Watchmaking is no easy endeavour. Certainly, there are watches out there that are decidedly lacking in precision, and if you want to break into that market, the challenge of entry isn’t that steep of a climb. But if you want to live up to an existing reputation of excellence and be able to create a watch on par with the best in the world—well, that’s a different story. Having been one of the top brands in the camera industry for decades, Leica is now entering the horological world with its new Leica L1 and Leica L2 watches.
The legendary German camera maker recently revealed their new watches—a regular three-hand watch in the L1 and a watch with an additional GMT in the L2. Both watches feature exteriors designed by Professor Achim Heine, an industrial designer based out of Berlin who has been called upon by Leica in the past to design such items as the Digilux 2 and Digilux 3 cameras. You can see the camera influence in the watches, starting first with the black dial and including the leather strap. But it’s not the looks that solely determine the quality of the watch. It’s also the movement.
For this, Leica pulled in fellow German company Lehman AG, a specialist watchmaker. Lehman brought a new hand-wound mechanical movement to the project. The watches come in a steel case measuring 41mm. A patented pusher crown lets you set the seconds sub-dial in the L1 so that you can use it as a chronograph. In the L2, the pusher crown resets the GMT timer.
For an early foray into watchmaking, Leica is living up to the reputation they so painstakingly built in the photography industry. The L1 and L2 are prime examples of premium watches, which is also evidenced by the price tag. The L1 is priced to sell at $10,000, while the L2 comes in at $14,000. You can find these watches exclusively in Leica’s Los Angeles store.