Porsche Design is not only making leather goods and sunglasses. That’s not our material here at Monochrome-Watches. The word “Watches” appears in our blog name, and if we have to talk about Porsche Design, it’s for their undoubtedly interesting timepieces. Black theme and chronographs had always been part of Porsche’s DNA. In order to keep the spirit alive, here are two new faithful editions, the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 & Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition.
A small History Lesson
Undoubtedly Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was one of the truly great designers of the 20th Century. He conceived one of the world’s most recognizable and legendary sport cars; the Porsche 911. F.A. Porsche, or Butzi, as he was also known, graduated from the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) design school in Ulm, a school founded by Max Bill a former student of Bauhaus in Dessau. The Bauhaus movement in art focused on aesthetics of everyday objects, reducing ornament to a fundamental and pure geometry of form. The Bauhaus curriculum returned to basic materials, espousing symmetry, subtlety, and consistency. Beauty lies in the unadorned and practical aspects of function, and this seemed to be the cornerstone idea undergirding Butzi’s design mentality. Butzi in 1972 departed from the company after a family dispute with Dr. Ferdinand Piech and founded the Porsche Design Studio in Stuttgart. His first product was a wristwatch, a chronograph that was weird looking, unique and incorporated all the design attributes that he loved.
The Chronograph I was the first watch that defied the traditional design that existed in chronographs up to that point. It became a style-defining classic because of its appearance: it was black, something that had never seen before. Porsche chose to finish the case using an industrial process known as PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). PVD has been found primarily in military applications, originally designed to decrease friction wear on metal parts. PVD coatings in watches are generally used to improve hardness, wear resistance and oxidation resistance. The Chronograph I had black coating affixed to the case and bracelet, which besides its stealth and unique look also brought anti-glare properties. The procedure first encountered in the watch industry created undoubtedly a trend that many followed (Heuer for instance). But it was not only the color of the watch which was ground-breaking. It was the whole wristwatch itself. Butzi Porsche espousing the Bauhaus aesthetics designed a highly functional wristwatch, which blended functionality and aesthetics in equal measure. Nothing was there for decoration. The highly functional case enhanced comfort and the dial also added to that purpose. The caliber used was the Valjoux Cal.7750 a new chronograph movement that was reliable and dependable.
At first Butzi Porsche chose the Orfina Watch Company to produce the watches. They were extremely cool and very sought after in the 1970’s. The Porsche name on the dial made the company flourish while in 1978 the Valjoux cal.7750 changed in favor of the Lemania cal.5100. A more robust caliber specifically designed for hard use, opened the market considerably and military contracts came most notably with the Bundeswehr and the Armed forces of Venezuela. Special editions were also introduced (Tigers, NATO, Royal Navy), while other PVD colors became available (Khaki Green, Royal Blue, even Camo in some prototypes). The vintage Orfina Porsche Design and its variants will be reviewed in a future article here at Monochrome.
The Orfina chapter ended when Butzi decided to cooperate with IWC in 1978. Butzi Porsche met his ideal sparring partner in IWC and its dedicated CEO Günter Blümlein (producing iconic watches like the OCEAN 2000). Following the purchase of the venerable Swiss brand Eterna, by the Porsche family, a new era began in 1998. However, for the first time in the last months of 2014, Porsche Design decided to continue producing timepieces made entirely by Porsche Design. The watches are the first to be developed completely in-house and continue to be based on the same design principles of the legendary Chronograph I.
Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 & Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition
Nothing is there just for Decoration. The watches cases, dials and overall design reflect this purism. The two automatic chronographs have been developed entirely by Porsche Design Timepieces AG, based in Solothurn (Switzerland), and have also been manufactured in Switzerland. Both timepieces feature cases made from titanium, with a diameter of 42 millimeters. The black case of the Timepiece No. 1 is coated (PVD) after the case has been bead-blasted, to make the matt black finish even more durable. With regard to technical features, both models are equipped with a mechanical Valjoux 7750 chronograph mechanism that has a power reserve of 48 hours. The blackened sapphire crystal case back shows the inner workings of the exclusive, energy-optimized Porsche Design rotor which is a real eye-catcher. The Porsche Design Timepiece No. 1 with black rubber strap and the Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition with black calf leather strap are waterproof down to a depth of 50 meters (5 ATM) and are each limited to just 500 units.
The Porsche Design Chronograph Titanium is priced at 4,950 Euros and the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 is priced at 5,450 Euros. For more details, please visit Porsche-Design.