By Osheen Arakelian
The Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project is a one-off piece commissioned by an experienced collector who is passionate about high-quality artisanal craft and believes that it is the people involved that impart a timepiece with its “soul”. And considering the calibre of the master craftsmen involved in this adventure, it is definitely clear that the timepiece is unique in more ways than one.
The inspiration for this special timepiece is the Kennin-ji Temple, a historic Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1202, the Kennin-ji Temple is considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and the temple’s founding abbot Eisai is credited with introducing the Zen philosophy to Japan. To commemorate the temple’s 800th anniversary in 2002, the Hatto Building was enhanced by a dramatic painting of two beautiful dragons on the ceiling by renowned artist Koizumi Junsaku. The expansive painting covers approximately 175 square metres and the style differs from the traditional circular layout as the commissioning Abbot requested that the dragons be “rampaging across the ceiling”.
Speaking of the project, Master Watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin conveyed his thoughts on the project by stating that it is the most extraordinary engraving project he has ever been involved with. Due to the complexity and incredible detail of the engravings and that the fact it is not just one component that is being engraved, it was quite a challenge and very complex.
The multinational Swiss-based team of four Master Craftsmen responsible for the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project were Peter Speake-Marin (Project manager and watchmaker responsible for the in-house SM2 movement); Kees Engelbarts (Engraver for the dial and case); Eddy Jaquet (Engraver for the SM2 movement); and Christophe Seewer (Engraver for embossing the leather of the presentation case). It is extremely detailed from top to bottom and this tells especially when you look at the bezel that has been redeveloped and transformed from a stepped bezel to a rounder profiled bezel so that the dragons flow seamlessly from the dial, over the bezel and down the sides of the caseband.
The engraving doesn’t stop there however with the movement also being engraved and the leather lining of the presentation box embossed with a similar dragon motif to the watch. The entire piece culminates into a beautiful high-end extremely beautiful timepiece that is presented with elegance and status. It is a statement piece and a very eye catching at that. For the private collector, it will be a treasured and prized possession that many of us can only dream of owning.
For more info, please visit speake-marin.com
OSHEEN ARAKELIAN – CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Osheen is a long time collector and passionate watch aficionado. He is the Founder and Chief Editor of the Sydney Watch Guide based out of Australia. Alongside Sydney Watch Guide, he has also expanded and started OSHEEN’s House of Horology, an online shop that specialises in vintage, pre-owned and niche watches from around the world. He is also a contributor to a number of Australian Men’s Lifestyle magazines and is fast becoming the go-to destination in Sydney for anything watch related. Read his articles here.