At $40,000, the ultimate watch for the car enthusiast
Exotic cars and expensive watches seem to go together. But perhaps none have been quite so closely linked as the Singer Porsche 911 and the Singer Track 1 chronograph.
Rob Dickinson is president and creative director of Singer Vehicle Design, a California company that since 2009 has specialized not merely in the restoration of Porsche vehicles, but in what it terms their re-imagination and rebirth.
But cars are not Dickinson’s only interest. He admits that he’s also been fascinated by watches “since I first saw the Heuer Chronograph logo on the Ferrari Grand Prix cars in the early 1970s.”
While passionate about Porsches, Dickinson also had a desire to become involved in the creation of what he calls a proper new watch, “not a frippery or a branding exercise but something of importance.”
And now he has with the launch of the Singer Track 1, a revolutionary timepiece inspired by classic car gauges and vintage chronographs that tracked lap times before GPS chips and computers took over. The Singer Track 1 is revolutionary not only in its design and internal mechanics but in its price: At $40,000, it may be the most expensive wristwatch you can buy.
Of course, if you can afford a Singer Porsche, you likely are a candidate to wear one of the 50 Track 1 timepieces being produced.
Marco Borracccino is Dickinson’s partner in Singer Reimagined SA, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland, the historic home of the world’s finest timepieces. Borraccino’s background is in design. For the last 15 years, he has been designing watches and consulting on various projects. He also is passionate about sports cars. He liked what Singer was doing in re-imagining Porsches and wanted to do the same thing for the watch. So he contacted Dickinson with an idea “to do something special,” together.
Dickinson agreed. Borraccino went to work to design a unique watch — with a more oval shape and with the time is revealed on the outer perimeter, details such as lap or elapsed time tracked on the inner dials, which rotate at their own pace.
Sixty is the watch’s design theme — 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 60 hours of total elapsed time.
Such a watch demanded revolutionary mechanical components. One day Borraccino was talking with Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, an award-winning Swiss watchmaker, about the project. When Borraccino shared his concept, Wiederrecht laughed; he’d been working for several years on just such revolutionary mechanics but had yet to find the right watch to house them.
Wiederrecht explains there are some 500 pieces within the watch, and that production is limited because so few watchmakers have the skills to assemble them. Each Singer Track 1 is built by a single and highly skilled watchmaker. Wiederrecht said he has recruited 10 such people, watchmakers and apprentices with outstanding skills, but that it takes two full weeks to construct each Track 1 timepiece.
The Track 1 watch case is made from titanium, so the watch is amazingly lightweight even while being large enough to be impressive. It also has all smooth and shapely surfaces — like the Singer Porsche, Borraccino notes — and the crown and start/stop and reset buttons are offset so as not to fray a shirt cuff.
By the way, Borraccino says that even at $40,000, the watch is a bargain. Singer Reimagined sells direct to customers, thus avoiding the retail markup.
To learn more, visit the www.singerreimagined.com/en/home/ website. And if you want a Singer Porsche to go along with your watch, visit that company’s website at http://singervehicledesign.com.
Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com.