Swiss luxury watchmaking brand Valbray has decided to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Leica Photography with a limited edition timepiece inspired by by Leica’s cameras. This novelty is named EL1 Chronograph “100 Years Of Leica Photography Edition” and offered in two individual styles.
The Valbray EL1 Chronograph that celebrates Leica‘s 100th anniversary is limited to only 100 specimens each engraved with the Leica logo on the crown and with ‘100 Years of Leica Photography’ engraved on the case back.
This newcomer features Valbray’s ingenious “Oculus diaphragm system” with 16 individual matte black blades that covers and uncovers the face of the dial by simply turning the bezel. When completely open, the blades are hidden in the rotating bezel and reveal the specially designed chronograph register. The hours, the minutes and the stopwatch function are also revealed when the diaphragm is closed.
In order to function smoothly, each blade can be maximum 0.01mm thick and must undergo three different anti-friction coatings to prevent snagging and jamming. The entire mechanism, containing of the blades, the bezel, and the deployment mechanisms consists of over 80 moving components.
Underneath the diaphragm blades lies the main dial which recalls of Leica cameras. The dial comprises the signature Valbray “V” motif cutting through the metallic honeycomb ground and three registers for the chronograph counters, as well as the running seconds. These totalizers recall the layout settings. There is also the metallic 4.5 applied at the 4:30 o’clock position which is a tribute to the very first Leica camera – the “Ur-Leica.”
A see-through case back of the watch shows the Swiss made Valjoux 7750 chronograph mechanical movement with an open worked rotor, darkened in a nod to the black room. The auto-winding mechanism which consists of 25 jewels, oscillates at the frequency of 28,800 alternations per hour (4 Hz) and is capable to store enough energy to keep the watch ticking for at least 44 hours.
As I have already mentioned, the Swiss watchmaker offers two versions of the Valbray EL1 Chronograph. The first one is built with sandblasted titanium, while the other one is in black DLC-coated sandblasted titanium, accompanied by a leather strap in either black or brown color. Each version will be produced in a series of only 50 pieces. Also, each timepiece will be supplied together with two different straps that can be exchanged with the aid of a special screwdriver provided with the watch.
The new Valbray EL1 Chronograph will be available through Leica boutiques, as well as through Valbray’s retailers starting from June 2014. The retail price is 17,999 Euros (approximately $24,530).