Porsche Design Watches: Sleek & Futuristic
Porsche Design emphasizes innovation and functional design. Considering its strong connection to motorsport, it comes as no surprise that they craft modern chronographs like the Monobloc Actuator and Chronotimer in addition to three-hand watches.
Following in the Footsteps of Porsche Automobiles
There's no mistaking the connection between Porsche Design watches and the high-performance sports cars put on the roads by the German automobile manufacturer. This is hardly surprising, as company founder Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was also the man behind the design of the famous Porsche 911. Starting with the very first release in 1972, the Chronograph 1, product developers at the brand's design studio in Austria have taken their inspiration from the instrument panel of these sports cars.
However, the ties between the timepieces and Porsche motorsport don't just manifest on the surface level. Materials such as titanium take the driver's seat in the Porsche Design catalog, and innovative technologies like the integrated rocker switch seen on the Monobloc Actuator Chronograph also prove that these products share similar DNA.
Since stopwatches play such a large role in motorsport, Porsche Design has a particular focus on chronographs. The lineup includes run-of-the-mill chronographs as well as models outfitted with flyback mechanisms and GMT complications.
Porsche Design also offers a number of sporty three-hand watches. Depending on the exact model, these timepieces offer additional functions such as a small seconds, second time zone, and date display.
You'll find that most watch cases are made of titanium, with a select few being crafted from stainless steel or gold alloys. The surfaces are often coated with black, diamond-like carbon, and alternate between polished and brushed surfaces. Under the hood, you'll find reliable calibers from movement manufacturers ETA and Sellita. Porsche Design has been increasing their repertoire of in-house movements with the help of Concepto, a specialist in caliber production. These movements are then tested and certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) as chronometers.
Reasons to Buy a Porsche Design Watch
- Sporty, modern luxury watches
- Cases in titanium, stainless steel, or rose gold
- In-house, COSC-certified calibers
- Innovations, including the chronograph rocker switch
- A direct connection to motorsport
Price Overview for Porsche Design Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Size, caliber|
|Porsche Design by IWC Ocean 2000, IW3500||7,800 USD||42 mm, ETA 2892|
|Chronotimer Series 1 Flyback, 6013.6.12.004.08.2||5,100 USD||42 mm, WERK 01.200|
|Worldtimer, 67184.108.40.2060||4,800 USD||45 mm, ETA A07111|
|Monobloc Actuator GMT-Chronoliner, 6030.6.02.001.02.5||4,500 USD||45.5 mm, ETA 7754|
|1919 Globetimer UTC, 6023.4.05.001.07.2||4,400 USD||42 mm, WERK 04.110|
|1919 Sport Chrono, 6023.1.02.001.07.2||4,400 USD||42 mm, WERK 01.100|
|1919 Chronotimer Flyback, 6023.6.04.004.07.2||3,800 USD||42 mm, WERK 01.200|
|Sport Chrono Subsecond, 6023.3.11.001.07.2||3,500 USD||42 mm, WERK 03.200|
|Porsche Design by IWC Compass, IW3510||2,400 USD||39 mm, ETA 2892-A2|
|1919 Datetimer Eternity, 6020.3.01.003.06.2||2,300 USD||42 mm, Sellita SW200|
|Flat Six Chronograph, 63220.127.116.114||1,800 USD||44 mm, ETA 7750|
|Porsche Design 1/10 Second Chronograph, 6600.41||1,100 USD||39 mm, quartz|
|P10, 6601.41.10.135||400 USD||38.5 mm, quartz|
How much do Porsche Design watches cost?
You can buy a Porsche Design model from as little as 400 USD. This amount will get you a three-hand watch with a quartz movement from the P10 series, which the manufacturer produced in the 1990s and 2000s. Automatic three-hand watches from this era, for example the Flat Six, demand around 1,400 USD.
Older quartz-powered chronographs can cost anywhere between roughly 1,100 and 1,400 USD. The automatic counterparts with Valjoux movements are slightly more expensive and change hands for around 1,600 USD.
You can buy watches from the current collection on Chrono24 around the 2,200 USD mark. One great option is the 1919 Datetimer Eternity, a three-hand watch with a date complication. Models with subdials for the small seconds, such as the Sport Chrono Subsecond, are priced around 3,500 USD. If you are interested in a three-hand watch with a second time zone, expect an investment of close to 4,600 USD.
The chronographs in Porsche Design's current portfolio come in between roughly 3,800 and 5,000 USD, depending on whether you select a model with a movement from ETA or an in-house caliber.
