In a perfectly suited partnership with the iconic Leica camera from Germany, Valbray presents the new EL1 Chronograph Limited Edition watch. This watch featuring a diaphragm system like that in cameras, decided to join forces with Leica to celebrate 100 Years of Leica Photography. To make this watch even more special, its name EL1 comes from the initials of Ernst Leitz, one of the founders of the Leica brand. This watch limited to a 100 pieces is engraved with the Leica logo features on the crown and the legend ‘100 Years of Leica Photography’ engraved on the back. The Valbray EL1 Chronograph just like all other Valbray watches, is distinguished by the unique Oculus diaphragm system.

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 an identical passion for ultimate 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, contacted the founder of Valbray, Côme de Valbray to embark in this horological adventure. Côme de Valbray also happens to be 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 watch to celebrate the centennial of the Leica brand.

Made of grade 5 titanium with two different sanded satin finishes, the watch features four white engravings on its bezel, at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock reminiscent of the engravings around the camera lenses.  Additionally, the multilayer dial with a honeycomb grid features a very Leica-style design with red accents that resemble the iconic Leica red dot in the front of the camera bodies. The dial features a date aperture at 3, a 30-minute chrono register at 12 and a 12-hour chrono register at 6 that recall the camera layout settings. To reproduce the design of the ISO setting button, the running seconds register has been placed at 9 o’clock with a very similar design. Finally, the metallic 4.5 applied at 4 o’clock evokes the aperture value of the first Leica camera.

Valbray’s Oculus diaphragm system acts as a cover for the dial and can be opened and closed by turning the bezel. This mechanism is constructed from 16 single blades integrated on a rotatable bezel with the same diameter as the 46 mm case. When completely open, the blades are hidden and reveal the specially designed chronograph of the watch.

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. This new timepiece is available in two different models —one in sand blasted titanium and the other in blackened DLC titanium— available in a 50-piece limited edition each. Each chronograph will be supplied with two different interchangeable straps that can be swapped with the aid of a special tool that is also provided. The Valbray EL1 Chronograph will be available at Leica Boutiques and selected Valbray boutiques starting June 2014.

Sticker Price 17,999 Euro. For more info on Valbray

Technical Specifications

Case: Grade 5 Titanium measuring 46 mm in diameter and fitted with patented 16-blade diaphragm integrated on its rotating bezel.
Movement: Automatic Swiss chronograph with 25 jewels and that beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph providing a power reserve of 44 hours.
Water Resistant: 50 meters.