The history of Porsche Design is intertwined with the legendary car brand that sprouted from the same creative mind, Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. Since the very beginning the link between Porsche Design watches and motorsports was there, and not just as a marketing link. No, Porsche Design’s first wrist watch, the Porsche Design Chronograph 1, was a black PVD coated watch and that was rather disturbing back in the early seventies. And so was the chronograph that the brand introduced in 1980, which was the world’s first chronograph in titanium – a material widely used in the watch industry now-a-days, but a few decades ago it wasn’t. Today we’re showing you Porsche Design’s latest watch that is again inspired by the world of motor sports, and in this case directly links to the brand new (mighty) Porsche 911 RSR. However it also strongly reminds us of that very first Titanium Chronograph from 1980. Let’s have a look at the new Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer.
The inspiration – Porsche 911 RSR
However before we do so, let me tell you a bit more bout the link between the new 911 RSR and the Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer. The 911 RSR is the very first 911 that comes with a flat-six engine positioned in front of the rear axle. While every 911, since its inception, had the engine positioned behind the rear axle, this is certainly something very novel for the brand. As of this year Porsche Design is the official timing partner of Porsche Motorsport, hence the new 911 RSR is adorned with the Porsche Design Timepieces name and logo. Moreover, Porsche Design and Porsche Motorsport have been working together (for quite some time now) on a new watch….
The inspiration for the new watch was drawn from the functionality of the mechanical valve control of the new Porsche 911 RSR. They invented an integrated rocker switch, which controls the chronograph’s operation entirely from inside the watch’s case. From the outside you will mainly see a chronograph without the obligatory start/stop and reset pushers for the chronograph function. And while you do not see it from the outside, there certainly is a way to start, stop and reset the chronograph. The complex mechanisms that allows you to actuate the chronograph is entirely on the inside of the case, or even better, it’s part of the case. Let’s take a step back in time…
The History – Porsche Design Titan Chronograph
When you look at the new watch, you can also see similarities with a legendary Porsche Design watch, namely the Porsche Design Titan Chronograph. That was also a chronograph with no protruding chronograph pushers; the pushers, albeit barely visible, seemed to be part of the round case.
The Porsche Design Titan / Titanium chronograph was introduced in 1980 and was the world’s first titanium chronograph. Titanium is a light, tough and resistant material and was used in motor sports. Now-a-days we see many titanium watches, and it’s fair to say that titanium has been fully embraced by the watch industry. Porsche Design together with IWC created that first titanium chronograph, and later many other brands (including IWC themselves) followed suit. Today titanium watches have become staple in the collection of many watch brands.
Left: Porsche Design Titan Chronograph by IWC (1980) – Right: Porsche Design ref. P’6530 re-issue (by Eterna)
In 2010, thirty years after the Titan Chronograph, the Porsche Design Heritage P’6530 was introduced. This was a faithful re-creation of its ancestor, albeit slightly larger in diameter, and now not manufactured by IWC, but by Eterna. Why am I showing you these watches? Not just to sign praise to Porsche Design for the ground-breaking work they did for wrist watches. But mainly to show the design similarities of the Titan Chronograph and the new Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer. The ‘old’ Titan Chronograph is a Valjoux 7750 based chronograph, with a titanium case, integrated titanium bracelet, and both chronograph pushers have been integrated into the case and do not protrude at all. That’s not only good looking, but also very practical when you use the chronograph in situations that it’s made for.
And the new Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer? Well…. titanium case, integrated chronograph pushers, Valjoux inside, and it comes on either an integrated rubber strap or titanium bracelet.
The new Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer
So there we have it, all design cues of the old Titan Chronograph come back into the new Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer. Sure, it has grown in size, however the watch has been “upgraded” from a sporty looking watch to a watch that you can toss around and use like a proper timing tool. The new Monobloc is bigger, and also feel much more solid, without being too big or too heavy. With dimensions of 45.5mm in diameter and 15.5mm thick, I’d usually eliminate this as an option, purely based on the numbers. However do keep in mind it’s made in titanium!
I’m not into big oversized watches. Sure, I really love the looks of the Big Pilot watch from a certain brand from Schaffhausen, however I don’t like its lack of comfort on the wrist. That’s entirely different with this Monobloc, as it is very light, very nicely balanced on the wrist, plus with its integrated strap/bracelet is really “hugs” your wrist.
Like on the P’6530 and its ancestor, the Titan Chronograph, the pushers are part of the case. What I learned while wearing it during a few days of fun on the ice in Northern Finland, is that these integrated pushers are actually really practical. You can more or less grab the watch with one hand, and very easily and quickly start (or stop, or reset) the chronograph. Compared to other chronographs the actuation is more easy and requires less attention to press the pusher at the correct place. Especially when you need a chronograph, for timing, that comes in rather handy!
The dial of the new Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer is very clean, and purely focus on legibility. The running seconds have been downsized to disc with radial stripes that is visible through a small aperture located at 9 o’clock. This is more an indication of “live” than anything else, so you can see that the watch is running, and that’s actually more than enough.
The thing to focus on are the two sub dials at 12 and 6 o’clock, which are the chronograph totalizers. With the clean dial, it’s easy to focus on these totalizers, and the tachymeter scale surrounding the dial. The central hand with the white pointer is the 24-hour GMT hand, pointing to the 24H scale on the bezel. It not only allows you to read the time in a second time zone, but you could also set it to your own time, and read that in a 24-hour way.
As I said before, Porsche Design delivers proper tool watch here. Superb legibility, great wearing comfort, practical (and good looking) pushers, and there’s more. The sapphire crystal for instance is sevenfold coated with anti-reflective coating. The crown is of course a screw-down crown, and the entire watch is water proof to 100 meters. You could say that functionality prevails, however in terms of design they did a great job. I had the pleasure to wear the version with a black dial and black rubber strap, however there’s also a titanium bracelet and it’s available with a blue dial as well.
So here we have it, a very functional, well designed chronograph, with second time zone, date, 100 meter water resistance, and rather unusual pushers to actuate the chronograph functions. And all that for a price of € 5.950 for the titanium on rubber version, € 6.450 for the full titanium version (both for the black and blue dial versions). There will also be a full black version, with a Black titanium carbide coating on a black rubber strap that comes at a retail price of € 6.250 Euros.
Technical specifications – Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer
- Case: 45.5 x 15.6 mm – glassbead-blasted titanium – sapphire crystal with sevenfold anti-reflective coating and tinted sapphire crystal in the case back – water resistant to 100m
- Movement: Valjoux 7754 – mechanical with automatic winding – 48h power reserve – 28,800 vibrations/h – 25 jewels – central GMT hand – date at 4 o’clock
- Strap: integrated rubber strap or titanium bracelet
More info at www.porsche-design.com