It’s no secret that next to a deep-rooted passion for watches across the entire MONOCHROME editorial team, most members of the team have a soft spot (to say the least) for anything car-related. It’s the very reason why every Saturday, we publish our Petrolhead Corner stories, just to have a little breather during the week and focus on something else for a change. One of the most commonly featured car manufacturers is Porsche, and today we are yet again revisiting the Zuffenhausen-based manufacturer for today’s instalment. It just so happens that coming up this December is a rare chance to own not just a very special Porsche car, but a unique Porsche Design wristwatch as well. So with that in mind, it’s time to empty the piggy bank and prepare for the ultimate Christmas present to yourself as we take a look at the 1972 Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa and Porsche Design Chronograph 1 in question, all part of the brand’s 50th-anniversary celebrations.
The reason for Porsche to be featured is the sheer fact they have an extremely rich history in building some of the best and coolest road and racing cars ever. There’s no other car manufacturer that has won more professional races, period. Porsche has won Le Mans outright 19 times, with countless more class victories. And while Bugatti may claim to have built the most winningest single race car in history, Porsche is very likely the most winningest car manufacturer ever. But today’s car of choice is not a race car, as it is all about a pristine 1972 Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa. One that was completely torn down and has undergone a nut-and-bolt restoration with the help of Porsche Classic, but more on that later.
Porsche & Porsche Design
The history of Porsche and Porsche design is intertwined, of course, there’s no denying that. After all, it was Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche who penned the iconic Porsche 911 and started the Porsche Design firm after the Porsche family decided it was time to step down from the day-to-day operations. This change was made to move the company forward, after some difficult and troublesome years in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It would the Porsche family to abandon all managerial functions within the company and move towards other careers. F.A. Porsche couldn’t sit on idle hands and by 1972 he started his own design company. And as we all are very well aware of, the first product to emerge from his new business venture was a wristwatch.
Manufactured by Orfina, the Chronograph 1 is said to be inspired by the blacked-out dashboards and black instruments in sports- and racecars. With a glare-proof black PVD-coated case and bracelet, it was the very first all-black wristwatch on the market. Originally it came with a Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement and was sold through Porsche dealerships as a driving accessory. Even today, the Chronograph looks modern despite being 50 years old. It also set the stage for all future watches by Porsche Design, despite the design company expanding its portfolio to just about every product imaginable.
The 1972 Porsche 911 Targa
The Porsche 911 was introduced in September 1964 after being debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show the year before. It was developed as a larger, more potent and more comfortable replacement for the now ageing Porsche 356. The 2+2 came with a rear-mounted flat six-cylinder engine, referred to as a “boxer”. It would be the start of a legendary sports car, and one that would remain in production ever since, being tweaked and improved with every generation to come.
Just a year after the birth of the 911, Porsche would introduce the Targa-top, named after the famous Targa Florio road race. This was to bypass concerns of a full convertible Porsche 911 not being approved for the US market following stringent safety regulations. Instead, the Targa relied on an exposed roll hoop and fixed rear window, with a removable roof section between the A- and B-pilar. The result was a car that came close to the sensation of a full convertible being driven top down while meeting US legislation in the process. Of every generation of the Porsche 911, there has also been a Targa model, and it remains a very cool and popular option.
The choice for a 1972 example of the Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa is pretty self-explanatory, as it is the birth year of Porsche Design as a company in itself and a celebration of 50 years of the Chronograph as well. That’s also the very reason the car is executed in a deep gloss black, to pay homage to the black PVD coated watch created by F.A. Porsche. It ties in both his famously designed 911 with the first-ever product penned under the Porsche Design name. The process started with a completely original car, which was then taken apart piece by piece for a full inspection before being built back up again. However, where normally the idea is to restore vehicles as close to the original as possible, Porsche Design decided to give this 911 Targa a few unique elements.
It still has the iconic shape and structurally and mechanically the car is in perfect condition, perhaps even better than when it left the factory. The tweaks to make this 1972 Porsche 911 S 2.4 Targa stand out from others are more subtle. One of the elements is the “50 Years of Porsche Design” in the headrests, side stripes and dashboard. Round the back, there’s a special plaque on the slatted air vent over the engine, commemorating the anniversary. The interior also shows the original Sport-Tex checkered flag upholstery, and the car sits on original Otto Fuchs wheels, both iconic in their own right. And just as a little “encore” for the lucky future owner of this gorgeous car, it comes with a matching one-of-a-kind watch!
The Porsche Design Chronograph 1 – 911 s 2.4 Targa
There’s little to be said about the history of the Porsche Design Chronograph 1 that hasn’t already been said before. After all, such an important watch for Porsche Design and a momentous piece in the history of watchmaking deserves all the attention it gets. And while Porsche Design has made the present-day Chronograph 1 widely available, it also presented a 500-piece limited edition in celebration of the anniversary of the company. To top that, Porsche Design now made a unique version to be paired with the 911 Targa you see here. How cool is that?
What sets this one-off apart from the regular Chronograph 1 are little touches to be honest (with a bigger one around the back). The design is extremely similar to the 1972 original, with historic fonts and logo’s all-over. The black carbide-coated titanium case houses Porsche Design’s manufacture movement, the high-performance Werk 01.140 automatic chronograph. This COSC-certified chronometer comes with a unique Otto Fuchs-styled rotor visible through the sapphire crystal caseback (whereas the standard Chronograph 1 comes with a closed caseback). Naturally, it is worn on a black carbide-coated titanium bracelet with a folding clasp that includes a micro-adjustment system. The watch is presented in a special presentation box, along with the key for the car it comes with.
This unique pair will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in December 2022 during its biannual Luxury Week event, where iconic design products from all corners of the world are put up for auction. And if you’re wondering how deep your pockets have to be, the estimate for the car and watch is between USD 275,000 and USD 325,000, but knowing vintage Porsche cars it will very likely go for a lot more!