It was probably in 1997 or 1998 that I did an internship at this hospital for my Informatics study. There was a guy working there who had this stunning titanium watch on his wrists, a Porsche Design. I think it was one of the models done in partnership with IWC, but the memory doesn’t provide any further details. I do know that he told me he got it for his graduation and longed for that specific watch for quite some time already. There was no further interest in watches I discovered, he just wanted to have that specific watch.
Somehow, Porsche Design never reminded me about the Porsche cars, but merely about a well-designed and crafted lifestyle product, be it bags, glasses, pens or watches. Just like the Porsche cars, the Porsche Design products do not come cheap, but that’s also because these are not a gimmick with a famous name printed on them. But anyhow, I never tried one of their watches in person. In the past, Porsche Design worked with IWC, Orfina and Eterna for their timepiece collection, but seem to be doing it on their own now, in Switzerland.
I was happy to be able to request the Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 All Titanium, as it comes very close to those original beautifully designed titanium watches that they produced in the past. It would not do the design any justice if I would put the Porsche Design watches of those early years as ‘tool watches’ but they did have this industrial look & feel to it that I like so much in most of the tool watches out there. The Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 is perhaps based on these early Porsche Design chronographs, where form followed function, but is also a piece that is certainly more versatile than a tool watch. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look.
Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1
The first thing to notice is the fact that the watch has this ‘integrated’ design. Although the Porsche Design Chronotimer Seriers 1 is also available on a rubber strap and a textile strap, the models on metal bracelets appear to be one fluid design. The bracelet is quite a piece of work: a matte brushed titanium bracelet that appears to be seamless and polished edges. The case has a beautiful satin finish on top and the caseband where the facets are polished, a combination that is very playful under certain angles in the light. Despite the fluid, or integrated, design, it does remain to be a sporty chronograph with a 42mm diameter. There is now crown guard that protects the pushers or crown, but that does enhance the design in my opinion. The crown and pushers are very user-friendly, that means that they are big enough to be operated without having to fiddle with your finger nails or unscrew the pushers before use, for example. The crown has this “hobnail” design that looks very industrial and the pushers have a combination of polished and brushed finishing.
The Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 uses the well-known ETA/Valjoux caliber 7750 movement. A robust movement that has been used for various Porsche Design models in the past as well. During the partnership with Orfina, Porsche Design watches also came with the legendary – but discontinued – Lemania 5100 based movements. It wasn’t a very pretty movement to look at, but it was definitely the movement of choice for a lot of chronograph collectors and ‘tool watch’ aficionados. The ETA/Valjoux 7750 was its main competitor and perhaps more versatile, as I’ve yet to think of a watch with a Lemania 5100 that did not look like a tool watch (OK, I think there was an Alain Silberstein that looked relatively elegant with that movement and then of course there is the Speedmaster Automatic ‘Holy Grail’ that gets away with it, more or less). The ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement has been used by almost every serious brand out there that produced – and produces – sports chronographs. The rotor of this movement only winds in one direction and causes the famous ‘wobble’ when the its rotates in the ‘free’ direction. You either like it or you don’t, but it is very well present on the wrist when it occurs.
The caseback of the Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 All Titanium proudly shows the movement through a sapphire crystal. Especially when the chronograph is being operated, you can witness some mechanical action in there. The rotor has the Porsche Design logo, that consists of a P and a D combined.
On the front side, you will find the typical Valjoux 7750 lay-out dial with sub registers at 12, 9 and 6 o’clock and a date at 3 o’clock. As you can see below, the dial consists of two layers that create a nice bit of depth on there. The three sub dials and the main dial seem to be ‘carved’ into the dial. Then the chronograph sub dials have a red arrow and an extra inner ring that looks a bit like the tachy scales from a car. The chronograph hands also have red accents and better said: the chronograph second hand is entirely red. At 3 o’clock, the Porsche Design name is written under the date aperture while the PD logo is next to it (on tht left). The minute track has a couple of applied indices and the tachymeter scale is on the black bezel. Although there is quite a bit of printing and details on the dial of this Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1, it is still relatively easy on the eyes. The sapphire crystal is treated with anti-reflective coating (7-layers) and sometimes you’d say that there is no crystal on this watch at all. An amazingly clear and clean look is the result of that.
I am not sure whether it was the intention of Porsche Design to create a combination of a ‘lifestyle product’ (I am not a fan of this combination of words) and a tool watch, but they succeeded in that in any case. This watch can be worn by both the fashionable guy who loves a good sporty watch that goes well with his attire but also by the person that is a sucker for sporty chronographs with a little ‘tool watch’ edge. In both cases I would blame the design, of course, but also the use of brushed titanium with polished bevels and edges.
Do I need a Porsche for this watch? The thing with these type of brand names is, that they should (or could) remind you of the product that was initially associated with it. Like Montblanc watches that could remind you of their Meisterstück pens. Although the name Porsche is of course linked to the sports cars (and SUVs, these days), the watch as an object as such, has little to do with it in my opinion. I can’t think of a watch brand that really belongs to a car brand (AMG and IWC, Audi and Sinn, Ferrari and Panerai, but that’s different somehow..as these are clearly partnerships). Personally, for me there is little interest in buying a watch that says BMW or Mercedes on the dial, as those are just sticker brand watches. With Porsche Design, it is a serious company that designs, develops and produces (theirselves) watches. What I am trying to explain is that there is no necessary link between the Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 and the Porsche car.
You can wear and enjoy this timepiece without having to own – or even to like – a Porsche car, but just for that they are, beautiful timepieces of good quality. Perhaps like the guy I mentioned at the beginning of this article. He just liked the look of the Porsche Design watch at the time and decided to buy it, just to own a good watch.
The list price of this Porsche Design Chronotimer Series 1 in All Titanium is €4450 Euro.
More information can be found here, via Porsche Design online.