Dive Watch Releases / Articles

2010-06-25

PORSCHE DESIGN & ETERNA (interview)

By TLex The PORSCHE DESIGN P'6780 is a technically brilliant watch with a very pure form, it marks a new chapter in contemporary dive watch history; and I have been fortunate enough to have been one of the first to have spent some quality time with it. I was also lucky enough to hear directly from the two gentlemen behind it and have my questions answered . . .



OceanicTime I would like to personally thank both Patrick Schwarz CEO and Patrick Kury Technical Director of Porsche Design & Eterna for taking the time to answers my questions with regard to Porsche Design and Eterna timepieces and the new P'6780 Diver.

OceanicTime Could you explain briefly about the special relationship that Porsche Design and Eterna have, how it came about and as far as development of Porsche Design timepieces are concerned (specifically dive watches) who does what?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: This is a unique relationship because Eterna is the licensee for Porsche Design watches and it is also owned by the Porsche family. Eterna is responsible for the production and distribution of Porsche Design watches. Beside the distribution through specialized retailers, the watches are, along the other Porsche Design products, sold in more than 100 Porsche Design boutiques around the world.

Every new watch is the result of a close collaboration between Eterna SA, the Porsche Design Studio and the PLH – Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft (the company that manages the license).

The brand Porsche Design as a luxury brand is known for the exceptional design, the perfect functionality of its objects and the use of innovative materials.

The P'6780 Diver is among others the fruit of this great collaboration between the designers of the Porsche Design Studio and the engineers and watchmakers of Eterna.



OceanicTime The Porsche name isn't one that we would instinctively associate with dive watches, yet in 1983 Ferdinand A .E. Porsche designed a dive watch that was both technically and aesthetically way ahead of its time. The Ocean 2000, which has earned iconic status from many aficionados, has become an important piece of dive watch history.

Surely a tough act to follow!?


Did Porsche Design feel that they had almost a duty or obligation to release a worthy successor? Something that would be as equally remembered and as significant in the next 25yrs?

Do you feel you have achieved this with the P'6780?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: Thanks to the introduction of titanium into watchmaking in 1980, Porsche Design could now develop a diving watch especially for military purposes. Thus, the Ocean 2000 became iconic in the world of diving watches not only because of its material but also because of its design and functionality. Knowing that, we had to come up with a worthy successor. And we are convinced that we have it.



The P'6780 Diver possesses a unique design and material combination: the silver-colored stainless steel container provides a striking contrast to the anthracite-grey titanium bridge structure. This is the unmistakable signature of Porsche Design. Second its functionality: Securely anchored within a titanium bridge structure is a hinged container housing movement, dial and hands, which has to be raised to set the diving time.

This approach prevents bezel and crown from being inadvertently turned. The Diver's advanced sealing system is water resistant to 100 atmospheres, equivalent to a depth of 1000 meters. It needs neither a screw-down crown nor a helium release valve. The strap features a special diving extension so it can fit over a diving suit without the folding clasp having to be opened first.

OceanicTime When Porsche Design unveiled only their 2nd dive watch in more than 25yrs at Baselworld 2010; its design was recognized by some as being a reworked Eterna KonTiki Diver.

Is this exactly what it is?

If so, could you explain a little about the decision to work of the existing KonTiki Diver's architecture rather than coming up with something fresh?

If this is not the case, could you please talk a little about the fundamental differences between the two models and their case housings?





PORSCHE DESIGN
Patrick Schwarz: It is true to say that the P'6780 Diver from Porsche Design features the same outstanding construction principles than the Eterna KonTiki Diver. But why should the Porsche Design diving watch not benefit from this unique development? Since this watch perfectly fits the philosophy of Porsche Design, we decided to focus from now on, on the P'6780 Diver.

Nevertheless, there are differences and improvements in the P'6780 Diver in comparison with the Eterna KonTiki Diver:

1. Design: The design has been rethought by the Porsche Design Studio to become more purist, timeless and refined, adding structures such as Clous De Paris. Only the principle of case construction (movement, dial and hands housed in a container, placed in a bridge) is the same.

2. Construction:

Improvements have been made on this model as follows:

a) The turning bezel is now unidirectional for security reasons.

b) The push-pieces are mobile to guarantee a perfect ergonomy also for smaller wrists.

c) The container's pivot has been rethought.

3. Material: The P'6780 Diver features a unique material combination of titanium and stainless steel. The KonTiki Diver was entirely constructed in stainless steel. The P'6780 Diver has the bridge, the case back and the folding clasp made in titanium to give it a unique two-tone look.






OceanicTime Please talk briefly of the technical challenges involved in such a design; in particular the case and its housing. I know that the Eterna version went through many long delays causing a much later release than initially planned. Many valuable lessons must have been learned.

PORSCHE DESIGN
Patrick Kury: The construction of the KonTiki Diver (and today of the P'6780 Diver) is very complex. It indeed took us more time than expected for the development of the Eterna diving watch to undertake the various developments and adjustments in order to guarantee a perfect water resistance. We needed to find the right material and the best dimensions for this exceptional sealing system. But also the material and the surface treatment of the case had to be the right one. The surface quality has to be perfect to guarantee water resistance.






