Leica’s First Watches Are As Design-Forward & Innovative As You’d Expect

For more than 150 years, Leica has been the standard-bearer for camera manufacturing and design in the photography space. The German company has earned worldwide acclaim for its tech-forward, durable, and visually stunning cameras. Its reputation in the photography industry is second to none, however, the camera-maker decided to go against the grain back in 2018 when it announced that it was developing its own set of watches. Now, after four years of development, Leica is finally releasing its first-ever timepieces.

Minimalist in name yet maximalist in complexity and innovation, the Leica L1 and L2 watches continue the German company’s world-famous balance of form and function. The gorgeous timepieces were designed in part by Professor Achim Heine, who has designed many Leica cameras in the past, including the CM and the Digilux. The watches feature an elegant matte black dial with delicate hands and applied indices, as well as a knurled crown and camera lens-like domed sapphire crystal. The look is unmistakably Leica, and many of the watches’ design elements reference the brand’s iconic cameras.

But just like Leica’s cameras, these watches are far more than a pretty face. Given the company’s German heritage, it was important for Leica to manufacture all elements of these watches in Germany. This pride in its German heritage inspired the company to partner with movement manufacturer Lehmann Präzision GmbH, which developed a completely new manual-wind mechanical movement to power the timepieces. The star feature of the new movement is a patented push crown that gives wearers the ability to reset the small seconds hand to zero with one click, which also turns the dial’s circular white display red. Inspired by a camera’s shutter button, the movement doesn’t restart until the crown — which sports Leica’s iconic Red Dot logo — is pressed again, making time-setting ultra-convenient. Both watches feature a minimalist power reserve indicator and a pusher at 2 o’clock that’s used to set the date. The L2 also features a second crown at 4 o’clock that rotates the inner 12-hour bezel, effectively making the L2 a three-hand GMT watch thanks to an additional day-night display for the second timezone.

Both watches feature a stainless steel case with an exhibition case back to admire the movement and are sold on a black leather strap, with the L2’s strap being made of alligator leather. The L1 watch retails for $10,000 while the L2 is priced at $14,000, with both timepieces being available exclusively at select Leica stores around the world and the only U.S. retailer the Leica Store Los Angeles.

Purchase: $10,000+

Photo: Leica
Photo: Leica
Photo: Leica