The Leica camera company has been making rangefinder cameras, tools that double as art, since 1914. It comes as no surprise, there’s a lot of crossover between fans of watches and fans of precision-made cameras. Now, watch fans can have Leica-branded watches, too.
The Leica L1 and L2 are both designed by Achim Heine, who is the professor who has been involved in the design of many of Leica’s cameras. Having an intimate understanding of the design language of Leica means that the watches aren’t just a branding exercise, but a part of the Leica family.
Both watches have a unique push-crown, that acts in some ways like the shutter on a camera, except that it’s used to set the time.
A typical watch requires pulling the crown out to a setting position, and then rotating to adjust it.
On the Leica L1 and L2, when you push the crown, the watch stops, and the small seconds hand sets to 0. An indicator on the dial changes from white to red to show that the watch is in set mode. Then, you adjust the time. When ready, press the crown, and time starts moving again. The date can be set with the press of a second pusher. There’s also a power reserve indicator in the dial near 7 o-clock.
Both watches also have a display back, showing off the manual wind movement. Both models are produced in Germany, with the movements made by Lehmann Präzision GmbH in the Black Forest region. The watches have 60 hours of power reserve, and run at 28800 beats per hour.
What sets the L1 and L2 apart? The L2 is a GMT movement, which uses the same push-crown and date-pusher, but adds a second crown that rotates a GMT internal bezel. L2 also has a day-night indicator on the dial. Both are housed in 41mm stainless steel cases. The dials are rhodium plated.
It is these small details, like the day-night indicator that rotates in the dial, or the red/white mode switching window that appears in the dial surface, that feel like a camera more than a watch, and really make the watches more than just an homage.
The Leica watches Leica L1 and Leica L2 will be available exclusively in selected stores across Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East. China, Singapore, Dubai, Los Angeles, Vienna, or Moscow are going to be your only places to get them. Price? $10,000 for L1, $14000 for L2.