Horologium readers will know that my horological heart, Peter Speake-Marin wise, lies with his more traditional pieces – the Piccadilly case, the blued hands, the white dial. With this in mind, his release of a new model with these features, the Velsheda, is exciting news.
This is not Speake-Marin’s first single-handed watch. The Shimoda model, released a decade ago, also featured a single polished stainless steel heat-blued hand. In the case of the new Velsheda, the hand is still blued steel but is very different, extending in both directions from the centre, and has two superimposed trademark ‘topping tool’ motifs at the dial centre. The two superimposed topping tools are a rotating seconds wheel on top, and the time indicator below it. The time-telling hand travels round the dial once every 12 hours (unlike some brands, where one cycle is 24 hours), indicating the time on a five minute gradation scale.
Below the hands is a white lacquer dial in two layers, with black Roman numerals that taper gently towards the centre, an interesting dial development from Peter Speake-Marin that draws the eye inwards to its centre. As for the hand itself, there is the hour pointer at one end and what they are calling an arc at the other.
This new piece is named after the British “J Class” racing yacht Velsheda, designed in the 1930s. The choice of a single hand may/ may not be a deliberate nod to the Shimoda, just as it may/ may not, as some have theorised, be a nod, as an extended single-hand, to a compass.
The Velsheda is in a 42mm stainless steel Piccadilly case with a fluted, two-position crown. Inside is the Speake-Marin automatic Eros calibre with a five day power reserve, which can be seen through the open case back.
It comes on a handmade, natural alligator leather strap and is priced at CHF 8,500.