This spring, luxury watch brand Speake-Marin unveils a special edition dedicated to the early years of its founder. This special edition will only be available in the Fine Watch Room at Harrods, in London during summer where it will be officially launched. The London Chronograph is a tribute for Peter Speake-Marin to his first steps as watchmaker when he restored antique watches in the Piccadilly arcade in London.
After qualifying as a horologist at London’s Hackney College, Peter went to Switzerland to deepen his knowledge of watch making at the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program (WOSTEP) in Neuchâtel. Following his first three commercial watchmaking positions which were short lived, due to his hunger to grow as a watchmaker, he met Georges Somlo in 1990 and stayed in the arcade restoring early pocket and wrist watches during 6 years.
The London Chronograph is a special edition in many ways, by its number of pieces being made, but also by its heart. It is powered by a Valjoux 92 made during the 1950’s and 60’s. As with many mechanical calibres the quartz revolution in the late 60’s cut short the life of such calibres.
The movements used for the London Chronograph were purchased by a collector of vintage movements and stocked in a safe for many years, waiting to be part of this special edition, dedicated to the roots of Speake-Marin.
Today these calibres are rare, it was chosen by Peter for this project, because it is the same type of movement that he restored during his time in London during the 1990’s.
The Valjoux 92 was a popular chronograph movement from the 1950’s. Succeeding the popular Valjoux 23 family (including the Valjoux 72), the Valjoux 92 was similarly sized at 13 ligne (29.5 mm) but used very different technology. It was an oscillating pinion design, distinct at a glance for having two rather than three chronograph engagement wheels visible at the back. Although both Valjoux movements are column wheel designs, the Valjoux 92 has seven pillars versus the nine of all other Valjoux movements. Historical Valjoux chronograph movement were used by companies ranging from Patek Philippe to Rolex and Tag Heuer, they were one of the largest and most successful of movement manufacturers.
The London Chronograph is housed in a 42mm titanium case with a three dimensional white dial. On the dial, the Arabic numbers alternate with Roman numerals to bring a vintage touch, first seen on the Gothic Velsheda limited edition. The red 12 has classical connotations and associations with early pocket and wrist watches made in England where on some classical designs the entire dial numbers were in black with the exception of the 12.
The centre seconds chronograph is married in colour to the 30 minute recorder hand located at3 o’clock on the dial. The two subsidiary dials for the 30 minute recorder and the seconds dial are both seen to float on the dial and below them is found the Speake-Marin topping tool logo wheel fitted to the hour wheel turning with the hour hand.
The Central Speake-Marin signature “Foundation” style hands in heat blued steel bring the final touch to this very special edition.
This special edition will only be available in the Fine Watch Room at Harrods, in London during summer as part as the Made with Love and Precision campaign. Made with Love and Precision is a celebration of the horological offering which has established Harrods as the ultimate destination for Fine Watches. Throughout July and August 2016, the luxury department store will hero twenty three of the world’s most important fine watch houses through a stunning exhibition of timepieces launching exclusively at Harrods, a dedicated Brompton Road window takeover and innovative retail theatre. This celebration will continue throughout the store, where extraordinary craftsmanship will be brought to the fore with highlights including exciting product exclusives and engaging retail activity.
The London Chronograph Special Edition
Valjoux 92, mechanical hand wound movement
Frequency: 18000 beats per hour
Jewelling: 17 jewels
Power Reserve ~ 40 hours
Central hours and minutes
30 minute counter at 3 o’clock
Constant seconds hand at 9 o’clock
Central chronograph seconds hand
Iconic Piccadilly case in titanium with brushed ‘DLC’ sides
Front and back sapphire crystal treated with anti-reflective coating
Diameter: 42 mm
Water resistance: 3 bar (30 meters)
White three dimensional dial
Black minute and second indications
Roman and Arabic numerals
Red “12” Roman numeral
Hands: Central Speake-Marin signature “Foundation” style hands in heat blued steel
Buckle: Folding buckle in titanium