Leica Pushes The Button on High End Watches

Known by photo aficianados for decades as one of the premier league camera makers, Leica is branching out into watchmaking. As you’d expect this is a high quality product, designed like an Audi racing car and reassuringly expensive at euro;13,500 for the range topper L2 version. Yeah they just went straight in there at Rolex levels.

One USP on the Leica L1 and L2 is the crown; no winding, instead you push it in. Why? Here’s what Leica says;

Designed to make a point. The patented “red-dot” push-crown is a unique combination of form and function. Inspired by the shutter release button of a camera, the Leica watch push-crown is pressed, not pulled.

Pressing the crown of the Leica L1 and Leica L2 triggers the second-hand reset and the status display on the dial switches from white to red.

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.

To complement the sophisticated technology, the “red dot”-design is as simple as it is iconic, establishing the push-crown is not only an attractive but also a very practical feature.

OK, so we got that bit. And you know what, it is a technical achievement that’s always ready to spark a conversation. But on the downside, they went for a small sub-seconds dial and I have to tell you that in the watch market that is a roadblock when it comes to reselling this watch. Any modern watch with a sub dial at 6 o’clock looks dated, too much like a 1950s watch. I don’t make these rules, the market does.

The Leica L2 model has a turning bezel as well as the GMT function, so that’s the one to have – top spec or nothing we say.  On the upside this watch has some unique components, genuinely made in Germany just for Leica, which is why you pay that premium.

But it has a depth resistance of 50m – yep, same as a £40 Sekonda. Plus no automatic movement, you have to wind it. Again demerit marks for that. Even at euro9500 for the L1 buyers deserve more than this in terms of spec.

One last point, why call it Wetzlar? Yes, you have a Leica factory there, but come on, that is a dull name for watch that strives to project a sense of excellence.  You make cameras called LUX, why not put Luxe, Monochrom, or LUX RED on the dial?

Just an idea.  Plus when you get aorund to making an automatic watch please call it Leicamatic. It just makes sense.



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