They say a week is a long time in politics, but it hardly seems credible that just a month ago I was commenting on Leica’s sales operation in Russia. “After some four years of anticipation”, I wrote, “Leica’s new timepieces, the L1 and L2, have reached stores in China, Singapore, Tokyo, Moscow, Dubai and Wetzlar”. Posh spots, I called them, since some of the world’s lesser locations (such as Paris, London and New York) were somehow missing from the company’s horological plans.
Recent events set me wondering where Leica now stands. I have no way of knowing how many L watches have been sold in Moscow, but it will be interesting to find out if it’s business as usual or whether Leica will follow Apple to the exit. Today I visited the Leica Store at GUM[footnote]Государственный универсальный магазин or Main Universal Store[/footnote]. It’s all very pretty, although there are no details of the products. But I did manage to track down Leica’s Russian online store which you can visit here.
I imagine prices are fluctuating fairly rapidly, but at the minute I checked this afternoon, the M11 was listed at a reasonable 709,750 rubles ($6,600), The SL2 at 390,150 ($3,347) and the Q2 Monochrom Reporter at 505,750 ($4,704). Of course, it’s quite possible they haven’t updated the prices since last week, but there are clearly bargains to be had.
Here is Leica’s current sales pitch to well-heeled Russians:
The Leica Store Moscow GUM with its area of 220 sq m is located in GUM, Russia’s main department store, built in the very heart of Moscow on Red Square in 1893. In addition to a wide range of Leica cameras, lenses, sport optics and accessories for enthusiasts, professionals and newcomers, the Leica Store Moscow GUM provides customer care and offers express diagnostics and complicated repair. Besides the exhibition space with the iconic works of Leica photographers the store also hosts the Leica Academy offering workshops and lectures by world-class photographers.
The last time I visited GUM was well over 40 years ago in a very different world. The building, as always, was impressive, but that is more than could be said for the merchandise of the era. Leica cameras were definitely not on the list of supplies. Times change.
Nasty war in the line of the mythical Leica reporters. See how the brand behaves.
Former Russian President and Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev had made an endorsement video for the Leica S2, and he also had a M9. I guess he may not be able to get his hands on a M11 before sanctions bite. My heart bleeds for him… /s
Wish those prices in USA, how they compare to England?
The ruble has fallen through the floor, so certainly the ruble prices will need adjustment, so long as the shops can stay in business, as sanctions may hit supplies. When I was in Russia in 2018, the Leica Stores in Moscow and St Petersburg were charging more than the usual European Leica Stores for current product. I did not go to the Leica Stores, but I bought some vintage Russian gear at a lovely little store called ‘Lubitel’ (after the Russian TLR) in St Petersburg. This featured in two stories which I subsequently wrote for Macfilos.
I think Leica should stop selling in Russia until Putin withdraws from the Ukraine.
I checked just now and Leica appear to be still in business in Moscow. Perhaps they think they are such a niche company that no one will notice. Wrong.
Agreed, too. An appropriate symbolic step.
The silence, presumably moderator-enforced, on the Leica Forum is deafening. There is lively discussion in Barnack’s Bar about the weather, but none about the new war in Europe. Leica Camera AG really needs to step up and show some conscience here, and perhaps try to live up to the humanitarian reputation of the Leitz family, which the current owner has often paraded.
No, they instead release a Leica Q2 Monochrom reporter special edition to take photographs like in the old times because in these times their cameras aren’t needed any longer to catch the horror of this online war
Alfonso and others, I totally agree. Leica Camera AG should have announced a withdrawal from Russia by now. Their apparent position is verging on immoral.
If the international community does not stop the deranged Putin now his civilian murdering military will be rumbling down the roads of Western Europe, including Wetzlar, before we know it.
And with all the actions being taken against the oligarchs even they won’t be able to buy the silly limited editions soon so no use Leica holding back for fear of them upsetting them. .
Come on Dr Kaufmann as we say down here-“pull your finger out, man”
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