As its first 2021 debut, Zenith launches Chronomaster Sport, an evolution of the bedrock Chronomaster, the Le Locle watchmaker’s most direct link to its historic El Primero automatic chronograph, which debuted in 1969.
Already sporty in its historical guise, the new 41mm steel Zenith Chronomaster Sport more directly –and boldly – displays its split-second timing abilities with the added utility of a wide black ceramic bezel etched with 1/10-of-a-second measurement marks.
The new bezel enhances the visibility of the timing function, linked to the El Primero’s 36,000 vph frequency, beyond even the clean black ceramic bezels found on the existing Zenith Chronomaster 2 limited edition references. As far as we’re aware, the new Chronomaster Sport is the only production sport watch that offers a 1/10-of-a-second timing scale linked to its central chronograph hand. When activated, the hand rotates once around the dial in ten seconds.
To underscore the robust nature of the new Chronomaster Sport, Zenith here uses the El Primero 3600, the movement Zenith debuted in that earlier Chronomaster 2. The caliber, with a newly blued column wheel and “new architecture,” is more efficient than earlier El Primeros, according to Zenith, and offers a higher power reserve, now rated to sixty hours. Zenith has affixed a new skeletonized rotor to the movement, visible through a clear sapphire caseback.
The new dial
In addition to adding a wide ceramic bezel with 1/10-of-a-second scale to the front side of the new Chronomaster Sport, Zenith has also enhanced the collection’s dial and bracelet to differentiate it from previous Chronomaster offerings.
Both dial options, matte white and black, appear to contrast more starkly with the three subdials. The steel case, with familiar pump-style pushers, now links to an integrated steel bracelet similar to those conceived by Gay Frères, which has historically supplied many of Zenith’s metal bracelets. Zenith also offers a sharp-looking blue or black rubber strap option with a steel deployant buckle.
As noted, Zenith is offering the Chronomaster Sport with either a white dial or black dial in two references. Whether the black or matte white dial, both with signature El Primero tri-color chronograph registers are blue, anthracite and light grey, each graduated to sixty.
Price: $10,000 (steel bracelet) and $9,500 (strap)
Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Sport
Movement: Zenith El Primero 3600 automatic, frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz), power-reserve of 60 hours.Functions: Hours and minutes in the center. Small seconds at 9 o’clock, 1/10th of a second Chronograph. Central chronograph hand that makes one turn in 10 seconds, 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, 60-second counter at 3 o’clock.
Case: 41 mm stainless steel with black ceramic bezel, water-resistance to 100 meters.
Dial: White or black matte dial with three different applied colored counters, hour-markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLumiNova
Bracelet: Steel, blue or black rubber bracelet. Double folding clasp with security mechanism.
Price: $10,000 (steel bracelet) and $9,500 (strap)
Panerai underscores its deep connection with divers of all types this week as it introduces the Luminor Marina 44mm − Guillaume Néry Edition (PAM01122).
Inspired by free diver and brand ambassador Guillaume Néry, Panerai has outfitted the new dive watch with a 44mm titanium case produced using Direct Metal Laser Sintering technology, which shapes titanium using a 3D printing process.
Referencing Néry’s deep-dives, Panerai is also adding sporty touches such as a rubberized coating on the bezel, crown and bridge lever, a convex crystal and a dial with an eye-catching dégradé effect that Panerai says emulates “the shades produced as sunlight filters through the depths of the sea.”
Water resistant to 300 meters, the Luminor Marina 44mm − Guillaume Néry Edition is powered by Panerai’s own Caliber P.9010, a fairly thin automatic movement equipped with two barrels for a three-day power reserve. Panerai built a quick-change feature into this movement that allows the wearer to easily adjust the time and date with in one-hour increments, with the hour hand connected to the date indicator.
In addition, Panerai has equipped the watch with an especially sporty strap made from black recycled PET material with white stitching and a trapezoidal pin buckle.
Panerai is also enhancing the package of the boutique-only watch with its first white rubber strap emblazoned with ‘Officine Panerai.’ In each gift box buyers will find a screwdriver that will assist the owner when removing the buckle to swap straps.
Panerai will make the new watch available in its own boutiques as a limited edition of seventy, each of which will be covered by a new seventy-year warranty. Price: $18,900.
Movement: Automatic Caliber P.9010, 6mm thick, 28,800 vph, two barrels, three-day power reserve.
