Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition
Carl Eady reviews the Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition, a stunning iteration of the brand’s classic Track 1 series. This model was launched at Dubai Watch Week in 2019, stunning onlookers.
Singer Reimagined is the brainchild of Rob Dickinson and Marco Borraccino. Dickinson, former frontman of English rock band Catherine Wheel, founded the Singer Vehicle Design company back in 2009. His idea was to ‘reimagine’ Porsche 911s into drivable works of artistic engineering. Borraccino, an industrial designer with a lifelong appreciation of both cars and watches, founded his Geneva based design consultancy after holding senior roles at both Proctor & Gamble and Officine Panerai.
Borraccino, a fellow Porsche enthusiast, greatly admired Dickinson’s craft and felt compelled to make contact. The pair formed a strong bond with both of them sharing a mutual admiration for cars, music, and, in particular, watches. Their conversations revealed a shared desire to create a watch together – specifically a timepiece that honoured the chronograph. Importantly, they agreed their creation should be radically different from any other designs.
Marco Borraccino penned some ideas, placing the chronograph centre stage. With his extensive experience working in the watch industry, Marco knew that such a movement could be made in theory, however, he also knew procuring such a movement would present significant challenges. Indeed, most firms were accustomed to making conventional chronographs equipped with two or three registers.
Borraccino turned to one of the industry’s most esteemed movement experts, Jean-Marc Wiederrecht of Agenhor. As if by fate, Wiederrecht was in the latter stages of completing his groundbreaking AgenGraphe movement. It would prove to be the perfect engine to power the centralised chronograph conceived by Marco. In 2017, under the brand name, Singer Reimagined, the Track 1 Launch Edition was released to much acclaim. Indeed, it even reached the final shortlist in the ‘Chronograph’ category of the GPHG awards (2017). The following year, its ‘Track 1 Hong Kong’ deservedly won this category (2018), inspiring further editions honouring Geneva and London. In 2019, visitors to Dubai Watch Week were treated to the first glimpse of the new Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition. With its golden accents, this new watch looked at ease with the luxurious surroundings of Dubai and its many impressive skyscrapers.
On first viewing the Track 1, one may experience a sense of nostalgia. The design elicits thoughts of sports watches from the 70s, created by the likes of Breitling, Heuer and Seiko. However, such sentimentality soon dissipates.
The dial design of the Track 1 Launch Edition was nothing short of groundbreaking. In fact, back in 2017, when the model was launched, it revolutionised the notion of a chronograph watch. The centrally positioned registers, arranged in concentric fashion, delivered supreme legibility, an attribute that was enhanced further with the addition of the bright orange accents indicating the elapsed time.
Singer Reimagined is a brand built on maximising performance by fine tuning the smallest of details. For example, on the Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition, the legibility has been optimised by removing the central chapter ring found on the brand’s inaugural model, the Track 1 Launch Edition. This subtle change proved an inspired decision, improving the clarity of the display as well as delivering an additional dose of refinement. Another subtle change was the move to a circular brushed inner dial, thereby affording the Singer logo greater prominence.
The combination of colours found on the Track 1 Emirates Edition masterfully plays with contrast, especially on the dial. The stepped centre of the display sports a khaki green hue, providing the perfect backdrop for the vibrant orange hands which emanate from the golden conical cap.
The gold numerals on the rotating jet-black discs indicate the hours and minutes when they align, with an orange indicator positioned at 6 o’clock. The time of day is clearly of secondary importance to most petrolheads who are more concerned with their last laptime, hence the time indication dials are situated towards the periphery of the display, neatly sandwiched between a brushed gold tachymeter ring and a Zirconium Nitride (ZrN) treated polished titanium bezel.
Advances in material science mean the days when watch cases were only fashioned from pure base metals are long gone. For Singer Reimagined, the Emirates case had to deliver the perfect combination of durability, scratch resistance and lightness. The barrel-shaped case is aluminium, selected for its lightweight properties. It is treated using an electro-plasma procedure that transforms the outer layer into ceramic, making it tough enough to resist a hard life at the track. Finished in a sumptuous matte black, the case accentuates the bezel’s mirror-like appearance. The shallow fluted crown and large mushroom shaped chronograph pushers are also ZrN treated, improving their hardness as well as their resistance to corrosion.
