A Visual Profile on Leica M6 Platinum rangefinder camera models - Part II - MIR Image Library


LEICA M6 Platinum Edition (Leica Product Code: 10450) seemingly was a very well planned special release project by Leica AG. It was not the first time Leica had introduced a special edition with a luxurious package; previous experience with those models probably had given folks at Leica how to configure essential components in making it looks appealing. The Edition include proper documentation, introductory leaflets and selecting a very presentable, dark-shade mahogany wood case so as to enhance the brilliance of Platinum metal once the display case is opened. Despite Leica has a very strong following on collectible special issues all these years, an official edition of special commemorative model with a total issued quantity of 1,250 units can still be considered as a single largest project for a special price edition camera ever undertaken by Leica AG. Coincidentally, the year of issue 1989 for the LEICA M6 Platinum Edition was exactly 10 years from the last issue of the official Leica M4-2 Gold 1979~1979 100th years Oskar Barnack edition which amounting to 1,000 units.
 

LEICA M6 Platinum Finish 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie Limited Edition model with full documentation
Why Platinum ?

Platinum in raw organic form is a heavy, malleable, precious metal and having a grey-white transition metal property. It is resistant to corrosion and occurs in some nickel and copper ores along with some native deposits. Platinum's wear/tarnish-resistance characteristics with native silvery-white appearance are well suited for making fine jewelry and others industrial applications. In general, Platinum is priced higher as a form of commodity than Gold.

Using the precious metal on a LEICA special edition probably serves two objective:- provides a refreshing introduction of this release rather than being seen as repetitive/duplicating effort from the previous Oskar Barnack M4-2 Gold edition. Next, as Platinum is seen to be more precious than Gold, it elevates the level of respect to the original founder of Leica to a next level.
   
However, the "Platinum" metal as seen on the body chassis of M6 Platin '89 was not entirely using the raw precious metal. It was actually being plated with a layer of Platinum over a regular production Leica M6 (Similarly, the M4-2 has a 24 carat Gold-plated layer, where the same applied to the LEICA M6 Titanium model released later in 1992). Well, if ever all the mentioned camera bodies were manufactured from respectively mentioned original rare earth / precious metal, they won't be having a retail price as stated. A good example was the LEICA M7 Titanium with 3 accompanying true-Titanium ASPH Leica lenses, other than it was a highly collectible which combines with a very small issued quantity, the entire collection kit has a retail price of USD20,000-00 when it was announced back in Photokina 2004.


It is kind of hard to find good pictures to show how the shinny precious metal of Platinum looks like on the Leica special edition model. Here are two illustration photos taken by the Korean camera trader probably which probably having the best matched / most accurate manner to show the metal in raw nature on the M6 Platinum model.

Closer section view of Leica M6 Platinum to shows the brilliance of Platinum metal plating Closer section view on the top right plate of Leica M6 Platinum to shows the brilliance of Platinum metal plating

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of a very seasoned Korea online trading house www.BOSUNG.Biz®. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

   

Rear section view of film back with ISO film speed input disc on a LEICA M6 Platinum Finish 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie Limited Edition model
Along side with the elegant metallic color of the camera body parts, Leica has also specifically offered it with a matching Platinum-plated Summilux-M 1:1.4 f=50mm lens just for the LEICA M6 Platinum Edition. The whole presentation of both the platinum finish Body/lens combination projects a very stylish, luxurious feel but not too exaggerating like the M4-2 Gold edition. I guess most Leica folks would agree one of the most distinctive feature found in this LEICA M6 Platinum was the karung leather work used for the body covering.
 
I am not sure what kind of leather was used on the M4-2 Gold edition w/the accompanied Summilux-M 1.4/50 but it seems to be was also a kind of genuine leather too. Karung leather hide, basically was skin-leatherette from python (large snake) is often used for many fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Bottega Veneta Intrecciato, Fendi or individual labels/designers for makes of lady handbags, wallets, boots and other women accessories. The leather work appears on the LEICA M6 Platinum was a kind of natural ethnic karung snake skin (I would think python is most probable as it has a larger surface which is required to cover the dimension at front / rear section of the camera). This probably explained why each of the M6 platinum edition may not necessary have a same uniform pattern or at times, even it applies to color tint of the leatherette where one may be slightly different from another.

NOTE:- During the the old days, use of genuine skin from Sea Shark, Ostrich, lizard or even stingray are not too uncommon to be used on camera as well as lenses. Example Leitz SM 13.5cm 1:4.5 Hektor has a small portion at its rear in Sharkskin leather work. Most Japanese manufacturers at later stage all were using an artificial leatherette - not sure if it was cost effective or simply more environmental concious-orientated. I won't think the latter has a more logical basis.

Top view of LEICA M6 Platinum Finish 150 Jahre Photographie/75 Jahre Leica Photographie Limited Edition model with Platinum plated 50mm f/1.4 Summilux-M lens
SERIAL NUMBERING / IDENTIFICATION:-

Leica issued the M6 Platinum edition with a control serial numbering system in quite an unique way. i.e. the official production quantity of 1,250 units. There is always an alphabet listed at the front of teach serial number. The related Alphabets used were made up of "L.E.I.C.A." and each letter is followed by 250. 250 x 5 =1,250 units. There are two S/N, the 7-digits Numbering is the regular Leica production number. Some site references quoted the regular S/N begins from 1757001~1758251.

I am not sure if this has been used on any of the previous LEICA special Editions but it has a very meaningful usage behind the adoption. I do know the
LEICA M6 Colombo '92 has replicated the same manner with its serial numbering system used where the starting letters "I.T.A.L.Y." were used for its entire issued quantity of 200 units in break down quantity of 40 units annexed to per alphabet.

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of MATSUMOTO camera Japan ®. The group also operates their own active, popular Online Website, trading for many major camera brands and collectibles Leica & other major labels. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.
Base plate and bottom section of  LEICA SUMMILUX-M 1:1.14 f=50mm lens in Platinum plated finishing

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A visual profile on LEICA M6 Platinum Edition, 1989 and case study on an unusual M6 Platin with black body parts

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | LEICA M6 Platinum DUMMY

Other related LEICA M6 camera models issued in the same Platinum Finishing:-
Leica M6 Platinum Dummy Set, 1989 | Leica M6 PLATINUM '150/75 Jahre', 1989
Leica
M6 Platinum Sultan of Brunei Silver Jubilee Edition, 1992 | Leica M6 Sultan of Brunei Special 50th Birthday Edition, Platinum w/diamond, 1995
Leica M6 "Anton Bruckner" (1824~1996) Platinum Edition, 1996 | Leica M6 Schmidt Platinum Centenary (100 Years), 1996
Leica M6 Platinum Henri Cartier Bresson / Louis Vuitton One unit Special Edition, 1998
Leica M6 Platinum "150 jahre Optik" Wetzlar Optisches Institute Edition, 1999

Main Index Page - Leica M6-series models / Main Index Page - Leica-M Rangefinder camera Models

Nomenclature / Main Reference Map for Leica M6 Standard Model(s) applicable for this model | Others:- Leica M6 TTL Model(s)
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable for this model by Niels H. S. Nielsen; Others:- Leica M6 TTL 3.6 Mb PDF) by Joe Chan

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Related Image(s) courtesy of MATSUMOTO camera Japan ®. The group also operates their own active, popular Online Website. Related usage of images: Korea online trading house www.BOSUNG.Biz® All Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.