Leica Shifts Focus with the ZM 11

The camera maker enters the sports watch market.

Having introduced the ZM 1 and ZM 2 wristwatches in 2018, Leica now launches its first sports watch with ZM 11. Deviating entirely from the camera-inspired aesthetics of the earlier models, the ZM 11 is a straightforward three-hander in a minimalist style with an integrated bracelet (or strap). But like its predecessors, the ZM 11 is equipped with a movement made by a specialist, in this case Chronode.

Initial thoughts

On its face, the ZM 11 comes across as uninspiring at first, appearing similar to many current luxury sports watches with integrated bracelets. But on closer inspection it reveals interesting details, including a nicely finished case and bracelet with facetted, brushed surfaces. Also notable is the quick-release mechanism for the bracelet that’s activated by a red button, a reference to Leica cameras.

The red button aside, however, the design doesn’t capture the essence of a Leica camera as the earlier ZM 1 and ZM 2 did. The earlier pair incorporated camera-inspired details into functional elements, like a patented “push-piece” crown that mimics the push of a shutter-release button. While the ZM 1 and ZM 2 are arguably Leica watches, the ZM 11 feels more like a Leica-branded watch.

Priced around US$7,000 for the base model, the ZM 11 is competitively priced as far as integrated-bracelet sports watches go. The IWC Ingenieur, for instance, is about 40% pricier. However, such sports watches are generally priced at a premium relatively to everything else, so the value proposition is not absolute.

German style

The ZM 11 is the most recent addition to the ZM line – short for zeitmesser or”time measuring device” – that began with the ZM 1 and ZM 2 in 2018. Just like the majority of recently-launched sports watches, the ZM 11 is a time-and-date accompanied by a patterned dial and integrated bracelet.

The dial has a stamped, horizontal shutter-like pattern along with no-frills baton hands and indices. Notably, the hour markers are faceted and sport a blend of sandblasted and brushed textures. 

It’s available in three colours at launch. Two are regular production: Midnight Blue with a stainless steel case and Coffee Black, a brown-black dial matched with a titanium case. The last model is the Launch Edition, a limited edition in titanium with a red-accented black dial.

The Titanium Launch Edition

The case measures 41 mm in diameter and 13 mm high, with a uniform matte finish that is brushed on the steel models and sandblasted for titanium.

The case finish continues into the integrated bracelet that can be easily swapped for a strap with the quick-release mechanism. As a result of the quick-release mechanism, however, only proprietary Leica straps can be used.

The Titanium Coffee Black

While the earlier ZM 1 and ZM 2 relied on proprietary movements made specifically for Leica by German movement maker Lehmann Präzision, the ZM 11 is powered by an automatic movement made by Chronode. Known as the Leica LA-3001, it features a power reserve of 60 hours and a high frequency of 4 Hz.

Although it has been customised for Leica with an all-black finish and relief borders on the bridges, the LA-3001 is essentially identical to the self-winding movement that Chronode supplies to a variety of brands.

Key facts and price

Leica ZM 11 Titanium Launch Edition
Leica ZM 11 Titanium Coffee Black
Leica ZM 11 Steel Midnight Blue

Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 13 mm
Material: Steel or titanium
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: LA-3001 (made by Chronode)
Functions: Hours, minutes and central seconds
Winding: Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Matching bracelet with butterfly clasp or rubber or fabric strap with pin buckle

Limited edition: Regular production, except for the Titanium Launch Edition (250 pieces)
Availability: At select Leica stores starting late November 2023

Leica ZM 11 Titanium Launch Edition: US$7,325
Leica ZM 11 Titanium Coffee Black: US$7,325
Leica ZM 11 Steel Midnight Blue: US$7,450

For more information, visit Leica-camera.com.


Back to top.

You may also enjoy these.