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While many classic car enthusiasts still regard originality as king, a whole new area of ​​interest has developed around “restomods” and “backdates” – historic models that are modernized at great expense without compromising their intrinsic character.

And among the specialists who helped create this booming market is Rob Dickinson, former guitarist and lead singer of the rock band Catherine Wheel. He established Singer Vehicle Design in California in 2009.

Dickinson’s mission was to upgrade the Porsche 911s (specifically the air-cooled Type 964 models produced between 1989 and 1994) and transform them into meticulously designed, cost-free 21st century supercars that combine the appeal of old school with current performance for anyone with over $500,000 to spend.

It proved so successful that five years ago Singer teamed up with Oxford-based Williams Advanced Engineering and Porsche Dean Hans Mezger to develop a new program called Dynamics and Lightweighting Study ( DLS). This led to the production of 75 cars with ultralight bodies and 500 horsepower engines.

Despite a $2.1million price tag, more than 100 people applied to buy the DLS models – which are designed and built in the UK – and 25 are due to be delivered by the end of this year.

It has become a truism that people who like interesting and valuable cars tend to also like interesting and expensive watches. So it makes sense that in 2017 Dickinson would team up with industrial designer Marco Borraccino to launch a chronograph under the Singer Reimagined brand – to complement Singer’s cars and appeal to his wealthy buyers.

The result could be described as a horological interpretation of the Singer philosophy, as it is a retro-looking watch that combines an innovative movement designed by independent master watchmaker Jean-Marc Wiederrecht.

His company, Agenhor, invents and creates remarkably complex mechanisms for large luxury houses such as Hermès, Fabergé or Van Cleef & Arpels.

So the main feature of the 43mm Track1 watch, for example, is Wiederrecht’s AgenGraphe movement (versions of which were also supplied to Fabergé and Hermès), which consolidates all the chronograph functions into the center of the watch for easy to use.

Jumping minute and hour indicators improve readability, with the chronograph mechanism connected to the timing gears by a space-saving clutch of Wiederrecht’s own design. A self-winding rotor is positioned on the dial side, to allow an unobstructed view of the 477-part movement through the transparent caseback.

The Track1 range includes several variations on the theme, including dedicated UAE and Hong Kong models as well as ceramic case and skeleton dial versions. All are limited editions, sometimes of just 15 examples, and cost from 45,000 SFr (£39,000) to 90,000 SFr – prices that those who can afford a Singer-upgraded 911 are unlikely to be put off.

The Track1 SKLT Carbon Edition of the brand © Laurent Xavier Moulin

Two years ago, Singer Reimagined also launched a minimalist watch called Flytrack with another new Agenhor movement: this time, a hand-wound effort that tells the time using a single minute and two-hand hand. a rotating ring for the hours.

Its most notable feature, however, is its “sweeping” seconds hand which, when controlled by the pusher at the 2 o’clock position, operates like a flyback chronograph that can be stopped and reset instantly in order to time short term. events or for precise time setting.

The Flytrack Barista Edition

The Flytrack Barista edition © Laurent Xavier Moulin

Then, during last weekend’s Geneva Watch Days, Borraccino unveiled an all-new version of the Track1 that combines the brand’s first forged carbon case with a see-through dial.

The dial design, which takes the shape of the spokes of Fuchs road wheels synonymous with classic Porsches, was first seen on a gold version of the Track1 launched in March.

The dial has the particularity of being “suspended” above the AgenGraphe movement in order to make it visible from the front of the watch as well as through the transparent back.

Priced at 60,000 Swiss francs plus VAT, it will be made in 25 copies and is likely, according to Borraccino, to appeal to wealthy Singer enthusiasts in the Middle East and other Islamic regions where gold is less popular.

The arrival of this SKLT Carbon Edition came just days after Singer Vehicle Design unveiled its first convertible car and five years after Singer Reimagined was established as a subsidiary of the Singer Group.

“It’s well known that cars and watches go hand in hand, and just as we’ve delivered around 200 vehicles since the launch of Singer Vehicle Design, we’ve delivered around 200 watches, which suggests that many people who have purchased cars also bought watches,” says Dickinson.

“But there is now a real sense that Marco’s work is breaking into the wider world of watch collectors and gaining independent legitimacy outside of the automotive industry.

“Growing a watch brand is a slow process, but Singer Reimagined is clearly commanding respect in its own industry and should grow in very interesting ways,” he adds, hinting that there’s more to come. .

“There are amazing products in the pipeline.”

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