Today Peter Speake-Marin launched a magnificent timepiece, the Speake-Marin Renaissance. It features a tourbillon and minute repeater and already I have a feeling that this might be one of the most interesting watches to be launched this year. Our man in Geneva, Ian Ellery, already got to see it…
A Renaissance in Watchmaking – Peter Speake-Marin’s new watch rings true
It seems that Peter Speake-Marin has hit something of a ‘Golden period’ of creativity. His Spirit Pioneer was launched at Salon QP in November and all 68 of the series are spoken for, but while he was making that model he was also working on his something else, this time in a slightly different price category, called the Renaissance.
Now I would never accuse Peter of ‘showing off’, he’s bigger than me, but creating a skeletonised, tourbillon, minute repeater is not something many watchmakers would attempt let alone manage to pull off so successfully. Over lunch I was given the chance to inspect the watch, currently the only example, up close though unfortunately not to try it on, just too expensive for that.
The case format is that of a modified Piccadilly, slightly bigger than normal at 44mm and even with sapphire crystals front and back the height is slimmer at just 11mm which considering the complications fitted inside, is amazing. This watch pulls together many aspects of previous Speake-Marin watches, the heat-blued hands found on the Foundation Watch, the cut-out cross dial of the Marin-1 and the signature rotor used here as the tourbillon cage.
The attention to detail is amazing, all parts are hand-finished and then rhodium plated. The index markers on the chapter ring have been drilled and then filled with black lacquer. The seconds hand, set at the 5 o’clock, is also blued and mounted on the tourbillon cage all supported by an A-frame.
But it is on turning the watch over that things get exciting, four large plates, and on this unique piece an intricate dragon motif engraved over the whole surface.
The repeater is an historical complication; once common on pocket watches but always rare on wristwatches, it has had something of a resurgence over the last few years. The gongs, hidden from view, are arranged around the edge of the movement, the hammers can be seen at the 2 o’clock; and use the case as a resonator to increase the overall sound.
The Renaissance employs an all-or-nothing mechanism only if the slider on the side is engaged correctly will the watch actually chime. Interesting the minute chimes seem to be a bit louder than the hours, not an issue, but still intriguing.
This is a beautiful watch and despite the gold case and substantial movement not particularly heavy. In common with other Speake-Marin models readability is high thanks to the contrast between the blue hands and the Rhodium plating, something some other watchmakers could learn from.
At 370,000CHF the Renaissance is one of the most expensive watches Peter Speake-Marin has ever made and on that basis may be a world away from the affordable Spirit Pioneer, but both bear the unmistakable mark of Speake-Marin and as such are remarkable works of the horological art.
Here are some specifications of the movement and case.
- Dimensions: 32.4mm x 5.36mm
- Power reserve: 100 hours
- Jewels: 29
- No. of components: 330
- Tourbillon cage: 13.59mm
- Free-sprung balance
- Balance frequency: 21,600vph / 3Hz
- Balance diameter: 8.8mm (9.6mm with regulating screws)
- Balance inertia: 10mg/cm2
- Silicon anchor and escape wheel
- Two-hammer minute repeater featuring all-or-nothing mechanism
Yes indeed, for those of you who carefully read through the specifications, it does indeed have a silicon anchor and escape wheel. This makes sure any form of magnetic influence in these parts is reduced to zero and positively influences the watch’s rate.
Case and strap:
- Dimensions: 44.0mm x 11mm
- Three-piece case crafted in 18k red gold
- Two-position Speake-Marin crown
- Minute repeater slider on case band at 9 o’clock
- Sapphire crystal treated with anti-reflective coating
- Water resistance: 3atm/30m/100 feet