Leica is to introduce two high-quality German-made Leica-branded watches which will be the start of a continuing presence in the luxury wristwatch market. The news is disclosed by Stephen Pulvirent at the leading watch site Hodinkee. We are grateful to reader Jim Boychuck for bringing it to our attention this morning.
The Leica L1 has a time-and-date movement while the L2 adds a GMT function for setting a second time zone. The watches are made in partnership with established watch brand Lehmann Preäzision in the Schwarzwald. The movements will be made by Lehmann but the casing and finishing will be undertaken on the Leitz Park at Wetzlar.
According to Pulvirent, “The origins of this project go back to around 2012, when, according to Dr. Andreas Kaufmann, Chairman of the Board of Leica Camera, they first started exploring the idea of creating a watch. The project went through many iterations and after speaking with people at brands ranging from Hanhart to Chronoswiss to A. Lange & Söhne they started to get a sense of just how ambitious an undertaking this was and how many people would need to be involved to bring the watches to life.
“it has one key feature that really sets it apart: a crown that you push to reset the seconds to zero and enter a time-setting mode. This means you never pull out the crown or fiddle with multiple positions. You simply push it in, set the watch, and push it again to set it in motion – it operates with a column wheel, in much the same way as the start/stop mechanism of a chronograph, with two discrete positions. The date is adjusted with a separate, dedicated pusher, and the GMT model uses a second crown to rotate the inner bezel used to mark the second timezone.”
Both designs will feature a power reserve of 60 hours. Leica is apparently seeking chronometer certification, either in Germany or Switzerland. There are no prices yet, but the L1 is expected to retail for under €10,000.
You can find a full report on the Leica L1 and L2 over at Hodinkee, including an assessment of the quality and the position of Leica as a new entrant in the Luxury watch industry.