Classic Beauty meets Exquisite Precision
Refined elegance and Peter Speake-Marin go hand in hand
Article by John Galt
Carrying on with my five personal highlights from BaselWorld 2016 with a visit to Speake-Marin booth; whilst others on the ground floor have huge stands that shout ‘look at me, look at me’ there is none of that here on the first floor with Speake-Marin – just discreet elegance much like their timepieces. The main surprise for me was unlike many other brands Peter was there himself showing his timepieces to people with everyone ( myself included) hanging off his every word as he speaks with passion and pride of what he has developed and I for one can’t wait till the next time I get to talk watches with him.
Peter Speake-Marin’s love for the exquisite tourbillon is world renowned; the first piece to ever bear his name was the foundation watch – a hand-made pocket watch equipped with a gorgeous tourbillon escapement. Now they have come up with this exquisite creation called the Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon and as you can guess by the name, this is a double 60-second tourbillon linked beautifully by a limited slip spring clutch with both configured vertically.
“The tourbillon is one of the things that I love most about watchmaking. Not because of the precision it gives to the timekeeping, but because of the animation it gives to the dial. It shows time moving in a way that a minute-repeater or a Grande sonnerie, for example, can’t offer. It’s something which, for me, is quite profound, illustrating the passing of time.” – Peter Speake-Marin
Let’s start by looking at the tourbillon first as they are the main feature of this piece.
Speake-Marin has thought long and hard about the placement of the double tourbillon and in my opinion has got it spot on by positioning them on the far left hand side of the dial, thus allowing the wearer to easily read the time on the off-centre dial without having to fully reveal the piece from under a shirt cuff whilst the double tourbillon remain discreetly concealed. Both tourbillon’s are supported by a large single bridge that is hand-finished with mirror polished internal bevels. Each of the tourbillon have their own gear train powered by its own mainspring barrel which means they run independently of each other even though the barrels are wound simultaneously via the crown. The Piccadilly case size is 46mm so on the large side, but this size was chosen perfectly as it offers a perfect time display layout while still leaving enough space for the tourbillons to be fully appreciated by the wearer and not to feel squeezed.
Two versions are available (plus a soon to be released black version), one in white gold the other in rose gold which I prefer as the warm feel of the gold really accentuates the tourbillon and the dial seems to float majestically. The off-centred oven-fired enamel dial with roman numerals and rail track minute markers round the outer edge harks back to dials of old pocket watches in its appearance. Speake-Marin’s typical blued-steel hands indicate the hours and minutes and that it all so as not to spoil the clean crisp appearance of the dial. Just above the dial is a power reserve indicator displaying the power by means of a cam-shaped disc that when fully wound opens to reveal the gears and mechanism below then slowly closing to reveal a red section when in need of winding. Below the dial and keeping the symmetry perfect is a day/night indicator.
Turning the piece over you are greeted by a large exhibition case-back showing off the underside of the double tourbillons and the small wheel nestled between their openings. This is the rate equalizer which takes the rate of the two independent regulators and transmits the average of the two to display the time. The Movement is Speake-Marin’s own in-house hand-wound calibre sm6 which beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and will guarantee a good 72 hours of power reserve. As with all Speake-Marin pieces the finishing is exquisite including German silver bridge’s, perlage and ruthenium plating and with the usual Geneva strips covering the ¾ plate movement in two directions.
Each limited edition is available in only five pieces making it extremely rare and priced at just over £190,000
This piece is quite simply beautiful, with its vintage inspired dial to those double tourbillons that I could watch for hours it is superb. Given that there will only be five of each made I don’t expect to see them on someone’s wrist but probably hidden away in a safe which is an enormous shame but I am sure these will be a classic in years to come.