You Are There: Monterey Car Weekend 2018 With Singer Reimagined
It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been four years since Elizabeth Doerr and I ventured to the Monterey Peninsula for the annual Pebble Beach car weekend and reported on it here in posts like Pebble Beach Classic Car Week 2014: The Enthusiast Collector Goes To Car Heaven and A Touch Of Switzerland In Pebble Beach: Hispano-Suiza And Rolex.
It’s still true, however, that there’s a big overlap between the populations of watch and car enthusiasts – see Collecting Watches And Cars: What’s The Same And What’s Different? – and so it should come as no surprise that some of my watch (and car) buddies leapt at the chance to attend the annual Singer Reimagined event this year and then took advantage of being in the area to sample other events of the weekend as well.
My visit was a relatively brief one, but I managed to jam a fair amount in starting with a test drive of the hopped-up Quattrofoglio version of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio crossover SUV and a visit to the local Carmel Rolex dealer to see one of my buddies take delivery of not one, but two Rolex Daytona variants.
Soon enough, it was time for us to make our way to a secret location that turned out to be a parking lot from which we were shuttled to the even-more-secret location of the Singer evening event, where we had the opportunity to meet up and chat with our host, Singer Reimagined watch business chief Marco Borracino.
All of the variants of Singer’s Track 1 chronograph were on display, and I had the opportunity to handle the most recent addition to the family (and shortlisted 2018 Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève chronograph), the Hong Kong edition.
I’ve been a big fan of the Singer Track 1 and its AgenGraphe movement since its introduction, and for me the Hong Kong variant of the watch is the cleanest and most compelling to date.
In both the Hong Kong version and the straw-gold cased Geneva Edition Track 1 from earlier in 2018, the somewhat busy detailed numerical indices near the center of the dial of the original version of the watch have been pushed outward to a ring just inside the tachymeter scale, simplifying the look of the watch considerably.
And the black case/black dial/orange accent look of the Hong Kong edition really pops for me.
We’ve talked a lot about the Track 1 in earlier articles here on Quill & Pad, so I won’t go into depth other than to say that I found the “transformative” black ceramic treatment of the Hong Kong edition’s underlying aluminum case both clever and very much in keeping with the automotive technology roots of the Singer operation.
After a late-night In-N-Out Burger stop, it was off to bed as I had an early start the next day at car and food extravaganza The Quail.
I’ve been going to The Quail for many years now, and while it started as a super-exclusive display of a small number of vehicles with a tightly controlled crowd it has now spread substantially in terms of acreage, attendance, and vehicle numbers, all with steadily increasing ticket prices.
My impression this year was that the match between attendance and access to amenities was better than in some previous years; early on and throughout the day I didn’t have any problems grabbing a quick refreshment, and our small but intrepid band of collectors had no problem finding places to sit with our food at lunchtime.
The only real queues I witnessed were at the caviar stand, but I suppose that was to be expected.
Singer was very much in evidence at The Quail with its Dynamics and Lightweighting Study (DLS), a project in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering that is creating a small batch of ultra-trick remanufactured Porsche 911s.
The rear view of the car alone, including those extremely tasty ceramic exhausts, was enough to make me drool over it; that said, I’m afraid that the $1.8 million price tag means that unless Santa is really out there and extremely pleased with my conduct I’m going to have to be satisfied with a few photos.
Once I’d spent some time appreciating the Singer exhibit, I found my way to some other favorites, including the group of Ferraris (or, as I call them, “real cars”) on display. I did once own a Porsche Carrera Cabrio, but traded it in on my very first Ferrari (a 328 GTS in black over lurid red leather) and never looked back.
My attention was immediately drawn to a pristine Ferrari 288 GTO like the one owned by watch pal “Enzo” (see Collecting Watches And Cars: What’s The Same And What’s Different), and from there everywhere I turned there were great Ferraris from the past, including the Le Mans-winning 1958 250 Testarossa driven by Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien and another Ferrari team car, a 1949 166M Barchetta.
There was also an unusually colored example of what I consider to be the most beautiful road car ever made, the 275 GTB/4. Every time I see a 275 GTB I’m reminded that I had a chance years ago to buy a very slightly less desirable two-cam version and passed it up; an expensive mistake for sure!
Before we leave Ferraris, I’ll sneak in one more: what might be the ultimate (yet least practical) “barn car” ever made: a custom 1965 Ferrari 330 GT Shooting Brake. I could imagine the looks I’d get up at my next horse show driving up with my tack in this one – or for that matter, any of the Lamborghini Espadas or Maserati Ghiblis that were also on display.
Other cars on display brought to mind some of the differences between car and watch collecting, including a “preservation class” Porsche that would be the equivalent of an unpolished Rolex Paul Newman Daytona with tropical dial. At least when it comes to cars, I’ll take mine restored, please!
There were lots of other cars to see from a massive Cadillac limo to a tiny BMW Isetta, and the various owner-exhibitors were happy to talk about their treasures and receive compliments on their cars’ condition.
In past years, The Quail has been a place to dress up and be seen; while lately this trend seems to have ebbed, there were at least some folks who donned a bit of finery for the day.
In addition to specialist tuners, mainline brands like Mercedes AMG, BMW, and Porsche were very much in evidence along with Jaguar, whose display let us know that the watch industry isn’t the only one with an occasionally dubious way of wording its advertising messages.
After another quick swing past the Singer stand it was time for me to head home! Next time I’ll have to plan further in advance so that I can partake in more of the weekend’s events, but for this year the relatively light mix of cars and watches felt just right. And the opportunity to handle the Track 1 Hong Kong Edition was at the top of my list of highlights.
Quick Facts Singer Reimagined Track 1 Hong Kong Edition
Case: 43 x 15 mm, matte black ceramic aluminum; crown and pushers in DLC-coated titanium; sapphire front and rear crystals with double-sided antireflective coating
Movement: automatic Caliber Singer Reimagined 6361 based on AgenGraphe by Agenhor; rotor under dial; column-wheel chronograph; Singer Reimagined exclusive 3×60 indication central chronograph; minimum 60-hour power reserve; frequency 21,600 vph/3 Hz
Functions: hours and minutes on peripheral disks; instantaneous jumping chronograph hours (60 hours) and minutes (60 minutes), sweep chronograph second hand
Strap and buckle: technical textile strap with screw-down brushed titanium rivets; stainless steel folding buckle; custom straps upon request
Price: CHF 44,500 (before VAT and local taxes)
You may also enjoy:
Pebble Beach Classic Car Week 2014: The Enthusiast Collector Goes To Car Heaven
A Touch Of Switzerland In Pebble Beach: Hispano-Suiza And Rolex
Collecting Watches And Cars: What’s The Same And What’s Different?
Track 1 By Singer Reimagined Is The World’s Most Advanced ‘Flat 6’ Chronograph: It Might Not Sound Like An Air-Cooled 911, But It Sure Laps Like One!
The AgenGraphe By Agenhor: The Most Significant Chronograph Since . . . Since The Invention Of The Chronograph
Also published on Medium.