Looking back at the past with a sense of longing, yet always pushing forwards – that seems to be a part of human nature. Whether in fashion or art, architecture or engineering, both factors drive us in life. But when it comes to both the automotive and watch industries, this balancing act between the cultivation of tradition and the drive for progress is particularly pronounced. The latest products from Porsche and Porsche Design also encapsulate this: the Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur’s 911 Sport Classic, limited to 1,250 units, and the accompanying 911 Sport Classic Chronograph designed for its buyers.
Retro-chic: A 911 combining the best of both past and present
The car and watch were both presented at the Porsche Museum (Address: Porscheplatz 1). The 5,600 square metres of exhibition space in this futuristic building designed by Delugan Meissl offers a meticulous look back into the company’s history. This is important. After all, the history of Porsche as well as its car designs from past decades have a strong influence on the purchase decision for every single car that leaves the factory halls – regardless of whether it is a Macan, Taycan, Panamera or Carrera.
One of the most coveted 911s in collector circles is the Carrera RS 2.7 (the first 911 to sport the Carrera suffix) from the early 1970s. Only 1,580 examples of the six-cylinder boxer engines with 210 horsepower were built from 1972 to 1973. They are pure-bred fun machines, hard as nails, brutally fast, and highly enjoyable for Alpine passes as well as for racetracks around the world. Well-preserved RS 2.7s are sold today for mid-six-figure sums. This is partly because they embody a piece of Porsche history, but also because they convey the spirit of the 1970s so well; a mixture of daredevilry and dandyism, of light-heartedness and buoyant spirit.
911 Carrera RS 2.7 von 1973 und 911 Sport Classic
It is precisely this model that now serves as the inspiration for the small-series 911 Sport Classic, which not only visually picks up on elements from the 1960s and 1970s, but as a manual with 550 horsepower, also gifts its driver with the unadulterated joy of automobility. After the likewise limited 911 R (500 horsepower) and the current GT3 (510 horsepower), it now provides the most powerful way to shift gears and clutch for yourself by far. Equipped with a “duck-tail” spoiler at the rear, a houndstooth pattern on the central panels of the seats, and bi-colour leather in black and cognac, it is otherwise a 21st century 911 with the dimensions of a current Turbo S, featuring an acceleration and directional stability that will make any car buff blissfully happy.
It is a collector’s item enveloped in sporty grey metallic, with painted instead of simply foiled double stripes – which is the norm for the Italian competition Ferrari – but in Stuttgart, it is a sign of refinement at the Exclusive Manufaktur. Of course, all this is vintage in style, but above all, it is chic and immensely rousing to see. It leaves you with dreams of heading for the coastal roads of southern France, or perhaps cutting corners at the Großglockner mountain east of the Brenner pass.
Stop… then go, go, go!
Porsche Design Chronograph’s transformation to a collector’s piece
On such a journey in such a car, there is a certain watch the buyer should surely sport on their wrist: the 911 Classic Chronograph. Designing a watch to match the car is already a known tradition at Porsche Design. Whether it’s the Porsche Turbo S Exclusive Series, GT 3 or the predecessor of the 911 Classic, or the cherry-red 911 Targa 4S Heritage Design Edition, the Solothurn-based Swiss manufacture always finds a worthy interpretation for the wrist.
The Chronograph 911 Sport Classic from Porsche Design
In the case of the Chronograph 911 Classic, this means a watch that is technically and aesthetically based on the 1919 Chronotimer Flyback model with the WERK 01.200 calibre, which picks up on the design elements of the new 911 Classic. What is unusual about this chronograph is that for the first time, the buyer has particularly great freedom in choosing the dial, as the model can be ordered in three different forms: either a simple matte-black dial, matte-black with racing stripes inspired by the car in a sporty light grey, or featuring the houndstooth pattern of the seats.
The oscillating weight picks up on the design of the wheel rims, while the two straps in black and cognac can be easily swapped via a quick-change system. Both are made using the same leather as was used in the 911, while on the dial, white chronograph hands combine with green numerals and scale markings, starring alongside a retro gold Porsche Design logo and 911 Sport Classic lettering on the running seconds disc. There are thus plenty of retro elements harking back to the 1970s, when Porsche Design had just been founded and the Chronograph 1 shot the brand to fame within the watch world.
Having a recognisable watch:
“Is that a 911 Sport Classic?”
F.A. Porsche, the father of the 911 and founder of Porsche Design, once summed up his immense creative power with the following words: “If we wanted something, we had to do it ourselves.” This mixture of daring and vigorous sense of self-confidence still characterises the Porsche and Porsche Design brands today. Now, when the 1,250 units of the 911 Sport Classic are distributed to the many branches and dealers around the world, collectors around the globe will do their very best to be allowed to hand over 272,714 euros to Zuffenhausen. That is a price, by the way, far beyond the 183,223 euros that were estimated two years ago for the first of a total of four special models of the Heritage Design Editions, the 450 horsepower Targa 4S that was dedicated to the 1950s, of which 992 of the cherry-red sports cars were built. At the time, there was also a special Porsche Design watch for this car (price back then: 10,950 euros), and as was the case at the time and as is usual with special editions of this kind, the Classic Chrono can only be bought by those who also get a car.
This means that this watch is not simply the “sports car for the wrist” propagated by Porsche Design, but an expression of self that is worth far more than the price of 12,500 euros would suggest – which is nevertheless a pretty noticeable premium over the 5,950 euros that a typical series 1919 Flyback Chrono costs. It is a timepiece that speaks to other connoisseurs and implies that here is someone from deep within the world of Porsche. After all, only enthusiasts with the best of connections to their dealer will be able to drive this car or add it to their collection.
It is therefore a watch that reveals much more than the time, as it unites the passions of watchmaking and automobility like few other pieces do. It is also not that likely that we will see much more emerge from this particular area, although two more Heritage models will eventually follow as the 80s and 90s will also surely be honoured at some point.
Finally, all those who prefer a more grounded style of driving should remember that using the Porsche Design configurator, the watches can be personalised even without a special model. Furthermore, the special design codes of the Heritage models will also find their way into various features within condensed design packages of the series 911s after the presentation of the special model. Because, for all the pleasure of looking back, Porsche’s ultimate priority is always to keep on moving forward.
911 Sport Classic: Combined fuel consumption 12,8 l/100 km (NEDC) ; 12,6 l/100 km (WLTP); Combined CO2 emissions 292 g/km (NEDC); 285 g/km (WLTP)