Porsche Design signaled its intentions quickly last year after separating from Eterna, with which it had been producing a variety of sober, technical timepieces during the years the two companies worked together. (In fact, you can read my review of the Porsche Design Worldtimer timepiece made during this period in the March 2013 edition of iW). Last year. Porsche Design set up its own Swiss-based timepiece division, named former Eterna technical director Patrick Kury its chief, and a few months ago debuted two new timepieces.
The new models, the first developed solely by the new Porsche Design Timepieces AG (based in Solothurn, Switzerland) have a two-fold purpose. First, they signal the start of the new wholly Porsche-centric design and production process for its timepieces. Secondly, these new pieces recall the groundbreaking characteristics of the two most successful early models produced by the brand in the 1970s and 1980s, the Timepiece 1 and the Titanium Chronograph, which were matte black and made from titanium respectively. In fact, that titanium timepiece from 1980 is often considered the first all-titanium case-bracelet model anywhere.
Porsche Design Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition
Anyone who knowns or owns any of those early models will recognize these newest watches—which is, of course, the point. These first models in the 2015 series, the Porsche Design Timepiece No. 1 at right and the Porsche Design Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition, are each made in a 500-piece limited edition, and are both immediately recognizable as no-nonsense chronographs.
The latter model, which I have been wearing for a week or so, feels light on the wrist, which is not too surprising given its titanium case and clasp. But even outfitted with a not especially thin ETA Valjoux automatic chronograph movement, the watch didn’t press my wrist nearly as noticeably as others made with this workhorse caliber. Perhaps the padded calfskin strap worked its magic on my senses.
The black dial here offers white markers that include five-minute indications on an internal f lange. When viewed in combination with the tachymeter’s black markers on the (stationary) bezel, the watch’s decidedly technical and automotive forebears show themselves clearly. The same red chronograph seconds hand as those earlier models appears here (and on the Timepiece No. 1) as a nostalgic and still practical reminder that Porsche Design insists on easy-to-read dials.
The matte finish here is the color of technology– just slightly darker than my aluminum cell phone. As a result, it tells me it’s there to perform its function rather than broadcast my wealth or status. The matte black edition would likely send a different message—perhaps of an interest in stealthy fashion.
Either way, these watches are the opposite of bling. I suspect only those who wear or own other Porsche Design products could identify the firm’s logo from any distance, especially since it appears very small on the dial, just above the Porsche Design name.
Finally, the aforementioned padded calfskin strap is more functional than luxurious, and to my taste sets itself a bit far from the case. I generally prefer a more integrated strap that fits tight onto the case, as Porsche Design appears to have done for the black Timepiece No. 1 with its seemingly integrated rubber strap. As I haven’t worn that model, I can’t speak directly to the actual fit, but in pictures it appears tighter than the leather strap. The titanium clasp is excellent. It’s simple to size and it snaps securely with little effort.
Porsche Design assures us that the genes of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche are embedded in these new models. Indeed, when he designed those original models more than forty years ago Porsche referred to these principles: optimal readability, technical perfection, highest quality materials and a focus on functionality. With the watch on my wrist as a tangible indication of what’s in store from the new Porsche Design timepieces, I’m convinced those guiding principles have been followed to the letter.