Details have just been released of the Speake-Marin Renaissance Tourbillon Minute-Repeater. At The Watch Press.com we do not normally mention prices - it's simply not good "watch-etiquette". However, when Peter Speake-Marin released his last piece, the Spirit Pioneer, a fine and handsome limited edition watch, we couldn't help ourselves - at just a shade under £7000, it was dare we say it .... a bit of a bargain, and unsuprisingly it quickly sold out. The Renaissance, on the other hand, will be one of the most expensive created by Speake-Marin to date - but with both a tourbillon and a minute-repeater, an impressive open dial, superb hand engraving, hand finishing and the re-assurance of exclusivity as each piece will be a "piece unique" - you'd have to say it's more than worth it.
If you know Speake-Marin's work then you will recognise the Piccadilly case with its proudly protruding over-size lugs, the out-size sculpted crown, the shapely, playful hands and the inclusion of the "topping tool" motif, now an expected feature. The Renaissance is a compendium of these Speake-Marin elements and represents a synopsis of his watchmaking attributes - just when it appeared that this Master Watchmaker had reached his own self-disciplined level of perfection, with the creation of this piece, it would appear that the man has outdone himself.
This is, at 44mm a slightly smaller Piccadilly case than before and at 11mm is positively skinny for a minute-repeater wristwatch. The skeletonised dial is a labyrinth of angles, curves and screws. Each component regardless of its size, function or importance has been hand-finished. The blued-steel hands provide outstanding contrast, the topping-tool motif integrated within the tourbillon carriage is subtle and clever.
On the back of the piece the four plate construction of the movement provides a striking backdrop for hand engraving - in this piece a dragon is represented, but each Renaissance will feature unique artwork. The chime mechanism is a two-hammer minute-repeater which will sound the hours, quarter hours and minutes each time the slider on the case side at 9 o'clock is activated. A glimpse of the hammers and gong can be seen through the case back with the enscription "London-Geneva" on the main-spring bridge of the repeater.
The superb Speake-Marin Renaissance is presented on a natural alligator leather strap.