Introducing the Speake Marin Openworked Sandblasted Collection
The brand of Speake Marin has now existed for longer under the stewardship of Mrs. Christelle Rosnoblet, the current president and CEO than it did under its founder and namesake, British watchmaker Peter Speake (formerly Speake Marin). Although Speake did not leave his eponymous company until 2017, since 2012 it has been headed by Rosnoblet, who acquired the company around its tenth birthday.
However, despite Speake’s absence, the brand continues to honor many of the aesthetic codes established in the early days of its existence. This particular release sees the famous Piccadilly case outfitted with a gloriously open-worked dial that, thanks to the clean lines of the brand’s most identifiable silhouette leaps off the wrist and firmly embraces its role as the star of the show.
A satisfying maturation
It is interesting how, after more than two decades of existence, the Speake Marin brand feels like it has finally come of age. The brand now exudes the character of an elder statesman, whose eccentricities may have been jarring in their youth but now seem inescapably endearing. The Piccadilly case may be the perfect example of this phenomenon. Since its launch in 2002, it has remained largely unchanged. It is, inarguably, very much of its time. In the intervening years, there were moments when it seemed out of step with current trends. But now, as we experience a sudden surge of interest in the fashions of the early 21st century, the Piccadilly feels right at home.
Although the case retains the distinctive character of the original iteration, it was respectfully revamped by Eric Giroud in 2017 around the time of Peter Speake’s official departure from the brand. Giroud is himself a titan of modern watch design, working with multiple brands on many household-name projects throughout his career. His deft touch ensured the spirit of Speake’s Piccadilly case could continue into a new age of neo-vintage appreciation.
The old guard returns
We are in an era where once niche brands are finally earning their place in the sun, and once again Speake Marin is part of the zeitgeist. The Speake Marin Openworked Sandblasted collection is hitting the market at the perfect moment.
Two options exist in this current release. Customers can choose between a titanium or red gold case. Both cases feature the same movement with the same silvered sandblasted surface. Despite the identical innards, the watches look markedly different. The role played by the case materials should not be underestimated, with the red gold model evoking the past while the polished titanium nods to the future. Best of all (and quite possibly thanks to Rosnoblet’s direct direction), the Openworked Sandblasted models are available in two sizes, either 38 or 42 mm. Both options come in at just 10.5 mm thick (thanks to the off-set micro-rotor reducing the automatic movement’s necessary thickness) making them pleasingly unisex.
Regardless of your material or sizing preference, it is the movement and its open-worked dial side that truly steals the show. The fine blasted surfaces play with the light enticingly but it is the active elements of the caliber that draw the eye. The barrel engraving is particularly sublime.
Using raised characters like this is an ingenious way to get more depth out of laser-cutting tools. Despite popular misconception, laser beams do not cut at a 90-degree angle. Even the highest-aspect machines require a 10–12 degree “draft” which accounts for the laser beam being hottest in the center and cooling off at its edges. What this means in layman’s terms is that it is impossible to make a laser cut that is deeper than the line width is wide.
By inverting the cut so that the thinner lines of the letters remain proud and the material between them is cut away, a stronger, higher resolution effect can be achieved. It is far from a cost-effective method of decoration but the result is stunning and certainly a worthy focal point of a watch of such station.
Moved to action
The movement itself carries the designation SMA01, one of 11 movements the brand will have to its name by the end of 2023. The SMA01, as all Speake Marin watches, positions the going seconds display at 1:30, which adds complexity to the movement architecture (as the seconds work must pass through the setting work). Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, Speake Marin is the only watchmaker worldwide to position its sub-seconds dial thusly, adding a dash of uniqueness to the display.
The SMA01 has been developed by Le Cercle des Horlogers based in La Chaux-de-Fonds. It has a 52-hour power reserve and operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The four models that comprise the Openworked Sandblasted collection are available between CHF 22,200 and €38,700 depending on the case size and chosen material.
SPEAKE MARIN OPENWORKED SANDBLASTED
Reference: Titanium 38 (413817440), Titanium 42 (414217440), Red Gold 38 (423817440), Red Gold 42 (424217440)
Movement: Calibre SMA01 automatic movement with fully integrated micro-rotor.
Functions: Hours, minutes, and seconds
Case: Either 38 or 42 mm wide × 10.5 mm thick
Dial: Open-worked movement
Strap: Grained leather strap
Price: Titanium 38 mm, CHF 22,200; Titanium 42 mm, CHF 22,600; Red Gold 38 mm, CHF 34,000; Red Gold 42 mm, CHF 38,700. All prices excluding taxes.
Availability: Available now
MORE STORIES ABOUT SPEAKE-MARIN
|Movement||Self-winding caliber SW200-1b; 41-hour power reserve|
|Functions||Hours, minutes and seconds|
|Case||41.5mm; 316 steel with Cerulean blue stonewashed Cerakote coating, matte vintage navy aluminium bezel insert; water resistant to 300m|
|Dial||Matte vintage navy; hour markers outlined in Super-LumiNova|
|Strap||Vintage navy TPU-coated nylon; additional vintage navy nylon with fabric keepers|
|Limited Edition||Limited Edition of 200 pieces|