English watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin has been creating high-end timepieces out of his atelier in Switzerland for over a decade. In this time, the Speake-Marin collection has grown to include complications such as jumping hours, perpetual calendars, tourbillons and minute repeaters. But no chronograph – until now.
Speake-Marin Spirit Seafire – A bit of history
The Speake-Marin Spirit Seafire is Speake-Marin’s first ever chronograph. Where does its name come from ? The Spirit Seafire is the first Speake-Marin chronograph and its name is fitting since it is inspired by another ‘first’ – one from the sphere of aviation – the Supermarine Seafire. The Seafire was the first modern carrier-based airplane fielded by the British Royal Navy to protect its fleet when it debuted in 1942. The Seafire was, in essence, a seaborne version of Supermarine’s Spitfire – Seafire was a contraction of ‘Sea Spitfire’ – and the two aircraft shared many design features including an elliptical wing shape.
Speake-Marin Spirit Seafire – Tradition, and… Speake-Marin’s touch
In addition to its chronograph counters (central elapsed seconds; elapsed minutes subdial at 12 o’clock; elapsed hours subdial at 6 o’clock), it features central hours and minutes; date at 3 o’clock; seconds wheel at 9 o’clock in the form of the Speake-Marin ‘topping tool’ logo; and signature Piccadilly case in polished grade 5 titanium with straight-grained sides.
The Seafire’s three-dimensional hour markers, minute chapter ring, chronograph subdials, date and tips of the hands are all in a bright white Super-LumiNova that contrasts against the matte black dial. The white Super-LumiNova glows an atmospheric green in the dark, creating a legible display, both day and night.
“I have always wanted a chronograph to bear the Speake-Marin name,” says Peter Speake-Marin. “It was just a matter of finding the right platform. The Speake-Marin Spirit collection struck me as the perfect environment. I felt I could harness the Spirit’s casual style and clean aesthetics to create a highly original chronograph design. A chronograph is also in keeping with the Spirit’s military inspiration – and that’s why I have christened it the Seafire, after the iconic plane formerly deployed by the British navy to protect its fleet.”
Why it is a piece you need to consider ? Because Peter Speake-Marin has put considerable thought into optimising the Seafire’s legibility. Not only has he skeletonised the central Speake-Marin signature ‘Foundation’ hour and minute hands, but he has also designed the counterweight of the central chronograph elapsed seconds hand as an open circle. Such design features ensure clear, unobstructed views of the chronograph counters.
It is rare to see Roman numerals feature on chronograph counters, but here Peter has used them for the subdial at 6 o’clock. This touch of refinement echoes the other models in the collection and helps to distinguish elapsed hours from the elapsed minutes in Arabic numerals at 12 o’clock. Wise, simple and unique, as the watch itself. Price on the Speake-Marin Spirit Seafire is CHF 7,900.