Despite being inherently singular in color, monochromatic timepieces seem to draw our attention even more than if they were to feature multiple hues at once. The lack of variation is striking more than it is discreet, emphasizing contrast rather than disregarding it. Perhaps it’s the same reason why we’re drawn to black-and-white photography and the similarities and differences found in the areas between two completely opposite shades. Leica, more than anyone, seems to understand this, which is why it’s now releasing a new version of its ZM1 and ZM 2 watches, called ZM Monochrom Edition.
It was a very big deal when Leica decided to release its very first watch one year ago. After four years of development, the L1 and L2 — soon renamed the ZM 1 and ZM 2, which stands for “Zeitmesser,” the German word for something that tells time — were beautiful in their own right, designed by Leica camera designer Professor Achim Heine, with a domed sapphire crystal that echoed that of a camera lens. They also featured a first-of-its-kind push-crown, which was not only inspired by the look of a camera’s shutter release but its function. Rather than pulling the crown out to set the time, the wearer pressed it in, which would stop the movement momentarily and reset the small seconds hand to 0. Meanwhile, a small aperture would go from white to red to let you know the movement was off. The ZM 2 is the same as the ZM 1, save for the addition of a GMT function to read a second time zone and a day/night indicator on the dial.
For the ZM Monochrom Edition, Leica has been inspired by its own M11 Monochrom camera model, turning its standard ZM 1 and ZM 2 all black with small white touches for the indices and hand outlines. Also, there’s the signature Leica red dot on the crown. Aside from the monochrome color, everything else is the same here, including the 41mm stainless steel case — which has now been given a black PVD coating — and the Leica caliber ZM 1 and ZM 2 manual-winding movements (visible through the caseback). The timepieces have also been given strong-grained black calf leather straps.
Expect the Monochrom Edition watches to be available next month from select Leica stores around the globe. The ZM 1 will be priced at €11,550 (~$12,737), while the ZM 2 will be priced at €15,450 (~$17,038).