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Leica Watch L1 and L2 – When a Camera Manufacturer Ventures into the Watch Game

Leica Watch L1 and L2 – When a Camera Manufacturer Ventures into the Watch Game

Perfect Replica

Few camera companies have the eminence and brand acknowledgment of Leica, the unbelievable German producer that imagined attentive, portable road photography with the 35mm Leica 1. Presented in 1925 at the Leipzig Spring Fair in Germany, the Leica 1 brought the 35mm “film” arrangement to standard still photography with a little, solid mechanical shooter and premium focal points. Following a huge arrangement of models with exchangeable screw-mount focal points, another blade mount M-arrangement dispatched in 1954 with the Leica M3 turned out to be ostensibly the most worshipped 35mm camera at any point delivered for the general population. Worked with a mind blowing level of mechanical exactness, even the most seasoned of Leica cameras can dependably shoot photographs today. Sound recognizable? Watches from a century prior can in any case be solid wrist companions with a comparable degree of mechanical refinement. It just bodes well that Leica would ultimately wander into the watch game and it has created two hand-wound watches (L1 and L2) that share DNA with their camera cousins.

It isn’t the first occasion when that Leica and watches have been related together, with joint efforts like the Valbray EL1 Chronograph LEICA Limited Edition  that praised the company’s 100th commemoration. Leica’s new watches aren’t communitarian or commemorative; they are not kidding watches created under the umbrella of the actual company. Planned working together with Achim Heine, a recognized German item architect who has worked with Leica before, the new watches are energizing increases to the company’s item portfolio. We had both L1 and L2 Leica models on-hand, so we should investigate this astounding pair of watches.


When you consider eminent camera brands, Nikon, Hasselblad, Canon and Polaroid often come to mind. Notwithstanding, Leica might be at the first spot on the list since its film cameras are worked to the strictest mechanical resistances (with exorbitant cost labels to coordinate). Adored by well known picture takers like Alfred Eisenstaedt, Ulrich Mack, Thomas Hoepker, and even Ansel Adams, Leica rangefinder cameras offer brisk, solid shooting in conditions going from a calm road in Paris to undertakings in Antarctica to worldwide combat areas. The greater part of Leica cameras were autonomous of batteries and depended exclusively on mechanical designing, and albeit current Leica film cameras have (in any event) electric light meters, mechanical-just shooters are still produced.

Physical move film has essentially gone the method of the dodo bird as computerized photography has replaced the exceptionally old tech, yet Leica has manufactured constantly premium mechanical film cameras for fans and professionals who appreciate the medium’s special qualities. As a photography lover myself, there’s nothing very like shooting and then creating film by hand and watching photos show up in a darkroom as engineer washes over uncovered paper. And shooting with a rich smooth, practically quiet mechanical Leica is probably just about as remunerating as it gets.

Leica Camera AG was established by Ernst Leitz in 1914 in Wetzlar, Germany. The company name was shaped by combining the initial three letters of his last name (Lei) with the initial two letters of camera (ca) – Leica. It was Oskar Barnack, be that as it may, a German photographic artist and specialist at Ernst Leitz Optische Werke in Wetzlar, who built up the first 35mm compact Leica models and eventually the Leica 1 of every 1925. The lightweight, hand-accommodating Leica 1 had a focal point for all time fixed to the body, yet ensuing models had tradable focal points and Leica’s tremendous arrangement of optics has consistently been among the awesome the world. The cameras were tough mechanical wonders of metal, glass and vulcanite, and I could compose a 1,000-page book enumerating the company and its notable camera assortment, which presumably still wouldn’t be a thorough outline. As this is planned to be a watch review, I’ll show restriction and cutoff what could without much of a stretch be a protracted foundation of the company.

But here are a couple of significant imprints in Leica’s set of experiences… In 1954, the Leica M3 dispatched at the German Photokina Exhibition and is the outline for basically all M-arrangement Leica cameras, including right now delivered models. The all-mechanical model M-A, dispatched in 2014 and still made today, is practically indistinguishable from the first M3 from 60 years sooner. The Leica M8 dispatched in 2006 and albeit not its first advanced camera, it was the primary M-arrangement camera that combined the style and feel of the mechanical film cameras with current computerized innovation. The Leica M Monochrom (there’s no “e” in the name) dispatched in 2012 and is a committed monochrome advanced camera, which means it shoots exclusively clearly. This sort of specialty item sort of characterizes Leica as a company in the 21st century.

