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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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 ...".
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.
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;
|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 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
|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 ?
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.