Speake-Marin Goes Back to His Roots With Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater

SpeakeMarin_Renaissance_frontWhile he was working at the Swiss movement manufacturer Renaud et Papi, British watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin created, on his own time, a pocketwatch with a tourbillon and two power trains that is today referred to as the Foundation Watch. It is so named because it established Speak-Marin’s horological bonafides and provided the foundation for his own independent atelier, established in 2000. Since then, Speake-Marin has become a respected name in the field of artisan and boutique watch brands. At this year’s Baselworld watch fair, Speake-Marin introduced a wristwatch called Renaissance, which incorporates many elements of his early models and includes a tourbillon and minute repeater.

The Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater is characterized by its slim design and open-dial architecture, featuring elegantly crafted bridges and meticulous finishing on the parts. Collectors and fans of the brand will note the presence of quintessential Speake-Marin elements that were first established in the Foundation pocketwatch and in some of the earliest Speake-Marin wristwatches: the familiar Piccadilly case (named for the London neighborhood of the antique shop where Speake-Marin cut his horological teeth restoring antique timepieces); the big, fluted crown; the signature “Foundation” hands; and a high level of intricate hand-engraving. Another Speake-Marin motif, an element shaped like a watchmaker’s topping-tool, used in other watches as a winding rotor and seconds counter, is here used in the tourbillon cage. (Click on pictures below for wallpaper images.)

“This timepiece represents a fresh start in my work, which is why I named it “Renaissance”, Speake-Marin says. “I wanted to create a timepiece that is, in a sense, a reinvention of my work, that puts much of my previous work together into one watch, reflecting on and bringing back all those elements that makes Speake-Marin what it is, that makes me who I am, while at the same time taking a step forward in the evolution of my craft and of the Speake-Marin brand.”

Speake-Marin Renaissance front CU

Speake-Marin Renaissance front profile
To develop the tourbillon, Speake-Marin enlisted the experts at La Fabrique du Temps in Geneva, who built it to his specifications. Positioned at 5 o’clock, the 60-second tourbillon’s function is to maximize timekeeping precision by averaging the effects of positional variations caused by gravity. However, to many watch aficionados, a tourbillon’s more important role is an aesthetic one, and this one should not disappoint: as it rotates, it catches the light and the eye thanks to the fine finishing of its topping-tool shaped cage, and of the heat-blued hand that indicates seconds. An isochronism-improving free-sprung balance and a lightweight, energy-efficient silicon escape wheel and anchor are also integrated into the movement, as elements to improve timekeeping precision.

The minute repeater is activated by a slider on the case band at 9 o’clock. It chimes the hours, the quarter-hours and minutes after the quarter-hours so enabling the ‘reading’ of the time without having to look at or see the dial. It features an “all-or-nothing” mechanism, found on the highest-quality minute repeaters, which avoids the incorrect time being chimed if the slide is incompletely activated. The regularity of the chimes are silently and precisely controlled by a centrifugal inertia regulator, which is visible through the sapphire exhibition caseback. Also on display are the repeater hammers and the gong with ‘London-Geneva’ engraved on the repeater mainspring bridge — again, a nod to Speake-Marin’s days as a watch restorer in London, where he first learned about repeaters, and his early days as an independent watchmaker in Switzerland) while the straight drum-like sides and form of the Piccadilly case and the open dial act as an amplifier for the crystalline chimes.

Speake-Marin Renaissance back CU

Speake-Marin Renaissance back profile


Watching the repeater elements at work is not the only reason to take a loupe to the caseback: the back side of each Renaissance movement is decorated with a different intricate hand-engraved design (the model Speake-Marin showed at Basel has a dragon motif), making each one a unique piece. Speake-Marin plans to make only six pieces total and has set a price of 270,000 Swiss francs for each.

Technical characteristics:

Movement: Dimensions = 32.4mm x 5.36mm; power reserve = 100 hours; 29 jewels; 330 components; Speake-Marin signature motif topping-tool design tourbillon cage; free-sprung balance; balance frequency = 21,600 vph/3Hz; silicon anchor and escape wheel; two-hammer minute repeater featuring all-or-nothing mechanism; Speake-Marin bridge design and hand-finishes; unique, hand-engraved motif on back plate; minute repeater chime mechanism engraved with “Geneva – London”

Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds (on tourbillon cage); minute repeater featuring an all-or-nothing mechanism and centrifugal inertia regulator; 60-second tourbillon

Dial and hands: Foundation-style, heat-blued hour and minute hands; heat-blued seconds hand on tourbillon cage at 5 o’clock; open dial revealing finely-finished movement

Case and strap: Three-piece Piccadilly case in 18k rose gold; dimensions = 44 mm x 11 mm; two-position Speake-Marin crown; minute repeater slider on case band at 9 o’clock; sapphire crystal treated with nonreflective coating; water-resistant to 30 meters; sapphire display back; “Speake-Marin – Minute Repeater – The Piccadilly – Tourbillon” engraved on circumference of caseback; natural alligator-skin strap with gold tang buckle

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