We got a chance to check out the grand opening of Leica's flagship US store in Washington, DC on Thursday — and it's a beauty. While Leica has a number of stores worldwide, this is its first in North America, and it's clear that the maker of legendary rangefinder cameras plans on further establishing itself as a premium brand in the US. The store has a upscale showroom feel, with products in museum-like wall displays, and plenty of black and red contrasts that echo Leica branding. And half of the store is actually open gallery space — on display for the grand opening were works from photojournalist Peter Turnley.

Leica CEO Alfred Schopf tells us that the store represents a "new chapter for Leica," and the company's DC store may soon be replicated in other cities. Schopf says that "Leica and Washington fit perfectly" with their rich respective heritages — and we're guessing Washington's historically deep pockets are also just as well suited. Leica's North America boss, Roger Horn, says that the company will open stores in New York City and Miami within the next 12 months.