Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator
Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator, a chronograph with an unusual rocker lever to operate the stopwatch functions.
This detailed review of the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator includes live pictures, specification and price.
The design of most chronographs is similar with many having push-pieces positioned above and below the crown on the right hand side of the case. However, the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator is different. A section of the right hand flank of the case pivots adjacent the crown. The upper section of the ‘monobloc actuator’ starts and stops the chronograph while the lower section resets the stopwatch function.
Porsche Design identified a weakness with conventional push-pieces, namely they are vulnerable to impact and shocks. The monobloc actuator device mitigates such risks and confers a cleaner aesthetic.
Interestingly, the monobloc actuator sweeps across the face of the dial with each press of the pivoting piece of titanium. The tolerances are minimal yet sufficient to ensure the sapphire crystal is not damaged as a result.
The watch case is reputed to be hermetically sealed against moisture and dirt, allowing the wearer to operate the chronograph underwater. This aspect of the specification is validated with a maximum water resistance of 10 ATM (100 metres).
The matt black dial surface coalesces with the white dial to deliver a matchless contrast, while the bi-compax dial layout confers a clean, simple, harmonious appearance. Positioned below noon is a 30-minute chronograph register with a second subdial, a 12-hour chronograph register, residing underneath.
The hour and minute hands are baton style, both are lined with white fill and open-worked near the fulcrum. The legibility of the hands is excellent.
A red-tipped central chronograph seconds hand is lithe in profile, making the read-off of elapsed seconds simple. A GMT hand, sporting a prominent white triangular tip, makes the determination of hours at home a matter of child’s play. The bezel is adorned with a 24-hour scale, augmenting the ease of interpretation.
Adjacent 9 o’clock is an indicator showing the movement is operational. A date aperture is positioned at 4 o’clock and a tachymeter scale graces the dial flange, completing the inventory of functions.
The Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator is a substantial timepiece, measuring 45.60mm in diameter, with a case thickness of 15.60mm. However, despite its dimensions on paper, the watch does appear much smaller when worn.
The case is constructed of titanium. In 1980, Porsche Design was the first company to make a chronograph entirely out of titanium and, while other companies now use this space-age material, Porsche Design continues to have much expertise in this domain. The lightweight material is corrosion resistant and hypoallergenic while the low mass of the case grants a notable degree of wearer comfort.
Owing to the lack of conventional pushpieces there are fewer case protrusions to impinge on the skin. The bracelet is beautifully constructed with its narrow links encircling the wrist comfortably.
An exhibition caseback, featuring a tinted sapphire crystal, provides a view of the self-winding movement within.
The Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator features the ETA Valljoux 7754 with a two-zone mechanism. This movement, a derivative of the ETA 7750, is a tried and tested calibre proffering reliability, robustness and ease of servicing.
I am conscious that I don’t wish to repeat myself but the ETA 7750 et al. movements are known to deliver an array of benefits while being competitively priced, a fact which is often reflected in the final selling price of a watch.
In this instance, the movement features an open-worked oscillating mass, perlage on the bridges and main-plate and a plethora of blued screws. These subtle tweaks to the standard movement confer ownership delight and illustrate the attention to detail shown by Porsche Design.
The Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator redefines the topography of a chronograph. No longer do pushpieces have to protrude from the right hand plane of a watch case. The solution by Porsche Design is neat and delivers a fresh perspective on chronograph design.
The maximum water resistance of the watch assuages any concerns regarding potential ingress of dust or moisture.
Porsche Design has equipped the Monobloc Actuator with a myriad of qualities. The highly legible dial is reminiscent of the dashboard instruments found on a Porsche 911.The numerous applications of anti-reflective treatment and the flat surface of the dial glass, elevate the clarity of the sapphire crystal. The titanium case and bracelet are incredibly gentle against the skin and the movement is an exemplar of reliability and robustness.
I admire the Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator for its stylish aesthetics and its array of aforementioned qualities. Despite its prestigious name, innovative chronograph mechanism and high quality construction, the price of this watch remains remarkably keen at £4,850 (RRP as at 21.8.2017), making this a highly competitive performer.
• Model: Porsche Design Monobloc Actuator
• Case: Titanium; diameter 45.5mm; height 15.6mm; sapphire crystal to front and caseback; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres).
• Functions: Hours; minutes; mechanical function display; date; chronograph; tachymeter
• Movement: ETA Valjoux 7754; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours.
• Strap: Titanium bracelet on fold over clasp
• Price: £4,850 (RRP as at 21.8.2017)