
It isn’t the first occasion when that Leica and watches have been related together, with coordinated efforts like the Valbray EL1 Chronograph LEICA Limited Edition that commended the company’s 100th commemoration. Leica’s new watches aren’t community oriented or commemorative; they are not kidding watches created under the umbrella of the actual company. Planned working together with Achim Heine, a recognized German item planner who has worked with Leica previously, the new watches are energizing augmentations to the company’s item portfolio. We had both L1 and L2 Leica models on-hand, so we should investigate this astonishing pair of watches.
When you consider famous camera brands, Nikon, Hasselblad, Canon and Polaroid regularly come to mind. Notwithstanding, Leica might be at the first spot on the list since its film cameras are worked to the strictest mechanical resiliences (with exorbitant cost labels to coordinate). Adored by well known photographic artists like Alfred Eisenstaedt, Ulrich Mack, Thomas Hoepker, and even Ansel Adams, Leica rangefinder cameras offer snappy, dependable shooting in conditions going from a peaceful road in Paris to undertakings in Antarctica to worldwide combat areas. The vast majority of Leica cameras were free of batteries and depended exclusively on mechanical designing, and albeit present day Leica film cameras have (in any event) electric light meters, mechanical-just shooters are still produced.
Physical move film has essentially gone the method of the dodo bird as advanced photography has replaced the exceptionally old tech, yet Leica has manufactured constantly premium mechanical film cameras for devotees and experts who appreciate the medium’s novel qualities. As a photography fan myself, there’s nothing very like shooting and then creating film by hand and watching photos show up in a darkroom as designer washes over uncovered paper. And shooting with a rich smooth, practically quiet mechanical Leica is probably just about as compensating as it gets.
Leica Camera AG was established by Ernst Leitz in 1914 in Wetzlar, Germany. The company name was framed by combining the initial three letters of his last name (Lei) with the initial two letters of camera (ca) – Leica. It was Oskar Barnack, be that as it may, a German picture taker and designer at Ernst Leitz Optische Werke in Wetzlar, who built up the first 35mm compact Leica models and eventually the Leica 1 of every 1925. The lightweight, hand-accommodating Leica 1 had a focal point forever fixed to the body, however ensuing models had compatible focal points and Leica’s tremendous arrangement of optics has consistently been among the awesome the world. The cameras were tough mechanical wonders of metal, glass and vulcanite, and I could compose a 1,000-page book itemizing the company and its notable camera assortment, which most likely actually wouldn’t be a thorough outline. As this is planned to be a watch review, I’ll show restriction and breaking point what could undoubtedly be an extensive foundation of the company.
But here are a couple of significant imprints in Leica’s set of experiences… In 1954, the Leica M3 dispatched at the German Photokina Exhibition and is the diagram for basically all M-arrangement Leica cameras, including at present created models. The all-mechanical model M-A, dispatched in 2014 and still produced today, is practically indistinguishable from the first M3 from 60 years sooner. The Leica M8 dispatched in 2006 and albeit not its first advanced camera, it was the main M-arrangement camera that combined the style and feel of the mechanical film cameras with current computerized innovation. The Leica M Monochrom (there’s no “e” in the name) dispatched in 2012 and is a committed monochrome computerized camera, which means it shoots exclusively clearly. This sort of specialty item sort of characterizes Leica as a company in the 21st century.
Although it had to adjust to an advanced age, Leica keeps creating costly mechanical film cameras for a moderately little pool of committed clients. In our current reality where the vast majority presently shoot photographs on their iPhones, it’s noteworthy that Leica endured the advanced age such that mirrors very good quality watch brands enduring the quartz emergency of the 1980s. We should investigate how Leica has applied just about 100 years of plan and mechanical skill to the new Leica L1 and L2 timepieces.
