Must see! The Singer Reimagined Track1 is the type of watch that makes you stop in your tracks. It’s beautiful, sharp, inspired and powered by a mind-blowing chronograph movement. Today, we’re taking a closer look at how Singer Reimagined is rebirthing the sports chronograph, elevating it to a whole new level – just like Singer Vehicle Design and his founder Rob Dickinson did with the iconic 911.
Car guys are watch guys. It may sound like a cliché, but more often than not, there is a genuine connection behind this saying. So, when we learnt that the detail-obsessed maestros at Singer Vehicle Design were getting involved in a watch project, it naturally caught our attention.
Driven by the vision and obsession of one man, Rob Dickinson, Singer Vehicle Design was founded in 2009 with the stated aim of restoring, reimagining and rebirthing the most spectacular air-cooled Porsche 911. To say the least, they’ve made it an art form.
The 911 as art. The Singer ‘Florida’
Now, through the creation of Singer Reimagined SA, Singer Vehicle Design enters the world of watchmaking, infusing its horological creations with the same trademark passion for cutting-edge design, a molecular-level of attention to detail and the rock-and-roll showmanship that characterizes the way it restores and rebirths early versions of the Porsche 911.
Like all good stories, this one begins with a chance encounter. When Marco Borraccino (a watch designer who among other things led the design team at Panerai several years) met Rob Dickinson, the connection over design and engineering was instant. Most importantly, the two men share a passion for a golden era of watchmaking, that of the sport chronograph of the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, designs were driven by an authentic connection between the automotive and horological worlds by figures such as Jack Heuer. A number of horological icons were born in the late 1950s and beyond, including the Daytona, the Speedmaster, the Carrera, the Monaco, the Autavia or the El Primero…
Behind the scene – Rob Dickinson and Marco Borraccino meeting in Geneva in April 2017- on the wrist of Rob Dickinson a prototype of the Track1 (second generation).
As Marco Borraccino started to design his reimagined chronograph, driven by the unflinching desire to optimize functionality, a decisive encounter occurred with a man that would become the third pillar of the project; Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. The master watchmaker had spent several years developing a revolutionary chronograph with the same center indication that Borraccino had in mind. Great minds truly thinks alike… The creative complicity of the three men is fantastic; having had the chance of seeing them working together first-hand, fueled by the same passion, it was an experience I will not forget! The result of their work is nothing short of breathtaking.
Behind the scene – Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Rob Dickinson and Marco Borraccino meeting in Geneva in April 2017
The Singer Reimagined Track1
The underlying idea that led to the creation of the Singer Track1 is the re-imagination of the chronograph, distilling the essence of the classic time stoppers of the 1960s and 1970s, with a radical focus on functionality. Form follows function – a sport chronograph is about allowing the accurate measurement and display of time intervals, not the time of the day. The Singer Track1 therefore reverses the accepted order of precedence, with the chronograph function taking center stage.
It’s a brilliant idea, but one that’s easier said than done. This was achieved thanks to the AgenGraphe, the mind-blowing column-wheel chronograph developed by Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. Redefining fundamental principles that have remained unchanged for decades, this revolutionary movement is based on a set of snail cams storing energy for an entire minute (or hour) before releasing it precisely when a feeler-spindle falls to generate an instant jump (which further enhances legibility). The system avoids varying forces affecting the amplitude of the movement, resulting in greater precision.
Work in progress at Agnehor – the heart of the AgenGraph – The movement is architecture to create space centrally for chronograph functions while the timekeeping functions are builts in the periphery.
The chronograph heart also allows for the smooth resetting of the chronograph (avoiding the violent shocks of the traditional chronograph). Pressing the reset pusher, releases the brake on the seconds wheel and all parts to allow the cams to slip back to their zero resting position.
The chronograph mechanism of the AgenGraph with its three co-axial cams for seconds, minutes and hours. The second’s wheel is driven by the clutch, moves with the seconds cam and drives the seconds hands. Each turn of the second’s cam gets the minute’s wheel to jump forward one minute. After 60 such increments, the minute’s cam completes one revolution causing the hour wheel to jump one full hour. With the rotation of snail cams, the energy is charged during one minute. This means constant power to drive the chronograph, thus avoiding the amplitude losses affecting traditional chronographs.
The AgenGraphe also includes a new clutch, the AgenClutch combining the best of the vertical and horizontal clutch. The coupling is made horizontally which requires less space. Yet the connection is made by friction between wheels with no teeth, just like with vertical clutches, thus avoiding the chronograph ‘stutter’. The two wheels are coated with Dianip to optimize the friction coefficient and a system of security wheels prevents them from deindexing. Lastly, a tulip-shaped spring provides active flexibility, maintaining the contact in between the two-wheels whilst ensuring that, in case of a shock, the security wheels are still effective.
The AgenClutch – with a focus on the security wheels. The clutch wheels connects with the chronograph seconds wheel to drive the seconds cam. To the right, the clutch lever with its ‘tulip’ spring, driven by the column-wheel.
The time of the day is indicated originally at 6 o’clock on 2 aluminum discs, which rotate clockwise. This automatic twin-barrel caliber runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour with a power reserve of 60 hours. To enable full view of the intricacies of movement, the rotor has been placed on the dial side.
The Track1 is both technically impressive and beautiful – at the same time modern and clearly inspired by the best of the 1960s and 1970s design. The automotive design cues are smart and discreet. The project is not about designing a 911 inspired watch but reimagining the chronograph. The elegant titanium tonneau case is 43mm and features mushroom pushers located on opposite sides of the case – just like for early dashboard stop watches. The crown is ergonomically fit into the case band at 4 o’clock.
The face of the watch features various finishes, creating a sense of depth and contrast. The raised hour and minutes discs are an integral part of the design, re-interpreting the bezels of 1960s racing chronographs in a new dimension. The orange baton-style hands are shaped to overlap once the chronograph is reset. In the center, the brushed aluminum cabochon is reminiscent of Porsche speedometers.
The Singer Track1 is worn on a soft black calf leather strap with khaki alligator lining and brushed titanium screw down eyelets – a Singer Vehicle Design signature echoing the early Porsche 911. The pin-buckle is in brushed titanium with polished edges.
Conclusion about the Singer Track1
Singer Reimagined favors a direct-to-customer approach, which allows them to offer this exceptional chronograph at CHF 39,800. Naturally, this is not cheap but we believe this is superb value for such an amazing development. As the 2017 Geneva and Basel fairs are now behind us, I am confident in betting that the Singer Track1 will be awarded best chronograph at GPHG 2017 – at least, I can’t think of any other chronograph combining such striking design with mechanical innovation. For more information on Singer, you can visit their website at singervehicledesign.com.
And stay tuned, as in a few minutes, we will bring you an exclusive video where we talk cars and watches with Rob Dickinson… And believe us, it is really cool.
Technical specifications – Singer Track1 Launch edition
- Case: 43 mm x 15 mm – Grade 5 titanium – sapphire crystal on the front and on the back – water resistant to 10m
- Movement: AgenGraphe – mechanical with automatic winding – 34.40mm x 7.18mm – 60h power reserve – 21,600 vibrations/h – 67 jewels – 477 parts –hours, minutes, column-wheel chronograph with 3×60 Singer exclusive central indication (jumping hours and minutes, sweep seconds)
- Strap: calf leather with alligator lining and titanium pin buckle
- Retail price: CHF 39,800