British independent watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin, founder of the eponymous Swiss watch brand, has partnered with Wealth Solutions, a Poland-based collectors’ club specializing in the curation of rare beverages and art, to create the limited-edition Rum Watch, whose white-lacquered dial holds a tiny capsule of 1780 Harewood Rum, the oldest rum in the world.
How did this antique spirit find its way into a modern-day timepiece? Its journey began in 2011 when Mark Lascelles, an heir to the Harewood estate in central England, came across a cache of rare 1780 Harewood Rum bottles while exploring the cellars of the palace where it had been placed in the early 19th century. Made in Barbados, while Barbados was still a British colony, the rum had been gathering dust and aging ever since. Shortly after its discovery, the Wealth Solutions club — originator of the famous Cognac watch, the first in the Spirit Watch series, which included a capsule of 1762 Gautier cognac — acquired a bottle of the nearly 250-year-old rum for use in the second timepiece in the series.
Speake-Marin, known for combining classical Swiss watchmaking techniques with distinctively British themes, proved the ideal partner to produce the Rum Watch. The 42-mm case, in titanium or 18k rose gold, is in Speake-Marin’s signature “Piccadilly” style, with sapphire crystals in the front and back. The winding crown is set with a cabochon, in either aquamarine (for the titanium watch) or rubellite (for the rose-gold).
The dial, white lacquered with Roman numerals on both versions, pays tribute to rum’s historical associations with the British navy. It has a single heat-blued, red-pointed hand, fashioned after that on a traditional sea compass, to indicate the time. The placement of the capsule of antique rum — at 11 o’clock — symbolizes an old maritime tradition. It was at that exact hour that crewmen in the Royal Navy would receive their regular allotment of rum. At that moment, referred to as “Up Spirits,” each seaman would drink one eighth of the imperial pint, or approximately 70 ml. The engraving on the caseback — “Stand Fast the Holy Ghost” — was the exclamation that summoned the sailors for the distribution of rum. (The “Holy Ghost,” as one might expect, was the honorarium given to whomever was distributing the rum portions.)
The movement in the Speake-Marin Rum Watch is the self-winding Vaucher Caliber 3002, which has a power reserve of 50 hours and enhanced with a blued rotor shaped like a watchmaker’s topping tool, another hallmark of the Speake-Marin brand. Both watches come on alligator straps with folding buckle in either titanium or rose gold. The rose-gold version of the Speake-Marin Rum Watch is limited to 20 pieces, and the titanium version to just 80 pieces, for a total of 100. Each watch, produced exclusively for Wealth Solutions, is hand-engraved on one side of the case with the caption “One out of 100.”