When I think of great designs a few things jump to mind straight away, stuff like the concept of timelessness, the original Sony Walkman, and the Porsche 911, to name a few. Sure, a few watches make the list, typical stuff like the Patek Philippe 1815 or the Vacheron Constantin Cornes de vache, you know the type – but also the less traditionally beautiful, the beautifully functional. The JLC Deep Sea Alarm, the Sinn EZM1, or even the Porsche Design Chronograph 1. That last one happens to come from the same hand that designed the Porsche 911, in an exercise to express his design philosophy across different utilitarian subject matter. Crossovers rarely work as well as they sound on paper, but every now and again a Bo Jackson comes along, and makes it look effortless. This was Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche and the Porsche Design Chronograph 1 in 1972, 13 years after penning the 911’s classic lines.
The original Chronograph 1 kind of put all-black watches on the map. The watch had a steel case and bracelet that were coated entirely in black, joining a black dial in the process to create what was surely a ‘vibe’ even back then. The purpose, as we’re told, was to put the form entirely behind the function, and there is no greater contrast you can achieve than white on black. Okay, we’ll chalk up some style points on account of the sweet “PD” logo above the day and date apertures. And the sweet case design.