VALBRAY EL1 Chronograph


The ‘ 100 Years of Leica Photography ’ edition Valbray and Leica present unique chronographs

On the occasion of the celebration of 100 Years of Leica Photography, Valbray 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 Oculus diaphragm system of Valbray that acts as a cover for the face and can be opened and closed by turning the bezel. This mechanism is constructed from 16 single blades integrated on a rotatable bezel of 46mm.

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 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, established the contact to Côme de Valbray, the founder of Valbray. He 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 first 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 exemplars in sanded titanium and the remaining 50 with DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating. Each chronograph will be supplied complete with two different bracelets that can be exchanged with the aid of a special tool provided.  

This limited-edition Valbray EL1 Chronograph will be available from Leica Stores and selected Valbray boutiques from June 2014 at a price of 17,999 euros.

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Limited edition 100 numbered pieces (50 for the Titanium reference and 50 for the Black one)

Name Valbray EL1 – Chrono (The initials of its name are chosen as a tribute to Ernst Leitz, one of the founders of Leica brand, Leica I the contraction of Leitz and camera.)  
Material   Titanium grade 5   
Diameter  46 mm  
Patent 16-blade diaphragm integrated on a rotating bezel  
Movement  Mechanical auto-winding Swiss chronograph movement Frequency: 28’800 alt/h (4 Hz)  25 functional jewels  44 hours of power reserve  
Water resistance To 5 ATM  
Dial   Multi - layered with a honeycomb grid  
Sapphire Glass   Cover and case back