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Through the Lens: Leica Releases Two Camera-inspired Mechanical Timepieces


Through the Lens: Leica Releases Two Camera-inspired Mechanical Timepieces


If you’re a fan of both photography and watches, the two new timepieces Leica L1 and Leica L2 from the eponymous German camera brand, Leica, were designed just for you. In fact, cameras and premium watches have a lot in common. Both are products based on high-quality engineering, design, and functionality – and both can generate much excitement among enthusiasts. 

The two newcomers display the hours, minutes, and seconds as well as the date and the remaining power reserve. In addition, the L2 offers a second time zone via a twelve-hour ring on the periphery of the dial, including a day/night indication, which is operated via the crown.

The watches’ exterior was designed by Professor Achim Heine, the mastermind behind many Leica products from the past. As a result, the Leica L1 and Leica L2 make use of some signature features from Leica’s rich history. These include, for example, the delicate design of the hands and applied indices on the black dials, the smooth shape of the stainless-steel case, the knurling of the crowns, and the domed sapphire crystal that is reminiscent of a camera lens.

From a technical point of view, the watches do not disappoint either. Far from it, as they are powered by a genuine hand-wound movement with a power reserve of 60 hours from the Lehmann manufactory. Based in the Black Forrest region in Southern Germany, this brand is well known for its high-quality timepieces and movements, including meticulous finishing and decorations. Many of the watch components of the Leica L1 and Leica L2 are produced by Lehmann Präzision, the parent company specializing in precision engineering.

While many elements are inspired by sophisticated camera features, the patented crown mechanism and its correlating status indicator on the dial deserve special attention. Reminiscent of a camera shutter button, the crown is being pushed instead of pulled and releases a seconds stop. Professor Achim Heine explains: “Together with Markus Lehmann, we expanded and fine-tuned the idea of the push crown. In contrast to conventional designs – where the crown must be pulled to stop the movement and set the time – we wanted it to be pushed down, like the shutter release of a camera. The moment you push it, the watch stops and the small seconds hand flies back to zero. Another push releases the movement again. This is an unusual detail that perfectly fits in with Leica.”

The duo is outfitted with alligator leather straps. Approximate prices: $10,000 (Leica L1), $14,000 (Leica L2).

To learn more, visit Leica, here.