Case: 44mm by 16.2mm sandblasted DMLS titanium, safety lock crown protection device (protected by trademark) in sandblasted titanium, titanium bezel, crown and bridge lever with rubberized coating, sapphire crystal, twelve-sided screwed caseback, sandblasted titanium with DLC coating, engraved with the “70 Years Warranty” logo, water resistant to 300 meters.
Dial: Black with dégradé effect, sandwich structure with Arabic numerals and indexes in white SuperLuminova with green luminescence. Seconds at 9 o’clock, date at 3 o’clock.
Strap: Recycled PET, black with white stitching and trapezoidal pin buckle in titanium with DLC coating. Additional white rubber strap with luminescent “Officine Panerai” personalization.
Originally launched as a quartz watch, Maurice Lacroix’s archetypal Aikon series’ latest edition features an option with an automatic Swiss movement inside. The Aikon Venturer truly allows its wearer to venture because it is built rock-solid and is anti-magnetic, shock resistant and rated water resistant to an impressive three hundred meters.
The watch’s sporty look and diver-style overtones instill the robust feeling of a tool watch, but with style enough to wear anytime. At 43mm in diameter, the sapphire-capped stainless-steel case is full-figured but not huge, and actually quite comfortable on the wrist with either the solid-link bracelet or natural rubber strap.
With the brand’s deep technical background as a case maker and private label supplier to other (famous) Swiss brands, you can be sure that the Aikon is built with all the fine details that define a high quality watch.
Close inspection under a loupe reveals the finite perfection of those details that the naked eye appreciates as a whole, but may not individually dissect at a glance. Markers and printing are precise, as is the fit and finish of the bezel, strap, and case back.
Maurice Lacroix smartly adds convenience to the Aikon’s stylish design with a strap fixed to the lugs by means of the brand’s own Easy Change system, which has two bars fitted with protruding prongs. These make it possible to remove the rubber strap in two steps and to replace it with the finely articulated five-link satin-finished steel bracelet we’ve seen in earlier Aikon models.
Priced at $1,890 on the rubber strap and $1,990 on the solid-link stainless steel bracelet, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer is pound for pound (or dollar for dollar) as good or better than certain Greek Alphabet watches costing more than triple the price.
If the design of this watch feels somehow familiar, you won’t be surprised to learn that Detroit Watch co-designers Patrick and Amy Ayoub have once again applied their classical blueprint to their American-based brand.
Two variations of the brand’s new stand-alone Pontchartrain collection are housed in an elegantly stepped 42mm stainless steel case. Both feature automatic ETA Swiss-made movements, one with a sub-second and the other with a choice of silver or gold moon-phase complication.
All the qualities you’d expect in a high-quality, high-value watch are here, including sapphire crystal, exhibition back, superior decoration on the Swiss movement and a calfskin strap, which all come together to make a fine watch. Under the loupe the hands are as superb as the dials, and even the crown looks, feels and functions beautifully.
Those outside the Detroit area might ask why “Pontchartrain” for a Detroit-based brand? The Ayoubs chose this name to recall the historic fort that was built in 1701 and actually ended up applying its name to the city. France’s King Louis XIV commissioned Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit as the first permanent French settlement in the area and as a center for the fur trade and French military power in 1701.
Built along the Detroit River in order to protect the French trade from the British, the fort was named in honor of Louis XIV’s minister of marine and colonies, Louis Phélypeaux de Pontchartrain. Le Detroit, French for ‘the strait’ eventually came to identify Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit and the surrounding area and after 1751, was known simply as Fort Detroit.
Zenith reaches back to 1969 once again with its latest Revival debut, the Chronomaster Revival A385, a near-exact 37mm reproduction of the original El Primero chronograph from 1969.
As one of very first automatic chronographs, and the very first operating at a high frequency of 36,000 vph, Zenith’s A385 debuted alongside the Zenith A384 and A386. The A385 was notable for its smoked brown gradient pattern, which Zenith revives on this new release.
To accurately echo the original, Zenith says it conducted a “reverse engineering” of the 1969 watch to create the new model. As a result, each part of the A385’s 37mm tonneau-shaped stainless-steel case (even its pump-style pushers) mimics the original. The only differences here are the domed sapphire crystal, which replaces an acrylic version, and a clear sapphire back that replaces instead the original’s closed solid steel caseback.
