November 2010

Singular Sensation

by Robin Sayers

Even by mythological standards, the Titans were pretty rad. Perhaps that’s why two millennia later, a newly discovered, ultralight, corrosion-resistant element was named in their honor. Now, the Leica M9 Titanium puts it to unprecedented use. Visionary Walter de’Silva (Alfa Romeo, Porsche, Audi) essentially designed a concept camera—only 500 units exist. Milled from two blocks of what is known in chemistry as Ti, his masterpiece boasts grip-friendly detailing using automobile-grade leather that literally gives it that new-car smell. To build the M9 takes about 43 craftspeople, hundreds of pieces and eight hours. At $26,500, it’s 1,200 times more expensive than its core material’s atomic number, 22, but it will last a lifetime. Part of Leica’s long-term vision: All M models—from the first ones made in 1953 to the M9—can share lenses. 800-222-0118, leica-camera.us.