There are very few camera companies that have been awarded brand recognition and prestige of Leica, a leading German manufacturer in high-end cameras. The company was also in the introduction of discreet, mobile street photography with 35mm L2 watches. Recently, Leica announced the release of two watches: Leica L1 and L2 models. Both of these new watches come with the same Teutonic sturdiness and are carefully housed in a 41mm stainless steel case. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Leica L2 Watch.
Leica, a premium high-end camera brand, is now focusing on manufacturing watches. It has claimed to make use of “German-made” techniques of engineering accuracy to its new watch category. The new products include a Leica L1 that is GMT-functional and a time-plus-date Leica L1, both of which come equipped with a unique crown tool that is pushed in, like a camera button. Leica’s watch movements are designed by Lehmann Präzision, a German mechanical engineering firm that specializes in high-precision machinery for the watch line. They also manufacture their own line of mechanical watches, which use the brand name ‘Lehmann.’ Additionally, some of the watches were designed by Leica itself in collaboration with longtime collaborator Achim Heine. Heine is an expert in experimental product designs at the Berlin University of Arts. Besides, Leica watches have a dome-shaped sapphire crystal resembling the front element of the company’s camera lens designs. There is a red ceramic inlay placed on a push-crown that reflects Leica’s signature of a “red dot” for precise aiming on its lens. The unique push-crown is a representation of the release button used in high-end cameras that are manufactured by the brand.
Case and Design
The L2 model watch has a sapphire crystal with several anti-reflective coatings that give the watch a cambered appearance, which is quite similar to that of the outer surface of a camera lens. The L1 and L2 watches came fitted with a 316L stainless steel case that is 14mm in height and 41mm in diameter. The top and bottom of the lugs, as well as the bezel, are neatly polished, while the watch’s sides are brushed. Unlike the chronograph, both Leica watches have a push-button placed just above the traditionally placed crown between 2-3 o’clock. The L2 Leica watch comes with a second crown at the 4 o’clock mark for an improved GMT function. There is also a sizeable feel that is evident in the M-series cameras, which are quite weighty and both solid metal. At the back case of both models, there is a sapphire exhibition window that showcases a distinctive German-made, hand-wound watch movement. Just like in all-new Leica cameras that have a circular red dot logo on the front, the Leica L1 and L2 watches feature a red ruby at the tip of the crown. Furthermore, there are some newer M-series cameras that come with a red dot placed at the center of the lens release button along with a red dot on the camera lens for alignment, which reminisces that of the crown’s ruby. Although the watch is not designed for aquatic activities, it is water-resistant up to 50 meters and safe from rain and splashes.
Dial and Hands
Both watches display the time in a straightforward manner with central hour, minute hands, and a second sub-dial placed at 6 o’clock. There is a date complication that matches the dial’s color foxed in a beveled window at 3 o’clock. Between the date and central hands, there is an eye-catching window that has a white background when the watch is working. On the L2 watch model, there is a day/ night indicator installed just beneath and to the right of the crown-setting indicator. While Leica’s L1 watch has a minute track that circles the outer perimeter with silver indices every 5 minutes. Unlike the L1 Watch, the Leica L2 watch replaces this minute track with a rotating GMT disc. The left side on both watches between 8 and 9 o’clock is an elongated, curved window that acts as a power reserve indicator that resembles one of Leica’s early M3 high-end cameras. Additionally, both Leica watches come with silver-coated hands and a silver ring that circles the seconds sub-dial, giving it a retro Leica-brand sense. The brand’s name ‘LEICA’ is printed in white at the top case with a miniaturized printing of MADE IN GERMANY and WETZLAR at the bottom. Regardless of the absence of lume on the dials, the watches still retain the vintage mechanical theme. According to the manufacturing brand; Leica, all of its watch’s parts are made in Germany apart from the crystal, which is Swiss Made.
Both watches feature purpose-built manual watch movements, with hours, minutes, seconds, and a power reserve indicator. Moreover, both of the watches’ movements contain a 60-hour power reserve and a unique push-crown that adjusts the second hand to zero. Unlike the conventional watch designs where the watch’s crown has to be pulled out to stop the movement when adjusting, Leica watches come with a pressed-down crown. It works similar to the release button of a camera. With just a simple push, the watch immediately stops running, and the second-hand shifts to zero. At the same time, the dot placed to the right of the center lens turns red. The watch can be easily returned to movement by making another click, and the dot turns white.
Both Leica watches come with a black, diamond-embossed calf leather strap along with a stainless steel buckle. Just as with the other elements on the watch, the straps are classy and stylish. However, Leica’s handmade straps are not designed for small wrists.
Price and Availability
To date, all Leica high-end cameras have been known to be well-designed and strategically built to last for a long time. The manufacturing brand also pays great attention to superb finishing and fine detailing on its products. Leica’s L1 watch is sold at a retail price of $10,000 and the other L2 watch for $14,000. Leica announced that it would manufacture a maximum of 500 watches annually, and they will be available for sale in the United States at leading Leica stores.
According to comments made by Leica, both watch models were manufactured based on the principle of “Das Wesentliche” (the essentials) with formal minimalism, smooth polished surfaces, and neat lines. Get started today by getting yourself Leica’s L1 and L2 watches for $10,000 and $14,000, respectively.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith