Finding a great dress watch, it seems, is a never-ending challenge. On the one hand, you want a watch that complements your outfit and stands out, but at the same time doesn’t draw too much unnecessary attention to itself. It needs to be different enough to set you apart from every other person in the room wearing a nice suit and a (insert major brand name here) watch on their wrist, but still have a sufficient degree of brand recognition so you’re don’t have to spend the entire night explaining to people why it’s a nice watch. The Speake-Marin Resilience in 18k red gold doesn’t quite satisfy all these criteria, but it does come close.
Personally, I’ve always found the Speake-Marin brand to be somewhat of an outlier. Over the last few years, it has evolved to become arguably one of the more mainstream independent watch-makers, with clearly defined watch categories and a traditional marketing strategy. It even has a highly recognizable brand ambassador in the form of Pierce Brosnan. Still, I feel like the brand is not that well known outside of hardcore watch enthusiasts. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just something I find a little curious.
The upside to this of course, is that you can wear a gorgeous piece like the Speake-Marin Resilience to a fancy dinner and be confident that no one else in the room will be wearing the same model, or even something from the same brand (unless of course it’s a dinner with other hardcore watch enthusiasts.) This for me is something of a rarity in our increasingly homogenised world, and means you can stand out with a watch that, quite frankly, has been designed not to stand out.
What I mean by that of course, is that the Speake-Marin Resilience is an exercise in understated style and elegance. It looks good and draws the eye because it is well made, with lots of nice little touches, not because of some cheap gimmicks designed to get attention.
The version we are looking at today is the 42mm model with an 18k red gold Piccadilly case, which is arguably a little large in diameter for a traditional dress watch. There is also a 38mm option, for those who prefer something a little smaller, however, I must say that the 42mm version wears smaller on the wrist than I was expecting. I think this is due to the relatively thin case (12mm) and short lugs (although they don’t look that short in the photos.) I’m not suggesting this means the 38mm will wear even smaller but it’s something worth considering.
What I love about the Resilience however, is the attention to detail. Instead of trying to incorporate too much into this watch, Speake-Marin has focused on doing a few things really well. The best example of this, of course, is the gorgeous oven-fired, white enamel dial with oversized Roman numerals and a chapter ring for the minutes. The stark contrast of black and white makes for quite a powerful looking dial and is finished perfectly by the central Speake-Marin signature ‘Foundation’ style hands in heat blued steel. It’s almost as if this watch was designed to be worn with a tuxedo. Framing the dial is a polished, stepped bezel, which further adds to the impression that the watch is smaller than it is. Completing the case is a distinctive fluted crown.
Inside is the Calibre Vaucher 3002, a hand-finished automatic movement comprised of 28 jewels and offering 50 hours of power reserve. It beats at a steady 4Hz and is capable of displaying the hours, minutes and central seconds. Visible through the sapphire caseback, the blued rotor in the form of a topping tool (the Speake-Marin logo) is always a nice touch. Although this model no longer features an in-house movement, it is still a very good quality calibre from a highly reputable manufacturer (read our in-depth coverage of the Vaucher Manufacture here.) Completing the look is a natural alligator leather strap, made by hand and paired with a pin buckle in matching red gold.
Overall I found the 42mm Speake-Marin Resilience in 18k red gold to be a nice watch, with a focus on quality execution and the finer details. At USD 31,800 it’s definitely not a cheap watch but I do think it is comparable to other, similar 18k red gold dress watches plus there is the added benefit of knowing it is small production model from an independent watchmaker. www.speake-marin.com.
Technical Specifications – Speake-Marin Resilience 42mm Red Gold
- Case: 42mm diameter – 18k red gold – sapphire crystal on both sides – 30m water resistant
- Movement: Calibre Vaucher 3002 – hand-finished – automatic – 50h power reserve – 4Hz frequency – hours, minutes, small second.
- Strap: Handmade, natural Alligator leather strap with 18k red gold pin buckle
- Price / Reference: PIC.10012 – USD 31,800