For those who think that Porsche Design is a brand focused on leather jackets and sunglasses, you’d be wrong, as for the first time this year, the brand exposed in the Hall 1.0 of Baselworld, where all the major brands have their booth – thus confirming that Porsche Design is also a credible watchmaker, something we already told you after reviewing the Chronotimer Series 1 and the 1919 Globetimer All Black Titanium. It is now time for us to look at one of the Baselworld 2016 novelties, the Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer, a minimalistic and very pleasantly designed sports chronograph.
The goal of Porsche Design, in terms of watches, is not to be part of the Haute Horlogerie manufactures, with in-house movements and hand-made execution. Instead, the brand focuses on reliable, functional and robust mechanical watches with a strong design. The DNA of the brand is here: quality in a recognizable and strong design. And the new Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer, which is basically the chronograph edition of the watch we reviewed here, isn’t an exception to the rule. The story of the brand isn’t new however and watches made by Porsche Design go back to the early 1970s. And ever since that time, design is guided by the function – something that explains the rather industrial and “cold” shapes of the Porsche Design Watches.
This new Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer, introduced at Baselworld 2016, is the chronograph edition of the 1919 Globetimer we reviewed here. However, if our contributor Robin, who handled the test, found the watch extremely legible, comfortable, as as a result of a solid build case and and functional design, he also spotted a lack of frivolity – a watch that was for him a bit cold, with a strong Teutonic feel. This was mainly due to the combination of a sculptural but almost nude design with a very clean dial. This Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer might be the correction he was looking for.
It is built around the same shape, with these superb hollowed lugs (which are entirely part of the case) and a central part reduced to its simplest form – a round container. The case measures 42mm in diameter but, due to the shape of the lugs, it feels slightly larger on the wrist – but no issue for the wearability, it remains extremely comfortable, even on a smaller wrist. In the tradition of the brand – remember that Porsche Design was the first watch brand to manufacture a watch in titanium, back in 1980 – the case is executed a (very) matte, bead-blasted titanium. The use of this material enhances the functionality – it is light and highly resistant to corrosion and scratches – as well as emphasizing the tool aspect of the Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer. 4 editions will be available: nude titanium with rubber strap, nude titanium with titanium bracelet, black titanium carbide coating with rubber strap and black titanium carbide coating with black titanium bracelet.
Where the GMT Globetimer edition (and even more the 3-hand edition) felt somehow too clean, this chronograph edition – called 1919 Chronotimer – feels sportier, more lively and more complex. This is due to the addition of the 3 sub-counters of the chronograph movement. However, the design of the dial remains in the tradition of the Porsche Design creations, with a strong focus on the function. It is clean, yes. But it is also very easy to read, as the indications are well separated. While the timing functions (hours and minutes on the central axis, small second in the sub-dial at 9) are using white hands and tracks, the chronograph indications are enlightened with red accents (for the chronograph hand, the 30-minute counter at 12 and the 12-hour counter at 6). This dial also features a tachymeter scale (just in case you want to verify the speed of your Porsche 911…). Overall, there’s no doubt to have when looking at this Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer… It is a pure result of the famous design studio and it is reminiscent of the early creations of Ferdinand Alexander Porsche.
Inside the 1919 Chronotimer ticks a known movement (you’ve probably recognized the 6 – 9 – 12 layout): a Sellita SW500, basically a clone of the Valjoux 7750, a workhorse with 48 hours of power reserve and an unbeatable reliability. The movement is partially visible from the caseback, through a slightly tinted sapphire crystal.
Overall, the Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer is an interesting alternative to brands like TAG Heuer, with great quality of the case and mainly, a very strong design. It will be available in May 2016. www.porsche-design.com.
- Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer Titanium and Rubber strap – 3,950 Euros
- Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer All Titanium (inc. titanium bracelet) – 4,250 Euros
- Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer Black (Titanium with black coating) and Rubber strap – 4,250 Euros
- Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer All Black (Titanium with black coating, inc. bracelet) – 4,550 Euros