Although I did not get to spend as much time at the GTE as I had hoped and which it deserved, a visit to Peter Speake-Marin was mandatory, as it had been a few years since we last met in Sydney and it was time to catch up with him and to see some models that I haven’t yet had the chance to see ‘in the metal’, namely the Spirit, Resilience and Renaissance.
First up was the ‘Spirit’, with its very personal message of “fight, love, persevere” on the back, representing the human spirit according to Peter. The Spirit’s dial is a deep black, made from black resin. Its Superluminova is hand applied, each mould used only once. Although not immediately visible to the naked eye at first glance, the dial has, in fact, several layers. The Superluminova covered tramlines are at a level slightly lower than the dial, the Roman numerals 2mm above surface, and the dots .3mm above the dial’s surface. At 7,000 CHF, this is his ‘cheapest’ watch to date and this, along with its radically different (for him) design from any of his previous watches has meant that it is already his bestselling watch ever, although the first deliveries will not start until April 2013.
Next up is Speake-Marin’s Resilience in its classic Piccadilly case with an old-school oven‑fired enamel dial, classic blue-steeled hands, Roman numerals, and featuring his Eros 2 calibre inside. If the Spirit is all about the ‘new’ Speake-Marin, then the Resilience is utterly about updating the early Speake-Marin.
Arguably created to show off his watchmaking skills, since he has been more well-known for more simple watches, the Renaissance is an open-dialled tourbillon minute-repeater inside the Piccadilly case with his signature Foundation hands and topping tool motif and the personal touch of each movement being decorated with a different hand-engraved design according to the owner’s wishes, making each watch a piece unique. This is what appeals to many about independent watchmakers after all, is it not? The opportunity to work with the person behind the brand to get a very personalised timepiece?
Despite a very hectic schedule at GTE, it was good to be able to be able to spend some time with Peter that afternoon. He is feeling confident about the future of the brand, and of where he wishes to take it. Although the Spirit (and the earlier Marins 1 and 2 in the last few years) have meant the broadening of the range of people who may be interested in his watches from a design point of view, for me it will always be about the very classic white dial, blue-steeled hands in a Piccadilly case that epitomises the Speake-Marin brand.