A brief introduction on Leica M6 TTL Black Paint DRAGON Edition, 2000 - MIR Image Library

 

 

LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera
LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON Edition, 2000

Unlike the 1995's
LEICA M6 Classic Gold Dragon Edition, the Leica M6 "Black Dragon" Edition issued for Year 2000 has its differences in terms of the theme, specification as well as in its issued quantity.

First of all, as I have highlighted to you, the Chinese Zodiac year rotates in a 12 years-cycle, every Zodiac sign (animal) will has its calendrical year once in every twelve years. In Millennium year 2000, it actually coincided with Year of the Dragon for the first time. During that time, it was about 4 years after Leica had successfully seek its listing and became a PLC (Public Listed Company) entity; other LEICA affiliates such as Leica Geosystem had also found its way into the mainland China market.
   
The Millennium Year was rather dramatic and memorable. The Year 2000 problem (also known as the millennium bug, the Y2K bug) has sucked entire world contributions in funds for tech stocks in US for "equations/solutions" to neutralize the Y2K issue, to me it was one of the biggest corn job in modern history. The enormous funds in hundred sof billions that flew into US continent had enabled The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 11,722.98 on January 14, which was the peak of the Dot-com bubble.

On the other hand, the Millennium theme was a very successful tool for Companies delivering merchandise goods all over the globe. In fact, Leica had issue a commemorative Millennium Year M6 TTL 0.72x Black Paint Outfit which includes a two-lenses package, Summilux-M 1:1.4/50mm and/or with a Summicron-M 1:2/35mm ASPH all in matching black finishing. Guess what - that Edition perhaps was the largest single issue of special edition Leica M6 had ever released - where a total of 2000 copies had been produced in a single batch ! Further, that figure has not included with some of the localized versions issued under the "Millennium" theme (such as this LEICA M6 TTL Black Paint Dragon 2000 (500 Units) for China), others with similar issue theme were Hong Kong Schmidt's (300 units) green leather M6 TTL ; Japanese domestic version Millennium ICS black paint 200 units and even in some ways, the Japanese M6 TTL NSH (400 Units) which carried almost identical
* specification with standard Leica Y2K edition except it was not being officially mentioned as a Millennium model. The respective principal for each of these special releases had requested some slight modifications to make them a little bit different from the LEICA standard TTL 0.72x Black Paint 2000 edition.

Finder 0.72x for Millennium 2000 edition
For an example, the ICS version has just a logo/emblem imprinted on the camera body as well as the two Summilux/Summicron lenses where they were engraved with a ICS engraving. The Hong Kong Millennium edition has changed the leather work from Black Paint to green paint etc. Regardless the evolved form, all these were categorized as Millennium issues. The LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 here has a "dragon" word engraved in a raw Chinese calligraphy as well as S/N underneath and this was the main difference of this edition from LEICA 's standard Millennium Kit. While the NSH M6 TTL black paint has a 0.85X finder.

<<< --- The LEICA M6 TTL Black Paint Millennium Model has a universal 0.72X finder magnification. * Finder magnification differs and individually having their respective identifications.

LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON Edition, 2000 front view

Credit: Image(s) courtesy of L&H Auction Hong Kong ® where the group has an Online Catalogue for auctioning collectibles Leica & other major labels. Image(s) Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON Edition, 2000  rear section view

LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera with certificate of Authentification
The LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 here actually was also instrumented by Schmidt Hong Kong, the active distributor probably saw great potential with the ever growing enthusiasm of Chinese photographers towards Germany optical products and thus, tailored-made a version specifically for the China market. To offset domestic demand as well as from overseas Chinese collectors, Schmidt actually had designed the alternate Hong Kong Millennium edition.

The Black Dragon 2000 with serial number
   
To those who may be unfamiliar with Chinese custom and belief, I will just outline a little information on the theme that relates to YEAR OF THE DRAGON: The Chinese Zodiac is a 12 years cycle and refers to a pure calendrical cycle only. Dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese 12 zodiac. In China, dragons sign which were often use by Emperors in various Dynasties as sign of supremacy, power and respect. To the ordinary, the Zodiac sign associates with strength, health, harmony, and good luck; to such extend sometimes Dragon signs are placed above doors or on the tops of roofs to banish demons and evil spirits. The Year of the Dragon is associated with the earthly branch symbol. Persons born within these date ranges can be said to have been born in the "year of the Dragon," while also bearing the following elemental sign: Years and the Five elements i.e. *Venus = Metal; * Jupiter = Wood;* Mercury = Water; * Mars = Fire and * Saturn = Earth. The year of the dragon which coincided with that Millennium year 2000 A.D. actually were calculated from 5 February 2000 - 23 January 2001: It was referred as a Metal Dragon that rotation; i.e. something interprets as a Metal Gold Dragon More information for these can be found at: Dragon Zodiac explained; Chinese Astrology.