The clear back offers a view of the newer El Primero caliber, Zenith’s 400 chronograph movement with column-wheel, that powers the watch.
But it’s the dial here that draws eyes, and Zenith has nailed the attractive brown gradient dial, which notably features a vignette effect that blackens towards the edges. This colorful slight of hand appears to deepen the dial, mimicking the light-bending effect of a domed crystal, but without the dome.
To further deepen the nostalgia, Zenith adds the same red chronograph central second hand and silvery-white chronograph counters found on the original model.
Zenith offers the Chronomaster Revival A385 in two options. One is equipped with a steel “ladder” bracelet, a modern remake of the Gay Frères bracelets Zenith utilized on those original models. The second option is a light brown calf leather strap that will develop a patina over time.The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385 is available at Zenith Boutiques and online shop, as well as at authorized retailers.
Price: $7,900 (leather strap) and 8,400 CHF (approximately $9,500) for steel bracelet model.
Case: 37mm steel with sapphire back, 50 meters water resistance.
Movement: El Primero 400 automatic column-wheel chronograph with 36,000 Vph (5 Hz), power-reserve of 50 hours.
Functions: Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at 9 o’clock. Chronograph: Central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. Tachometric scale. Date indication at 4:30.
Dial: Smoked brown gradient dial with white-colored counters. Rhodium-plated, faceted hour markers and hands, coated with beige Super-LumiNova.
Bracelet: “Ladder” bracelet with stainless steel double folding clasp, or light brown calf leather strap with protective rubber lining and a stainless-steel pin buckle.
Price: $7,900 (leather strap) and 8,400 CHF (approximately $9,500) for steel bracelet model.
The Glashütte-based maker of acclaimed pilot watches spreads its wings with new models that update its vintage-inspired Grand Flieger and M2 collections.
The town of Glashütte is renowned for its history as the center of German watchmaking. While that history was interrupted for decades between and following two world wars, when the village’s deep horological knowledge base dispersed to points West – or to extinction – Glashütte has again become the focus of the region’s watchmaking activity.
After being founded in Glashütte in 1927, Tutima re-joined the former East German town in 2011, fully sixty-five years after it was forced to move away. During those years away, Tutima intensely developed a focus on pilot’s watches, starting with the now-famed 1941 pilot’s chronographs known for their fluted steel case, large crown, red reference marker and, most critically, their flyback function, an unusual feature at the time.
It was that wartime aviation design that propelled Tutima to fame among aviators and, eventually, pilot watch enthusiasts. Tutima’s Grand Flieger collection today directly references that 1941 design.
Much later, in 1985, Tutima received a contract from the German army to build a new military watch with particularly stringent specifications for accuracy, shock resistance, pressure resistance and legibility. Answering that request, Tutima developed the Military Chronograph 798, known as the NATO Chronograph, which in its modern guise within the current Tutima M2 collection remains standard equipment for German military pilots.
GRAND FLIEGER AIRPORT
Today, Tutima references the milestone pilot watch from 1941 within its Grand Flieger collection. The line now includes three-hand models as well as more traditional chronographs. The Tutima Grand Flieger Classic, for example, sports its vintage look with military inspired styling, including the historical fluted bezel. Tutima has modernized the pilot watches to perform according to current, more stringent, technical standards. These models at 43mm in diameter are larger than the original Flieger deigns from the 1940s, and their updated automatic movements are now fully visible through the transparent caseback.
Within its Grand Flieger collection, the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport is a dressier option that maintains the line’s overall aviation feel, but with a smooth rotating bezel with 60-minute markers rather than a fluted bezel. The crown remains of the screw-in variety, and all timepieces in the Grand Flieger line are water-resistant to 200 meters.
Just a few months ago, Tutima expanded the Grand Flieger Airport collection with a new chronograph and a new three-handed model, both sporting an eye-catching new ceramic bezel. Tutima has now added a contemporary touch to the collection by incorporating an ultra-hard scratch-resistant ceramic bezel that is colored to match the dial.
To launch the newer look, Tutima offers a dégradé ‘military’ green dial and a classic blue hue, both color-coordinated with the dial and strap. While black dials are traditional for pilot watch purists, these newer Grand Flieger Airport debuts offer a contemporary option for pilot watch enthusiasts.
