Leica’s first watches are more than mere marketingJune 21, 2018
Germany’s Leica, a company that enjoys global renown for its high-quality cameras, is not shy about licensing its name out to lesser products. As of today, you can buy Leica headphones, Leica bags, smartphones with dubious Leica co-engineering claims, and Panasonic cameras rebadged as Leicas. But now Leica is getting into the watchmaking business, and it’s doing so by actually designing and engineering its own timepieces.
Announced this month, and covered in depth by Hodinkee, the Leica L1 and L2 watches have a stark and minimalist look, with black dials, contrasting white hands and indices, and subtle red rubies embedded in the crown. It wouldn’t be a Leica without a red dot somewhere, of course. Both watches have a manual-winding mechanical movement, which is being made by Lehmann Präzision GmbH, a fellow German company that collaborated closely with Leica on the project. The L2 is the GMT model, which tracks a second timezone by adding an inner rotating bezel with hour markings. It also has a day/night indicator.
While neither watch has yet been priced, Leica promises that the Leica L1 will cost less than €10,000, according to Hodinkee, when the two go on sale this autumn. Production is said to be limited to 400 units of each for the first year, though Leica is also going to issue a Leica L2 in a special 18-karat rose gold case (as opposed to the default stainless steel) as well as limited editions of both watch models with red dials. No idea how much extra that red paint will cost on the super exclusive Leica, but I know I definitely want one.