After officially leaving back in June 2017, Peter Speake-Marin is no longer associated with the marque that bears his name. However, Speake-Marin the brand still had a strong showing at this week’s SIHH fair. While it had a number of interesting new novelties, there’s one watch that really stood out to us: the London Chronograph Valjoux 92.
What’s fascinating about this watch is that while it’s a new introduction for 2018, the movement has been sourced from the late ’50s/early ’60s, a time before the Quartz Crisis disrupted the Swiss watch industry. The Valjoux 92 caliber has been safely stored away in a safe for the past six decades thanks to an unnamed watchmaker or collector that had the bright idea of preserving the movement for a time when mechanical watchmaking could be appreciated once more. Thankfully, these nuggets of horological history were not lost to the past and one of the brand’s watchmakers meticulously repaired 15 of these calibers to make them fit for contemporary usage.
Set in a 42 mm titanium case, the watch is supremely modern. You would have no idea that inside laid a 60-year old movement unless someone told you. It is a chronograph, so you have a 45-minute subdial at 3 o’clock and a constant seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, but what’s atypical here is the three-dimensional nature of the two counters. Both of the subdials are “floating,” which is a decidedly futuristic take on a watch with a vintage movement. At the center of the dial, the central rotor is shaped like the Speake-Marin symbol and rotates with the hours. This central rotor is engraved with “London” and “Chronograph,” two words that appear at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock, respectively. At 2, 4, 6, 8, and 12 o’clock, the indices are replaced with letters spelling out Speake.
The juxtaposition of old and new is fascinating here and it’s a statement piece for a brand that will continue to develop its place in the industry, without its eponym, in the coming years.
The Speake-Marin London Chronograph is limited to 15 total pieces and will be priced at 17,200 CHF.
I think this watch is quite hideous in appearance.
Like the article very much. Dr David