Dynamic range of Leica watches

Leica has made inroads into watches before, but the highly anticipated Leica L1 and Leica L2 are the German high-end camera brand’s latest and most anticipated example of what can happen when excellence meets excellence.

Leica has a long and stellar reputation as a high-end camera maker acclaimed by photography professionals and enthusiasts. Its history dates back to 1869 in Wetzlar, Germany, where the brand still resides. And while that might seem like a simple brand extension to some, I think a watch created by a camera company is an interesting fit. Both are high-tech precision tools at their best, and Leica’s choice of Lehmann Präzision as a long-term partner further accelerates the already intriguing multi-layered story.


The exterior of the watches was designed by Professor Achim Heine, whose name you may recognize among other products he has created for Leica. So, with a well-developed understanding of the brand and its aesthetic, he presented us with a watch design that clearly points to his camera roots without venturing into unabashed homage territory.

Leica-inspired design elements like the shape of the case, the specific knurling on the crowns and the domed sapphire crystal reminiscent of a camera lens are all clearly present. But there are other more important details at play here.


Both models are powered by a newly developed hand-wound movement, each with 60 hours of power reserve, visible through the watches transparent flat back. The Leica L2 movement has the added credit of a second time zone, operated by the crown at 4 o’clock.

It was important for Leica to maintain its “Made in Germany” status, so when it came to partnering with another brand to create the movement, German engineering company Lehmann Präzision GmbH seemed the perfect choice. The movement and most of the components of the watches were developed in the Lehmann manufactory in the Black Forest.

Both watch models feature a patented push-piece crown adorned with Leica’s familiar red dot logo. Professor Heine explains:

“With Markus Lehmann [Managing Director of Lehmann Präzision GmbH], we have expanded and refined the idea of ​​the thrust crown. Unlike conventional designs, where the crown must be pulled out to stop the movement and set the time, we wanted the crown to be pushed in, like the release button on a camera. When you push the crown, the watch stops and the small second hand jumps to zero. Another click releases the movement again. It’s an unusual detail that fits perfectly with Leica.

The aluminum dial is very readable, with white indexes and simple hands marking the hours and minutes. The date window is at 3 o’clock and the small seconds (with a red hand) is at 6 o’clock. The power reserve indicator is between 8 and 9 o’clock. The L2 includes a twelve-hour track for the second time zone, with day/night indication.

Both models are mounted on black leather straps: the L1 on calfskin and the L2 on alligator. Each strap is lined in red, and the hue is complemented by a few red dots on its otherwise all-black exterior – understatement at its finest.

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