Hands-On with the Singer Reimagined Track 1 Geneva Edition Chronograph

The ingenious chronograph movement in 18k yellow gold.
Singer Track 1 Geneva Edition gold chronograph 1

Known for its acclaimed and pricey rebuilt Porsche 911s, Singer Vehicle Design forayed into watchmaking last year with the Singer Reimagined Track 1 chronograph, which boasts retro style and an cleverly constructed movement. Launched as a limited edition with a titanium case, the chronograph now makes it debut in 18k yellow gold as the Track 1 Geneva Edition.

The Track 1 is result of an all-star team assembled by Singer. Styling was done by Marco Borraccino, best known for his stint as chief of Panerai’s design studio. And behind the mechanics was Agenhor, the Geneva-based complications specialist led by noted movement constructor Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, which counts Hermès, Van Cleef & Arpels, MB&F and Fabergé amongst its clients.

Singer Reimagined is set to unveil four new editions of the Track 1 each year for the next two years, starting with the gold Geneva Edition that retains the same 1970s-inspired cushion case with a fine radial brushed finish.

The Track 1 in 18k gold (left) and in titanium

Here the 43mm tonneau case is in 1N yellow gold – a pale and more uncommon alloy than the brighter 2N or 3N yellow gold most frequently used in watchmaking. The alloy recalls the tone of vintage 14k gold watches, but it maintains an 18k purity, which is 75% gold and harder than 14k. The subdued yellow contrasts well with the black dial, but without crossing into flashiness.

Despite being a large watch, the Track 1 wears smaller than its dimensions indicate, because of the its short lugs. The Geneva Edition, however, is significantly weightier than the titanium version, which is a boon or bane depending on personal preferences.

Singer Track 1 Geneva Edition gold chronograph 4

The watch is delivered on an olive strap featuring gold-plated titanium rivets and an 18k gold folding clasp.

Material aside, the case design and finish remains identical with alternating brushed and polished surfaces, and topped with a domed sapphire crystal. The chronograph pushers are located on opposite sides of the case at two and 10 o’clock – a layout nicknamed “Bullhead”- while the crown is partially recessed at four o’clock, preventing it from digging into the wrist and further emphasising its secondary role in a chronograph.

Singer Track 1 Geneva Edition gold chronograph 6

While the Track 1 bears resemblance to 1970s chronographs from the likes of Heuer, Breitling and Omega, inside it’s equipped with the radically modern AgenGraphe movement, which was first used in the Fabergé Visionnaire Chronograph. Thanks to the unique central chronograph display  of the AgenGraphe, the Track 1 was conceived on the precept that measuring elapsed time is a driver’s primary requirement on the track, and thus it features a large co-axial stopwatch while the time display is relegated to the periphery of the dial.

On the Track 1 Geneva Edition the design of the dial has been further streamlined to improve legibility. A fine horizontal line across the center of the dial adds to its vintage appeal, with the brand logo above it.

Hours and minutes are once again indicated by a slim orange pointer at six o’clock, which is set over two concentric, matte black ceramic rings that sit on the edge of the dial. The numerals and indices on the rings are engraved and filled with gold-coloured luminescence. Reading the time takes a little getting used to, and is approximate to the minute, since the minute ring lacks seconds markings.

Singer Track 1 Geneva Edition gold chronograph 5

Instead of having a separate registers for the elapsed hours and minutes as on a conventional chronograph, the Track 1 centralises everything on the same axis. The tachymeter, sitting on a sloping, brushed gilt ring, is followed by a single chronograph scale.

It can be read intuitively like a standard three-hand watch with the hours, minutes and seconds indicated by orange hands. The longest hand indicates seconds, the shorter orange hand points to the minutes, and the longer hand, the hours. While more refined visually, the simplified dial means the gold Track 1 is not as easy to read.

The movement remains the same automatic AgenGraphe cal. 6361, one of the most ingenious chronograph movements in modern watchmaking and one that took almost a decade to develop. The rotor sits under the dial in order to allow an unobscured view of the 477-part movement from the back. Unlike a normal chronograph which has the chronograph mechanism built on top of the gear train, the AgenGraphe is constructed on a donut-shaped base movement. The double mainspring barrels and going train positioned around the chronograph mechanism that sits right in the hole of the donut right in the centre.

