Leica Valbray EL1 Chronograph.

On the occasion of the celebration of 100 Years of Leica Photography, Valbray – the renowned Swiss watchmakers from Lausanne – presents a special limited edition: the EL1 Chronograph. This watch is strictly limited to only 100 exemplars and is engraved with the Leica logo features on the crown and ‘100 Years of Leica Photography’ engraved on the back.

The EL1 Chronograph is distinguished by the unique shutter system of Valbray, that acts as a cover for the face and can be opened and closed by turning the bezel. This mechanism is patented and handcrafted from 16 single blades integrated on a rotatable bezel of 46 mm.

When completely open, the blades are hidden and reveal the specially designed chronograph of the watch. The hours, the minutes and the stopwatch function are all also readable when the diaphragm is closed.

‘The collaboration between Leica and Valbray brings together two premium brands that share the passion for utmost mechanical perfection and individually handcrafted products,’ says Alfred Schopf, chairman of the executive board at Leica Camera AG, on whose initiative this collaboration is based. Alfred Schopf, himself a connoisseur of fine mechanical timepieces, established the contact to Côme de Valbray, the founder of Valbray. Côme de Valbray is an enthusiastic photographer who has used Leica cameras for many years. Together, they laid the foundations for the creation of the Valbray EL1 Chronograph as a special centennial edition. 

Made of titanium grade 5 with sanded finishes, the watch presents four white engravings on its bezel, one each quarters of time. The dials are all stylistic recalls of Leica cameras. The indication of the date (at 3h), the cursor minutes (at noon) and the hours (at 6h) recall the layout settings. The seconds (at 9h) reproduce the design of the isometry button. Finally, the metallic 4.5 applied at 4 hours and half, evokes the aperture of the very first Leica camera – the “Ur-Leica”.

On the back of the watch, the automatic Swiss movement with an open worked rotor is visible through a sapphire glass, darkened in a nod to the black room.

The timepiece will appear in two versions: 50 pieces in sanded titanium and 50 pieces with a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. Each chronograph will be supplied with an iconic jewel case together with two bracelets that can be exchanged with a special tool provided.

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