The Porsche Design Group restarts its luxury watch business from zero

Due to the premature end of the partnership with the Chinese owned Eterna manufactory the German Porsche Design Group literally had to start its watch business from zero again.

In its best days Porsche Design cooperated with IWC in Schaffhausen and during this area we saw the most impressing Porsche Design watches ever manufactured. With the end of the partnership with IWC the family Porsche bought Eterna to continue its watch business. Unfortunately not everything worked out well and the family Porsche decided to sell Eterna again. The China Haidian Group finally bought Eterna after the family Porsche could not find any buyer in Switzerland.

For me this is still something I cannot understand. On both sides guys! How could the entire Swiss watch industry let Eterna go and how could the family Porsche finally sell this watchmaking pearl to Chinese?

When the China Haidian Group bought Eterna the contract for the production of watches in-between Porsche Design and Eterna was still active and should last for another eight years. From the very first moment it was clear for me that this would never happen and that the Porsche Design Group would quit this partnership much earlier. Exactly this happened last year, when Porsche Design Group and Eterna stopped working together. Now in my eyes this was the death knell of Eterna and a big new chance for the Porsche Design Group to restart its watch business from zero.

The death knell of Eterna? Yes, here is another proof: Just today I got the information that Eterna plans to shut down its subsidiary in Germany responsible for the German and Austrian market the 1. September 2014. The information for all the employees came out of the blue just before their summer holidays.

Let us get back to the Porsche Design Group: Now after the management under the leadership of Juergen Gessler, CEO of the Porsche Design Group did press the reset button they are coming back with a new fully motivated team and with master watchmaker Patrick Kury on board, who before was the guy behind all the interesting mechanical developments at Eterna, including the Porsche Design Indicator. Patrick Kury is the new CEO of the just founded Porsche Design Timepieces AG.

 

The picture shows Patrick Kury in 2010 when he was still working for Eterna.

The picture shows Patrick Kury (left) in 2010 when he was still working for Eterna.

 

I know Patrick for many years now and I can assure you with the new team and the financial resources of the group he will create some new outstanding mechanical calibres that are going to be signed Porsche Design with a lot of pride. So believe me we will very soon see some new and interesting Porsche Design watches.

 

For more detailed information please read the official press release from the Porsche Design Group that was released this afternoon.

