Leica Owners' Area: The importance of registering cameras and lenses
It’s now my routine to register any new or old Leica equipment in the Owners’ Area at the Leica Camera web site. You can upload serial numbers and details of cameras and lenses going right back to early days of the company in the late 20s and early 30s. Occasionally, however, there is a glitch: A previous owner registered the serial number and then forgot to deregister it when selling the camera or lens.
This happened to me when I bought the five-year-old Leica X1 from a stall at the Bièvres Camera Fair in May this year. The serial number of the camera was blocked. As it happened, the camera had been sold to me by Danish Leica dealer, Photografica. So I did at least have the comfort of knowing the purchase was legitimate. But still the camera couldn't be registered.
Last week I spoke to a very obliging Nicolas Kaufmann at Leica Wetzlar and sent him the documentation proving I had come into the possession of the X1 by fair means, not foul. He was able to unlock the serial number and the camera is now registered alongside my other gear.
There is actually a lot of sense in having your serial numbers registered in the Leica system. At the very least it is a reliable aide memoire if you should ever lose a camera or lens, but it also blocks any future owner from registering if he makes the mistake of buying stolen property—something that is easily done with the best of intentions, particularly at a camera fair.
From Leica’s perspective, the owners’ area must provide a good deal of useful information on model popularity, length of ownership and the extent of an owner’s investment in the brand. I'd encourage any Leica owner to list their products on the site. I would also implore them to remember to delist when it comes time to sell and trade up.