“Tutima, a brand with a strong historic background creating true pilots’ watches, is a purist in regard to the design of these watches. Our goal is to deliver some of the most beautiful yet highly legible dials in this segment of the market,” explains Tutima USA President Gustavo Calzadilla. “The use of green and blue dials in the new Grand Flieger Airport Chronograph and Automatic models challenged us to introduce color options that are fun and contemporary but still respect the legibility needs and aesthetics traditions of a true pilot’s watch.”
The strap’s design extends those options. It’s made from grey Cordura textile and secured by a stainless steel deployant clasp. Both models, cased in 43mm steel, are also available with a steel bracelet.
Inside each three-hand watch Tutima fits its reliable ETA-based automatic Caliber 330, with a gold seal on its rotor. Within the Tutima Grand Flieger Airport chronograph, the ETA-Valjoux-based Caliber 310 powers the counters (12 elapsed hours, 60 elapsed seconds and 30 elapsed minutes) plus the day/date display. The chronograph’s hour display is particularly easy to read with red numerals circling the subdial. Prices: Chronograph: $3,900 (on a strap) and $4,300 (on steel bracelet). Three-hand: $2,500 (on strap) and $2,900 (on steel bracelet.)
As the heir to the NATO Chronograph favored by German military pilots since its debut in 1984, the Tutima M2 collection emphasizes strong legibility, reliability, enhanced water resistance, pressure-resistance for use to 15,000 meters above sea level, and shock resistance rated to protect its movement from acceleration up to 7G in all directions.
The M2 Coastline Chronograph, the newest watch within Tutima’s M2 collection, echoes the curved case of the famed 1980s NATO models. Its large push buttons are integrated into the rounded case, which Tutima pressure tests to 200 meters of water resistance. In line with the entire M2 collection, the M2 Coastline Chronograph case is made of satin- brushed, ultra-light titanium with a screwed back, which is decorated with a wind rose. The titanium push buttons are additionally black PVD coated and finished with a non-slip surface.
“The Tutima M2 is the new generation of our original NATO Chronograph, and is considered the most rugged, utilitarian professional chronograph in the market,” adds Calzadilla. “The new M2 Coastline Chronograph introduces a new alternative within this collection, a smaller case diameter with a new movement at a price point not available before in the M2 lineup. All without sacrificing the Tutima’s high-quality standards.”
Inside this newest member of the M2 family Tutima places the ETA-based automatic Tutima Caliber 310 with 48-hour power reserve, date display, hour-, minute- and small seconds hand. The chronograph tallies up to sixty elapsed seconds, thirty elapsed minutes and twelve elapsed hours.
The M2 Coastal Chronograph is available with titanium bracelet or, optionally with a strap of leather, rubber/leather or rubber/Cordura.
Tutima also makes a three-hand, day-date version of the M2 Coastal Chronograph.
Like the chronograph, this watch also measures 43mm in diameter and is cased in brushed titanium. Inside Tutima places automatic caliber T330, an ETA-based automatic movement upgraded by Tutima.
Because the bracelet version is also fitted with the same handsome titanium linked bracelet, the all-titanium option for this watch wears lighter than the chronograph, but offers a similar easy-to-read dial and clear link to its historical predecessors. As Tutima professes: “Nothing detracts from this watch’s operational readiness. Protruding parts have been deliberately avoided – another time-honored trait of the high- performance M2 line.”
Prices for the Tutima M2 Coastline Chronograph collection start at $3,300 for the blue-dialed model with a leather strap. The three-hand Tutima M2 Coastline with day-date indicator is priced at $1,950 for the titanium-bracelet model and $1,850 for the leather-strapped editions.
Calzadilla notes that since its origins in 1927, Tutima’s philosophy has been to produce high quality timepieces of great value.
“While in recent years the brand has embarked on manufacturing in-house movements, we have kept our promise and commitment to always providing options with a strong value driven proposition. With timepieces starting at $1,600 today, newcomers to the brand can access a beautiful timepiece with German engineering from a company with tradition, expertise and an outstanding track record for designing and manufacturing trusted professional watches.”
It goes without saying that Dive Watches are one of the most popular styles of men’s watches sold today. But what many don’t know is that invoking the “dive” moniker actually has legal implications. Writing the word “Divers 200M” or any similar mark with “Diver” written on the dial or case back immediately invokes ISO 6425. The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is an international body that writes standards for the commercial industry.
