Whereas it was unofficially introduced again in 2018, German digital camera maker Leica simply launched its first watch assortment with the Leica L1 and L2 watches. Not merely a white-label creation with the Leica emblem hooked up to it, the L1 and L2 are quite severe items of watchmaking which have an unexpectedly novel motion, as effectively. The 2 debut fashions are the time/date L1 and the L2, which provides GMT performance, as effectively. I bought to go hands-on with the L2 right here on the Leica boutique in Los Angeles, and I used to be fairly impressed general, particularly with the motion and features of the case design, particularly contemplating that is the model’s first watch.
Additionally, observe that that is the one and solely pattern piece, so please remember that some fingerprints or mud had been simply inevitable, as many individuals have been dealing with this watch. Additionally, due to the group on the Leica boutique in L.A. for taking the time to indicate me the L2, particularly Common Supervisor James, who knew the main points of the watch inside and outside.
For somewhat background, Leica tapped camera-designer Achim Heine to assist create a watch that’s tastefully impressed by the model’s cameras however with out going too far with that idea. As for the motion element, I do know Leica was adamant about having a German accomplice and finally landed on Black Forest-neighbor Lehmann Präzision. Along with being a high-precision equipment manufacture, it additionally has its personal watch model, Lehmann Schramberg, which is claimed to do effectively in Germany however isn’t marketed a lot outdoors.
Whereas I didn’t get to see the L1, the 2 watches are very comparable except for the addition of the GMT to the bottom motion on the L2. Measuring 41mm-wide and 14.5mm-thick (with 50m of water resistance), it’s simple to fantasize about trimming just a few millimeters off the peak and width, particularly when contemplating each the substantial domed crystal and prolonged size of the crown because of the pusher. The case band does have some very nice curvature alongside the lugs that provides some aesthetically helpful fluidity to the complete package deal.
The properly curved sapphire crystal is de facto fairly effectively achieved, nevertheless it comes at the price of some lowered legibility because of glare. Whereas there’s AR coating, I think it’s solely on one facet of the crystal, which simply won’t be sufficient. That stated, it’s doable there’s double-sided AR coating and the glare is solely a facet impact of the curved crystal. As you’ll be able to simply inform from the photographs, glare is nearly unavoidable and, considerably satirically, solely pronounced by way of the lens of a digital camera (on this case, additionally a Leica).
Essentially the most fascinating facet of the Leica L1 and L2 may be the novel use of the pusher/crown when setting the time. Any Leica consumer is aware of the model’s iconic pink dot emblem, which is echoed on the sting of the pusher and on the aperture adjoining to the date window. By activating the pusher — which is definitely linked to a column wheel — the aperture goes from white to pink. When that is achieved, the seconds hand resets to 12 o’clock, and you’ll be able to simply and precisely set the time. When the time is ready, activate the pusher once more and the aperture will return to white, which means the time is ready and it’s again in winding mode. It’s a neat and straightforward approach to set the time with out the annoyance of coping with the standard crown.
The pusher at 2 o’clock is used to set the date, which is easy sufficient. The crown at 4 o’clock is what’s distinctive to the L2 and never discovered on the L1. Turning this crown adjusts the rotating 12-hour inside bezel that tracks the second time zone and is complemented by the day/night time aperture proper subsequent to the pink/white dot aperture. Lastly, the aperture at 9 o’clock is the curved energy reserve indicator, which is de facto properly achieved. Meant to evoke the sunshine meter on a classic M3 rangefinder, it has a blade-like look that subtly ties issues again to the model’s digital camera roots.
Turning the watch over reveals off the fantastically industrial manual-wind calibre L2 motion, which has the identical base calibre because the L1 and is unique to Leica. Achieved with partially open-worked bridges, you’ll discover anglage achieved on the raised edges and frosted surfaces. I couldn’t assist however suppose that Grönefeld’s motion ending served as inspiration albeit not almost on the hand-finished degree the Dutch brothers supply (at a minimal of 5 occasions the value). Working at 28,800 vph, the Calibre L2 has a 60-hour energy reserve.
That is a formidable watchmaking debut from a 150-year outdated model recognized for its cameras. There are actually two details of objection from my finish, neither of that are near being dealbreakers. The primary is that I’d wish to see a smaller case, totally on the thickness facet. The second has to do with the curved sapphire crystal which, whereas beautiful in individual, has the unlucky facet impact of inflicting glare and reflection even with an utility of AR coating. It could appear trite, however it could be a disgrace for Leica to be disadvantaged of beautiful wrist photographs of an in any other case extremely spectacular debut watch. I do admit this can be my bias as somebody in digital watch media coming by way of too strongly. Additionally, to be truthful, it’s not like they’re producing these in mass portions. Whereas not restricted, annual manufacturing shall be within the lots of.
The Leica L1 and L2 are very effectively thought-out and designed watches with professional horological craft behind them. For the well-heeled Leica fanatic who can also be a watch collector, I think about these shall be a no brainer. For now, should you’d wish to examine these out in individual, they may solely be out there at seven Leica boutiques globally with the Los Angeles location being the unique department within the U.S. I additionally should say that I feel these are very pretty priced with the Leica L1 priced at $10,000 and the Leica L2 seen right here priced at $14,000. You may study extra at leica-camera.com.