Although it had to adjust to a computerized age, Leica keeps delivering costly mechanical film cameras for a generally little pool of devoted clients. In this present reality where the vast majority currently shoot photographs on their iPhones, it’s noteworthy that Leica weathered the advanced age such that mirrors top of the line watch brands weathering the quartz emergency of the 1980s. How about we investigate how Leica has applied right around 100 years of plan and mechanical ability to the new Leica L1 and L2 timepieces.

Case and design

At first look, the new watches don’t promptly help me to remember a Leica camera (other than LEICA imprinted on the dial), however it doesn’t take long to discover gestures and shrouded jewels. For instance, the sapphire precious stone (with various enemy of intelligent coatings) has a cambered shape that is suggestive of the external surface of a lens.

The 316L hardened steel case for the two models is 41mm in distance across and 14mm in stature, and while not actually attentive, it’s not domineering on the wrist. There’s a significant vibe that is additionally found in the M-arrangement cameras, which are both strong metal and somewhat profound. The bezel and both the top and lower part of the carries are cleaned, while the sides are brushed. And albeit not a chronograph, a press button sits at two o’clock, simply over the generally positioned crown at 3 o’clock. Both of those pieces assume an exceptional part in the activity of the watches (more on that later). The L2 adds a second crown at 4 o’clock for a basic GMT function.

A common element on more up to date Leica cameras is the roundabout red speck logo on the front. There are two gestures to this, beginning with a red ruby put in the tip of the crown. Numerous generally more current M-arrangement cameras likewise have a red speck in the focal point of the focal point discharge button (alongside a red spot on the focal point itself for arrangement), which helps me to remember the crown’s ruby as well.

The back of the case includes a sapphire presentation window that shows a one of a kind German-made, hand-wound development. The crown doesn’t screw down and the case is water-impervious to 50 meters – the watches aren’t intended for sea-going undertakings yet are protected from sprinkles and downpour. I for one wouldn’t swim with a particularly pleasant (and fairly expensive) piece.

Dial and hands

When I previously saw pictures of the Leica L1 and L2 back in June 2018, they included a dark dial that coordinated the exemplary silver and dark esthetic of a large number of Leica’s rangefinder cameras. The L1 reviewed here has a red dial and while not exactly as “Leica” as the dark dial on the L2, it’s both tasteful and downplayed. It likewise appears to give proper respect to the red spot logo.

Both watches show the time in a clear manner with focal hour and moment hands, and a seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. A date complication is in a sloped window at 3 o’clock and matches the dial’s tone. Adequately basic, correct? All things considered, there’s additionally an inquisitive round window between the focal hands and date, which has a white foundation when the watch is running. Here’s the place where things get fascinating. Not at all like most mechanical watches where a crown is pulled to set the date and time, you push the Leica’s crown like a retractable ballpoint pen. Three things happen when pushed – the seconds reset to 12 o’clock, the round window changes from white to red (the second gesture to the red spot logo) and the crown is situated to set the time. At the point when you push the crown once more, the roundabout window gets back to white, demonstrating that the development is running and can be wound.

The protected press button activity is connected to a section wheel, indistinguishable from the segment wheel found in chronograph developments. Notice how I didn’t specify how to set the date? The pusher at 2 o’clock handles that one, propelling it one number for every push. These controls make the watches misleadingly complex and I’m a major fanatic of offbeat plan. Be that as it may, stand by, there’s additional. On the left side somewhere in the range of 8 and 9 o’clock, there’s a bended, stretched window that fills in as a force save pointer, demonstrated after one of Leica’s initial light meters for the M3 camera (showing slowly shutting cutting edges to boot).

A day/night marker is simply underneath and to one side of the crown-setting pointer on the L2 model. Brief track traverses the external edge of the L1 with silver records at regular intervals, however the L2 replaces it with a turning GMT plate. Silver hands and a silver ring encompassing the seconds sub-dial have a retro Leica vibe on the two models. LEICA is imprinted in white at the top with WETZLAR under, and MADE IN GERMANY is little at the base. Strangely, there’s no lume anyplace on the dials, albeit that keeps up the vintage, mechanical-just theme. Leica states that all parts are made in Germany except for the precious stone, giving it what might be compared to “Swiss Made.”