Porsche Design Timepieces AG founded in Switzerland

Porsche Design repositions its business with luxury watches

Stuttgart. The Porsche Design Group (Porsche Lizenz- und Handelsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG) has founded a subsidiary in Switzerland to continue its tradition of offering high-quality timepieces. Porsche Design Timepieces AG, based in the Jurasuedfuß region of Switzerland, will be responsible for developing and producing exclusive Porsche Design timepieces; marketing and sales will be overseen by the Porsche Design Group, which is based in Ludwigsburg, Germany. The first watch series offered solely by Porsche Design will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2014. The CEO of the Swiss company is Patrick Kury (41). “By taking this step, we are continuing the successful history of Porsche Design timepieces, which began in 1972 with the iconic Chronograph I”, says Juergen Gessler, CEO of the Porsche Design Group. “We are especially happy to have acquired Patrick Kury, a watch expert who–as well as demonstrating a profound understanding of our brand–is extremely skilled and accomplished when it comes to developing watch mechanisms. Kury has already proved this by developing the Porsche Design Indicator, the most complex watch mechanism in the world.” “Porsche Design timepieces have always led the way for the entire watch industry in terms of design and concept”, says Patrick Kury, CEO of Porsche Design Timepieces AG. “As part of the new strategic realignment, we are consciously going back to the roots of Porsche Design timepieces. These revolutionised the industry in the 1970s and 1980s in terms of design and the materials used, as they included the world’s first black watch as well as the world’s first titanium watch. In the 2000s, Porsche Design timepieces boasted impressive technical highlights such as the mechanical-digital stopwatch display of the Indicator.” As has been the case for more than 40 years, Porsche Design timepieces are positioned in an exclusive niche in the luxury watch category. The products are available around the world in the luxury brand’s stores and from selected leading retailers. Currently, the company is preparing to launch the first watch series offered solely by Porsche Design. This series is reminiscent of the distinctive characteristics of the two most successful models produced by the luxury brand, the Chronograph I and the titanium Chronograph, which were matt black and made from titanium respectively: The first model in the series–the Porsche Design Timepiece No. 1–heralds the era of Timepieces made by Porsche Design. The self-winding chronograph features a case made from titanium, which has a diameter of 42 millimetres. The matt black case of the No. 1 was not painted – instead, it was coated by means of a special process. With regard to technical features, the model is equipped with a mechanical Valjoux 7750 chronograph mechanism that has a power reserve of 48 hours. The blackened sapphire crystal case back that shows the inner workings of the exclusive, energy-optimised Porsche Design rotor is a real eye-catcher. The Porsche Design Timepiece No. 1 with black rubber strap is waterproof up to a depth of 50 metres (5 ATM) and is limited to a production run of only 500 units. Characteristics that Porsche Design has been presenting as watchmaking milestones for more than 40 years. The legendary Chronograph I was the world’s first black watch as well as the first product produced by the luxury brand. In 1972, the timepiece caused a furore, as the self-winding chronograph–a concept that had previously been inconceivable–was entirely black and provocatively plain. By releasing this timepiece, Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche was anticipating a trend that, while revolutionary at the time, defines the watch industry today. In 1980, Porsche Design revolutionised the watchmaking world with the first timepiece made from titanium ever to be seen. 20 years later, this was followed by the first watch to feature an aluminium case. The launch of the Indicator in 2004 saw the brand reach a new milestone: For the first time, this model combined chronograph functionality with a purely mechanical, jumping digital display. This was made possible thanks to the world’s most complex watch mechanism produced in a limited run: Four spring barrels are required to power all functions reliably and the mechanism comprises a total of more than 800 individual parts. Porsche Design is a luxury brand and was founded in 1972 by Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche. The products represent functional, timeless and purist design, and boast an impressive level of innovation. All products are designed by the Porsche Design Studio and are sold around the world in the brand’s own shops, as well as in franchises, concessions, high-end department stores, exclusive specialist retailers and in the official online store (www.porsche-design.com).

 

Exclusively for you guys I also got a first sketch that shows how a new Porsche Design chronograph named Timepiece No. 1 could look like…

 

Porsche Design sketch Timepiece No.1

Porsche Design sketch Timepiece No.1

 

 

>>> Discover pictures of the “old” Porsche Design Indicator on page 2 >>>

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Victor says:

    Great to see Mr. Kury back onboard! (and Mr. Stas posting here!)

  2. Thomas says:

    How easy is it to start a watch manufacturer from scratch??

    PD will manufacture watches with in-house mouvements? Is it that easy? Or are the reling heavily on third party suppliers for components? How can they quickly find the x number of watchmakers – I thought that such competent people are in short supply in switzerland? Are they gonna have production facilities like Rolex or IWC (although on a smaller scale)? For how many watches produced annually? Did Porsche Design sell more than 5.000 watches before?? My guess is that Volkswagen is doing this for prestige – without the intention to ever earn money.

  3. Bobwatch says:

    The interesting thing here is that Porsche failed with/basically killed Eterna (and subsequently had to sell it) by trying to become (again) a manufacture/in-house producer and now they apparently plan to do exactly the same mistake again and even with the same team? I must have missed something… Amnesia maybe?

    Regarding why nobody wanted to buy Eterna (except China Haidian of course): would you buy a company making a double digit million loss every year and without any clear strategy, appealing designs nor brand awareness (some old german collectors and journalists might have but they are the only one and they don’t buy the watches)? I would not.

    Some brands are just meant to die, and some major did before: Universal, Record, Minerva (not the MB shadow), Favre Leuba, Excelsior Park, Hass Neveux, Angelus, etc. All these brands deserve, at least as much as Eterna do, to be revived/ live on.

    • The dIfference is that today it is no longer the Porsche family but the Volkswagen Group and its top management that’s behind the project. The former owners were F. A. Porsche & family and yes they failed with Eterna. I believe in the new Porsche Design project and with Patrick Kury they have a highly motivated and talented constructor and watchmaker on board. This new area of Porsche Design watches will not fail. One might see it differently, but I repeat once again: Eterna should have never been sold to Chinese.

  4. Peter Stas says:

    Congratulations Patrick Kury!

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