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Porsche Design innovations in watchmaking

The first Porsche car dates back to 1948. Just two weeks after its delivery, the very first Porsche 356 won its first mountain race in Innsbruck. The iconic 911 model followed in the 1960s.

More than thirty thousand victories on the world’s most demanding race courses earned Porsche an outstanding reputation and the brand’s name became synonymous with the highest level of engineering competence.

Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, the son of Ferdinand Anton Ernst (Ferry) Porsche and grandson of founder Ferdinand Porsche, joined the company in 1957 and first took responsibility for its design department in 1962.


In 1972, Ferdinand Alexander established Porsche Design with the goal to create technically inspired products outside the automotive world, yet with the same high standards of aesthetics and function that distinguish Porsche motorcars.

As a designer, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche developed a reputation as a functionalist. "If you analyse the function of an object, its form often becomes obvious" was the inspiring leitmotif for the products that Porsche Design developed since its foundation.

Thanks to the unique cooperation with Porsche motorsports, the latest knowledge and technology from the world of racing could be incorporated into the development of Porsche Design products and timepieces in particular.

The history of Porsche Design in the watchmaking industry is rich of remarkable achievements.

The first timepiece of Porsche Design - the iconic Chronograph I - created a lot of buzz as the world’s first completely matte black wristwatch – something that had never existed before.

Chronograph I - 1972


The choice to have a matt black timepiece was inspired by motorsports. In fact, the cockpits of Porsche racing cars are often matt black to prevent the reflection of light on their dashboards and make it easier to read the instruments.


With the Chronograph I, a black face with white markings and hands beneath a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal facilitated instantaneous and intuitive reading of the time display, even in adverse lighting conditions.

Despite some unavoidable criticism from those who considered the unusual design as a passing fad, the Chronograph was ahead of its time and opened a new trend.

Today the Chronograph I has not lost its appeal, a clear demonstration of the quality of its design.

With the 1978 Compass Watch, Porsche Design combined for the first time two high quality independent instruments into one entity: a high precision mechanical clock movement with an automatic winding system and a night-capable precision compass.

Compass Watch - 1978


A great innovation in watchmaking from Porsche Design came in 1980 with the first chronograph made entirely of titanium.

The first watch entirely crafted from titanium - 1980


For the first time, both the casing and the wristband of the watch were made from titanium. The stop buttons were fully integrated into the casing, creating an entirely new image for this type of watch.


Once again, motorsport inspired this idea. Extremely tough and resistant, yet lighter in weight than stainless steel, titanium had been used by Porsche in the construction of engines for racecars because this corrosion-free material satisfies all of the engineers’ technical requirements for resilience, resistance and durability. Thanks to these qualities, and in combination with titanium’s antiallergenic characteristics, an essential aspect in the world of wristwatches, this timepiece again embodied state-of-the-art engineering and reaffirmed the company’s innovative talent.

Designed in 1982, the Porsche Design Diver's Watch "Ocean 2000" was also a breakthrough for its innovative design. Developed in accordance with German Navy specifications, it offered water resistance to a depth of 2000 meters / 6600 feet.

Diver's Watch "Ocean 2000" - 1982


With the collaboration with IWC coming to an end, Porsche Design started a partnership with Eterna. During these years (1999-2014), the Porsche Design Indicator introduced at Baselworld 2004 created lot of buzz for being the first chronograph to feature mechanical digital hour and minute counters.

Indicator Chronograph - 2004


In 2007, the Worldtimer attracted great attention and lot of fans with its simultaneously display of time in two different zones. In this model, it was already possible to appreciate the characteristic gaps at the band attachment making the design pretty unique and giving a sensation of lightness.

Worldtimer - 2007


These architectural openings at the lugs are still a distinctive design element of the current 1919 and 1919 Eternity collections.

1919 Datetimer Eternity Brown - 2016


In 2014, at the end of its collaboration with Eterna, Porsche Design presented the first Porsche Design timepieces to be developed completely in-house, and more precisely by Porsche Design Timepieces AG based in Solothurn (Switzerland).

At the beginning of 2017, Porsche Design launched the Monobloc Actuator model, introducing a new approach to the operation of a chronograph.

Inspired by the high-performance concept used in the engine of the Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche Design transferred the technical principle of valve control via a rocker arm for high-RPM racecar engines to an innovative control mechanism for the Monobloc Actuator’s chronograph functions.

Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator - 2017


Instead of the two push-pieces found in a conventional chronograph, the Monobloc Actuator's chronograph functions are set into motion by a single, pressure-operated, doubly borne rocker switch seamlessly integrated into the case on the right-hand side of the entire mechanism.

You can read more on the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator here. porsche-design.com

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Porsche Design innovations in watchmaking
Porsche Design innovations in watchmaking
History of Porsche Design: from the the iconic Porsche Design Chronograph I to the first chronograph made entirely of titanium in 1980 and current timepieces like the Monobloc Actuator. Porsche Design innovations in watchmaking.
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