OK, so it was a rant! I am happy with that, but still beleive that Leica Ms are only used as tools because they are the only tool of the kind available and because there is effectively no brand choice! Just like if the only 4x4s available were Porsche Cayennes! Yup, people would say how great they are...one of a kind....great build and worth the money....without any real comparisons existing..... I think a lot has to do with what you were weaned on, often resulting in years of brand loyalty. As for hand built being a reason for cost. Leicas Ms are very simple and must take a very short period of time to screw together and adjust. Even if one camera took a whole day to assemble... The components are still produced on machines than knock them out etc? Lets face it, if a man can make 10x8 cameras from scratch for the same money, I dont swallow that argument. I have also had small camera/enlarger components made by hand by small precision engineering outfits and the charges again do not support Leica retail prices. I would be interested to know Leica's costs on the M, unchanged by time. I have had a good look over and used and M3 and there is nothing to explain the cost (maybe the very expensive boxes they come in?). To me Hasselblad have done the same with the Fuji lenses for the H1. About 3x what they would cost if the whole deal had been Fuji. Hasselblad used to be able to 'justify' the lens cost as they were fairy made Zeiss, but now? Name, name , name. It just leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Oh, another example is the finest air rifles in the UK ( I used to do a lot of airgunning competatively). Incredible precision engineering (often including small high pressure components hand milled), constant innovation, hand finished, expensive woodwork. The most expensive would come in at about £1000 (Air Arms/Daystate/Theoben/Rileyetc). The build and performance on these is amazing and just make Leica look silly. Perhaps there would be more volume for Leica if the prices were not daft -£2K for a body ! I'll stop sitting on the fence now.