1. SPECIAL ATTENTION
When asked what he does to wind down, Peter Speake-Marin’s shot back: “Wind down? I’m always this hyper.” The British watchmaker claims to be kidding, but his timepieces do betray a little hyperactivity.
Chunky, frame-like cases and spade-shaped hands are his calling cards, but the dials can be anything. “I don’t have a board of directors to answer to. I have the freedom to do anything I can imagine and it won’t matter if I make a complete cock-up,” he says.
Which explains the collections brimming with watches featuring Japanese maki-e (a lacquer technique), jade, fossils, skull designs, one-hand dials and so on. And these are on top of the classic pieces and complications that form his core range.
That he isn’t a traditional Swiss watchmaker contributes to his capricious style. “The independent Swiss guys tend to have just one product and meticulously try to sell it. That would drive me insane.
“I am aware of consumer and industry trends, but I can’t compete with the big groups in trying to keep up, and I don’t really want to. It bores the hell out of me,” he adds.
But Speake-Marin isn’t just making watches to satisfy his creative whims. His goal is to build a legacy. “Many companies have made watches like the Reverso and Calatrava, but you will always associate those watches with Jaeger-LeCoultre and Patek Philippe,” he continues. “Similarly, my Spirit, Serpent and Resistance watches are going to outlive me and become future icons.”
Of course, Speake-Marin understands that creating iconic designs requires more than just watchmaking know-how. “Once you start thinking like a designer, you are no longer a normal human being,” he says. “Every time I walk into a restaurant, hotel or someone’s house, I wonder why the furniture or walls are placed or made the way they are. It’s hard to switch that kind of thinking off and sometimes my wife has to kick me to make sure I’m still ‘present’.”
In fact, his family is the only thing that grounds him. “Toddlers think they are the entire world, so my toddlers help pull me out of my watch world. Children really alter your perception of life, and I thank them for keeping me sane.”
2. EFFORTLESS ELEGANCE
After creating its most complicated watch last year in the form of the Grande Cosmopolite Tourbillon, Glashutte Original proves it hasn’t forgotten how to excel in simple, classic timepieces. The Senator Panorama Date with Moon Phase features the celestial function tucked discreetly between 10 and 11 o’clock and a date window at the opposite end. Blued steel hands stand out against the downsized, white lacquered dial. Available in a 40mm stainless steel or pink gold case.
3. IN TUNE WITH TIME
Marquetry is currently hot in watchmaking. But to appreciate it on a bigger scale, consider investing in Parmigiani Fleurier’s Clock 15 Days Blue Note. Like the watches it unveiled this year, the clock continues the independent brand’s homage to music, with a Mondrian-inspired design of a trumpet, double bass and piano on the dial. The Blue Note also features a 15-day power reserve, like the first clock made by Parmigiani in 2011.
4. CHASING THE BLUES
Hats off to IWC. Its latest special edition Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph “Laureus Sport for Good Foundation”, with its hallmark Laureus blue dial, marks the seventh time the brand is supporting disadvantaged children and adolescents. What’s special is that on the watch’s caseback is a medallion with an engraving of a drawing done by 12-year-old Hakkini Hasanga Sandumal de Silva, one of many children the foundation is hoping to help. Part of the proceeds from sales will go to the foundation. What better reason to open your wallet?