OceanicTime What was the design brief given for the P'6780?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: Porsche Design is known for the purist, timeless and functional design of its objects. The design philosophy is based on the principle of form follows function. Functionally is above all. Furthermore, Porsche Design has marked the watchmaking industry through the introduction of new materials such as titanium in 1980 and new material combinations. The P'6780 has been designed and constructed according to these guidelines.

OceanicTime The P'6780 meets with ISO norms (regulations) for a dive watch, was it ocean tested? Please could talk a little of the watch's testing and development.

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Kury:The P’6780 went trough several tests which simulate the conditions under a 1’000 meters. This means it meets the ISO 22810 and the NIHS 92-10. We decided to assure the watch to be waterproof to 1'000 meters but we did not want it to be a professional diving instrument.

Since the introduction of the Ocean 2000 diving material has drastically evolved. Today, the watch plays an important role of security in the world of diving and has saved a lot of lives. However, a diver would always first rely on his electronic equipment and use the watch as a security.







OceanicTime Explain the thinking behind the enlarged pushers at 10 & 2 o'clock?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Kury: First of all the push-pieces have been enlarged to be manipulated easily with gloves. The larger push-pieces are also a design element wanted by the Porsche Design Studio.

OceanicTime The P'6780 has certainly evolved; would you say that you have actually improved on the Eterna version; I see a cleaner, sleeker and more refined watch, but by no means less utilitarian looking. Would this be true?






PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: As mentioned earlier, there have been improvements made in terms of design, construction and material:

1. Design: The design has been rethought by the Porsche Design Studio to become more purist, timeless and refined, adding structures such as Clous de Paris. Only the principle of case construction (movement, dial and hands housed in a container, placed in a bridge) is the same.

2. Construction:

Improvements have been made on this model as follows:

a) The turning bezel is now unidirectional for security reasons.

b) The push-pieces are mobile to guarantee a perfect ergonomy also for smaller wrists.

c) The container's pivot has been rethought.

3. Material: The P'6780 Diver features a unique material combination of titanium and stainless steel. The KonTiki Diver was entirely constructed in stainless steel. The P’6780 Diver has the bridge, the case back and the folding clasp made in titanium to give it a unique two-tone look.






OceanicTime Please talk a little of the Porsche Design product line that P'6780 diver has become part of.

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: Porsche Design objects and watches in particular are known for their purist, timeless and functional design. All of our watches meet these principles. Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche once said: “When you think about the function of something, its design sometimes emerges of its own accord.”

The P'6780 Diver belongs to the product line P'6780 Performance, the world of conquerors – global, functional and limitless.






OceanicTime Why didn't Porsche Design jump on the retro / reissue band wagon as they have done with the Heritage P'6530 and Eterna P600; Wouldn't a more updated / current version of the Ocean 2000 have been a better route to take for only the 2nd release in 25yrs?

It proved incredibly successful with Blancpain and the 50 Fathoms; Omega and the Ploprof etc.

Would that ever have been on the cards?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: We are this year celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first titanium chronograph and the introduction of titanium into watchmaking. This was the perfection occasion to reintroduce a Heritage line within the Porsche Design watch collection. The P'6530 is the start of the reintroduction of a series of Porsche Design models that have marked the watchmaking industry through either their design, functionality or their material.






OceanicTime Ocean 2000 DNA has worked its way into a number Eterna and Porsche Design timepieces over the years; will this DNA eventually work its way into another serious / significant dive watch or has this DNA reached the end of its lifespan?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: The Ocean 2000 fully represents the philosophy of Porsche Design to propose purist, timeless and functional timepieces. It is this philosophy that we will continue to perpetuate.

When it comes to diving watches, we are now concentrating on the launch of the P'6780 Diver.

OceanicTime The Ocean 2000 was initially developed for the German Navy? Does Porsche Design have any plans to create a version of the P'6780 for military use; a stealth DLC version?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: As mentioned earlier, diving material has drastically evolved since the introduction of the Ocean 2000. Today, the watch plays an important role of security in the world of diving and has saved a lot of lifes. However, a diver would always first relay on his electronic equipment and use the watch as a security.

For that purpose, the P'6780 features an exceptional functionality thanks to its outstanding construction where movement, dial and hands are housed in a container that can be raised to easily set the diving time and put back into the bridge to secure everything.

Thus, the P'6780 Diver can be used by any professional and non professional diver. However, it is not classified as a professional diving instrument.






OceanicTime Why was there a 25-year gap between the Ocean 2000 and P'6780 Diver?

PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: We decided to focus on other developments such as the P'6910 Indicator and the P'6750 Worldtimer before presenting the P'6780 Diver.

The P'6910 Indicator is an automatic chronograph that displays the stopped time in a digital manner. It is today the most complex series-produced watch featuring a movement with more than 800 components. A watchmaker needs 42 days to assemble the movement. This innovation is patented by Eterna.

The P'6750 Worldtimer displays the second time zone also in a digital manner. Thanks to an Eterna innovation, the second time zone can be instantaneously transferred to the main hands by pressing the push-piece.

OceanicTime What's next for Porsche Design? Please don't tell me I will be in my fifties, when you release another dive watch!






PORSCHE DESIGN Patrick Schwarz: We will continue to propose watches with a purist, timeless and functional design using exceptional materials and material combinations.

Let us keep the suspense…

OceanicTime On behalf OceanicTime and all its readers thank you once again for your valuable time and the great insight in Porsche Design and Eterna, and P'6780 Diver.




© OceanicTime

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