Leica might be a company best known for making cameras – after all, it’s what the company has done since its first model in 1914 – but it’s now set to make a splash into… the watch market.
However, before you roll your eyes at the notion of yet another non-watch brand applying its logo to a cheap, tacky promotional item with a two-buck quartz movement, just know that Leica is taking watchmaking seriously.
Its debut effort is a two-model range, the simply-named L1 and L2, both of which come looking as slick, classy, and beautifully-made as one of the brand’s cameras.
Both feature a 41mm stainless steel case that’s water resistant to 50 metres and is finished with a blend of high polished and satin surfaces.
It also has a domed sapphire crystal glass that’s reminiscent of a camera lens.
The camera-inspired design doesn’t end there, with its “red-dot” push-button crown designed to be reminiscent of a camera’s shutter release – a truly unique touch, given crowns are typically pulled out rather than pressed down before setting the time.
Being a German company, both Leica watches are unsurprisingly handmade in Germany, and come featuring a manually-wound mechanical movement with a 60-hour power reserve. You can see it ticking through its transparent caseback, too.
Both models feature a power reserve indicator along with a small seconds hand; the L2 also features a small 12-hour GMT hand with a day/night indicator.
The two are also differentiated by some unique touches – the L1 comes on a veal leather strap, the L2 comes on an alligator leather strap, and both feature unique small seconds dials.
The Leica L1 and L2 debut models will only be available in seven Leica Stores globally, with Dubai, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore, Wein, and Moscow the chosen locales.
Indicative of their serious status, the L1 will retail for US$10,000 while the L2 is priced at $14,000 – pricing it right alongside some of the brand’s finest cameras.
It might be Leica’s first time going it alone when it comes to watchmaking, but it isn’t an unprecedented move – the company previously teamed up with Valbray in 2014 to produce a limited run of just 100 camera-inspired watches for its 100th anniversary.