It’s less than a month before “Basel”, and press-invitations are slowly popping up in the mailbox. This week I received the invitation from Speake-Marin. Although I was familiar with the name, this moment was the first time to have a closer look at the creations of Peter Speake-Marin. Speake-Marin began his horological journey at London’s Hackney Technical College in 1985 and then continued his education at WOSTEP, the prestigious Swiss watch making school.
In 1996, he made the inevitable move to Switzerland where he was recruited by the illustrious manufacture Renaud & Papi (now Audemars Piguet Renaud & Papi) to develop high complication movements. From 2000 and on, Speake-Marin is working under his own name. The first model was the Piccadilly, which in later years evolved in several editions, including the Serpent Calendar, the current evolution.
The Serpent Calendar, in stainless or 18k and in 38 and 42 mm, is Speake-Marins interpretation of a calendar watch. Inspired by early pocket watches, the Serpent has a curved hand to differentiate the date from the time indications. Although classic looks, the way the Serpent displays its date makes the watch standing out from the crowd. The blue “serpential” hands adds some extra character as well.
The Serpent carries a newly developed movement, the Eros 1. An automatic movement, and the name finds its explanation in the years that Speake-Marin was working in central London: Eros is a famous landmark statue in Picadilly.
Although the Spirit Mk2 is another model that deserves attention, as it is just awarded “watch of the year 2013″ by Passion Horlogere, I choose to put the next spotlight on the Dong Son.
The Dong Son is a commissioned, limited-edition timepiece featuring a red gold dial etched away to leave a fascinating motif inspired by the prehistoric bronze drums of the Dong Son culture in the Red River Delta of Vietnam.
The Dong Son also carries the Eros 1 movement, comes in a limited series of 18. the etching on the dial, only 0,3mm deep, is the result of an innovative chemical etching process, adding a level of detail that couldn’t be achieved by human hand. the case is 38mm by 12mm, making it rather small and thin. The 5-day power reserve is nice, but what really distinguishes this watch is the unique dial. The curved crown is looking extra special here.
The creations of Peter Speake-Marin adds a special classical atmosphere to the haute horology, with subtle signs of his english roots and the inspiration of 18th/19th century pocketwatches, combined with modern technologies.
When you visit Baselworld in April, don’t forget to visit the Dream Factory at the Palace, where Speake-Marin will show its masterpieces.