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Chiming Time for the new Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon

A spectacular openworked ensemble featuring a minute repeater, a flying tourbillon and an automaton in a two-tone Piccadilly case.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 4 min read |
Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

Before chiming mechanisms appeared in miniaturised form inside table clocks and, eventually, pocket watches and wristwatches, our ancestors relied on the bells of clock towers to tell the time. Minute repeaters, which strike the hours, quarters and minutes on request, require extraordinary horological skill and a trained musical ear to create. Speake Marin’s latest watch, the Minute Repeater Carillon, condenses three revered horological complications in the brand’s signature Piccadilly case and exposes their mechanics on the openworked dial.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

Marking the brand’s first Minute Repeater Carillon, the watch was developed and assembled by the prestigious Le Cercle des Horlogers workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. With eleven in-house calibres and an annual production of 600 timepieces a year, Speake Marin’s CEO, Christelle Rosnoblet, is now the majority shareholder of the Le Cercle des Horlogers, which also produces Haute Horlogerie movements for other brands.

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Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

There can be no mistaking the provenance of the Minute Repeater Carillon with its telltale Speake Marin features like the heat-blued spade and whip hands, the emblematic Piccadilly case, the silhouette of the topping tool and the dramatic openworked display of the movement. A cornerstone of the brand’s identity, the drum-like Piccadilly case has a stepped bezel, straight lugs and a fluted crown.

Introducing a more contemporary two-tone flair, the case has a gleaming stepped platinum bezel and caseback combined with a central case and lugs in grey PVD-coated titanium. While the diameter is a reasonable 42mm, the thickness is 16mm, including the two sapphire crystals placed over the dial and caseback. The choice of metals was deliberate to enhance the acoustics.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

The repeater is activated by the slider on the left case flank, and the action of the hammers striking the gongs can be seen at noon on the dial and reverse side of the case. Despite the profusion of components exposed on the dial, the position of the 60-second flying tourbillon at 6 o’clock, with its upper bridge in the shape of a topping tool, brings balance to the composition.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

The openworked dial reveals layer after intricate layer of mechanical delights, picked out with different finishings. Adorned at the highest level, the hammers, tourbillon cage, minute repeater regulator bridge and steel screw heads are black polished by hand to obtain sharp angles. The hand-bevelled bridges are decorated with Côtes de Genève, the mainplate features perlage, and the gears have a circular brushed finish contrasting to other components with vertically brushed surfaces.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

To consult the time, the brand’s signature heat-blued spade and whip hands point to a discreet track on the periphery of the dial with screws marking the hours. However, there is another mechanical spectacle in the wings. The large red Roman numeral XII positioned at the top of the dial is an automaton and is activated during the chiming sequence. If you look closely, you will see tiny pivots at the base of the Roman numerals that allow the different parts to collapse and reassemble after the minute repeater has completed its sequence. As the brand points out, the collapsing numeral does not impact the watch’s timekeeping because the energy is delivered by a separate spring.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

The manual movement powering the watch – calibre SMAHH-02 – has 536 components and took a month to assemble, decorate and set by a master watchmaker of Le Cercle des Horlogers. One thing is calibrating the timekeeping function of the watch, and quite another is regulating the minute repeater. Using silent regulator arms that do not affect the resonance, the rhythm of the minute repeater is set by adjusting the extension of the arms. The Minute Repeater Carillon indicates the time with three hammers: one for the hours, all three for the quarters and one for the minutes. The three hammers are connected to a block to convey the vibrations of the hammers into chimes. The movement beats at 21,600 vibrations/hour and delivers a surprisingly robust 72-hour power reserve for the hours, minutes, flying tourbillon, collapsing animation of the numeral 12 and the carillon minute repeater.

Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon Tourbillon

The Speake Marin Minute Repeater Carillon can be paired with a blue, grey or red strap with a choice of a folding or pin buckle. It is a unique piece, but given the complexity of developing a movement, it will surely be followed by other versions. It retails for CHF 360,000 (excl. tax).

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2 responses

  1. Complicated for sure but the theme of the “automaton” is ineffective. The breaking of time just isn’t conveyed clearly by the tilting of the roman numerals. I find the color of them too attention seeking as well, confusing the overall aesthetic. I like the idea of movement, but it pairs best with classy and sophisticated, not clever and obvious.

  2. Probably great technically but one of the ugliest things I have ever seen.


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