To all chronograph lovers, the watch you’re about to see is simply stunning. Why? Because it combines the superb and iconic look of the Speake-Marin watches, with the Piccadilly case, the greatly designed numerals and the unique “touch” of Peter, with vintage column-wheel chronograph movements. Yes, this Speake-Marin London Chronograph features original Valjoux 92 calibres. And this is just cool. So if you feel for it, be fast because it is a special edition, only available in the Fine Watch Room at Harrods, in London during this summer. Overview of the Speake-Marin London Chronograph Special Edition.
The London Chronograph is a tribute for Peter Speake-Marin to his first steps as watchmaker, when he restored antique watches in the Piccadilly arcade in London. After qualifying as a horologist at London’s Hackney College, Peter went to Switzerland to deepen his knowledge of watch making at the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program (WOSTEP) in Neuchâtel. Following his first three commercial watchmaking positions which were short lived, due to his hunger to grow as a watchmaker, he met Georges Somlo in 1990 and stayed in the arcade restoring all manor of early pocket and wrist watches during 6 years, including some with vintage Valjoux chronograph movements. Today, such movements were chosen by Peter for this project, because it is the same type of movement that he restored during his time in London during the 1990’s.
The movements used for the London Chronograph were purchased by a collector of vintage movements and stocked in a safe for many years, waiting to be part of this Speake-Marin London Chronograph Special Edition. The Valjoux 92 was a popular chronograph movement from the 1950’s. Succeeding the popular Valjoux 23 family (including the Valjoux 72), the Valjoux 92 was similarly sized at 13 ligne (29.5 mm) but used very different technology. It was an oscillating pinion design, distinct at a glance for having two rather than three chronograph engagement wheels visible at the back. Although both Valjoux movements are column wheel designs, the Valjoux 92 has seven pillars versus the nine of all other Valjoux movements. In the case of the Speake-Marin London Chronograph Special Edition, the movement will be visible through the sapphire caseback, for the pleasure of watch collectors.
The rest of the Speake-Marin London Chronograph Special Edition is traditional to the brand’s production, meaning that it’s rather far from being traditional. The 42mm case is made out of titanium, polished and untreated for the bezel and the lugs (with their typically Speake-Marin design) and black-DLC coated and brushed for the central container. The Piccadilly case, a reference to Peter’s early years, has a unique presence and style, both classical at first and extremely differentiating in a second time. The design is bold but remains elegant on the wrist. The combination of the black central part and the chronograph pushers brings here a sportier look, enhanced by the black rubber strap.
A highly interesting feature is the 3D construction of the dial. If the layout remains traditional for a chronograph (of course… as based on a vintage Valjoux 92), the dial of the Speake-Marin London Chronograph shows several layers. The two subsidiary dials for the 30 minute recorder and the seconds dial are both seen to float on the dial. Underneath is the signature logo of Peter Speake-Marin, the topping tool, which is linked to the to the hour wheel and turning with the hour hand. The hour numerals are a mix of thin Roman numerals and Gothic Arabic numerals, just like the Speake-Marin Velsheda Gothic, introduced at Baselworld 2016. Legibility is on par, with a central second hand and a 30-minute hand painted in red (to emphasize the chronograph functions) while the hands displaying the time (central hours and minutes and small second at 9) at heat blued and showing Speake-Marin’s signature “Foundation” style.
This Speake-Marin London Chronograph special edition will be priced at £14,400 (inc. taxes) or 16,000 Swiss Francs (without taxes) and only be available in the Fine Watch Room at Harrods, in London during summer as part as the Made with Love and Precision campaign. Throughout July and August 2016, the luxury department store will display a stunning exhibition of timepieces launching exclusively at Harrods.
Specifications of the Speake-Marin London Chronograph special edition for Harrods
- Case: 42mm diameter – polished titanium with brushed black-DLC coated sides – sapphire crystal on front and back – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Vintage Valjoux 92 – hand-wound – 40h power reserve – 18,000 vibrations/h – hours and minutes on the central axis, small second at 9 and chronograph
- Strap: black rubber strap with titanium folding buckle
- Special edition for Harrods, London. Price: £14,400 (inc. taxes) or 16,000 Swiss Francs (without taxes)