In 1989, the Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 Aspherical was introduced to replace the legendary Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4, which had been manufactured for over thirty years.
The new version of Leica'a most popular focal length lens was engineered by Walter Watz. His design represented a radical departure from the lens' predecessor, replacing the conventional Double Gauss design that had dominated lens construction for many decades, as well as introducing two aspherical elements.
Leica were among the first lens manufacturers to utilise computer technology in order to create machine-produced aspherical elements. The result was a lens of unprecedented image quality and contrast rendition. However, due to the high costs of the elaborate production process (particularly the polishing of the aspheres) it was impossible to manufacture the lens in a way that was economically viable.
Despite the high production costs, the edition (which had initially been limited to 2000) was expanded to a production run of 4000, due to popular demand. Today, almost all models of the Summilux-M 35 mm f/1.4 Aspherical produced between 1989 and 1994 are owned by collectors.