Watches are perfect when mated to car designs, we already know that, but here is a novelty, watches mated to a camera design. At first thought, all I could imagine is the lens. Anyway you put it, it is quite hard to imagine the outcome. So kudos to a contender, Leica, a camera brand now entering the world of horology. Leica is a prominent camera manufacturer and they make really impressive cameras. And for its entry into the watchmaking world, the brand is introducing 2 mechanical watches, the Leica L1 & L2 that carries with them, the “Made in Germany” tag.
The time and date L1 and the GMT equipped L2 are nowhere near camera inspired watches. That is not the idea according to Leica. These are proper watches with superior engineering. I am quite happy with this statement since, would you really want a lens inspired dial? Maybe in the future, the brand will introduce such a design and I would want to be surprised then.
Going back to the new watches, the Leica L1 and L2 watches are relatively discreet and minimalistic. We can somehow see the DNA of the brand here since the original Leica camera is a very minimalistic one. The steel and black color theme makes a perfect contrast with just a few white and red accents. Being proper watches, the pair is designed to be timeless and functional same as good ‘ol Leica products. At 41 mm, with a polished and brushed look, the case is designed to go with any attire. Finished with an embossed calk leather strap, you get yourself one cool watch. The black dial aids for a better legibility and a true simplified design. Underneath all these minimalist features though is a mechanical prowess.
While the two models vary by the complications, both share the same basic display. Time is indicated in a classical way with central hours and minutes, small second at 6 o’clock, with baton hands and applied indexes over a matte black dial. The date window is at 3 o’clock and is adjusted by a pusher at 2 o’clock. The small aperture on the right side of the axis of the hands with white color changes to red according to the position of the crown during adjustments, a handy tool for protecting of the movement. The zero-reset mechanism of the small second also makes for precise adjustment. The push-crown mechanism is controlled by a column-wheel, found mostly in high-end chronographs. As for the L2 model, there is only a basic GMT function, an internal rotating bezel and a day/night indicator.
The “Made in Germany” movement is developed especially for Leica, since it was dear to Dr Andreas Kaufmann, the main shareholder of Leica. The hand-wound movement features largely opened bridges and 3D architecture. Its decoration is industrial but pleasant and its 60h power reserve is impressive.
The Leica L1 & L2 are restrained in terms of design but very functional. Prices are high though, starting at EUR 9,900 for the L1 model. For more info, visit Leica online.