At Roderer our mission is to create a collection of leather goods of exceptional quality that appeal to the modern gentleman. That said, we’re not interested in fads or trends or what’s ‘hot right now’. We make products that last and so it’s critical they still look stylish in 5, 10 or even 20 years’ time. That’s why we look to timeless style icons from the past to give us inspiration for the present and the future. Porsche 911 is one such example.
STYLE ICONS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNED FROM THE PORSCHE 911
When it comes to iconic automotive design there are few models that stand out more consistently than the Porsche 911. Although it’s gone through numerous iterations and updates over the decades since it was first introduced in 1963, the underlying design formula remains relatively unchanged.
Sure, modern day versions are longer and wider than the very first model German designer Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche - grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche – conceived. The engines are no longer air-cooled and the lines are a little more rounded but no matter the generation, there’s no mistaking a Porsche 911 when you see one on the street. Not bad for 50 plus years of ever-changing ‘trends’.
So what makes the design of the Porsche 911 so successful? It’s a good question with arguably no single answer but we’ve got a few theories, several of which we’ve tried to incorporate into our own products here at Roderer. Read on to find out what they are.
It may seem strange to refer to any type of high-powered sports car as practical, particularly those of the two-door variety but that’s exactly what the Porsche 911 is (relatively speaking of course). Although it doesn’t sound sexy to say, the Porsche 911 was originally conceived as a larger, more practical version of the Volkswagen-derived Porsche 356 with an extra pair of seats. Critically though Porsche didn’t sacrifice form in favour of function. The shape of the new 911 echoed the 356's familiar fastback silhouette and still looked every bit the high-octane sports car that it was, except there was now room for your friends or (heaven forbid) your kids, in the back.
This is an important lesson that we have tried to incorporate into all of our product offerings here at Roderer. It doesn’t matter how good something looks if it’s not practical for the user. That’s why function and form must always work in unison as much as possible.
The Porsche 911 is arguably one of the most recognisable sports cars in the world. The fastback silhouette popularised by the 911 has permeated throughout many of Porsche’s designs to the point that even though people may not be able to identify the model they can instantly tell that the car is a Porsche. Over the years the car has become longer and wider and overall more refined but the underlying style has not changed. This is a mark of timeless design. There is just something primal about it that connects with us on a deeper level. We can’t explain it but the shape instantly evokes an unconscious reaction within us.
Creating something unique has become increasingly difficult these days, particularly when it comes to homogenous products like men’s leather briefcases and wallets. What we’ve learned from the Porsche 911 however is that it’s about the little details. Sure you need a good starting point but then you need to make little refinements over time to get things just perfect.
It’s no secret that Germany is renowned the world over for its precision engineering. This is one of the things that make German cars so popular to begin with – think Mercedes, BMW, Audi and of course Porsche. At the heart of this excellence in engineering is an unrelenting focus on quality in all things, be it design, materials or execution. At Porsche everything must be made to the highest and most efficient standard possible. That’s how you deliver continued excellence for nearly six decades.
More than anything this is the most important lesson for us here at Roderer. We want to make products that are not only timeless but that will also last the test of time. As much as possible we work with local suppliers to ensure quality control and refuse to compromise when it comes to the materials we use. It’s not about being the most expensive or the most lavish but rather doing the very best we can within the market segment we operate in.
Sure, there are sports cars that are faster, more expensive, more luxurious than the Porsche 911 but there are very few that are as iconic or as consistent. Like Porsche, we’re in this for the long run.