If you're in the market for a gold watch, you'll need to have at least 28,000 USD on hand.
Porsche Design by IWC
Porsche Design was founded in 1972 as a design studio; production was handled by long-standing partner companies. The famous Chronograph 1, for example, was produced by Swiss watchmaker Orfina. In 1978, Porsche Design entered into a partnership with industry giant IWC. This collaboration spanned almost 20 years and brought forth many interesting timepieces.
Arguably the most interesting watch to come out of this partnership is the Porsche Design by IWC Compass. This 39-mm timepiece comes in black aluminum or brushed titanium. The dial is kept simple, focusing instead on functionality. The bright, luminous line indices and baton hands contrast starkly with the black background. Two thin, white lines divide the dial into four sections. The date window is located at 3 o'clock. The red second hand adds a splash of color to the watch, and is a nod to the indicators seen on the instrument panels in Porsche sports cars. These models are usually powered by automatic calibers from ETA.
At first glance, you might assume the Porsche Design by IWC Compass is a standard three-hand watch. However, this model does have a trick up its sleeve: The case is made of two parts, and the section with the dial and movement can be flipped up to reveal a compass beneath.
Prices on Chrono24 for the Porsche Design by IWC Compass 3551 in a black aluminum case and featuring a moonphase display at 12 o'clock come in at around 2,100 USD in good condition. The ref. 3510 is also black, but doesn't boast a moonphase. This model changes hands for around 2,400 USD. If you're a fan of Porsche Design's brushed titanium watches, such as the ref. 3511, you can expect to pay around 4,100 USD.
Diving Watches From the Ocean Collection
Another compelling series from Porsche Design's cooperation with IWC is the Ocean collection of diving watches. These timepieces have a titanium case that comes in sizes ranging from 34 to 42 mm. The link bracelet is integrated into the case, which lends the Ocean models an air of modernity. The bezel is unidirectional and easy to grip, although it doesn't have the numbered scale that usually comes on diving watches. An inverted triangle illuminates the 12 o'clock position. While the depth rating is typically 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), top models like the Ocean 2000 offer water resistance to 2,000 m (200 bar, 6,560 ft).
The design language of the black dial centers around legibility. The hour markers are filled with luminous material, and the 12 o'clock position is again marked by an inverted triangle for ultimate clarity. The hands are rectangular and luminous.
Plan to spend around 3,400 USD on a 34-mm Ocean 500 (ref. 3503) in good condition. If you prefer the Ocean 2000 ref. 3500, prices will jump to 7,800 USD. A real rarity in this collection is the Ocean BUND ref. 3509. This 42-mm timepiece was produced in the 1980s for the German Navy and has a distinct black bezel. This collector's item demands roughly 15,500 USD.
Porsche Design Watches From the Eterna Era
Many entry-level Porsche Design watches were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s and often have the inscription "Made by Eterna" engraved on the case back. This detail is explained by the fact that Porsche Design bought shares in Eterna SA and commissioned the traditional Swiss company to produce their watches for many years.
There are many listings on Chrono24 for watches in the P10 series. These timepieces have quartz movements and are available as chronographs or three-hand watches. The cases are made from brushed stainless steel and are available in diameters between 28 and 39 mm, making them a fantastic choice for men and women alike. With their simple, functional design and cross-hair sectioning, the dials on the three-hand models resemble those of the Compass models made in partnership with IWC in the 1970s and 80s. The chronographs have subdials at 2, 6, and 10 o'clock for the 1/10-second counter, the small seconds, and the 30-minute counter. The date display at 4 o'clock completes the design. The hour indices and narrow baton hands on the chronographs are filled with luminous material, just like those on the three-hand watches.
Prices for three-hand models with quartz movements start at just under 400 USD. If you're looking for a watch with an automatic caliber, prices will climb to around 880 USD. You can find listings for the 1/10 Second Chronograph on Chrono24 for between 1,100 and 1,300 USD.
The Flat Six line is home to additional stainless steel Eterna models. This series is named after the six-cylinder boxer engines found in Porsche luxury sports cars. The most striking features are the large Arabic numerals in classic Porsche typography, the crown that is almost flush with the case, and the integrated bracelet. Three-hand versions with date complications are available in 40 and 44 mm, and with a black or white dial. The tried-and-true ETA 2892-A2 ticks away inside these watches. Prices for a three-hand Flat Six range from 1,300 to 1,700 USD.
