Published on January 13th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 & Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition
Porsche is not only making desirable cars and SUVs. Porsche has a design house called ‘Porsche Design’ and they make leather goods, sunglasses and watches. Black theme and chronographs had always been part of Porsche’s watch DNA and so here are 2 new editions, the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 & Chronograph Titanium Limited Edition.
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 most notably known graduated from the Hoschule fur 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 the functional seemed to be the cornerstone idea that lies behind 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 vapour Deposition). Physical Vapour 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 that 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 colour 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, 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 favour of the Lemania cal.5100. A more robust calibre 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 colours 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 in 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.