Porsche: The watch to go with your dream car
Gisbert L. Brunner has been writing about watches and chronometry since 1981
“I had a vision of a watch to go with a car. Black, like the speedometer and rev counter in the 911 because it doesn’t dazzle when you look at it.” His inner conviction that, “…black isn’t a colour, it’s a state of mind,” didn’t harm the success of this little ticker with a tachymeter scale to help calculate your average speed over a kilometre. Not one little bit.
In an astonishingly short amount of time, more than 50,000 design-conscious sports car fans had one on their wrists. Formula 1 drivers like Clay Regazzoni also appreciated this new star of design in the chronograph firmament, showcasing, as it did, the product designer’s rejection of frills and gimmicks.
“A product coherent in form needs no frills, no enhancement. Its form alone should be the only enhancement it needs. Form should be brought to life through minimalism. It should come across in a comprehensible way and not take away from the product and its function.” This thinking led to other milestones that revolutionised the watch market…
…like the Kompassuhr [compass watch], the idea for which was born in 1976 and which finally came about in co-operation with Schaffhausen IWC in 1978. And the Titan Chronograph from 1980 with its large, ergonomic pushers. The timepiece heralded a new era in watchmaking history as it showed in the most demonstrative way imaginable what’s possible when the right partners find each other.
And you can say the exact same thing of their new piece, the Monobloc Actuator, unveiled at Baselworld 2017. To create this watch, Porsche Design worked in conjunction with the highly experienced, tried and tested Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, near Stuttgart. The technicians there, charged with constructing racing cars, know all about resilience. They know every trick in the book and created one very unusual for this chronograph. As with its titanium predecessor from 1980, you’ll be wasting your time if you look for conventional pushers round the edge of the case.
That’s because you start, stop and reset the chronograph with an especially designed and well-integrated rocker switch. The product designers took inspiration for the rocker switch from a component in the high-speed mechanical valves of the nifty Porsche 911 RSR. To be specific, this feature is an extremely resilient rocker lever. Yet even with the wealth of experience they had to fall back on, it still took four years to create the exceptional case. The compressive forces on the movement’s lever mechanism are transferred using especially hardened rams which are also used in car manufacturing.
The product designers have gone for the tried and tested when it comes to the “engine” and “transmission”. The automatic Eta 7754 calibre with extra, adjustable 24-hour hand is a descendant of the Eta 7750, which the first Porsche Design chronograph had back in 1973. High-performance seals protect the four-Hertz movement from dust and moisture.
You can time yourself from anywhere between an eighth of a second and twelve hours with this 45.5-mm wristwatch, and you can do it at up to 100 metres underwater. This titanium beauty, with scratch-resistant, non-glare sapphire crystal, is 15.5 millimetres thick. It’s not going to go unnoticed.