August 28, 2019
by Ariel Adams
The major new watch release for German Porsche Design at Baselworld 2019 is the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC. Germans typically prefer to use the term “UTC” (coordinated universal time) as opposed to Greenwich mean time (“GMT”) as a matter of style but, effectively, they are the same thing. Porsche Design didn’t want to merely release a GMT (UTC) watch during this new era of the brand, but rather wanted something technically interesting, exclusive, and, of course, practical. The Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC is all of that.
Inside the watch is a brand new movement that Porsche Design calls “in-house.” I believe it is an exclusive movement made for them, known as the caliber WERK 04.110, that relies on a module placed over a base movement. The WERK 04.110 operates at 4Hz with 38 hours of power reserve (a bit slim for a watch at this price point, these days) and includes the local time with AM/PM indicator window, a date hand, and a second 24-hour time-zone indicator hand that can be adjusted in either direction using the pushers on the case.
The 1919 Globetimer UTC is ideally suited to being a travel watch because of its ability to adjust the UTC hand “east” or “west,” depending on your direction of travel. While dual-direction GMT watches are not new, they are relatively uncommon, and each one is a bit different. Normal GMT/UTC watches usually allow the wearer to adjust the 24-hour hand in only one direction. With each push of the buttons on the side of the 1919 Globetimer UTC case, the UTC hand moves in a full hour increment in one direction or another. Unless you are traveling to a place with 30-minute time zones, this is pretty much all the travel watch functionality you need when trying to determine the time in two different time zones at once.
What Porsche Design includes with the standard assortment of complications is the small window near 9 o’clock that serves as a day/night (AM/PM) indicator for the main time zone. This helps the wear better adjust the main time to work in coordination with the UTC hand. The dial also features the date indicated via a hand on the main dial. With this hand, the 1919 Globetimer has a full five hands from the main stem. This isn’t record-setting, per se, but it is highly uncommon and another interesting story to tell about the timepiece.
Porsche Design comments on two additional features of the WERK 04.110 movement that are important to mention. First is the fact that adjusting the UTC time does not negatively impact the performance of the movement, i.e., it doesn’t affect the accuracy of the main time. In some watches, the regulation system is paused or hampered a bit when functions are operated. Porsche Design has made it clear that operating the UTC complications will not affect timing accuracy. Moreover, the movement is COSC-Chronometer certified, adding additional value and the reassurance of timing performance.
The base of the Globetimer UTC collection is the still-fresh Porsche Design 1919 case. Porsche Design originally debuted it as part of its drive to have a more distinctive look. The 1919 is meant to be a watch that, when seen on a wrist, immediately says “Porsche Design” to onlookers. Of course, that will take some years and is dependent on the timepiece offering a unique visual experience. For the most part, that is related to the 1919’s case, which wears a bit larger than its 42mm-wide dimension might suggest. That is due to the “monolithic” cut-out lug structure that juts out from the case and is, itself, attached to a strap or bracelet. With the lugs sticking out like that and the nearly 15mm thickness of the 1919 case, the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC will look best on medium-to-large wrists.
Is the watch titanium? Of course it is — this is Porsche Design we are talking about. Actually, for 2019, Porsche Design also released an entirely 18k rose-gold version of the 1919 Globetimer UTC with a black dial. The other models include dials in blue, brown, and black in the mostly matte bead-blasted titanium case. Only the blue version comes on the matching Porsche Design titanium bracelet, with the other models being paired to a thick “genuine Porsche car” leather strap.
Overall quality and construction at Porsche Design now are really impressive. The detailing on the 1919 Globetimer UTC includes a polished titanium bezel and some angles on the pushers. The textured crown is both good-looking and very comfortable to grasp. The dial is attractive and legible, even if it doesn’t immediately strike you as novel or distinctive. What I really like about the 1919 Globetimer UTC is that you really get a sense that this is a modern-engineered product, but one produced out of a long tradition of expertise and style, very similar to how the best cars feel today. A little like Porsche automobiles? Porsche Design would like to think so.
Speaking of Porsche automobiles, Porsche Design (part of the same group of companies) has been increasingly connected to the automotive part of the brand. This is a bit of a departure from the mentality of a few years ago, which was to make Porsche Design feel quite separate. In addition to various Porsche Design watches actually being directed at particular Porsche car owners, we are starting to see more design-ethos overlap between the Porsche Design watches and the German company’s world-popular vehicles, such as the 911 family.
The rear of the 1919 Globetimer UTC case has a handy chart to help you know what time zone you should be in based on your travels. (It uses reference cities.) This is, no doubt, helpful — but as a watch-lover, I want to see a view of the movement here. For me, the nicest model is that with the blue dial and the matching titanium bracelet, though if it works with wardrobe and skin tone, the brown version is very compelling. The entire aBlogtoWatch team was surprised at how much we liked the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC and felt it was worth including on our list of the top watches of Baselworld 2019. The prices aren’t bad, either, for what you get. Price for the Porsche Design Globetimer UTC in titanium on a strap is 5,950 Euros and 6,450 Euros on the titanium bracelet. The 18k rose-gold version has a price of 29,500 Euros. See more at the Porsche Design website here.