Chronograph I and Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa: A spectacular revival for the brand anniversary.
The history of Porsche Design is defined by an unwavering commitment to uncompromising form and a reduction to the essentials. This ideal of maximum precision and performance was typified by the Chronograph I developed by Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche 50 years ago, in 1972: a timeless, sporty precision instrument with purist design. With it, the designer of the legendary Porsche 911 transported the design principles of the automotive world to another product category. It was a premiere in several respects: the Chronograph I was the world’s first completely black watch. For the first time, the designer successfully achieved his idea of transferring the design, aesthetics and functionality of a sports car to a watch. The readability of the dial, for example, was derived from the dashboard in the cockpit of the car. Porsche Design has repeatedly mastered this transfer of ideas and the link between the two worlds ever since, and 2022 – its 50th anniversary year – will certainly continue that tradition.
Driven by a passion to unite function, material and technology in extraordinary everyday objects, F. A. Porsche founded his own design studio in 1972. His objective: take Porsche principles beyond the frontiers of the automobile. His design standard: the pursuit of the perfect symbiosis of form and function. And he succeeded in impressive fashion with his very first product – a watch, to be presented as a gift to Porsche AG employees, known as the revolutionary Chronograph I.
The black Chronograph I drew inspiration from the anti-glare displays in the cockpit of a sports car: with a matte black dial, a red stopwatch second hand, luminescent hour indices and high-quality anti-glare crystal for optimum readability. Revolutionary at the time, today the watch is regarded as the perfect combination of design know-how and engineering excellence. It became an icon that inspired the likes of racing drivers Clay Regazzoni and Mario Andretti, and even made an appearance on the wrist of Tom Cruise in the blockbuster film ‘Top Gun’. The groundbreaking design paved the way for numerous other Porsche Design products.
To mark the 50th anniversary, the ‘It’s About Time’ campaign highlights the special significance of time for Porsche Design in all its facets. Highlights include the reissued Chronograph I, marking the first product design by F. A. Porsche, and a restored Porsche Targa from 1972, which nods to the birth of the brand.
To celebrate the milestone, Porsche Design is reissuing the Chronograph I for the first time as a new version that pays homage to the original in nearly every detail. Limited to 500 watches, the Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition traces a straight line back to 1972, but is technically state-of-the-art – developed and manufactured at Porsche Design’s in-house watchmaking facility in Solothurn, Switzerland. The dial, crown, clasp and case-back bear the historic Porsche Design logo. The tachymeter scale around the dial and the day and date indicators feature the same typography from 1972. The baton hands, too, reprise the original design. Optimal readability is ensured by the luminescent hour indices, sapphire crystal with hard coating and sevenfold anti-glare properties on both sides. The anniversary edition is equipped with a newly developed COSC-certified Porsche Design automatic
movement, the WERK 01.140 caliber, which guarantees maximum precision. Unlike the original, the Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition is not made of stainless steel. Instead, the case, band and clasp are made of high-quality titanium. This is the same motorsport-tested material that Prof. F. A. Porsche used in the production of a chronograph in 1980 – a first for the watch industry at the time.
The 1972 Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa also returns in impressive fashion as a stunning one-off classic. The car, which bears the unmistakable design signature of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, has been restored as part of a unique project by Porsche Classic in close collaboration with Porsche Design. Much of the design input came from Roland Heiler and Studio F.A. Porsche in Zell am See. The vehicle features original historic fabrics such as the
black Sport-Tex chequered flag upholstery, and is embossed with ‘50 Years of Porsche Design Edition’ on the side stripes, headrests and dashboard, among other elements – all marking the brand’s milestone year. The anniversary model also picks up the color scheme of the legendary Chronograph I designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche in 1972, with black dominating both inside and out. A highlight – not only for fans of classic cars.