Before we get into ISO 6425, let’s talk about dive watches first. In modern times, very few SCUBA divers actually rely exclusively on a wristwatch while underwater. As an example, my own dive master had a beautiful Rolex Submariner on his wrist during classroom lessons, but once we hit the water, the Rolex was replaced with a dive computer.
Before the advent of these modern and multi-function computers, divers relied on their mechanical watches to keep track of the key data points of total time submerged as well as bottom time in order to calculate residual nitrogen in the blood, and determine when, how many, and how long decompression stops should be if needed.
The dive watch, in this case, was performing a critical function, where a malfunction could spell disaster for the diver. This is why the ISO spec was developed, because dive watches were so critically important as instruments that protected the user’s health and safety. Today the analog dive watch continues to be worn while diving, but is more of a fashionable backup in the unlikely case the computer fails.
ISO 6425 is a rigorous specification titled “Horology – Divers’ watches” that supersedes older specs first released in the mid 1990s. In essence, it spells out what qualities a Dive Watch must have, and the methods with which to test them.
Among the tests that ISO 6425 calls for includes, but is not limited to; temperature extremes, day and night visibility, magnetic resistance, salt spray, shock resistance and of course, water resistance. Obviously, we all expect water resistance to be one of the parameters checked. However, since water resistance is so important to the function of the dive watch, the actual pressure (depth) to which the watch is tested is 25% beyond the stated water resistance limit of a particular watch.
For example, a dive watch rated to 200 meters (20atm) is actually tested to 250 meters in order to meet ISO 6425. And it’s not a dry air test. It is a true wet test, with a follow up condensation test to see if any moisture has found its way into the watchcase.
Furthermore, ISO 6425 states that EVERY watch certified to the spec needs to have its own water resistance individually tested. This means that if you are wearing a watch bearing the “Divers” mark on the dial or case back, that particular watch has been tested to 25% beyond the depth stated on the dial. Not a sample, but the very piece you are wearing. This is the ONLY way to ensure it will perform flawlessly under the stresses of diving.
On my YouTube channel I discuss ISO in detail in my Watch and Learn series. In addition to water resistance, another ISO test that was actually quite fun to perform was the requirement that the strap needs to withstand about forty pounds of pull (simulating getting snagged on something) without the spring bars popping or tearing the strap itself. It was a great test to replicate, and the results were pretty eye opening.
So the next time you see the word “Dive” on watch dial, you’ll know that you are looking at an individually proven and tested dive watch that meets or exceeds the ISO 6425 quality standard!
Thank you for reading, and thank you for watching.
Grand Seiko artisans have applied the deep brown color of the eagle’s feathers to the dial and bezel of the Spring Drive GMT SBGE263, which the brand says are meant to recall the “warm tones of the earth – reliable and dignified.”
Continuing its ode to the eagle, Grand Seiko also devised the watch’s radiating dial pattern to represent the bird’s flight, while the gold arrow of the GMT hand is “reminiscent of the eagle’s powerful beak.” The watch’s 40.5mm steel case features a contrasting mix of Zaratsu-polished and hairline surfaces.
As a GMT watch in the truest sense, powered by Spring Drive Caliber 9R66, the watch allows the wearer quick access to a second time zone. With the caliber, the local hour hand is independently adjustable while the GMT hand remains fixed to home time. This means that when the wearer arrives at new location in a different time zone, he or she can simply jump the hour hand to the correct hour without having to reset the watch.
The watch is offered as a U.S. limited edition of 110 and will be available in January at Grand Seiko Boutiques and for members of the newly expanded GS9 Club, now open to members in United States. Price: $6,700.
Specifications: Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT ‘Eagle’ U.S. Limited Edition SBGE263
(Limited edition of 110)
Movement: Caliber 9R66 Spring Drive, accurate to +/-15 seconds month (when static), power reserve of 72 hours.
Case: 40.5mm by 14.7mm steel, brown ceramic bezel, dual curve sapphire crystal, water resistant to 200 meters.
Dial: Ridged pattern brown, raised and beveled markers.
The new Junghans Meister Worldtimer offers a clear, affordable timekeeping option for travellers – whenever crossing time zones and lines of longitude again becomes commonplace.
This storied German watchmaker nicely combines a clear dial design with useful functionality with this elegant 40mm model, the brand’s first non-quartz worldtimer.
The watchmaker presents a fairly classical world time dial layout, with its gray hour disc rotating underneath a radial dial opening that displays the hour in twenty-four different time zones simultaneously.
