Brief introduction on LEICA Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model (10204), 1996 - MIR Image Library

 

Close-up view of the Political boundary map of Germany after re-unification on Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996
LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion Rangefinder Camera Model, 1996

There were two LEICA M6 models that are having an engraved map on the camera's top plate in 1996. The LEICA M6
Ausrüstung Benelux Edition was easier to understand as it has a "DEMO" word engraved ("LEICA DEMO AUSRUSTUNG BENELUX 96"). But the next model, LEICA Partner-Aktion Deutschland, 1996 was a little more tricky as "Aktion" means "Action" in German and combinely, it may mean "Action (among all) Partners in Germany, 1996".
   
Without clarification, the scope of such as theme of issue can be used extensively for many possibilities, such as sports, events, politics and/or businesses. Besides, when such a motto was printed along with a political boundaries of Germany can even invite fabrication of other story lines. One of the common interpretation via online auction sales was "Unification of West and East Germany". Smart Ass guessing.. but with little knowledge of history and political development on Germany because the open of Berlin wall was occurred in 1989 and I always thought I wanted to do a site to help people to get a proper interpretation on their respective background which relates to these Leica. Basically, using the term "Unification" in German History are generally referred back to Otto von Bismarck who managed to unify a number of independent German states into one nation, and thus create the German Empire, from which all of the states since that time bearing the name of Germany descend. He became the 1st Chancellor of the German Empire from 1871~1890. The more recent 1990 event under reign of the 6th German Chancellor, Helmut Josef Michael Kohl towards end of the Cold War was something more like a "Re-unification" ("Deutsche Einheit") between two German states into a larger entity as in current, complete state. Refer to History of Germany @Wikipedia. Either way, Leica AG couldn't be so "slow" in releasing a "commemorative" model to mark the event happened 4 years ago, right ? I guess mainly traders like to add a little spice to create sales premium but that is not a very appropriate and ethical business practices.

Back in 1997, a year after some of the Leica Users had identified a mysterious Leica M6 with a Deutschland Map and inscription of Partner-Aktion" had seek clarification from Leica AG. An active
Leica Users Group ("LUG") member, Peter Zaretzke <pza@software-ag.de> had posted the official reply from Leica which stated "... Sehr geehrter Herr Zaretzke, Die LEICA Partner-Aktion Deutschland 1996 bestand aus eine limitierte Auflage von je 500 LEICA M6- und LEICA R7-Kameras (beide schwarz verchromt). Diese Kameras trugen auf der Deckkappe oben als Gravur die Silhouette der Bundesrepublik Deutschland sowie die Aufschrift "Leica Partner-Aktion Deutschland 1996". Beide Kameras waren im Rahmen der Partner-Aktion als Test- oder Demo-Modelle f|r den aktiven Einsatz beim Leica Interessenten bestimmt. Die Partner M6 wurde im Set : Kamera + Summilux-M 1,4/35 mm ASPH + Bereitschaftstasche angeboten. Diese Aktion lief im Februar/Mdrz 1996. Seriennummernkreise wurden f|r diese Kameras nicht festgehalten ...".

Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996 in a Leica original red velvet presentation box
Peter was kind enough to translate the reply in German into English which reads "

...
The "LEICA Partner-Aktion Deutschland 1996" was a limited edition of 500 Leica M6 and 500 Leica R7 cameras, both black chrome. The M6 came together with a Summilux-M 1,4/35 mm ASPH lens and ever ready case ;-). The intention for this edition was: "Demo and Explore for Leica (business) Prospects". The serial numbers are not recorded*. The time period was Feb./Mar. 96....".

Ref:
Original Transcript from a thread posted on Leica User group posted on 1997.06.10. *Not entirely correct as the M6 Partner-Aktion models shown in this site has serial number.

So, it was a M6 distributed among all Leica regional distributors and dealers alike in the reunited formal East/West Germany to explore business potential of Leica products in their homeland. Technically speaking, the LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion '96 model carried similar objective with the LEICA M6 Benelux 1996 model. Acknowledgeable, that was a courageous effort and considering the combined quantity of the two editions for domestic and the annexed Benelux zone of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), Leica seemingly had high hope on potentially the "Deutsche Einheit" after 1990 may bring extra business benefit to them.

Top plate and illustration Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996
I would accept if the mentioned thread at LUG was an actual reply from Leica AG and so we conclude the LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion 1996 model was a model to strengthen Leica distribution network domestically. But there are two points which I may have some questions to ask around (I guess all the used equipment dealers may hang me alive to raise these issues:- i.e. 1) the illustration photos used here each bears Leica S/N but not additional special allocated S/N;
Front and rear section views of a Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996
2). So far, I have never seen a LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion model with the said Summilux 35/14 ASPH mentioned in the thread. Either way, none of the photos I got from used collectible market auction sales here had a Summilux-M 1:1.4/35mm ASPH lens supplied. Assuming the said lens was not marked with special engraving but as M6 Benelux Model's bundled Summicron-M 1:2/35mm didn't had any so I can only make an assumption the Summilux for M6 Partner-Aktion doesn't too. A probable conclusion is, either those who originally owned and hence disposed their procession or the problem may come those who put theirs for sale and did not surrendered the bundled lens along with the camera.

The serial numbering and special engraving on a Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996
The outstanding 9 elements in 5 groups Aspherical Leica modern Classic, Summilux-M 1:1.14/35mm ASPH (a 192k PDF file download from www.Summilux.net) was first introduced in 1994. It was believed the early series was only having black finishing and should matches the all-black LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion models perfectly. I doubt Leica was generous enough to offer the Edition for free (the Benelux with a "demo" inscription probably was or at big discount) and this may explain and understandably why most of the models transacted in the collectible market today had not been bundled with an original lens attached.
   
As the Summilux may not had any special engraving(s), it will act as an individual lens and should be able to let go after detachment. For those who may had acquired a LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion model without a lens supplied, it makes no difference with or without one attached because there is no records of the series where you can refer. Further, if ever it came with the Summilux-M 1:1.14/35mm ASPH, you may not be paying your original purchase price, right ?
   

Top and bottom plate views of a Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996

 
Standard pakaging and documentations of Leica M6 Partner-Aktion rangefinder camera model, 1996
Frankly speaking, the LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion '96 model (10204) was a M6 release at its best period. Surprisingly the collectible value has not been reflected in tandem with other Leica M6 collectibles introduced during the same period of time. Perhaps, for those who may want a little extra away from a regular production M6 black body, this model would make a perfect selection. From another perspective of a non-German Leica collector point of view, the camera, other than delivering its basic objective as a high quality imaging tool, it was born at an era mid between the old and new Germany.
   
For a long period after the Reunification, Germany has went through some difficult times economically, but today the Nation has re-emergging as another major economic power house in EU, if not the world. For prices ranges consistently between EURO 1,300-00~1,800-00* for a well preserved/used unit, the LEICA M6 Partner-Aktion '96 model may make someone recalling back plenty of events happened during a period of transitional change in Germany during the '90.

* NOTE;- Indicative price(s) herein is/are based original prices published on previous auction literature/references. Prices may vary according to gradual yearly premium, supply/demand equations, and/or other renewed valuation methods.

 

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of IL-Contatto®, Italy who also operates a popular trading place. All Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.


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Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable for this Benelux M6 by Niels H. S. Nielsen

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Credit: Image(s) courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. A close-up view at mid section o this site courtesy of DigifanCN®. The group also operates their own active, popular EBAY STORE, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles. All Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.