While it's not likely that Porsche will bring back an air-cooled sports car any time soon, fans of Hanz Mezger designed motors can now put an air-cooled engine of a different sort on their wrist. The Scalfaro LM 917 Hanz Mezger Edition. Marketed as the "world's first air-cooled chronograph" this limited edition watch was inspired by the Mezger designed engine in the legendary 917.
According to Scalfaro, "it was the 917 engine’s characteristic air-cooling fan that sparked the idea of creating the world’s first air-cooled chronograph – visible by the turbine-style small second hand at the 9h position on the timepiece’s elaborate three-dimensional solid Sterling Silver dial.”
Is The Watch Really Air-Cooled?
Scalfaro says that the turbine-style small second hand at Nine O'Clock is a reference to the air-cooling fan of the 917 engines. However, according to the manufacturer, it actually creates an airflow that allows for heat exchange between the slightly warmer air of the lower part of the watch case (air is warmer mainly due to exposure to body heat) and the cooler air above the dial. Fueled by the constant movement of this miniature air-cooling fan, the warmer air from the “engine room” of the watch circulates through the openings of the dial to the cooler below the sapphire crystal. They claim this leads to a slightly improved temperature balance within the watch case.
Will It Make A Difference In How It Functions?
Maybe it will, maybe it won't. The watch is powered by a mainspring like all mechanical watches. In our opinion, the sub second hand shaped like a micro fan could have limited effect on performance. Like most of today's watches, the materials and lubricants used compensate for shifts in hot and cold, especially the heat of the wrist, which is most likely insignificant. With all that said, does it really matter? Not at all. In this case it's both form and function that will sell this watch and Scalfaro get style points for creativity.
Each Watch Is Said To Contain Original 917 Material
According to the manufacturer, each timepiece contains genuine Porsche 917 metal. They say the parts were integrated into the watch cases, so that each of the numbered edition watches includes the DNA of the legendary 917 racing car. We sent out an email for more details on this as it's unclear where the material would come from and exactly how it's integrated. Either way, it's a unique concept.
Design Elements Reminiscent Of The Porsche 917
The LM917 Hans Mezger Edition features several design elements inspired by the Porsche 917:
- the air-cooling fan
- the honeycomb structure of the Sterling Silver dial with its design reminiscent of race liveries
- the checkered flag at Four O'Clock, the traditional Le Mans start time
- the firing order of the engine on the case-side
- the design of the typical 917 wheels on the caseback
- and the official signature of engineer Hans Mezger on the inside of the front Sapphire Crystal
Would We Buy One?
We're still on the fence. We love the idea of a watch inspired by a Porsche 917 and created in collaboration with one of our idols, Hanz Mezger, we're just not crazy about the design of the dial. However, that's subjective and we love some of the other details mentioned above (especially the tribute to Le Mans and the 917 wheels on the case back.
Do You Want One?
If you're interested in one of the world's first "air-cooled" chronographs, the edition is limited to just 917 piece and the cost is Euro 6.917 (roughly $9,000). More details are available on Scalfaro's web-site.
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