ramp #62

High Noon: Chronograph I by Porsche Design

A watch like a sports car? F. A. Porsche drew inspiration for the Chronograph I from a design icon: the 911, which he himself had designed nine years earlier.

  • Text
    Bernd Haase
  • Fotos
    Porsche

Frankfurt, September 12, 1963: The Porsche 901, later renamed 911, was presented at the IAA motor show as the successor to the 356. Ferry Porsche had previously jotted down the specs for his new sports car: “2-seater with 2 comfortable jump seats. Rear view mirror integrated in the wings. Easier entry.” To which the sales department added: “Retain previous Porsche line. Not a fundamentally new car. Sporty character.” The result was an icon.

The body was sketched by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, nicknamed “Butzi” and generally known as F. A. Still very young at the time, his drawing beat out the ideas of several renowned designers. The design as it was finally presented proved to be timeless, with a shape that has only undergone slight modifications over the decades. From any angle, a 911 is instantly recognizable. And then there’s the ­driving performance: the rear engine directly above the drive axle, the precise steering, the highly developed chassis for extreme lateral acceleration. That’s all remained unchanged to this day.

Nine years later F. A. Porsche founded his own design studio: Porsche Design. His very first work there, the Chronograph I with black case and dial, was another instant classic. Porsche’s philosophy was that design should always follow function. Never the other way around. With the Chronograph I, he was the first designer to transfer design principles from automobiles to a watch, using the instrument panel of the 911 as his inspiration. Experts agree that virtually nothing about the watch can be done better in terms of its design. And the same holds true for the 911. Which is why the time 9:11 a.m. plays a very special role at Porsche for special occasions.

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Bernd Haase

Bernd Haase

Head of Text & Editor
He had a very clear career plan from a very early age: He wanted to be a rock star. Then he was allowed to join the school band. Because he wrote the lyrics (and because nobody, but really nobody, wanted to play bass). But it didn't last long. He switched basses with his father's Triumph Adler, realised that it also sounded nice, and decided to write about the dark side of the music business. But it turned out to be an internship at the local newspaper. Stayed quite a long time. It was much more exciting than I thought. After that, I worked as an editor for various newspapers, covering the finer things from cinema to music to travel. I also came across ramp. And stayed. It really is as exciting as I thought.
ramp #62 Wild Things

ramp #62 Wild Things

Das Unterwegs, ein wunderbar weißes Blatt, das sich uns mit einer fröhlichen Unberechenbarkeit als geniale Spielfläche für Versuch und Irrtum, für Neugier und Spontanität, Überraschungen und Fantasie anbietet. Alles ziemlich wild hier. Wie im echten Leben eben.

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