Speake-Marin’s Spirit Wing Commander Goes Into the Wild

Speake-Marin Spirit Wing CommanderAt Monochrome Watches, we believe watches are made to “live” — to be worn and to have their own story, visible through the marks that adorning their cases and straps. We love watches and always prefer seeing them on wrists rather than in display cases. Hence the thought behind our summer series showcasing watches worn and photographed by their creators, the watchmakers. Recently, our good friend, renowned British watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin, offered us some great shots he’d snapped of his Speake-Marin Spirit Wing Commander watch, in a setting far removed from its natural habitat.

Speake-Marin has contributed to the creation of some of the most complicated and coveted watches around, including the MB&F HM1, the very first model from that brand, and the Maîtres du Temps Chapter One Round Transparence. But he is mostly known for his own eponymous brand, which offers many complications and a very singular sense of design. In 2012, Speake-Marin came to us with the magnificent and complex skeletonized tourbillon watch with minute repeater, the Speake-Marin Renaissance. Recently, he presented two new watches that spotlighted his horological know-how, the Speake Marin Triad, with a triple time indication, and the Tourbillon Magister. (All photos below by Peter Speake-Marin.)

Speake-Marin Spirit Wing Commander

Speake Marin Spirit Wing Commander - 7

But the Speake-Marin watch brand is not only playing in the very high-end arena. For a few years now, the brand has also offered a more affordable collection: the Spirit Line, which uses many of the same iconic Speake-Marin design elements, including the Piccadilly case and the Foundation-style hands, but with a sportier approach. All of the watches that compose this collection – the Spirit Mk II, the Seafire Chronograph and the Wing Commander pictured here – are inspired by pilot instruments. Along with an enlarged case (42 mm), a matte black dial, and contrasting indexes and hands, Speake-Marin adds a lighter and stiffer case material, grade 5 titanium.

Speake Marin Spirit Wing Commander - 8

In order to maintain a relatively reasonable price (about $8,750) without any compromises on the quality and spirit of the brand, the Speake-Marin Spirit Wing Commander relies on an outsourced movement. However, this caliber offers a very interesting layout and displays useful indications, such as a big date at 12 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock (represented here by a white wheel in the ‘topping tool’ shape that Peter loves – an element now emblematic of the brand) and a power-reserve indicator at 6 o’clock, similar to a “fuel gauge,” which displays a bright, Super-LumiNova white when completely wound (full), turning black (half-full), and then red (running on empty) as the available energy diminishes.

Speake Marin Spirit Wing Commander - 9

The titanium case offers  great comfort on the wrist, due to its reasonably light weight. The indexes and numerals are made of white elements in Super-LumiNova, in 3D relief and inserted into the dial, creating a splendid contrast with the black dial and thus a very high legibility — an important point for any sports watch or pilot watch.

Speake Marin Spirit Wing Commander - 5

We were most surprised is to see how this watch was treated by its owner and creator for these photos — buried in the forest ground, attached to barbed wire, plunged in a river. And actually, it looks pretty good in these “back to nature” settings. The strap may be damaged and patinated, and the watch will certainly keep some scratches and dents after such a treatment, but it can be argued that this type of watch was made to handle that. And now it truly has a story written on its case and strap.

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