The impressive view from the back

Beyond the novel construction, the AgenGraphe also includes several patented details. The chronograph uses a column wheel control and an AgenClutch – a patented clutch that is best described as a hybrid of a vertical and horizontal clutch. It is driven by friction like a vertical clutch, which engages more smoothly than a horizontal coupling.

And instead of regular toothed wheel, it relies on toothless wheels coated with a diamond nickel composite that engage via surface friction. In the event of shock, a tulip-shaped spring allows the wheels to safely move apart, but they stay in alignment relative to each other thanks to a secondary, co-axial toothed wheel. The teeth on the secondary wheel, however, are exceptionally fine, ensuring that a shock that displaces the diamond-coated wheels will cause incur a maximum error of 0.33 seconds in the chronograph measurement.

Agenhor AgenGraphe Agenclutch

The visual beauty of the movement lies in its intricacy, but also in its finishing, which is nearly to the standard demanded by the Poincon de Geneve, or Geneva Seal, according to Agenhor’s Jean-Marc Wiederrecht. That means the steel levers of the chronograph have straight-grained top surfaces and chamfered edges, while wheels have bevelled spokes.

Singer Track 1 Geneva Edition gold chronograph 2

Price and Availability

The Track 1 Geneva Edition costs SFr72,000 before taxes and can be ordered directly from Singer Reimagined here.


 

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Great Artists Reproduced in Miniature Enamel by Jaeger-LeCoultre

The works of Seurat, Hokusai and Xu Beihong on the wrist.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso enamel Hokusai

Historically a specialty of artisans in Geneva, miniature enamelling was taken up to the Vallee de Joux by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1996, when Hungarian enameller Miklos Merczel  set up its enamel studio in 1996. Having retired just last year, Merczel was at his best when using the blank rear face of the Reverso as a canvas for tiny reproductions of famous artworks – paintings of paintings.

Though having been superseded in prominence by Jaeger-LeCoultre’s numerous complications, miniature enamel watches remain part of the collection, as subtle and intricate as they ever were. The latest mini-masterpieces is the trio of Reverso Tribute Enamel watches, each depicting a work of art by Georges Seurat, Xu Beihong and Hokusai.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso enamel Hokusai Great Wave Off Kanagawa miklos


The Reverso Tribute Enamel Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte  (ref. 393 34 P1) reproduces the 1884 post-Impressionist painting. Arguably the most complex of the trio, the watch carries on its back a true to scale miniature of the original 3m long painting. New tools had to be developed to reproduce the Pointillism technique used by Seurat, including a brush with a fine yet hard tip. In total the enamel work took 70 hours.

JLC Reverso enamel Seurat Sunday Afternoon Island La Grande Jatte


The Reverso Tribute Enamel Xu Beihong  (ref. 393 34 C1) replicates a section from a work by one of China’s most famous painters, who was active in the early 20th century. Best known for his Chinese ink paintings of galloping horses, Xu was one of the first to create monumental paintings with Chinese themes. Ironically the Reverso does the reverse, depicting a pair of horses from a section of a 5m long painting showing 10 of the galloping animals.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso enamel Xu Beihong horse


One of the most works of arts in pop culture despite being 200 years old, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa is remarkably striking, yet intricate up close. It gives the same qualities to the Reverso Tribute Enamel Katsushika Hokusai, The Great Wave off Kanagawa (ref. 393 34 T1), which recreates the vivid blues and whites of the painting, while conveying the urgency and motion of the water.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso enamel Hokusai Great Wave Off Kanagawa


Different as they are on the back, the watches share the same specs. The cases are all 18k white gold, measuring 45.5mm long and 27.4mm wide, the same size as the Reverso Classic Large model. Inside is the cal. 822A/2, the workhorse hand-wound movement used in the Reverso since the early 1990s.

Notably, the dials on the front are also fired enamel, each in colours to complement the paintings on the back. The dials are executed in the champleve technique, consisting of an engine-turned dial base covered by translucent enamel.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso enamel Xu Beihong face

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute enamel

Price and availability 

The Reverso Tribute Enamel “Great Wave Off Kanagawa” (ref. Q39334T1) is priced at €71,000 before taxes, or S$126,000.

Each is limited to eight pieces, available only at Jaeger-LeCoultre boutiques. All are priced the same: €71,000 before taxes, or S$126,000.


 

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