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What’s the deal with Leica watches? Bob’s takes a look

Paul Altieri

The name Leica is synonymous with high quality cameras and lenses. Those headphones, bags and smartphones – not so much. Leica is also famous for licensing out their high-quality name to other companies. So when we heard murmurs about a luxury watch produced by Leica, we started to wonder, is this the real deal? Turns out, it is.

Leica L1 and Leica L2 watches
Leica L1 and Leica L2 watches

Leica has revealed their in-house L1 and L2 watches which will hit the market this fall, and we have to say, they look great. Like the cameras, the look of the watches are minimalistic and accented with red — the company enlisting the help of Achim Heine, the German product designer who also worked on optical devices for the company, for the design. The mechanical movement was produced by Lehmann Präzision GmbH, another fellow German company.

Leica L1 and Leica L2 watches
Leica L1 and Leica L2 watch movements

Now, if you’re having deja vu looking at these watches, you’re right. Leica has allowed licenses for other watches in in the past. Just a few years ago in 2014, the brand partnered with watchmaker Valbray to release a limited edition watch that celebrated their 100th anniversary. The big difference with the L1 and L2 are that they’re being made directly under the Leica brand, and it looks like the company has every intention of working alongside the aforementioned companies to spearhead this new product category.

Okay, now the important stuff — the watches themselves.

Leica L1 Watch
The L1 Watch is a time and date only model

While the L1 is a time and date timepiece, the L2 is a GMT model which can track a second time zone and features a rotating bezel. What they have in common, though, is their oversized 41mm diameter and 14mm thick brushed stainless case. It’s understated and clean, just what you’d expect from the brand.

Leica L2 GMT
L2 GMT featuring a rotating bezel

It’s the little details that have won us over — like the ruby inlaid in the crown like the iconic red dot the brand is known for. It’s also the fact that Leica went for a smart mechanism — opting for a specially made hand-wound movement by Legmann that runs at 4hz and boasts a 25-jewels and a 60-hour power reserve.

We also have to note the unique features like a crown you can push instead of turn to reset the seconds to zero and set the time. The date is also adjusted differently, featuring its very own pusher next to 2-o’clock. And on the L2 GMT model, you have a second crown which allows you to rotate the discrete inner bezel that can keep track of a second time zone.

Photo courtesy of InsideHook
Photo courtesy of InsideHook

Production of the L1 and L2 will be limited to just 400 units each, making this quite a small production run for the first year. We can also expect to see some red-faced models released during this time, as well as an extremely limited edition 18-karat rose gold version of the L2. Personally, I’d love to get my hands on a red-faced L2 — with a large size, bright face and Leica logo, it’s definitely going to be a conversation starter.

Paul Altieri

Paul is the company's Founder and CEO. He is responsible for all the day to day activities from purchasing, receiving, marketing and sales. Paul is a graduate of Boston College 1979 and resides in California with his family.

1 Comment
  1. Hi Paul –

    I purchased a great little Omega ‘reverse panda’ Speedmaster from Bob’s Watches in February, and I’m still loving it!!
    I wanted to write to add that I’ve run across and purchased various mechanical and quartz Leica-branded (even with the Leica red script logo) watches available from classic ‘vintage’ era in the 50s and early 60s through to the 2000s…In fact, Leica Geosystems issued a handful (or more?) of quartz, Leica branded watches that were presented as gifts to their customers in the early 2000s before the group was sold (some say this went on a while–likely because they had inventory to give away).
    I was expecting your article to include information on the many other iterations of Leica and watchmaking/watch branding to supplement my (scant) information on the topic.

    The L1 and L2 are certainly beautiful instruments — hopefully I will run across one being sold by someone who just needs to clean off their desk!!

    All the best —
    Mike Compeau
    Cleveland, OH