Leica Ernst Leitz Werkstätten
Leica launched its watch-centric division Ernst Leitz Werkstätten in 2018 with the promise of the L1 and L2 watches. While the company initially targeted release in 2018, the company was clearly delayed. Now, nearly four years later, the timepieces can finally be purchased through select Leica stores around the world.
“The look was inspired by Professor Achim Heine who, since he designed numerous Leica products over many years, has a profound understanding of the company’s aesthetic principles,” Leica Camera AG’s Chairman of the supervisory board and majority owner Dr. Andreas Kaufmann says. “The idea was further developed in collaboration with Markus Lehmann: Whereas other crowns stop and reset the watch when they are pulled, this crown is pressed like the shutter release of a camera. It’s an unusual detail that perfectly fits with Leica.”
Leica says that the domed watch glass was made to be reminiscent of a camera lens and that “the rhodinised and diamond indices and hands” follow the typical delicate and simple design principles of Leica. The iconic red dot found on Leica cameras is also present on the watch’s push crown and the company says that all functional details contain subtle references to signature features from Leica’s history.
The push crown in particular is what Leica describes as unique in form and function. Inspired by a camera shutter button, the crown is pushed instead of pulled and pressing it triggers the second-hand reset as well as switches the dials from white to red on the status display. Leica explains that this mechanism can also be used to set the date with another date button, while pressing the crown again re-engages the movement. The Leica L2 also features a GMT crown that can display both time zones with a single hand.
Difference Between L1 and L2
Both the Leica L1 and L2 watches are manually wound and display hours, minutes, and seconds as well as feature a date window, and will show the status and power remaining on the current wind. The power reserve guarantees at least 60 hours and is decked by evenly closing blades reminiscent of the shutters of a Leica camera. Both are fitted with a scratch-proof domed sapphire crystal, a transparent case back, and are water-resistant to a depth of 50 meters.
The L2 is able to show two time zones with a single hand. The 12-hour bezel allows for rapid and exact time telling within a global orientation system and has a hand-crafted alligator leather strap.
Pricing and Availability
Leica is offering the L1 and L2 watches at a limited set of its global stores in Asia, America, the Middle East, and Europe, with one store in each of China, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Austria, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Leica Rumors contacted the Leica Store in Los Angeles to inquire on pricing and was told that the L1 is available for $10,000 while the L2 is available for $20,000.