The Flat Six series also offers chronographs. The most popular models are those with the ETA caliber 7750, which gives the watch a typical dial layout: day-date display at 3, hour counter at 6, small seconds at 9, and minute counter at 12 o'clock. As for dial colors, you can choose between black, white, gray, blue, and red, with each sporting contrasting subdials. The tachymeter scale again highlights the watch's proximity to the world of motorsport. The 44-mm case is made of stainless steel, which is either brushed or coated in black. Prices for the Flat Six Automatic Chronograph start at around 1,500 USD. However, special versions like the completely black ref. 6341 can demand north of 3,000 USD.
Monobloc Actuator: The Revolutionary Rocker Switch
The Monobloc Actuator caused quite a stir at Baselworld 2017. Instead of the usual push-pieces, its chronograph function is operated via a rocker switch integrated into the titanium case. This innovation was inspired by the valve control mechanism of the Porsche 911 RSR's engine.
What's more, this timepiece displays a second time zone by means of a 24-hour scale and additional hour hand. There's also a date display at 4, a 12-hour counter at 6, and a 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock. A rotating disc at 9 o'clock serves as a mechanical display that shows the caliber – in this case, the ETA 7754 – is ticking.
Porsche Design produces two chronograph editions of this watch: the Monobloc Actuator GMT-Chronotimer and the Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer. The only real differences are found in the surface finish: The GMT Chronotimer has a glass-bead-blasted titanium case, while the titanium of the 24H Chronotimer is coated with a layer of black titanium carbide. Depending on whether you pair your Monobloc Actuator with a rubber strap or titanium bracelet, plan on spending between 3,700 and 4,500 USD.
Special Editions of the Monobloc Actuator
The Monobloc Actuator 24H-Chronotimer Limited Edition is limited to a run of 251 pieces. This number comes from the Porsche GT 911 RSR's 251-cm wheelbase. Its color scheme also resembles this sports car. Shiny red subdials and white hands and indices contrast beautifully against the matte black dial and case. The inner workings are identical to those in the standard version of the 24H-Chronotimer. Collectors are very interested in this special edition, so you'll need to have around 5,000 USD to call one of these timepieces your own.
Porsche Design also only produced 251 examples of the Monobloc Actuator Chronotimer Flyback. As the name gives away, this model has a flyback function. In return, however, the watch does not have a GMT display. Inside the case, you'll find the in-house caliber WERK 01.200, which has a 48-power reserve and a chronometer certificate. Prices come in at about 7,500 USD.
Chronotimer Series 1: Successor to the Chronograph 1
The Chronotimer Series 1 collection pays tribute to Porsche Design's first watch from 1972: the Chronograph 1. Like their historical inspiration, most of these timepieces have a black coating, although their layer of titanium carbide increases their durability compared to the original Chronograph 1. The white hour markers and indices stand out beautifully against the dark background. The second hand is bright red on most models, adding a splash of color and level of dynamicism to the watch's overall design. Again, the close relationship to racing is honored with the tachymeter scale sitting on the bezel. The popular ETA Valjoux 7750 ticks away inside the watch, but Porsche Design decided against a day display. You can expect a Chronotimer Series 1 with a black case to cost you around 3,300 USD. If you prefer the version with the sandblasted titanium case and white dial, you will find listings on Chrono24 for around 2,300 USD.
Porsche Design also offers the Chronometer Series 1 with a flyback function. These timepieces are powered by the in-house caliber WERK 01.200, which is recognizable by its date display at the 4 o'clock position and the indicator showing the movement is operational at 9. The Chronometer Series 1 Flyback demands between 4,900 and 5,100 USD, depending on whether you opt for a model with a red or yellow second hand.
50th Anniversary Edition of the Chronograph 1
In 2022, Porsche Design marked the 50th anniversary of the Chronograph 1 with a special edition of the iconic chronograph. The size and design of the Chronograph 1 – 1972 Limited Edition are almost identical to those of the original. However, the manufacturer swapped out the stainless steel for titanium, and upgraded the movement to the in-house caliber WERK 01.140. This series is limited to a run of 500 pieces and has an official list price of 7,700 USD.
The 1972 Limited Edition was not the only watch to be released in celebration of the Chronograph 1. Porsche Design also added the Chronograph 1 – 911 Edition 50Y to their lineup in early 2022. At first glance, the two special editions look exactly alike. If you take a closer look at the 911 Edition 50Y, however, you'll notice the inscription "Flyback" on the hour counter at the 6 o'clock position. This is a reference to the WERK 01.240, which adds a flyback function to the watch's complications. Unlike its counterpart, this timepiece has a display case back, so you can view the movement at work. Not only that, but the winding rotor is shaped like the alloy rims seen on Porsche sports cars.
