Impressive watch giant IWC and Porsche Design used to get together for watch making fun. IWC manufactured the watches, and Porsche Design, well, designed them. Now IWC has enough watches in its line (not that is was ever a thin line), and Eterna takes charge of making Porsche Designs’ watches. Regardless, some of these watches are still made, and good deal of them from about 15-30 years ago are still around, highly collectible, and very cool.
One wonderful example of this perfect relationship is the IWC Porsche Design Ref. 3551. A watch released years ago, but looking a modern as can be, this is one of the most modern and minimalist implementations of a moonphase complication. Nicely legible, with the moonphase on the top of the central cross hair design, the watch houses an ETA mechanical movement, and a little secret.
Open the case upwards and the watch reveals an analog compass located underneath. A designer somewhere thought this was a very cool idea. And sure, flipping your watch up to reveal a compass is probably still really cool in the right circles. Today’s equivalent is a digital compass, but lets not get out of era here. The addition of the moonphase complication is more an aesthetic touch, but oddly appropriate among the technical looking features. Case and bracelet are black titanium, which was a very advanced use of material for the time. Yet despite the fact that this watch was designed well over 20 years ago, it looks great today. Look for one in good condition at a price between $3000-$4000. Further, are the multitude of other interesting watches bearing both the IWC and Porsche Design names.
Update: Surprisingly I have received a high level of interest in this article. Not just because of my prose-like language, but also due to the fact that the IWC Porsche design watches represented a line of watches that collectors cherish and applaud. The watches were not necessarily a commercial success when released, I find it interesting that IWC lost money on the watches, and how it took a few generations of design to satisfy the many opinionated IWC and Porsche design watch lovers.
As Skip comments below, it is common for collectors to mix and match the watch parts to create the exact watch they want that best represents the IWC and Porsche Design connection. Currently all Porsche Design watches are produced by Eterna, but the designs are still in-house as far as I know. I look forward to seeing more of these and owning one sometime soon.
See IWC watches on Amazon here.