Case and design
At first look, the new watches don’t promptly help me to remember a Leica camera (other than LEICA imprinted on the dial), however it doesn’t take long to discover gestures and shrouded diamonds. For instance, the sapphire precious stone (with various enemy of intelligent coatings) has a cambered shape that is suggestive of the external surface of a lens.
The 316L tempered steel case for the two models is 41mm in width and 14mm in tallness, and while not by and large tactful, it’s not tyrannical on the wrist. There’s a considerable vibe that is additionally found in the M-arrangement cameras, which are both strong metal and somewhat profound. The bezel and both the top and lower part of the hauls are cleaned, while the sides are brushed. And albeit not a chronograph, a press button sits at two o’clock, simply over the customarily positioned crown at 3 o’clock. Both of those pieces assume an exceptional part in the activity of the watches (more on that later). The L2 adds a second crown at 4 o’clock for a basic GMT function.
A common element on fresher Leica cameras is the round red dab logo on the front. There are two gestures to this, beginning with a red ruby set in the tip of the crown. Numerous moderately fresher M-arrangement cameras additionally have a red spot in the focal point of the focal point discharge button (alongside a red speck on the focal point itself for arrangement), which helps me to remember the crown’s ruby as well.
The back of the case includes a sapphire show window that shows a one of a kind German-made, hand-wound development. The crown doesn’t screw down and the case is water-impervious to 50 meters – the watches aren’t intended for sea-going undertakings yet are protected from sprinkles and downpour. I for one wouldn’t swim with a particularly decent (and fairly expensive) piece.
Dial and hands
When I previously saw pictures of the Leica L1 and L2 back in June 2018, they included a dark dial that coordinated the exemplary silver and dark tasteful of a significant number of Leica’s rangefinder cameras. The L1 reviewed here has a red dial and while not exactly as “Leica” as the dark dial on the L2, it’s both tasteful and downplayed. It additionally appears to honor the red speck logo.
Both watches show the time in a clear manner with focal hour and moment hands, and a seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. A date complication is in a slanted window at 3 o’clock and matches the dial’s tone. Sufficiently straightforward, isn’t that so? All things considered, there’s likewise an inquisitive round window between the focal hands and date, which has a white foundation when the watch is running. Here’s the place where things get fascinating. Dissimilar to most mechanical watches where a crown is pulled to set the date and time, you push the Leica’s crown like a retractable ballpoint pen. Three things happen when pushed – the seconds reset to 12 o’clock, the round window changes from white to red (the second gesture to the red spot logo) and the crown is situated to set the time. At the point when you push the crown once more, the round window gets back to white, demonstrating that the development is running and can be wound.
The protected press button activity is connected to a section wheel, indistinguishable from the segment wheel found in chronograph developments. Notice how I didn’t specify how to set the date? The pusher at 2 o’clock handles that one, propelling it one number for each push. These controls make the watches misleadingly complex and I’m a major aficionado of offbeat plan. Be that as it may, pause, there’s additional. On the left side somewhere in the range of 8 and 9 o’clock, there’s a bended, stretched window that fills in as a force save marker, demonstrated after one of Leica’s initial light meters for the M3 camera (showing continuously shutting cutting edges to boot).
A day/night pointer is simply underneath and to one side of the crown-setting marker on the L2 model. Brief track traverses the external border of the L1 with silver records at regular intervals, however the L2 replaces it with a pivoting GMT plate. Silver hands and a silver ring encompassing the seconds sub-dial have a retro Leica vibe on the two models. LEICA is imprinted in white at the top with WETZLAR under, and MADE IN GERMANY is little at the base. Strangely, there’s no lume anyplace on the dials, albeit that keeps up the vintage, mechanical-just subject. Leica states that all parts are made in Germany except for the precious stone, giving it what could be compared to “Swiss Made.”
The developments in the L1 and L2 models are recently evolved and selective to Leica, planned in a joint effort with Lehmann Präzision GmbH in Germany’s Black Forest district (they likewise have their own watch brand – Lehmann Schramberg). Completing and last get together of the developments are done at Ernst Leitz Werkstätten in Wetzlar, Germany (close to Leica’s camera manufacturing plant). Leica doesn’t have momentary designs for in-house developments and will keep utilizing Lehmann for the predictable future.
