Switzerland 1957 – Subminiature – 35 mm – Rare.
The Tessina, produced in Lugano in 1957, and is probably the smallest half-frame 35mm camera ever built. And possibly the strangest. It is a twin-lens reflex with pop-up viewfinder and a clock-work motor drive designed for waist-level inconspicuous photography.
The almost 400 parts used in making the Tessina are manufactured to the same standards as for Swiss watches. Ruby jewels are used to reduce friction and wear, just as in the finest watches. The Tessina is an elegant camera, built with the precision of a fine watch, it’s no surprise it was designed in Switzerland. It shares this complexity with another famous Swiss camera, the Compass.
A wrist strap was also available to wear the Tessina as an improbable watch, making the whole “inconspicuous” picture taking process absolutely impossible.
The ultra-high quality and yet eccentric design of Tessina makes it an incredible collectible to unfold and explore.