Every Second is Important: Singer Track 1 Chronograph

The California-based reimaginer of classic 911s enters the timepiece business

A love of stunning design and fine machine work unites car lovers and watch aficionados, but when the two fields cross paths the results often fail to inspire. Overly complicated, tone-deaf special editions that put branding before style tend to be the rule rather than the exception. The Singer Track 1 chronograph is the exception.

This is the first time the California-based atelier has put its mark on anything other than the jewel-like reimagined Porsche 911s that exit its Los Angeles workshop. Considering Singer founder and head honcho Rob Dickinson’s fanatical attention to detail and feverish push toward perfection, the Track 1 is—no surprise—as engrossing as his four-wheeled projects.

The long, convoluted development process behind the Track 1 began in 2014 with Marco Borraccino, a watch and industrial designer who fell head over heels for Singer’s ethos and creations. “I told [Dickinson], ‘The day you will think to do something else than a car, just let me know, in case you want to step inside watches.’ He told me, ‘I would love to make a watch.’ ”

Like the reimagined 911s, the Singer name wasn’t going to grace anything ordinary. The design developed by Borraccino and Dickinson is wildly unconventional. The Track 1 was created to place the chronograph function (essentially a built-in stopwatch) onto the center stage, leaving regular timekeeping to the two concentric rings that circle the dial’s edge. The goal was ultimate legibility for the chronograph function, a configuration that provides 60 hours, 60 minutes, and 60 seconds of timing.

It’s as complex as it looks. Agenhor’s AgenGraphe movement is a functioning work of art that provides 60 hours of power reserve.

“Like many of us, my fascination with watches comes from the great sporting watches of that era but particularly everything that Jack Heuer did,” Dickinson says. “It’s a no-brainer, really, to put those two things together, just to be inspired by the magnificence of the Heuer Carreras, Monacos, and Autavias.” Still, the men responsible for this piece are quick to note this isn’t meant to be an homage to anything.

“It’s not a vintage watch,” Borraccino says. “We never claimed to make a vintage watch. But the inspiration clearly comes from that period.”

This isn’t strictly an automotive-themed watch, either. Sure, the center function is indicated by suspiciously Porsche-like hands, but that’s where the car talk ends. “What this brand is about is not only or merely car inspiration. It is the philosophy that we are sharing that is important,” Borraccino notes. “The inspiration for this watch comes from the era where cars and watches were very much committed to each other. For the future, it doesn’t mean that we’ll keep on working only on automotive things.”

To bring the centralized chronograph to life, the Track 1 required a specialized movement. Borraccino turned to industry powerhouse Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, an independent Swiss watchmaker, who through his company Agenhor develops incredibly complex bespoke movements and complications for some of the biggest names in the industry. After showing the proposed design to Wiederrecht, things began to fall into place.

Designer Marco Borraccino, left, and Singer’s Rob Dickinson were two pieces of the three-part puzzle in charge of bringing the Singer name to the wrist.

“Who told you about my movement?” Borraccino recalls Weiderrecht asking. “He says, ‘It’s been seven years we have worked on something like this.’ From that moment on, it was like magic, you know? Everything happened. I let Jean-Marc and Rob meet, and the three of us really started working.”

Singer’s cars aren’t for the miserly, nor is the new Track 1. If you want to park Singer’s first watch in your collection, be prepared to shell out $41,000 for one of the 50 Launch Editions. You may balk at all those zeros, but you won’t find cutting-edge haute horology like this for much cheaper. You don’t have to daily drive a reimagined 911 to get a copy, either; anyone with a healthy enough checkbook can purchase one. If you do already or plan to own a 911 reimagined by Singer, the Track 1 can be personalized to match or complement your car.

Beyond the initial run of Launch Editions, the team is unsure of total production figures, but if everything goes according to plan you’ll see more than 50 wrist-worn Singers. This is the first model from a newly developed Switzerland-based company under the name of Singer Reimagined with grand hopes of bringing Dickinson and Borraccino’s vision to other styles of watches. If the watch division proves as tenacious as the vehicular operation, Singer Reimagined has a bright future indeed.