Leica L2 watch hands-on review






Many Leica fans are also watch aficionados – just check the Leica coverage at Hodinkee if you don’t believe me. I personally think that Leica made the right decision to start making watches – after all, third-party Leica watches have been around for decades (click on images for larger view):


Leica special edition pocket watches from 1993


Valbray EL1 watch for Leica



And of course, the eBay assortment of Leica watches that includes everything from a Leica Swatch to a vintage French Leica Arnex Chronograph.


The Leica L1 and L2 watches were announced back in 2018. Both models were designed by Professor Achim Heine and manufactured by Ernst Leitz Werkstätten. Their website is no longer available, but the watch is actually produced in partnership with the German Lehmann Prazision GmbH engineering company:

Breaking: Leica L1 and L2 watches announced

More info on the Ernst Leitz Werkstätten and the new Leica watches

After an initial delay, the Leica watches started shipping in February 2022. Leica never revealed the official numbers, but I was told that the watch production is very limited. The word on the street is that Leica will only be making 500 watches per year. If you have been following the watch industry over the past few years, you would know that limited production from privately-owned companies like Rolex, Patek, and AP is a recipe for success and I think Leica has adopted this strategy as well. Here are a few L2 unboxing pictures:

For comparison purposes, here is the 41mm Leica’s L2 watch next to two other 42mm iconic watches (the latest versions of the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moon watch and the Rolex Explorer II). The L2 watch is smaller and it wears smaller since it doesn’t have nog lugs. The watch is relatively thick at 14.5mm and may not be a perfect fit under cuff links (the top domed sapphire crystal alone is probably 2-3mm). The lack of bezel makes the dial actually larger in this comparison:



My wrist size is 19cm/7.5in and the high-quality leather strap is a bit short for my hand. I can still wear the watch on the 2nd or 3rd hole. I have the same problem with many other watch brands. I hope Leica will offer longer straps in the future or maybe even include some with the watch. The lug size is 20mm and there are plenty of other strap options available online. The original strap also has quick-release pins, so you don’t even need a tool to change the strap :

The Leica watches are not cheap (Leica L1: $10,000, Leica L2: $14,000) but they offer a combination of unique features (one of them is patented):

  • Patented push-crown
  • Mode indicator
  • Power reserve indicator
  • Date push-button for quick date change
  • GMT turning bezel
  • Day/night indicator for the GMT function
  • GMT crown
  • Operating at 28,800 vph
  • 60-hour power reserve

When pressing the “red-dot shutter button” inside the crown, the seconds hand resets and the watch is in setup mode (the indicator on the dial turns red). The watch can be turned on again by pressing the “red-dot shutter button” again and the indicator on the dial turns white.  This functionality is patented and can be found exclusively on these watches. This makes the whole watch setup process extremely easy.

Professor Achim Heine explains:

“Together with Markus Lehmann, we expanded and fine-tuned the idea of the push crown. In contrast to conventional designs – whereby the crown must be pulled out to stop the movement and adjust the time – we wanted the crown to be pressed down, like the release button of a camera. The moment you push the crown, the watch stops and the small second hand jumps to zero. Another click releases the movement again. This is an unusual detail that perfectly fits in with Leica.”

Inside the dial, the L2 has a very thin 24-hour GMT ring with numbers indicating the hour in the second time zone. The ring can be adjusted with the bottom crown – a very useful feature that simplifies the process of switching time zones.

The top pusher changes the date – no need to keep moving the hour hand… again simple, fast, and easy.

I think you can see the pattern here – simple, fast, and easy-to-use – just like a Leica camera… just the essentials or “Das Wesentliche“.



Here is some additional information on the Leica L2 watch buttons and functions:

  1. Patented push-crown
  2. Mode indicator
  3. Power reserve indicator
  4. Small second hand
  5. Date push-button
  6. Date window
  7. GMT turning bezel (Leica L2 only)
  8. Day/night indicator for the GMT function (Leica L2 only
  9. GMT crown (Leica L2 only)

The watch is also very light, meaning you will hardly feel anything on your wrist – this is probably becuase of the aluminum material used for the watch – it weighed only 79 g (under 3 oz):


The Leica L2 watch accuracy is within the acceptable industry standard: ± a few seconds per day:


And finally, a word on the display case – it is made out of metal and glass. It is bigger and heavier than the Leica M lens display container:



  
Here is a quick recap:

What I like:

  • The quick date change is very useful since you will need a date adjustment every other month.
  • Smooth lugs (many companies make their lugs extra sharp on the edges).
  • The top sapphire crystal is shaped/curved/domed like the front element of a lens.
  • Fitted with sapphire crystals front and back.
  • Excellent leather strap – soft leather on top and velvet-like texture on the inside.
  • The strap has quick-release pins.
  • Very light watch – only 79g (under 3 oz).
  • A power reserve indicator is always helpful.
  • Perfect size and dimensions – for me that is (my favorite watch size is 42mm).
  • The Leica L2 can display two time zones with a single hand.
  • The watch is operating at a high frequency of 28.800 A/h, 4 Hz.
  • Made in Germany.

What I don’t like:

  • Still cannot register the watch online on Leica’s website (the manual is also not available online yet).
  • I think at this price range, a folding clasp would be more appropriate than a buckle.
  • The day/night (white/black) indicator is too small and hard to see. 

Additional Leica L2 pictures (click for larger view):





The Leica L1 and L2 watches can only be purchased in selected Leica stores worldwide:

Asia China
Singapur
Japan
Store Shanghai Xintiandi
Leica Store Raffles Hotel Arcade
Leica Store Tokio Ginza
America USA Leica Store Los Angeles
Europe Austria
Russia
Leica Store Wien
Leica Store Moskau GUM
Middle East   United Arab Emirates Leica Store Dubai Mall

Here are the L1 and L2 technical specifications:

Leica L1 and Leica L2 Watches by NikonRumors on Scribd

The next Leica L3 watch is rumored to have a mechanical alarm complication:

Leica L3 watch with a mechanical alarm complication coming in 2019

Additional Leica L1 + L2 coverage can be found here:

The Leica watch: additional coverage

Leica L1 and L2 watches additional coverage

Leica L1 and L2 watches additional (video) coverage

 

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