The Chronograph 1 – 911 Edition 50Y is reserved for customers who purchase the Porsche 911 Targa 4 GTS "50 Years Porsche Design" – the total price for both is 197,200 USD.
The 1919 Collection: Sporty and Elegant
The Porsche Design 1919 collection can be summed up by the words understated, sporty, and modern. It is named after the year the Bauhaus was founded. The Bauhaus was a school of art and design in the eastern German cities of Weimar, Dessau, and Berlin from 1919 to 1933. Despite its short lifespan, its principles continue to influence modern design to this day. The watches in the 1919 collection take Bauhaus minimalism and give it a sporty twist. For example, the wide gap between the lugs and the case help these 42-mm automatic watches feel less imposing.
The 1919 Datetimer is a particularly slick three-hand model with a date display. You can choose between versions with a matte or black-coated titanium case and a black or blue dial. Depending on the model, prices for the 1919 Datetimer fall between 1,700 and 2,100 USD.
The 1919 Globetimer is the perfect watch for frequent travelers thanks to its second time zone. The watches have a mechanism that allows you to easily set the local time in one-hour increments using two push-pieces. The dial is available in black, blue, or brown. You can also choose between cases made of sandblasted or black-coated titanium, as well as rose gold. The titanium 1919 Globetimer costs about 2,600 USD. Watches made of rose gold, on the other hand, cost almost 26,000 USD – a tenfold increase in price.
The in-house caliber WERK 01.200 powers the 1919 Chronotimer Flyback. It offers flyback functionality and a power reserve of 48 hours. These Porsche Design watches come with a black, blue, or brown dial and matte titanium case. Prices range from 3,800 to 4,500 USD, depending on the exact reference.
The models in the Sport Chrono series are almost indistinguishable from the 1919 versions, except for the fact that the chronograph edition is coated in black. Porsche Design outfits these watches with the WERK 01.100, which does not have a flyback function. Expect prices around the 4,500 USD mark.
The Sport Chrono Subsecond is a three-hand watch with a subdial for the small seconds at 6 and a date window at 3 o'clock. The matte titanium case comes in diameters of 39 or 42 mm. As for the dial, you can again choose from black, brown, and blue. You will need to invest between 3,500 and 4,000 USD, depending on the model.
Around the World with the Worldtimer
Porsche Design created the Worldtimer with frequent travelers in mind. Although this timepiece is modeled on the 1919 collection, it is somewhat larger at 45 mm. Three central hands indicate the local time. The window at 3 o'clock shows the abbreviation of the second time zone, while the time in the second time zone itself can be read from 9 o'clock. As soon as you set your local time, the time in the second time zone is automatically adjusted.
The Porsche Design Worldtimer has two screw-down crowns: the one at 2 o'clock sets the second time zone, while the crown at 4 o'clock is used to set the local time. All time zones along with their abbreviations are listed on the case back. The black version of the Worldtimer costs roughly 4,100 USD, while examples with a satin-finished titanium case will cost you around 600 USD more.
The History of Porsche Design
Industrial designer Ferdinand Alexander Porsche founded Porsche Design in Stuttgart, Germany in 1972. Despite his passion for watches, he is perhaps best known for his work in the sports car industry. The Porsche 911 is one of his most famous creations. The first product Porsche Design brought to market was the Chronograph 1, which was commissioned by Porsche AG as a gift for long-serving employees.
The design cues of the Chronograph 1 draw inspiration from the instrument panels in Porsche sports cars. Interestingly, it was the first back-coated watch to be available commercially, a fact which catapulted it into the limelight as a cult watch.
In 1978, Porsche Design began working with IWC, a partnership that would span 20 years. The collaboration was a great success, with some highlights being the release of a compass watch in 1978 and the first chronograph to have a titanium case and bracelet in 1980.
Porsche bought shares of the Swiss watch manufacturer Eterna in 1995. Eterna is one of the oldest watch companies based out of Grenchen, Switzerland. The manufacturer produced watches for Porsche Design in the ensuing years. In 2014, Porsche founded Porsche Design Timepieces AG with its headquarters in Switzerland. Since then, they have been manufacturing their watches in-house. However, the design studio in Austria, which has been operating under the name Studio F. A. Porsche since 2015, is still responsible for the designs.
In addition to watches, Porsche Design's product portfolio includes sunglasses, bags, shoes, and casual wear. What's more, the brand is constantly working with other major companies, designing everything from luxury yachts, washing machines, and dentist chairs to streetcars, laptops, and cell phones.