If you've ever wondered if designer names alone can send a product's price tag through the roof, this should suffice as confirmation. Hermès, the Parisian fashion giant best known for its prohibitively expensive wearable accessories, has teamed up with Leica for some creative marketing. Two special M9-P editions will be available -- a total of 300 Edition Hermès digital rangefinders will ship beginning in June for $25,000, while 100 "very special" (even more exclusive) Edition Hermès - Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas models will be available in July for, ahem, $50,000 (that's fifty thousand, in case you assumed it was a typo).
Likely realizing that it would be insanely absurd to unload the M9-P for either price without lenses included, Leica has opted to offer both as complete kits. The less expensive version uses some fancy calfskin leather with a silver chrome finish, and ships with a Leica Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. optic. The "very special" version, on the other hand, includes a Leica Summicron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH., a Leica Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH. and a Leica APO-Summicron-M 90 mm f/2 ASPH -- all finished in anodized silver. It also comes with a bag and a book. Due to the incredibly limited production run, you'll probably want to pitch a tent (or have your assistant park their assistant's Maybach) outside the Washington DC Leica Store, beginning sometime later this month.
Update: Need little more convincing about the craftsmanship? There are making-of and unboxing videos embedded after the break.
NEW LEICA LIMITED EDITIONS: LEICA M9-P "EDITION HERMÈS" / LEICA M9-P "EDITION HERMÈS - SÉRIE LIMITÉE JEAN-LOUIS DUMAS"
Solms, Germany (May 10, 2012) - Leica Camera AG presents a new limited edition: the Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès". Following the highly successful Leica MP "Edition Hermès" (2003) and the Leica M7 "Edition Hermès" (2009), this camera is the third in a line of premium special editions of the Leica M- System to be created in collaboration with the renowned Parisian house. The Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès" is being offered in a strictly limited edition. The exclusive numbers, unique product design and premium finishing with numerous extras make this a truly special edition in every respect.
The highlight of the Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès" is the "Veau Swift" calfskin leather in "ocre," supplied by Hermès for the leathering of the silver-chromed version of the Leica M9-P camera. This extremely fine and supple leather is applied not only to the camera body, but is also used for the shoulder strap included in the set. The camera also sports a special design, created in collaboration with the automotive designer Walter de'Silva. Furthermore, various features of the camera body have been redesigned, including the top deck, the base plate, the shutter speed dial, the multifunction wheel and the shutter release. These details distinguish the cameras from the standard version of the Leica M9-P and emphasize the unique status of the limited edition. In addition to a dedicated serial number, each camera also bears one of a series of consecutive limited-edition numbers.
The Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès" is offered in two different sets, with either one or three lenses. When compared with their standard versions, the design of all the lenses incorporates numerous differences in their details, ensuring a perfect harmonization of the cameras, their lenses and accessories.
This first of the Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès" sets is available from June 2012 in a worldwide limited edition of 300. In addition to the camera, the set includes a silver-anodized Leica Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.
Following this will be a very special set available from July 2012. The Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas" is a celebration of the friendship and collaboration between Jean-Louis Dumas, the former president of Hermès, who passed away in May 2010, and Leica Camera AG. A strictly limited edition of only 100, the camera in this set is accompanied by three lenses: a Leica Summicron-M 28 mm f/ 2 ASPH., a Leica Noctilux-M 50 mm f/0.95 ASPH. and a Leica APO-Summicron-M 90 mm f/ 2 ASPH., all featuring a silver-anodized finish.
This unique collection of photographic equipment finds a fitting home in a hand-finished Hermès camera bag that is available exclusively as a part of the Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas." The camera bag is the first Leica camera bag ever to have been created by Hermès, a company world-famous for its manufacturing excellence. As an homage to Jean-Louis Dumas, a Leica photographer, this second set also includes a book with a selection of his pictures. The photographic work in two volumes shows an entertainingly diverse portfolio of 200 black-and-white images on 190 pages, all captured by Jean-Louis Dumas with his Leica M camera.
In the limited edition, the frame selector lever, accessory shoe and Leica script on the top deck have been omitted in favor of its unique design. In all other technical details, the cameras and lenses of the special editions are identical to those of the standard versions.
The Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès" and Leica M9-P "Edition Hermès – Série Limitée Jean-Louis Dumas" are available exclusively through Leica Stores and Leica Boutiques, including the Leica Store Washington DC.