A brief introduction on Leica M6 Traveler Kit Edition, 1994 -MIR Image Library

LEICA M6 Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
LEICA M6 Traveler Kit Edition, 1994

I am not sure any of you are aware back in early 1990, Nikon had released a 200 units special edition of a Nikon FM2/N Tropicana Edition issued which bundled with few prime lenses, MD-12 motor drive and close-up accessories, all packed in a very solidly made aluminum box. I am not sure if the 1994 LEICA Traveler Edition was introduced later or Nikon's equivalent was inspired by Leica initiative in releasing such an attempt to serve targeted frequent travelers who may also are keen Leica photographers.
 
We all know how messy can it be while preparing for travel, one seriously need to be a packaging artist to configure what to bring and what's not to in our luggage. Generally, there are so many things that you wish the airline would provide 50kg of free packaging without worrying overweight. Note book, camera/DV camcorder, mobile phone(s), important business and/or travel documents are usual hand luggage items. Most often cameras can only be brought along in simplest setup. What would you think if there is a way that most of these headache can be resolved with an elegantly designed, business-class-liked briefcase that also can doubled as a camera kit ?

Nikon Tropicana Edition in aluminium box - link to website
The Nikon TROPICANA Edition was adopted a more conventional approach in using a hard metal-covered aluminum box. It is rugged and serves its purpose to protect the gears in rough terrain or working in high humidity environment for long or extended period. LEICA approach in this Traveler Edition was more like a signature designer outfit mainly serving businessmen who may be having interest in bring their LEICA along while traveling. To those who are financially capable user group, a "Nikon is still a Nikon" while many Leica photographers may be are accomplished businessmen cum Leica photographers who might not be too happy sharing the same mentality in bringing an aluminum box as hand luggage (beat up me if this quote had, in any ways offended anyone out there, hehe .....).
   
Anyway, regardless of it was originated by special request from someone or an establishment; somehow LEICA AG had concluded it was a good idea which followed with a working partner in preparation for such an edition. Although Germany has not many designers inspired high end labels such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, etc. Quality Germany leather goods especially Sofa and furniture sets from Germany has always been maintained a very good names in the market. I guess neither LEICA would like their planned release to have a Samsonite, Victorinox or TravelPRO logo sticks onto it because regardless, the priority was still trying to source the materials and craftsmanship from local resources in complimenting the edition as an original, native produce in an all-German tradition. I wasn't too sure what happened during that time, the identified partner in this production was a German Company who was a native specialist in this sector, Offermann.
   
Offermann logo- link to offermann.de
Found in 1842 with a long tradition in making top quality hand crafted leather goods, esp. in the specialized fields of business-class traveling suitcase, briefcases and others for men and ladies. OOFERMANN products are famed in the industry for their functional design, as well as the smooth and soft lamb leatherette. Today Offermann has its distribution network spreading across EU countries, US and many major cities in the far east.
   
Offermann history - link to Offermann.de site

LEICA M6 Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
 closer view
The LEICA Traveler Edition consists of a LEICA M6 Chrome body, a E43 Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm with lens hood 12586 front metal lens cap/rear plastic cap. black soft leather carrying case and leather briefcase, fitted leather cases with carrying strap. The Offermann designed traveling case looks exactly like a business use suitcase where inside you will find another soft all leather hand bag for storage for other traveling accessories It has slots N compartments to accommodate the camera body as well as supplied with individual leather cases for the lens and other fittings - all these a can be stored inside the traveling compartment neat and orderly.
   
The LEICA M6 "TRAVELER EDITION" camera was an integrated part of the kit. It has a companion Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm in silver chrome finish. Technically, there is no difference for anyone who prefers to get a Samsolite-kind of briefcase and put your camera / lens inside except that the Kit has supplied with various sub-leather pouches as well as compartments tailored fit to keep the camera, lens and other accessories properly. Well, not entirely was the case, if ever this was intended, LEICA could had easily assigned Offermann Germany to mass produce a shipment and put a red roundel on it right ? IF you take notice of the camera which bears all basic features of a standard, regular production M6 Chrome, there was a tiny difference in the camera, with the film rewind knob in chrome but the crank was in black.

LEICA M6 Chrome body w/Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm lens as supplied along with LEICA Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
I am not sure if the black crank feature was intentionally made so as to provide a quick visual for identification purpose or like those LEICA "Panda" with black fittings during the period. Next, the Summilux-M 50/1.4 was a brass construction version, uses E43 thread and has no built-in lens hood. Anyway, these are minor points and conclusively they were still look and behave like any standard chrome M6.
   
   

LEICA M6 Chrome body w/Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm lens as supplied along with LEICA Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
I have seen some people was trying to sell the lens individually and hope to get a premium over standard Summilux-M but I doubt it has any significant edge over regular model(s). If one has an intention to preserve some basic value for this kit, just keep the lens with the body as well as other components in the Traveler Edition.

From a post the at I-camera forum, a gentleman has offered a reference for all the Summilux-M for this edition with S/N from: 34950xx ~ 355891xx. Two of the M6 traveler editions here has the lens falls within the S/N. It may has some basis

LEICA M6 Chrome body w/Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm lens as supplied along with LEICA Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
Here are series of photos that illustrated various views of the LEICA M6 that was supplied with the Leica Traveler Edition. There are a few points that relate to this LEICA M6 that may be offered as consideration. I would think the LEICA M6 Traveler Edition was more like a solution to satisfy desire for such kind of desirable setup during that period.

It can be difficult to relate a Leica photographer that still had not built-up a system on his own yet and would require a traveling kit with all essential personal belonging with additional inclusion of a bare basic setup of a M6 body with a standard lens configuration.

In a most ideal scenario, a two or at most, a three-lenses configuration would be most ideal but this would add tremendous weight as a hand luggage adding the fact there are other personal tools such as mobile phone, notebook etc. This was primarily the main issue why there was only a one-lens setup with the M6.

Well, to confine this to only serving Leica business travelers may be too conclusive as the Edition makes a perfect corporate gift esp. for those who had not had a Leica yet. In particularly the high quality, elegantly look OFFERMANN designed kit would double acted as a briefcase and/or suitcase. The M6 w/Summilux 50/1.4 was something like icing on the cake. For those who may be only spending all their life with Leica collectibles, this Traveler's M6 could well fit the requirement for a Leica that can be for general photography without having to take care the collectible Leica like a secret mistress brought along with the business trip.

LEICA M6 Chrome body w/Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm lens as supplied along with LEICA Traveller Kit Edition, 1994
As for those who had the strong belief this LEICA Traveler Edition has tremendous collectible value and would appreciate in its value, just ensure all the supplied components as well as accessories are intact. For me, I am quite excited over the compartments and thought that was quite a brilliant idea. But I am not so sure if OFFERMANN still produce these kit. An important point for considering for this Edition was the OFFERMANN designed compartment case which indirectly had helped to enhance its overall value as well as presentation.

As a matter of reference, a typical LEICA M6 Traveler Edition with all component in place has an auction or resale price ranging between approx. USD2,880 ~ 5,580-00*

*
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.

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 to this M6 Edition
Instruction Manuals:-
Leica M6 Classic in PDF (3.8mb) applicable to this M6 Travelers Edition by Niels H. S. Nielsen

MIR.com.my - link to Index Page

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Credit: Image courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Image Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.