The 1970’s were a legit transition point for the Swiss watchmaking industry, which attempted to survive the quartz onslaught (brought on, ironically, by Seiko) by contracting with other brands to do whatever it took – even if it meant putting their names on watches that weren’t, well, obviously Swiss.
One of these was Orfina, founded in 1922 and known for its Porsche Design range. Which brings us to this black PVD example here, with its original PD-signed PVD bracelet. With the patina’d lume and a slender yet poignant red central chronograph hand, there’s more than enough visual contrast going on here to make the watch visually engaging. Couple this with an angled inner tachymeter bezel, and it all adds up to 1970/80’s Porsche gauges and later German watches.
During the 1970/80s, Orfina specialized in more affordable versions of watches nearly identical to Heuer offerings of the era – such as LeJour's "Poor Man's Heuer," and their popular Valjoux-powered chronograph, which was identical to the Pasadena, save for the absence of the Heuer logo. These represent an interesting facet of Heuer’s history and provide a way for individuals to collect these chronographs on a more reasonable budget.
Heuer manufactured these Orfina chronographs under a private-label arrangement in the 1980's, and, under the terms of the arrangement Heuer manufactured an array of watches, which Orfina then distributed; some, like the Heuer Pasadena and Orfina 7750, used the exact same cases and dials. The difference between the two being, naturally, no Heuer-signed dial.
And, just in time for the 2022 release (maybe?) of the sequel to the movie that made Tom Cruise’s career, namely “Top Gun,” the Orfina PVD will once more adorn the wrist of Cruise’s LT Pete "Maverick” Mitchell, reprising it's role from the original 1986 "Top Gun" flick.
As a fun aside, Orfina also featured prominently in a few other 1980s films - Sean Connery wore an Orfina Military Mark II as James Bond in “Never Say Never Again,” Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin both wear Orfina watches in “Delta Force,” and Brigitte Nielsen wore an Orfina watch during the robbery scenes in “Beverly Hills Cop II.”
This Orfina comes with its original PVD bracelet, leather strap, Pelican travel case, and springbar tool.
1970’s Orfina Porsche Design PVD Automatic Watch
DIAL: Detailed black Orfina Porsche Design-signed three register dial. Matching hour, minute, and chronograph minute/second hands are in good condition. Writing remains crisp and legible.
CASE: 41mm (43 w/crown) x 42mm lugless PVD-coated stainless-steel case, this case is quite thick at 13.5mm. PVD coating is uniform throughout the case, pushers, and crown
CRYSTAL: Flawless mineral crystal, no scratches.
BAND: This Orfina comes with its original Porsche Design-signed PVD bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. eight inch wrist - importantly, coating is uniform, with little wear - and links are tight. This watch also comes with a brown leather rally strap, with stainless-steel hardware.
MOVEMENT: Orfina-signed three register Valjoux 7750 automatic mechanical movement.
CROWN: Porsche Design-signed PVD crown.
PUSHERS: PVD-coated pushers snap all chronograph hands back to zero with no issue.