Junghans designers have echoed traditional worldtimer designs by allocating a specific city to every hour of the day in its respective time zone. To account for the nighttime hours at far-flung destinations, the times between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. are represented in black.
Junghans has placed all the primary indicators in a convex arrangement around the center. The three dauphin-shaped hands provide the local time while the hour disc offers quick location of the hours in other time zones. The clear glass back of the case provides a view into the ETA-based self-winding movement.
Prices: $1,745 (blue dial) and $2,045 (all others).
Specifications: Junghans Meister Worldtimer
Movement: Self-winding ETA-based J820.5 with 24-hour display and power reserve of up to 42 hours.
Case: 40.4mm by 10.4mm steel, five-screw caseback with mineral crystal. These models are available with optional hard Plexiglass with coating for enhanced scratch resistance, or domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating on both sides.
Dial: Matte silver-plated, galvanic anthracite or blue with sunray brush.Two city rings around the 24-hour disc with SuperLuminova luminous substance on hands.
Strap: Calf leather (in brown or blue) or horse leather (in black) with stainless steel or PVD-coated buckle stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp .
Water-resistance: Up to 30 meters with hard Plexiglass and with sapphire crystal up to 50 meters.
Prices: $1,945 (blue dial) and $2,045 (all others).
Porsche Design applies the principles behind the Porsche car configurator to its wristwatches.
Few topics rev up collectors as much as watches and automobiles. Porsche Design has known this ever since Ferdinand Alexander Porsche designed the first Porsche Chronograph 1 in 1972. It was the first-ever all-matte-black watch, and it set the stage for five decades of cutting-edge wristwatch creativity from his then-new studio, Porsche Design.
This year, Porsche Design has launched a program meant to inspire budding F. A. Porsches who, like Professor Porsche, want to design and wear a wristwatch inspired by –and infused with – Porsche’s automotive legacy.
Watch collectors and Porsche owners can now create a customized Porsche Design chronograph that perfectly matches the Porsche 992 or Porsche 911 of their dreams – or the one in their garage.
With the new Porsche Design Custom Built Timepieces program, fans can combine an almost endless array of colors, materials, fonts and displays using the new Porsche Design online watch configurator. The configurator, found directly on the Porsche Design website, offers options and operations far exceeding any other online watch customization program, effectively placing the Porsche enthusiast directly behind the leather-covered wheel, with a clear roadmap toward designing a truly individualized watch.
Porsche Design released the streamlined online configurator this September after six years of development. The process itself echoes the customization process that Porsche has offered buyers of its famed 911 for years, but expands the type and breadth of options from which a buyer can choose when creating a dream chronograph.
For more than thirty years, Porsche customers have been able to enhance their personal dream car with many individual details through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, even to the point of designing a one-off vehicle.
This experience has now been expanded with the ability to design a Porsche Design chronograph based on an individual’s personal taste or Porsche 992 vehicle configurations. It’s an experience that ultimately ends with the customer taking ownership of a Porsche they designed themselves.
“As with the online car-design process, the watch is digitally visualized down to the smallest details and customizations are shown to the customer in real time. The customer begins by selecting the case of the watch and then continues choosing from more than 1.5 million configuration possibilities,” explains Gerhard J. Novak, General Manager Timepieces, Porsche Design Group.
“Once the customer has finished designing the chronograph, an individualized configuration code is created, and from there it is sent, or brought in, to any authorized U.S. Porsche dealer where the order is placed. Delivery takes between eight to twelve weeks.”
The rendering of the watch is based on CAD data from the designers at Studio F. A. Porsche in Zell am See, Austria, and the Porsche Design engineers in Solothurn, Switzerland.
“It quickly became clear that these custom components had to be interchangeable without the need to develop a new watch each time,” explains Rolf Bergmann, Managing Director, Porsche Design Timepieces AG. “Offering a wide range of options while manufacturing small quantities of custom-built timepieces is possible thanks to the sequential production process transferred from Porsche sports car production. The principle of zero-defect tolerance was a necessary prerequisite for the implementation of a watch concept like this.”
A New Engine
Key among the components of the customer-designed watch is an entirely new engine.
Porsche Design developed a new movement to serve as the engine for the online-designed timepiece. The new Caliber WERK 01.100 is a COSC- certified chronograph movement that now enters serial production for the program.