On the other hand, technically a Millennium (1,000) year is once a life time passage for all of us, a Year of the dragon may just rotates every 12 years, but to coincide The Year of DRAGON with a Millennium year again, that will be a few thousand years later. So, in term of business sense or tool for promoting a commemorative mechanize goods, these LEICA are RARE pieces issued in accordance to an EXTREMELY RARE re-occurance of such an event.

Rear section with Black Dragon 2000 engraving on a LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera

The 0.85X finder as used in LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera
Finder Magnification is a 0.85X for this Black Dragon Edition

   
LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 here actually are virtually having same configuration with LEICA Standard Millennium Edition (except for the Finder mangnification and a few minor differences). As I don't intend to replicate similar resources within the M6 Series and I will only addressing the differences between the two LEICA M6 TTL bodies. Well, there is only few visible differences - Firstly, an added on special engraving at the rear; i.e. a Dragon logo which has its design merging traditional Chinese calligraphy with numeral of "2000". The graphical interface of the design has some similarity with the 1995 Gold Dragon edition where the earlier issue sketchy dragon gold outlines graphic which added with a hidden "China" word in it. The M6 TTL Black Paint DRAGON uses a single Chinese character of dragon where the tail section followed by a numeric "2000". The inscription of the graphic has been placed at the rear section (as the top. left section of the top plate of the Standard Millennium copies had a engraving on its own) ; I guess it was cheaper to do so by using a Standard Millennium Edition and adding the changes. Next, the finder magnification uses was a 0.85X in this Black Dragon edition, similar to the green leatherette Hong Kong Millennium copies.

Thirdly, the Serial Edition Number i.e. xxx-500 was engraved just underneath the DRAGON emblem which locates at the rear, right under the film advance lever. While the Leica standard production S/N was not being engraved on traditional location i.e. at the accessory shoe. So you will find an odd engraved numbering appearing at the middle section of the camera's top plate. Technically, this edition probably was the only LEICA M6 TTL body with a common Millennium theme issued that has NO serial numbering appeared on the accessory shoe (Note:- the usual TTL flash icon retains) this makes the M6 TTL Dragon Edition actually was quite unique in this area. Other than these, other features are similar with the Standard LEICA M6 TTL 0.72x Black Pant Millennium Kit.

Top plate, LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera Serial Number

OLd style shutter release button on LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera

     

Credit: Photos of this page mainly courtesy of BANDOCamera ® from KOREA. Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.

     
There was one issue that I am not so certain with this LEICA M6 TTL black paint DRAGON 2000 edition, i.e. one of the most appealing element in the LEICA M6 TTL Black Paint Millennium issue was the two companion lenses of SUMMILUX -M 50/1.4 & SUMMICRON-M 35/2 ASPH in all black finishing as well as providing a matching Serial Code. I am not sure if the Black DRAGON had these two lenses offered together with the package.

One way of another, this probably could be a mistake by Leica, the lens should have been engraved with special edition codes or names rather than just using matching serial number. Potentially, those who may be owning such a complete kit may just split the optic from the camera body and sell them off individually. I have seen some of these Millennium edition lenses were being transacted with the S/N falling within the category which belongs to the Millennium kit. If ever they were being coded and mentioned as a special matching optic for the edition, it could minimize such unethical practice.


Rear view, LEICA M6 TTL 0.85x Black Paint DRAGON 2000 Special Edition rangefinder camera
Personally, I feel the LEICA M6 TTL Black Paint Dragon Y2K Edition should has the basis to fetch an extra bit of premium over some of the Millenium-theme M6 TTL edition. To the Chinese in particular, combining a customary Chinese engraved character, meaningful and rarity in a rare double occurrence of Dragon + Millennium year was a good-enough reason in its collectible status. To Leica enthusiasts who are residing in the West, this edition equally presents itself as good collectible LEICA as long as someone thinks the standard Millennium edition has comparing basis. Despite the total quantity of 500 units, but you will seldom see any of these unit with oriental favor appearing in the used equipment market regularly - which indirectly reflects its current status in the mind of the owners.

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Credit: The starting photo of this page courtesy of Mr. Peter Coeln from LEICA Shop®, Austria who also operates a popular Westlicht Auction House. Some of the Image(s) appeared herein courtesy of BANDOCamera ® from KOREA. Images Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer.