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As the story goes, in 1972, Ferdinand A. Porsche – “Butzi,” the inventor of the legendary Porsche 911 – found himself newly unemployed, a victim of the battle for control of Porsche.  However, and surprisingly, Porsche came knocking shortly thereafter on the door of bored Butzi.  It was looking for someone to design a unique gift for longtime loyal employees – this watch, the matte black 1970’s Porsche Design Orfina PD01 Ref. 7176 “Top Gun” chronograph, was the result.


Ignoring the easy choice of a Rolex or Heuer, with their known racing pedigree, Ferdinand chose to design something the watch world hadn’t seen before – namely, a solid all-black chronograph that followed Porsche design cues, a lean design driven by function and as quick and easy to read as any dashboard instrument. 


However, and as noted by The Road Rat automotive magazine in its Summer 2022 edition, “…there was a catch.  No one had ever made an all-black watch before.  Not Heuer, not Omega, not IWC.  Bell & Ross wouldn’t be founded for another 20 years.  Panerai was still a military secret." 


"If it was to become the world’s first all-black mechanical watch, with a black case, crown, pushers and bracelet, [Ferdinand’s] stealthy chronograph design would have to rely solely on technologies never used in watchmaking before…[like] a hard-wearing matte black chrome finish called physical vapour deposition, or PVD, a technology that atomically bonded thin layers of material to metal, but which had yet to feature in watchmaking.”


The watch Ferdinand came up with in 1974?  You figured it out by now – the Porsche Design Orfina matte black PVD chronograph, in collaboration with the Swiss watch company, Orfina.  The watch caught on quickly, in particular after it made its way into motorsport on the wrists of Porsche race car drivers Gijs van Lennep and Jurgen Barth - and we can’t fail to mention legendary racecar driver Mario Andretti has the same Porsche Design Orfina chronograph within his own collection, as he revealed to Hodinkee on his "Talking Watches" episode.


Andretti wore his watch throughout his 1978 racing season – popular legend has it after the Brazilian Grand Prix, Andretti went for a stroll on Ipanema beach and promptly fell asleep.  During his slumber, someone stole his treasured Porsche Design chronograph.  When the news of the theft reached Ferdinand and famed Formula One driver Umberto Maglioli (who had finished his career with one), they promptly sent Andretti a replacement Porsche Design Orfina, which he wore to five more first-place finishes that season and would subsequently be on his wrist when he became the Formula 1 Champion at Monza.


But the Porsche Design Orfina didn’t win acolytes only in racing circles – per Road Rat, “No doubt admiring its covert aesthetic, militaries around the world came knocking as well.  Some were content to have the watch in plain steel; others appear to have commissioned it in green PVD…[It] would fly higher still.  One of Porsche Design’s new clients was the U.S. Navy.”      


To wit, in 1986 the Porsche Design Orfina would arrive to cinema screens adorning the wrist of a USN pilot by the name of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in a film called, “Top Gun.”  In the thirty-six years since we last met Tom Cruise's Maverick and his black all PVD Porsche Design Orfina chronograph, both have since achieved immortality.


But like Cruise, we hadn’t seen the end of the Porsche Design Orfina – he borrowed the watch from three decades of solitude in Jerry Bruckheimer’s safe just in time for the sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick."  To quote The New Yorker, "Like many historical artefacts of the 1980s, the old 'Top Gun' is fondly remembered [and] widely worshipped" – much like the Porsche Design Orfina chronograph.


As a fun aside, the Porsche Design Orfina featured prominently in a number of other 1970 and 1980s films – Dustin Hoffman in “Kramer vs Kramer” (1979), Martin Shaw in “The Professionals” (1977-81) and Orfina was worn by Sean Connery as James Bond in “Never Say Never Again” (1983), Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin both wear Orfina watches in “The Delta Force” (1986), and Brigitte Nielsen in “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987).


This matte black PVD Porsche Design Orfina comes on its original PD-signed matte black bracelet bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

1977 Orfina Porsche Design "Top Gun" PD01 Ref. 7176 PVD Chronograph

Out of Stock
  • DIAL: Black PVD Porsche Design Orfina-signed three register dial (regular seconds, 12 hour chrono, and 24 hour complications), with matching hour, minute, and chronograph second/minute hands all in good condition.  Dial script is crisp and legible.


    CASE: 41mm (43 w/crown) x 42mm lugless matte black PVD-coated stainless-steel case; the Porsche Design Orfina case is quite thick at 15mm.  PVD coating is uniform – albeit with some wear - throughout the case, pushers, crown, and bracelet. 


    CRYSTAL:  No deep scratches or cracks.


    BAND: This Porsche Design Orfina comes on its original matte black PD-signed bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. eight inch wrist - coating is uniform, with light wear - links remain tight.  This PD also comes with a black and red "Ducatti" nylon strap.


    MOVEMENT: Hacking Orfina-signed three register Lemania 5100 automatic mechanical movement


    CROWN: Porsche Design-signed PVD crown, screws down as designed.


    PUSHERS: PVD-coated pushers snap all chronograph hands back to zero, with no issue.

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