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.