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Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 – sounds like an interesting model name for a company that has been designing watches for over 40 years. In October 2014, we brought to you the first news of the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1, and at Baselworld 2015 – although the company was not exhibiting, as it is still in a transitional period – we met Porsche Design and went hands-on with their “first” watch.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

To explain the reasoning behind that unusual name, we have to briefly discuss the interesting way Porsche Design used to operate. For the past four decades, the company had 15 to 20 year-long contracts with watch manufacturers – notably (after working for a few years with Orfina), with IWC between 1977 and 1997, and with Eterna between 1997 and 2012. When that collaboration with Eterna ended, Porsche Design decided to follow its own route and not go into another 15-20 year long licensing agreement with an external manufacturer.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

Instead – and here comes the interesting bit – they will work with external suppliers whom they will provide with manufacturing solutions, so that the supplied parts are exactly to Porsche Design’s requirements. In a sense, that is no news, as Porsche Design has always been just that: a designer of watches and not a manufacturer of them – which makes sense, given the stupendously large investment required to start producing high-quality timepieces in volume. What Porsche Design did was provide its own expertise in creating unique designs – and, of course, bring in the hugely valuable Porsche name – while a major watch manufacturer would take care of the rest. What is new, in my understanding, however, is that now they will not only provide the designs but also some manufacturing capabilities to their third party suppliers. This should primarily concern the making of cases, bracelets, and dials.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

In practice, the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 – and a number of prototypes for upcoming pieces that are under strict embargo for the time being – that I saw reflected this approach. Sometimes, what happens when brands hardly produce anything themselves is that the end result suffers: major components often have an off-the-shelf look (and/or feel) to them. That is, fortunately, not at the case when it comes to the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 – and again, the 5-6 prototypes that I had the chance to see.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

Although a more minimalistic, clean look is a trademark for Porsche Design, there is room for unique details to be found on the watches – and if anything, I feel it has to be a responsibility of the present management of the brand to keep Porsche Design’s unique looks alive as opposed to allowing it to become a bland blend of off-the-shelf parts. The Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 is available with a 42mm-wide titanium case, sporting a black PVD coating. Given that the brand’s first ever watch – from 1972 – was, in fact, the first black coated production timepiece, it must have come as natural to “(re-)debut” with a black watch.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

The bead-blasted, PVD-coated surface of the case is highly unusual and perhaps is the best match for the brand. The pushers and crown are also coated black and are rather large in size – a luxury that is made possible by the somewhat more restrained 42 millimeter diameter of the case. The blasted surface of the exterior has a matte but ever-so-slightly textured look to it, while the bezel features a slightly recessed Tachymeter scale with gold colored fonts. Matched to the case is a supple rubber strap with what appears to be absolutely seamless integration – a nice touch, and perhaps something that would give away an upcoming bracelet option from the brand.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

The gold theme stops right there, as the black dial remains rather plain – which is not necessarily a bad thing – with no immediately noticeable texturing and restrained design elements. One detail that I generally look for when it comes to chronographs is the color of the hands: I feel it enhances legibility and highlights the purpose of the feature when all three hands (seconds, minutes and hours) of the function are in the same color – in this case, that would have been red. Instead, some circular texturing has been applied to the 12 and 6 hour sub-dials of the chronograph, which indicates that the designers at Porsche Design did consider separating the stopwatch function’s indications but decided to paint only the chronograph seconds hand red and leave all others white.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

The see-through caseback gives away an ETA 7750 movement with a custom rotor – the king of modern workhorse chronograph calibers. With a past working relationship with Eterna, it would be interesting to see if Porsche Design would start equipping its watches with Eterna’s new Caliber 39 (discussed in great detail here), as I feel the fly-back chronograph version of the Cal.39 would be a perfect match for the brand. A lesser known fact is that one of the key engineers and developers of the Cal.39, also then-CEO of Eterna before the Chinese take-over, Patrick Kury is now with Porsche Design. Whether that will help or in fact set back Porsche Design’s use of the Caliber 39 is something we’ll see in the future.

Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 Hands-On Hands-On

Overall, the Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 is interesting not necessarily because of its looks – which, again, are unique enough to carry on the Porsche Design DNA – but because it marks a very new beginning for the company. Having loved some of the retro-inspired designs (like this P’6540, hands-on here) as much as the funkier, more daring ones (such as the stunning P’6780 Diver, review here), I am excited to see what the future holds for the company that now, at last, is free to set its own path. The Porsche Design Timepiece No.1 is priced at $7,550porsche-design.com

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  • antjay

    I can see absolutely nothing about this watch to recommend it over a speed master .

