It's here in the Austrian Alps that Butzi, who died in 2012 at 76, worked within view of the Schüttgut estate — the family's safe haven purchased to escape the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany.
Butzi, the son of the sports car maker's founder, Ferry Porsche, was a fan of wristwatches. Indeed, his passion lives on in Zell am See, headquarters of the design company he founded, which is the only watchmaker wholly owned and operated by an auto manufacturer. The studio will issue a watch — the €4,911 ($5,600) Porsche Design 911 Chronograph Timeless Machine Limited Edition — to celebrate the launch of the eighth-generation 911.
The first watch Butzi developed after forming the company was the Chronograph I in 1972. Inspired by the low-glare cockpits of race cars, it was the world's first matte black wristwatch designed for maximum contrast and optimal readability. Tom Cruise wore a Chronograph in the 1986 film Top Gun.
Today, Porsche Design Timepieces is a niche business, selling about 1,000 high-end watches a year. They are designed here and manufactured in Switzerland, and they largely retain the visual dominance of white indicators set over a pitch-black dial.
Each clockwork's housing is fashioned from the brand's signature material, titanium. The straps are often composed of the same leather and stitching found in Porsche cars.
"An important element for our customers is that they sense that same unique feeling on their wrist as they do when grabbing the wheel of a 911," said Gerhard Novak, general manager in charge of the business.