The developments in the L1 and L2 models are recently evolved and restrictive to Leica, planned as a team with Lehmann Präzision GmbH in Germany’s Black Forest district (they additionally have their own watch brand – Lehmann Schramberg). Completing and last gathering of the developments are done at Ernst Leitz Werkstätten in Wetzlar, Germany (close to Leica’s camera industrial facility). Leica doesn’t have transient designs for in-house developments and will keep utilizing Lehmann for the predictable future.

Seen from the show caseback, the development isn’t decorated with Geneva stripes or perlage, yet is all around completed and keeps the modern esthetic of Leica’s rangefinders. The L1 has the base development with the L2 several highlights. The hand-wound types (essentially L1 and L2) have 25 gems, beat at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 60-hour power hold. Capacities for the L1 incorporate hours, minutes, sub-dial seconds, date, power hold and a crown-setting pointer. The L2 adds a day/night marker and GMT work worked with a second crown at 4 o’clock.

The matte completion on the developments’ extensions and plates is suggestive of the completion on Leica’s silver rangefinder cameras, and the uncovered cleaned gears contrast well. As I would see it, a more adorned completion would watch strange and I extol Leica for a controlled at this point refined plan. Leica is likewise seeking chronometer status for the two developments, by means of either Swiss or German guidelines (an official conclusion is pending).


Both watches are fitted with a dark, precious stone embellished calf leather tie with a tempered steel clasp. They are tasteful and downplayed (similarly as with numerous components on the watches). The lashes are handmade in Paris with coordinating dark sewing. My solitary complaint is they’re intended for enormous wrists and ideally a more modest set will be offered. I’ve additionally seen pictures of Leica lashes with a more tight example, like that on the vulcanite folded over their rangefinder cameras. This could be a future alternative as well.


The Leica L1 and L2 help me a piece to remember Research in Motion’s (previous maker of BlackBerry cell phones) endeavor to take on the iPhone back in 2008. Simply listen to me for second… Apple shocked the business with an exceptional item and most significant makers mixed to keep up and produce the following “iPhone executioner.” As the handset champion at that point, Research in Motion (RIM) appeared to be very much situated to endeavor its first all-touchscreen cell phone, however it was a half-cooked, glitchy frustration and market disappointment. It couldn’t effectively move from its center products.

Now we have Leica, a hero of mechanical cameras which is endeavoring to deliver watches that compete with set up, very good quality players – a major move from its center items. Yet, for this situation, they don’t disillusion. These are very much planned, all around considered extravagance watches that find some kind of harmony among straightforwardness and complexity. Invest a little energy with one and the Leica DNA radiates through. The crown’s red ruby, plan of the force save marker, state of the gem and ground-up German developments show a meticulousness that Leica is celebrated for. The interesting crown activity and pusher at 2 o’clock add a uniqueness that makes them horologically charming also. With the Leica L1 and L2, the company has demonstrated that it can fan out and effectively apply its plan ability and mechanical aptitude to something beyond cameras. Watches are an ideal fit for the brand.

The Leica L1 retails for USD 10,900 or EUR 9,900 and two or three hundred pieces will be created in the principal year. The L2 retails for USD 16,500 or EUR 14,900 and will be also restricted, albeit neither are viewed as restricted creations by the company. There will likewise be a 18k gold L2 model for USD 32,900 or EUR 29,900. Leica plans to expand creation later on and extra models are additionally in the works.

These costs are positively not modest, but rather when you think about the complex, recently planned developments and by and large tender loving care, they’re a long way from preposterous. Notwithstanding, considering Leica’s absence of distinction in the realm of watches, this could be hazardous for the brand, competing here with the absolute most settled Swiss brands… The Leica L1 and L2 could remain specialty products.

You can buy the two watches at select Leica shops around the world – Leica Store Los Angeles will be the elite retailer in the United States, with stores in London, Frankfurt, Wetzlar, Vienna, Dubai, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Melbourne and Paris. They’ll be accessible in pre-spring/late-winter. More data can be found at Leica’s  Ernst Leitz Werkstätten page. I additionally need to give a fast whoop to Leica Store Los Angeles  for their time and help during this review.