Options: Congratulations on the partnership with Cortina Watch. Can you share with us more about your brand philosophy?
Marco Borraccino: Thank you. It’s an honour for us to introduce Singer Reimaged to Malaysia for the first time. Singer Reimagined is really an ode to 1960s and 1970s design. We’d like to pay tribute to everything beautiful during that era by designing things that improve what has been done. We started by creating a completely new automatic chronograph (Track1) inspired by what automatic chronographs used to be. We brought in a completely new dimension [by introducing] centralised crown information and bringing time of the day to the peripheral, but the shape, touch and feel of our watches are really a tribute to the style of that period of time.
What is your favourite thing about the 1960s and 1970s?
There are so many things that I love. I’m Italian and grew up in a family where art was very present. My grandfather used to be a painter and what we call today a “geek”. Whatever new thing that came to the market, he had to buy. So his house always had these new objects like the telephone, television and radio. Back in the 1970s, these things were completely different from anything else. And I grew up looking at these objects popping up left and right. At the same time, my father used to work in the automotive industry and would come back home with a new car every other week. So all these really cultivated my passion for objects, mechanics and cars, and that’s where my inspiration comes from.
How closely do you work with the Californian team?
Despite the distance, we’re pretty close. The watch business is very much run by the Genevois team. We’re really independent in terms of decision-making, but we share what we are doing every week. It’s a very transparent coexistence between the two companies, even though they are focusing on cars and we, on watches. There are a lot of synergies that can be shared and optimised. So I know the development plan of the car business and they know that of the watch business. It’s really an open dialogue between us.
What is the most unexpected similarity between the automotive and watchmaking industries you have discovered?
The painful process of producing them! We’re both producing objects that are rare and very complicated. When you’re dealing with these kinds of things, it means nothing is industrialised. We always deal with suppliers that are quite ... how do you say it … freestyle? When you’re producing a small amount of something, you don’t have the control you could have if you mass produce. That’s really something we share in our discussions every week.
How big is the team in Geneva?
We’re less than 10. We assemble our movement and watches in-house. We moved into a new facility last year and have our watchmakers at our own workshop. But we also have a couple of Singer watchmakers at Agenhor, which is our movement supplier. So we split 50-50.
The new 1969 Chronograph from Singer Reimagined has been nominated for a GPHG. What does the 1969 collection represent for the brand?
We also submitted it to another watch contest, in fact, but I don’t know if I can say yet! The 1969 collection is key because we are expanding from a mono 43mm product to a second product line. On top of that, we are introducing a watch case that is smaller (40mm) with a metal band — something much required on the market. The product was designed with the idea of being easy to understand. If you look at this watch, it has a traditional time of the day indication. Underneath, you have something more, but the first layer is something that doesn’t scare you. That’s really important to us.
Will Singer Reimagined only focus on complications related to the automotive world?
No, we’re not only focusing on that. A chronograph can be used for so many things. We have a watch that measures the brewing time of coffee. The chronograph is a tool, and as a tool, you can use it for many different things. You can actually play with our complication to achieve things not achievable elsewhere. And you will see something coming next year that has never been done before.
We are looking forward to it. In the meantime, what is always on your wrist?
It depends. I change depending on my mood, the weather and the activities lined up for the day. I cannot tell you which is my favourite because it’s all of them. Of course, the latest are the ones I tend to wear most because they’re newer. But I came here with Track1, the launch edition, the very first we made, and it’s still a watch that I love.
Do you have any vintage cars of your own?
Yes. The two that I really, really love are the Vintage 911, which is lovely, and a vintage Range Rover. They are very different cars, but each of them has a real soul and a real purpose. The vintage Porsche is a car that you can drive daily. It’s fantastic, but it’s tiny, even compared with modern Porsche 911s. You can fit only two people inside. With the Range Rover, I can carry the dog, the baby and the family — it’s a car for adventures.
What is the perfect weekend like for you?
With the baby, family and one of my cars, of course. In Italy by the seaside — that’s where I like to be.
What are you reading or listening to right now?
I would love to have time to read but I don’t. I used to read a lot but the last few months were really busy. I listen to music 24 hours a day. It depends on the mood. I’m much into, again, 60s and 70s music. I can go from soul to rock to black music, which I love very much. I literally listen to music from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep, so it’s quite a big variation during the day.
Singer Reimagined is participating in the GPHG showcase held in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from Oct 5-8.
This article first appeared on Oct 2, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.