The curvaceous contours of the barrel-shaped case are reminiscent of vintage watches from the 60s and 70s. At a time when there is a trend for smaller cases, 43mm may present a challenge for some conservative types, but the Track 1’s virtually lugless profile mitigates the model’s sense of scale and should suit most wearers.
On the front, anti-reflective coating is applied to both sides of the sapphire crystal to maximise legibility in daylight. The exhibition caseback affords views of one of the most spectacular movements I have ever seen, the AgenGraphe (Caliber AGH 6361).
At first glance, one could be forgiven for assuming this is a hand wound movement due to the absence of a visible rotor. The design (derived from one of Agenhor’s previous movements) is specifically tailored to leave a central void, which can be filled with a secondary complication or some exquisite miniature artwork if required. Incidentally, two prestigious brands that have exploited this know-how are Fabergé and Van Cleef & Arpels.
The architecture of the calibre made it necessary for Wiederrecht to position the winding rotor on the dial side of the watch. When appraising the technical wonder of this 67 jewelled movement, its intricate mechanical composition proves mesmerising, especially when the chronograph is in use. The movement is beautifully finished with mirror polished screws throughout and superbly executed anglage and Côtes de Genève motif adorning each bridge.
Almost a decade in development, the AgenGraphe Chronograph was designed to address the limitations found with many conventional chronographs, including performance, legibility, wear and tear and aesthetic appearance. Many of this movement’s benefits are down to the patented AgenClutch, which behaves as if it is equipped with a vertical clutch on some occasions and a horizontal clutch at other times. Marco describes the AgenClutch as a ‘hybrid’ system. When the chronograph is actuated it behaves like a vertical clutch, free of any hesitation. The clutch is comparatively small, similar to a horizontal clutch. Should the movement be subject to shock, the seconds hand can only jump a maximum of ⅓ of a second. The specification of the clutch provides the best of both worlds, ensuring continuously accurate performance. Another visually pleasing aspect of the display relates to the jumping minutes and hours which employ two perfectly precise snail-shaped cams.
Wiederrecht spent years developing the AgenGraphe movement, illustrating his remarkable dedication. His efforts were certainly not in vain, the AgenGraphe sets new standards for horological excellence and redefines the chronograph category.
The Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition is presented on a deep green khaki colour textile strap, selected by Borraccino, partly for its strength and lightness but chiefly to achieve a beautiful contrast with the golden accents employed throughout. Consistent with the previous Track 1 Editions, two screw down rivets perforate the strap, underscoring the watch’s race-inspired DNA. The strap is secured with a DLC coated deployant clasp which encompasses highly polished and matte black finishes.
Since Louis Moinet invented the Compteur de Tierces back in 1816, there have been various milestones punctuating the development of the chronograph. Landmarks include the incorporation of a chronograph within a wristwatch (Longines, 1913) the introduction of separate start and stop pushers (Breitling, 1923) and the famous race to launch an automatic chronograph, led by Seiko, Heuer and Zenith back in 1969.
However, when viewing the Singer Reimagined Track 1, one question inevitably comes to the fore, ‘Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?’ Borraccino’s vision of a centralised chronograph was unique. Ten years earlier, the project may well have remained a dream, but thankfully the intervention of Wiederrecht and his ground-breaking AgenGraphe saved the day, ushering in a new era for the chronograph.
In many respects, the 60s and 70s could be described as the golden age of motor racing. Similarly, the sports watches worn by the fearless drivers of the same era, again elicit a sense of nostalgia. The Track 1 Emirates Edition is clearly influenced by the past, yet it still looks resolutely modern with its ZrN treated titanium. It exudes an air of daring confidence, verging on machismo. Its watchmaking excellence and unique design are clear for all see.
- Model: Singer Reimagined Track 1 Emirates Edition
- Materials: Middle case in ceramic aluminium. The bezel, caseback, pushers and crown in golden ZRN Grade 5 Titanium.
- Case: Diameter 43 mm; height 15mm; water resistance 10ATM (100m); sapphire crystal to the front and exhibition case back.
- Functions: Hours and minutes on peripheral discs; central chronograph with instantaneous hours, instantaneous minutes and seconds
- Movement: Calibre Singer Reimagined 6361; automatic movement; frequency 21,600 VpH (3Hz); 67 jewels; power reserve = 55 hours
- Bracelet: Khaki green technical textile with deployant clasp in brushed steel with black DLC coating
- Price CHF 50,000 (RRP as at 19.11.2020)
- Limited Edition: 25 pieces