Two new offerings in the horological world, both available from today, serve as proof – as if it were needed – that personalised timepieces are becoming more in demand with each passing month.
Exhibit A: Porsche Design’s Unique Custom-Built Timepieces Programme. Now, the notion of wearing a sports car on your wrist is no new concept: as anyone who’s familiar with the Richard Mille RM11 Chronograph Felipe Massa, or with collaborations between Roger Dubois and Lamborghini and Jaeger LeCoultre And Aston Martin will tell you. But this particular project – which has finally come to fruition after nearly six years, the period since the Porsche Design Timepieces AG in Solothurn, Switzerland was founded – is an altogether loftier concept, and one which taps into the growing appetite for customised timepieces.
Applying production principles long utilised in Porsche’s well-established Porsche car configurator, the new online concept – which is available in the UK from today – will see customers make a series of creative decisions which determine the final timepiece they will receive.
The first step customers will take will be to choose between a glass-bead-blasted natural titanium case or a black titanium case coated in titanium carbide via PVD. Then, there are six different rotor types to choose from – from the classic 911 Carrera rim (and yes, the two-tone Porsche Crest in the centre of the rotor is included) to the 911 Carrera Exclusive Design wheel version with a gold badge at its centre. The rotor edge’s hue can also be customised, just as the outer edges of the wheels of a Porsche car can.
Metal and leather straps are available in three sizes, the former involving a choice between glass-bead-blasted natural titanium or black-coated titanium carbide, and there are two different closing mechanisms – a butterfly clasp with lateral buttons or seven-step fine adjustment – to choose between.
And so the choices continue – with around 1.5 million different design configurations ultimately available, meaning that owners end up with a genuinely unique timepiece. “No other car manufacturer or watch brand currently offers such a customisable and exclusive programme of this kind,” says Jan Becker, CEO of Porsche Design Group. “The colours, types of leather and decorative stitching on these chronographs all originate from automotive production.”
Check out the video at the bottom of this story for more of Becker’s insights into this extraordinary customisation project.
Elsewhere, Piaget’s Altiplano Tourbillon – Infinitely Personal offering is also available from today, in boutiques around the world. Piaget has been big on personalisation since the 60s, when the manufacture’s American subsidiary designed the “Style Selector”, which allowed customers to choose variables including case shape, bezel, jewellery settings, straps, dials and much more.
This project is based on the Altiplano Flying Tourbillon, the piece Piaget created in 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of a watch which had 157 ultra-thin and ultra-light components, including a carriage measuring just 2.88mm, three titanium bridges weighing no more than 0.2g and some components measuring no more than the thickness of a human hair.
The first watch in the image above has a 38mm white gold case adorned with brilliant-cut 1.26 carat diamonds on the bezel and around the tourbillon’s aperture, a guilloché dial in red mother-of-pearl with white gold coloured hands and indexes and a red alligator strap. The piece in the centre has a 41mm white gold case, a hand-guilloché gold dial with a sun-ray motif covered with a translucent green enamel, a bezel framed by baguette-cut 5.07-carat diamonds and paired with a matching green alligator strap. On the right, a 38mm white gold case studded with snow-set dial and brilliant-cut 3.26-carat diamonds is paired with a red alligator strap.
These three permutations, of course, barely scratch the surface. Something you’ll be seriously avoiding, in a literal sense…