An entire de-commissioned Australian Leica service and repair business has popped up on eBay, with the entire set of tools, manuals, and spare parts for $195,000.
The service centre was run on St Kilda Road, Melbourne, by technician and photographer Jorg Heumuller, who operated the business from 1991 until the almighty digital began to dominate camera technology in the early 2000s. Any Australian Leica shooter who had their camera serviced or repaired during this time sent it to Jorg, the only authorised Leica service agent in Australia.
‘There are too many tools and parts to list but suffice to say parts and tools cover models from M3 through to M6/M7, SLRs up to the R6 and of course binoculars and even slide projectors,’ Jorg’s listing reads.
‘I slowed things down when it really became digital. I’m a mechanic and have limited amount of knowledge with surface mount technology and limited amount of knowledge with optics,’ he told ProCounter. ‘When it got to electronics, chips and sensors, and you’d plug a camera into a computer to be told what’s wrong with it – the digital environment wasn’t for me. I liked to do things like take an M2 apart and look at each part, replace what I needed, put it back together and have it work.’
Born in 1967 in Wetlar Germany, where Leica was born and manufactured under the name Leitz, Jorg took an apprenticeship in his teens as a fine mechanic, later to be transferred to repairs.
In his early 20s he got itchy feet and flew to Australia searching for new opportunities. It was there he landed a job in Leica distribution for the Wild-Leitz Group – now known as Leica Instruments.
‘I bought the complete Leica workshop in 1991. All the tools, spare parts, manuals – everything – and ran the authorised dealership in Australia,’ he said. ‘From a car accident in 1989 I have a back injury and a doctor said I may have trouble walking in the future, so I decided that I wanted to travel more and take as many pictures as possible to be able to bring the great memories back.’
He concluded his time as a Leica service agent partly because of digital technology, but also because his career as a professional photographer took off. And photography was more stimulating than sitting in a workshop repairing cameras by yourself, especially after 10 years, he said.
‘Over time my photography career evolved. I was a technician but was also taking as many pictures as possible and finding some success with it, especially when I landed a job with Ansett,’ he said.
Leica asked Jorg if he’d sell the service centre back, but he wanted to balance repairing cameras part-time while furthering his career as a photographer. As years went on less repair jobs came in and the workshop was eventually packed away.
At the time Leica valued the specialised tools, equipment, and spare parts at around $500,000 in today’s money once adjusted for inflation. However what’s on offer has less functionality now compared to when Leica made an offer.
Many of the items are no longer in production, and are considered rare and collectable – so Jorg had troubles putting a price on it all. ‘It’s worth what someone’s willing to pay’.
‘The goods aren’t available any more, they are virtually 1960s and ’70s tools. I’m not sure factories would have them,’ he said.
Jorg now operates two photography businesses – Global Image Australia and Australiana Souvenirs, which is his main stream of income.
He said it’s not feasible to list every single component but anyone interested can visit the eBay listing here and easily get in touch with him.