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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 – and this fetching womens 1970s Orfina Porsche Design PVD diver here - is one of the results. 


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).


And with its patina’d lume and slender - yet poignant - orange seconds 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.


But back to the Orfina PD story - 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.


Fast forward to 1986, with the larger Porsche Design Orfina chronogrpah arriving 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.


This Orfina comes on its original matte black bracelet, and with nylon strap, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.

Women's 1970’s Orfina Porsche Design PVD Automatic

  • DIAL: Brilliant and detailed black Orfina Porsche Design-signed dial, with matching hour, minute, and chronograph hands.


    CASE: PVD case measures 29.5mm (32 w/crown) x 32mm; case is thick despite its smaller size, at 10.5mm.  PVD coating is uniform throughout the case. 


    CRYSTAL: Flawless mineral crystal, no deep scratches or cracks.


    BAND: This Orfina comes on its original matte black PVD bracelet, which will fit up to an approx. 6.5 inch wrist - clasp is Orfina PD-signed, as it should be, and the PVD coating is almost entirely intact. 


    MOVEMENT: Orfina quartz movement.


    CROWN: Orfina-signed PVD crown screws down as designed.

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