Seen from the show caseback, the development isn’t adorned with Geneva stripes or perlage, yet is very much completed and keeps the modern stylish of Leica’s rangefinders. The L1 has the base development with the L2 two or three highlights. The hand-wound types (essentially L1 and L2) have 25 gems, beat at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 60-hour power hold. Capacities for the L1 incorporate hours, minutes, sub-dial seconds, date, power hold and a crown-setting marker. The L2 adds a day/night marker and GMT work worked with a second crown at 4 o’clock.
The matte completion on the developments’ extensions and plates is suggestive of the completion on Leica’s silver rangefinder cameras, and the uncovered cleaned gears contrast well. As I would like to think, a more embellished finish would watch strange and I praise Leica for a controlled at this point modern plan. Leica is likewise looking for chronometer status for the two developments, by means of one or the other Swiss or German guidelines (a ultimate conclusion is pending).
Both watches are fitted with a dark, jewel embellished calf cowhide tie with a treated steel clasp. They are tasteful and downplayed (similarly as with numerous components on the watches). The ties are handmade in Paris with coordinating dark sewing. My lone complaint is they’re intended for huge wrists and ideally a more modest set will be advertised. I’ve likewise seen pictures of Leica lashes with a more tight example, like that on the vulcanite folded over their rangefinder cameras. This could be a future alternative as well.
The Leica L1 and L2 help me a piece to remember Research in Motion’s (previous maker of BlackBerry cell phones) endeavor to take on the iPhone back in 2008. Simply listen to me for second… Apple shocked the business with a one of a kind item and most significant makers mixed to keep up and produce the following “iPhone executioner.” As the handset champion at that point, Research in Motion (RIM) appeared to be very much situated to endeavor its first all-touchscreen cell phone, yet it was a half-cooked, glitchy dissatisfaction and market disappointment. It couldn’t effectively move from its center products.
Now we have Leica, a boss of mechanical cameras which is endeavoring to create watches that compete with set up, very good quality players – a major move from its center items. Be that as it may, for this situation, they don’t disillusion. These are all around planned, very much considered extravagance watches that find some kind of harmony among effortlessness and complexity. Invest a little energy with one and the Leica DNA radiates through. The crown’s red ruby, plan of the force hold marker, state of the gem and ground-up German developments show a tender loving care that Leica is acclaimed for. The extraordinary crown activity and pusher at 2 o’clock add a uniqueness that makes them horologically interesting also. With the Leica L1 and L2, the company has demonstrated that it can fan out and effectively apply its plan ability and mechanical mastery to something other than cameras. Watches are an ideal fit for the brand.
The Leica L1 retails for USD 10,900 or EUR 9,900 and a couple hundred pieces will be delivered in the main year. The L2 retails for USD 16,500 or EUR 14,900 and will be also restricted, albeit nor are viewed as restricted creations by the company. There will likewise be a 18k gold L2 model for USD 32,900 or EUR 29,900. Leica plans to build creation later on and extra models are additionally in the works.
These costs are positively not modest, but rather when you think about the complex, recently planned developments and generally scrupulousness, they’re a long way from ludicrous. In any case, considering Leica’s absence of acclaim in the realm of watches, this could be risky for the brand, competing here with probably the most settled Swiss brands… The Leica L1 and L2 could remain specialty products.
You can buy the two watches at select Leica shops around the world – Leica Store Los Angeles will be the restrictive retailer in the United States, with stores in London, Frankfurt, Wetzlar, Vienna, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Melbourne and Paris. They’ll be accessible in pre-spring/late-winter. More data can be found at Leica’s Ernst Leitz Werkstätten page. I likewise need to give a snappy whoop to Leica Store Los Angeles for their time and help during this review.