Independent watchmaker Speake Marin unveils the Dong Son, a specially commissioned, limited edition timepiece featuring an 18k red gold dial with etched motif inspired by ancient prehistoric bronze drums of the Dong Son culture in the Red River Delta of Vietnam.
The intricately detailed dial is complemented by the drum-like Speake-Marin Piccadilly case in 18k red gold, further evoking the beauty of the ancient Dong Son drums. In addition to the signature Piccadilly case, the Dong Son possesses other quintessential Speake-Marin qualities including characteristic pleated crown and mystery winding rotor, and features the new, automatic-winding Eros 1 movement with five-day power reserve.
Dong Son drums are bronze drums crafted by the Dong Son culture in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam between about 600 BC and the third century AD. The Dong Son people were highly-skilled bronze casters and their drums are considered to represent an artistic level that few cultures of the time could match. Weighing up to 100kg, some drums would have required the smelting of between one and seven tons of copper ore. Since the late 17th century, more than 200 such drums have been discovered from eastern Indonesia to Vietnam and parts of southern China.
It is generally thought that the Dong Son drums were used as musical instruments in festivals, in prayers for rain and for good harvest, in rituals such as weddings and funerals, and for rallying men for war. The sides and top surface of the drums were usually decorated with geometric patterns and realistically inscribed scenes depicting daily life, for example war, animals and boats.
These traditional patterns and iconography provide the inspiration for the highly-intricate dial motif of the Speake-Marin Dong Son watch. In fact, the Dong Son dial motif takes its cues from some of the most revered Dong Son drum creations, including the Hoàng Ha drum, Co Loa drum and the most important of all due to its well-preserved nature and intricate decoration, the famous Ngoc Lu drum. The top surfaces of these drums are adorned with a central starburst and concentric circles within which are repetitive images of armed warriors and flying egrets as well as geometric hatching.
The dial motif of the Speake-Marin Dong Son follows a similar pattern to these historical masterpieces, with an outer ring of graceful egrets complemented by an inner ring featuring plumed warriors holding their weapons between the 12 points of the eye-catching starburst. These 12 points also form a neat horological reference for the central pomme hands indicating hours, minutes and seconds.
It is not just the iconography of the Dong Son drum motif that gives the Dong Son dial its vitality, but also the spectacular precision of the etching in the 1.0mm 18k gold dial. The etched areas are 0.3mm deep and boast a matte finishing which impresses when applied to the natural red gold and when the dial is treated with an ‘all white’ or ‘all blue’ process that provides a breath-taking contrast with the circular-grained, red gold motif.
The Dong Son features an 18k red gold Piccadilly case with soldered lugs, bearing all the hallmarks of Speake-Marin’s meticulous quest to create classical masterpieces that endure – just like the Dong Son drums themselves.
At first glance the three-piece case appears similar to the original Piccadilly, but on closer inspection it can be seen that this one is much slimmer – just 12mm in height and 38mm in diameter – an elegant design made possible by the new Eros 1 calibre.
The Eros 1 calibre is an automatic winding movement and features a long, five-day power reserve and the signature Speake-Marin ‘mystery’ winding rotor. The large-diameter, circular-grained movement dominates the view through the display-back and provides a technical backdrop for the beautifully finished rotor.
Model: SPEAKE MARIN Dong Son Limited Edition
Dial and Hands:
• 18K 5N red gold dial decorated with fine etching inspired by Dong Son drum motifs
• Central pomme hour, minute and second hands
• Calibre EROS 1, automatic-winding mechanical movement
• Central hours, minutes and seconds
• Dimensions: 30.40mm x 4.35mm
• Power reserve: 120 hours
• Jewels: 35
• Twin barrels
• Frequency: 28,800vph / 4Hz
• Three position crown: manual winding, rapid date correction and stop-second time setting
• Signature Speake-Marin ‘topping tool’ mystery rotor
• Blue winding rotor
Case and strap:
• Iconic Speake-Marin Piccadilly case crafted in 18K 5N red gold
• Three-piece case construction
• Dimensions: 38mm x 12mm
• Front and display-back sapphire crystals treated with anti-reflective coating
• Case-back circumference engraving: “Speake-Marin – The Piccadilly”
• Water resistance: 3atm/30m/100ft
• Genuine, natural alligator leather strap