  • DenesAlbert

    Fully agree with your comment regarding the Caliber 39. I would be very interested in a PD three-hand watch in titanium on matching bracelet (and perhaps an internal rotating bezel) sporting the cal. 39. One can dream.

  • I_G

    Wow the 1,000,000th Valjoux 7750 chronograph… How exciting! The 12–9–6 layout makes me puke.

  • Riker7750

    I still don’t get these prices on a watch with a regular 7750.

  • The 80’s called…at first they wanted their design back, but then they said you can keep it….

  • socrates35

    That MSRP seems wildly optimistic….

  • Grinnie Jax

    Poor 7750 workhorse is used again and again and again. Same in the Hamilton for 12 times less cash.
    For around 8k you can get superb column-wheel chronograph watch.

  • DanW94

    Rather boring design,  I don’t like the sub-dial layout either. They need to offer something unique or interesting if they want to compete with other chronographs in that price range.

  • Booooooooooooooooring.

  • bnabod

    So about the same price as an oil change at Prosche…..make sense and I am sure the Porsche fanatics will buy a few not knowing the Porsche engine is the same as the Swiss Army engine next door….

  • notech47

    Just like many Porsche cars and their options, it is quite expensive for what you get in return. I want to see what Mercedes and BMW can offer.

  • Grinnie Jax

    notech47 Oris and Audi did much better:

  • I love their older products (Before 2011). Now their designs are quite boring and lost the taste it used to have. Shame

  • 5803822

    Looks good but  ETA 7750 — OK at up to $3K but over $7k ??  I’ll wait for the 39

  • Simon81

    I really loved the Porsche Design relationships with IWC, Eterna and Orfina (loved the logo). I always thought that was the selling point and appreciated the open honesty of who was providing the movements.
    I cant place it, but price aside, this piece leaves me cold. Looks rather generic.

  • Ulysses31

    I like the overall look but i’m bored of the sight of it by now.

  • Jimxxx

    Boring-to-tears design… worthy of a mall-watch. Matched with an eye-watering price…Better get a ton of Kleenex out.

  • I’m glad I deleted my comment (would have been the first) last night to take a time-out and see what others would say. I didn’t want to always seem so immediately negative about so many “designs” that come out.

    Looks like the fellas here basically said everything I wanted to. Thanks guys!!

  • Grinnie Jax You might also get more power reserve in the Hamilton, too.

  • 5803822

    Perhaps Porche Design could convince Soprod or Selitta to reproduce the Lemania 321 or the cheaper 5100/5012 and let the buyers have some choice of bullet proof chrono movements – I would be happy to buy the latter.

  • Tommer45

    Cool watch and very Porche Design, but ridiculously overpriced.  Watch prices are way out of control.

  • CG

    It’s so generic it looks like they made a fake of their own watch design. Does it come in a brown corrugated cardboard box?

  • egznyc

    Is it just me or does the right hand side of the dial seem rather … Plain

  • It’s a pity that PD used one font for the bezel and dial markers, except for the silly font in the sub dials.  That’s all I have to say about this not unique at all design.

  • bichondaddy

    SuperStrapper Yep…just looking at this watch puts me to sleep!!!

  • bichondaddy

    Take off the PD logo and you can sell this one all day long on a home shopping channel for under $700!  Talk about a boring design!!!!

  • JetPilot737

    notech47 How about this one?

  • notech47

    I like these far better and no insane cobranding markup!

  • JetPilot737

    notech47 I agree., there are some new brands could offer
    almost the same quality for a more reasonable price. Like this JP1…

  • Boron

    As already suggested, the PD Timepiece No.1 is rather nondescript, and whilst I appreciate the nod towards the original 1972 watch, they could’ve (and definitely should’ve) done something more innovative.
    Price wise, it’s a complete joke, and maybe would’ve be warranted had they done a forged carbon based design or some exotic blend of ceramic like Hublot (using gold) or Maurice Lacroix (Powerlite).
    Save for the missing date function, you’d be hard pressed to spot much difference from the 6520/6530, and for me, I can only say, “what a difference 3 years makes” – http://ablogtowatch.com/porsche-design-p6620-dashboard-chronograph-watch-review/

    Here’s hoping the prototype pieces mentioned, turn out to be a damn sight more novel and interesting than TP #1.

    @David Bredan – can you clarify your last statement?
    I’m not sure how you imagine PD wasn’t free to set its own path whilst it owned Eterna, or even previously when sub-contracting IWC, and Orfina.

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