I am waiting for my K1 visa as I'm engaged to a US citizen. I currently have 145 days spent this year in the US using ESTA. I've been told that the K1 visa application may not be granted until end of November. We will be in Europe for 2 weeks at the end of September. Can I apply for a B visa and start a new clock in terms of days already spent here? I am a consultant and can work on my projects in Europe whilst here. I also am involved in a real estate project in Chicago that will require I spend some time here so maybe the B1 would be most appropriate?
There's no clock, and the US has no 90/180 rule. For VWP travelers, the rule is 90 days per visit, and for B visa travelers, the rule is six months per visit. Getting a B visa is not necessary.
Your more likely problem is overcoming the statutory presumption of immigrant intent, given your pending K-1 application. This applies to both VWP travelers and those with B visas, so getting a B visa won't help you there. It's also unclear to me whether you are allowed to apply for another nonimmigrant visa while the dual-intent K-1 application is pending.