Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC: When The World Is Your Oyster
by Martin Green
There is design, and then there is Porsche Design. The former is general, the latter is a distinct design language all by itself.
Porsche Design starts with the iconic cars, but in the world of watches Porsche is also a name with an imposing track record. The reason for this is can be summed up in two words: timeless innovator.
Let’s start with that last word, innovator. Porsche Design was founded by Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche in 1972 to apply his designs to more than cars. The first watch he designed was the Chrono I, which combined a matte black dial with a matte black finish on the case and bracelet.
While quite common today, this monochrome color scheme was not commonplace back then, especially not for a luxury product.
In 1980 it was a new chronograph in collaboration with IWC that gave us the world’s first titanium-encased watch. Interestingly, despite many of them being more than 30 years old, the vast majority of watches from that iteration of the Porsche Design label still look refreshingly modern today.
Titanium as a way of life, and for the Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC
Today, all watches from Porsche Design are housed in titanium cases, both because the metal’s grey tone suits the technical designs so well and because it is light, corrosion resistant, non-allergenic, and comfortable on the skin.
Porsche Design takes this conviction quite far, as the new 1919 Globetimer UTC reveals.
As the name already indicates, the 1919 Globetimer UTC is a world time watch – a type of watch with which Porsche Design has had significant experience, starting with the world time watch with alarm function it created in the 1990s together with IWC.
In 2007 Porsche Design took the next step and launched a travel time watch that could switch time zones with the push of a single button. That concept has now been further refined to form one of the main ingredients making the 1919 Globetimer UTC such a delightful timepiece.
To travel or not to travel is not a question
It might surprise some, but watch journalists like myself spend a considerable amount of time traveling, often from one continent to another. So watches with additional time zones get tested particularly well.
Quite a few two-time-zone watches don’t necessarily work as well as you might hope, almost as if they were designed by people who never travel themselves. Some highlight the fact that you can “conveniently” change the time zone using just the crown, but what they don’t tell you is that when doing so you also screw up the current settings of the other time zone, which then need to be corrected again.
Others bypass this with a corrector on the side of the case, but once airborne you discover that you didn’t bring anything to push that corrector with, so the search for a toothpick, fine liner, or safety pin begins.
Porsche Design’s approach is simple: the brand’s engineers added two buttons to the side of the case. The top one advances the current time zone in one-hour increments, while the one on the bottom sets the time zone back in one-hour increments.
The minutes and seconds remain untouched and therefore accurate, and the date changes automatically with the changes in time zone. The 1919 Globetimer UTC even includes a day/night indicator, visible through a small opening in the dial.
Porsche Design is known for the superb dial legibility of its watches, and the Globetimer UTC does not disappoint, all indications are easily read at a glance.
As part of Porsche Design’s 1919 collection, the shape of the “framework” lugs add to the wearing comfort. The light titanium case also adds to wearing comfort.
With a diameter of 42 mm, which is nearly all dial, the 1919 Globetimer UTC is large – and looks even larger – but wears like a watch about 2 mm smaller.
Porsche Design offers the 1919 Globetimer UTC in four different versions, one of which one is the gold-plated version I mentioned previously.
The main difference between variations is the color of the dial, which is available in brown, black, or blue.
The calfskin straps are nice, but the titanium bracelet is even better. Not only does it go well with the overall design of the watch, the bracelet is also very well constructed and fits perfectly around the wrist.
A Sellita-based movement: disappointing or common sense?
Caliber Werk 04.110 is based on the Sellita SW 200. And while there is nothing wrong with this movement, it is also not one that you expect to find in a premium watch from Porsche Design.
However, Porsche Design gets credit for extensively reworking the Sellita-based caliber, adding its own ball-bearing, bidirectionally winding rotor and the patented second time zone module.
The movement is officially C.O.S.C. chronometer certified. While this might not be enough to convert everyone, there is something to say about using a proven, reliable movement instead of manufacturing one at high expense, simply for the sake of it.
When it comes to travel watches the 1919 Globetimer UTC is up there with the best. It is good looking, very practical, and feels comfortable on the wrist.
The 1919 Globetimer UTC gets the job done and does so with an undeniable sense of style, which comes from its unique “DNA.” And for that matter is it not only a worthy successor to the travel watches Porsche Design has made starting since 1995, it is also a nice addition to the current collection.
Quick Facts Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC
Case: 42 x 14.9 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber WERK 04.110 (Sellita SW 200 base) with Porsche Design rotor and travel time module, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve, officially certified C.O.S.C. chronometer
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, UTC function,
Price: €6,450 on titanium bracelet
Available: September 2019