A meeting between watchmaker Côme de Valbray and Leica CEO Alfred Schopf yielded quite the discovery. The two had long shared an unspoken mutual admiration, with Schopf desiring a Valbray timepiece and Côme de Valbray being a fan of Leica cameras. This discovery led to the development of a new timepiece in celebration of Leica’s 100th anniversary– the Valbrey EL1 Watch, a limited Leica edition. This new Valbray is inspired by the Leica story and the iconography of rangefinder cameras, all built into a work of wearable art.
The Valbray EL1 Watch features a design trait that will feel very familiar to fans of photography. The EL1 uses a special “Oculus” diaphragm to mimic the aperture blades on a Leica camera lens, closing from the outer edge of the face around the hour, minute and second hand at its center. When the diaphragm is fully open, it exposes red accents and angled lines that both recall the famous Leica logo. When closed, the 16 aperture blades of the Valbrey diaphram present the watch at its most basic, providing a “snapshot” of the current time.
The Valbray EL1 Watch will be available in this limited edition for the “100 Years of Leica Photography” celebration. A small number will be produced, and adherents to the cult of Leica will certainly want to consider one of these. They’ll be available for $24,000 a piece, a fair price for an item bearing Leica branding that will only be available once in a lifetime. [via hodinkee]