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Leica Watches - L1 & L2 - what do you think?

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I'd always assumed that honour went to perfumes - with the bottle costing several times more than the stuff inside it.

 

Steve, 

 

I was more thinking in amount of profit rather than percent. An expensive bottle of perfume costs maybe £100. The contents, bottle, packaging, publicity and advertising might amount to about £15 so profit £85. Gold Swiss watch would have movement £250, case and strap £400, publicity and advertising £100, nice wooden box £50 total cost therefore £800. Selling cost £8000 so profit £7200. If they add diamonds, it gets even better, as they charge about 1000% mark up on them. Mr. Hayek really knew what he was doing when he started to buy up the big name Swiss watch makers. Sadly he then lost most of the money he had made, on Smart cars. 

 

Wilson

Edited by wlaidlaw

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Talking of bespoke watch makers

 

http://www.danielslondon.com

 

http://www.rwsmithwatches.com

 

http://​https://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/businessclub/11307795/Meet-Britains-most-exclusive-watchmaker-whose-exquisite-timepieces-sell-for-up-to-250000.html

 

By Roger W Smith, an apprentice of the late Dr George Daniels CBE.

 

Hand built from scratch, yours for between £100,000 to £250,000.

Edited by stevelap

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Leica doesn't master horology which is an other trade, to produce its own movement as few "maufactures " do, but  using an ETA would prevent categorize L1and L2 in hand-made products, which is paramount for Leica. Final price is not an issue for Leica potential buyer, higher is the price higher is the attraction. Deluxe watches market is a cake Leica wants to taste.

The great majority of Swiss watch movements are made by Omega-ETA-Valjoux, part of the Swatch empire. They have gradually absorbed most of the other makers like E.S.A. Gallet and Ronda are the other two movement makers of any size in Switzerland. In the far east, Seiko, Beijing Watch and Hangzhou are the major makers. There are many small makers in various countries who turn out movements in tiny numbers compared with the big guys. Movements are not expensive. One of the most commonly used the ETA 7750/28880 chronograph movement is used by most of the deluxe name makers with a few exceptions like Patek Philippe. It now only comes in the upper three of the four grades it used to come in with Standard grade now deleted. The grades are Elabouré, Top and Chronometre. A Chronometre grade ETA is sometimes supplied complete and sometimes as a kit of parts known as an ébauche so that watch manufacturers can make their own changes, which when I was going round the ETA factory, they claimed almost always reduced the quality of the time keeping, compared to one of their factory assembled movements. A chronometer grade 7750 movement only costs a few hundred Swiss francs, so the rest of the cost of an upmarket Swiss watch is down to the case and strap cost, marketing and publicity costs and most important - profit margin. Deluxe Swiss watches are almost certainly the highest profit margin items in the world. The ETA movements are made in a heavily robotised factory, with humans mainly doing machine adjustments, tooling replacements, checking and quality control. 

 

Wilson

Edited by Gelatino

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Using ETA movements does not seem to have put a crimp in the sales of the likes of Omega, Girard Perregaux, Breitling, Panerai, Vacheron Constantin and so on. If you get a watchmaker being honest over a few glasses of wine, they will admit that the ETA movements are as finely made as the best hand made movements and better than most. A hand wound watch will never be quite as accurate as an automatic because of the great variations in spring tension. That is why if you want an automatic watch to be truly accurate, it should sit on a winder overnight. I have to admit I have always felt that is a tad on the obsessive side and have never bothered. It is also why mechanical marine chronometers were usually wound twice a day at exactly the same times each day. In the Napoleonic era British navy, it was a capital offence for any sailor not authorised, to touch the ships chronometers and a court marshal offence for the designated officer to fail to wind them on time (most ships from frigate size upwards had two chronometers). 

 

Wilson

Edited by wlaidlaw

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Though my watches are more utilitarian (such as a TAG Heuer for SCUBA and sport wear, and Swatch for when visiting less prosperous countries), I do value attractive design, and I consider the L watches to qualify on that criterion.  However, I cannot justify the price, and it's likely the size of the watch would be to big for my vertically challenged stature.

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I am blinking in utter perplexity at this news.

 

While I understand Leica's thinking in concept, they are not just jumping in at the deep end of the pool, but into a fierce open ocean riptide, with sharks too I might add.  Many storied Swiss brands are struggling in the haute horological space just to keep their heads above water.  Even if the catalogue will only have two pieces, to do everything but movements the manufacture build out will be significant in cost and effort.

 

Secondly, I do not see any opportunities for synergy with Lehmann.  IMHO it would have been better to partner with a brand having alignment of values and demographics.  There is no shortage of German firms who create timepieces with quality and history to match that of Leica cameras.  Junghans and Mühle-Glashütte come to mind.

 

This venture, at the very least, will be an interesting business school case study.

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Just to add some more to Wilson's very comprehensive post: Germany's watchmaking industry has enjoyed a resurgence over the last few decades. Its main centers are the Black Forest, around Pforzheim (for example, Stowa), and Glashütte in Saxony (Nomos, A. Lange und Söhne, Moritz Grossman).

There seems to be no shortage of demand for high-end luxury watches, the most expensive of which are exported to China and the Middle East. However, more modestly priced but still very classy watches contribute to regional economies, and go to prove that not everyone wants a high-tech watch-computer; quality handmade products are also sought after. As well as movements, cases are often also made independently, for example by Ickler. A very few watch companies do make their own movements, such as Moritz Grossman, which I visited a few years ago as part of a Handmade in Germany design tour (pictures below).

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by NZDavid

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I've had a variety of watches, nothing too elaborate, but a couple of Rotary's and a lovely WW1 era writswatch that kept good time until it stopped working one day (need to have it repaired).

 

I stopped wearing them altogether for a while, my phone tells the time and is always with me, but I wanted a wristwatch with a stopwatch for gym/running and bought one of these. I can honestly say it's drawn more comments/attention than any other watch I've ever worn!

 

I upgraded recently to a G shock number, but nobody has noticed it. Not that I want anyone to notice my watch, it's just funny that the £10 Casio got so many complimentary remarks!

 

 

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While I think it's about time that the Admin opened a dedicated Leica watch sub-forum.

 


There must be endless discussions to be had about wristbands, time zones, left wrist or right wrist, on-top-of-the-wrist or underneath-the-wrist – not to mention Leica watch goodies.

 

Is it possible to conceal the Red Dot?


 

Mods, please…?

Edited by marcg

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Probably the nearest competitor to the Leica L1 is the Omega Globemaster Co-axial movement chronometer Manual Wind. You can buy a new one of those in stainless steel for around €5000 or half the price of an L1. Rarity - probably about the same I would say, as the majority of buyers will go for the same watch, 1mm thicker, in automatic form. The Omega is one of the very few manual wind wrist chronometers on the market today, because it is just so difficult to get a manual wind watch to pass the COSC tests (-4/+6 seconds a day plus many other tests).

 

Watches even from the big name makers are being heavily discounted at the moment. I got 23% off list on a Breitling in the UK last year and it was one of their latest models. I could probably get nearer 30% or even more this year. 

 

Wilson

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