But the WERK 01.100 offers Porsche Design customers more than simply its novelty.
“For the first time customers can individualize a part of a Porsche Design COSC-certified movement by choosing the winding rotor that features the various wheel designs of the latest-generation Porsche 911,” Bergmann says. “The color on the rotor edge can also be customized to match the color on the outer edge of the wheels of the 992,” he adds.
Customers select their choice of rotor design after choosing which case to place it into. Porsche Design offers a 42mm case based on the one it used in Chronotimer Series 1. The user can opt for a glass-bead blasted natural titanium or a black titanium case coated in titanium carbide via a PVD-process.
Next, the customer chooses his or her strap.
Bands can be titanium or leather and are offered in three sizes with up to 300 different configurations. All leather straps (with butterfly clasp) are crafted from the same hides Porsche uses for its car interiors and come in the fourteen official interior colors of the current Porsche 911 series. Leather wristband stitching is offered in the nineteen different colors of genuine Porsche yarn.
Porsche Design has created dial options for the program that start with the matte black look of the current Chronotimer Series 1, with its minutes counter at the top of the dial, hour counter at the 6 o’clock position and running seconds at 9 o’clock.
But the user can add color using one of many colorful inlaid ring options, with colors based on those used on the current Porsche 911, to frame the black dial to either complement or contrast the choice of strap.
More dramatically, the watch collector then opts for either a brushed bezel or a black tachymeter bezel set with minute markers in the style of the design-defining classic speedometer developed by F. A. Porsche.
Each custom-built timepiece can be further individualized with a laser engraving on the back of the case as well as on the exclusive watch box, according to Bergmann.
“If desired, the corresponding car visuals, a graphic logo or the fonts and lettering featured on the rear of the customer’s car can also be applied to the watch box,” he adds.
Porsche and Porsche Design
While watch collectors have long heard about buying “a racecar for the wrist,” from makers of auto-influenced watches, Porsche Design is confident that its new online configurator comes closest to the truth of that metaphor.
“Customers who order their own custom-built Porsche Design chronograph will take a piece of the Porsche sports car lifestyle with them when not behind the wheel,” notes Novak.
The direct relationship between the watch and the car is undeniable, he adds.
“The experience of designing a Porsche Design masterpiece based on the current 992 generation is one-of-a-kind – from the rotor and bezel to the genuine Porsche leather straps,” he adds. The program will be expanded to include additional Porsche models in the near future.
The six-year project required a deep restructuring of Porsche Design watchmaking and development, he explains.
“The greatest challenges certainly were in regards to the order and production processes; after all, this had never been done before. The idea of a “sports car on the wrist” was different for every customer, and it required us to rethink our entire process. Everything from engineering, sourcing and production had to be adjusted. To do so we tapped into the brand’s heritage and pulled key learnings from Porsche’s unique automotive production expertise.”
North American Launch
Thus far, with only a few months of processing orders, Porsche Design says reactions to the program have been very positive.
“The very first order we received after the program launched in the United States was actually from a Canadian customer,” Novak reports. “He had heard about the custom-built timepieces program and reached out to see if he could design a watch to match his 992 and place an order in the U.S. He will actually be picking up his “sports car for the wrist” at an East Coast dealership in the coming days.”
“We are looking forward to continuing to introduce the program to new Porsche Design and Porsche customers alike,” says Novak.
Indeed, customization has been a buzzword among high-end watchmaking for the past few years, and several watchmakers have embraced the possibilities of made-to-order watches, mostly with very limited color or material options.
Novak points out that as Porsche itself has enjoyed a positive customer experience with personalized automobiles, Porsche Design’s careful development of the process with timepieces makes perfect sense. “Introducing this unprecedented level of personalization in the luxury watch segment was a natural next step for us,” he says.
“The timepieces business unit is extremely important for Porsche Design globally and in the United States, and we believe we are keeping pace with the general desire for more individualization in watches.”
For Porsche, that customization perfectly unites its automotive realm with the burgeoning watch division of Porsche Design, as supported by its German engineering and Swiss manufacturing facilities.
“Not only does the program highlight the connection between Porsche sports cars and Porsche Design timepieces,” says Novak, “it embodies the premium aesthetic, attention to detail and optimal performance expected of all things associated with the name Porsche.”
Porsche Design Custom-built timepieces are priced starting at $5,150 and, depending on the selections made, can range up to $11,600.