Porsche Design Celebrates 50 Years With New Chronograph 1–1972 Limited Edition

This year marks the golden anniversary of Porsche Design, the project begun by Professor Ferdinand Porsche in 1972 to branch the unique Porsche design language to products beyond the automotive type. The first fruit born of this project was the famous Chronograph 1, done in partnership with the Swiss brand, Orfina. In celebration of 50 years, Porsche Design is bringing that watch back in the Chronograph 1–1972 Limited Edition. The soul of the original looks to be preserved rather well with this release, with some big upgrades integrated seamlessly.

Ferdinand’s goal with Porsche Design was to strike a balance between form and function, pushing material design to achieve the desired effect both aesthetically and practically. The original Chronograph 1 was the first watch to make use of physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology to achieve a fully black case and bracelet, a nod to the anti-glare interior of their cars. Likewise, the watch was among the very first to feature a cutting edge movement of the day from Valjoux, the caliber 7750. Both of these features are relatively commonplace today, but packed quite a punch in the early ‘70s and beyond. The watch even appeared on the wrist of the fictional pilot, Maverick, as portrayed by Tom Cruise in Tony Scott’s 1986 film Top Gun.

The 50th anniversary Chronograph 1–1972 Limited Edition is a faithful recreation of the original, with a few notable changes both internal and external. The case and bracelet remain black, though this time around they are carbide coated titanium that’s been finished with a glass bead-blasted treatment. Dimensions remain the same at 40.8mm in diameter. Visually, it hasn’t skipped a beat, and wouldn’t look a bit out of place in Joseph Kosinski’s upcoming 2022 film, Top Gun: Maverick.

The look of the dial remains largely unchanged, though the Orfina label found on early Chronograph 1 examples has been replaced with the classic “PD” icon, and a “Porsche Design” appearing under the day and date apertures. The layout is similar to what would have been seen on Lemania power examples from the mid ‘70s, prior to their collaborations with IWC getting underway in the final years of the ‘70s. 

The biggest upgrade happens within the Chronograph 1–1972 Limited Edition, which receives the newly developed COSC-certified Porsche Design automatic movement, the WERK 01.140 caliber. The black bridges are hidden behind a closed caseback, which is engraved with the “PD” logo as well. The WERK 01.140 appears to have a similar architecture to the Concepto C99001 used by Sinn within the 144 St S Anniversary II we wrote about here

Just 500 numbered examples of the Chronograph 1–1972 Limited Edition are planned for production, priced at $7,700. Alongside the watch, Porsche revealed a pair of special edition 911s to join in on the celebration. The first, a fully restored 1972 Targa, and a modern take on the same car derived from a 992 Targa 4 GTS, buyers of which will get access to a special edition of this very watch. Not a shabby way to ring in the big 5-0. Read more about the watch and the cars that inspired it at Porsche Design.

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Blake is a Wisconsin native who’s spent his professional life covering the people, products, and brands that make the watch world a little more interesting. Blake enjoys the practical elements that watches bring to everyday life, from modern Seiko to vintage Rolex. He is an avid writer and photographer with a penchant for cars, non-fiction literature, and home-built mechanical keyboards.