HANDS-ON: The Speake-Marin One & Two Openworked Tourbillon blends the best of youth and traditionZach Blass
Homogenous design. In a marketplace where it seems consumers have tunnel vision towards particular design segments, watch manufacturers have often bent to the trend of the moment rather than forge their own path. While many watch geeks love innovation and fresh aesthetics, brands do not always see the incentive from the broader marketplace. Speake-Marin, however, remains steadfast in having a distinct and distinguished catalogue. Sure, the brand has grown in recent years, and even recently introduced their strong entry into the ever-popular sports watch category. But the Ripples, arguably, is the gateway drug of the catalogue – a starting point for many, but by no means the finishing line of one’s intrigue. Their Academic and Ripples collections are just where the party gets started. At their core, one of Speake-Marin’s strongest assets is their ability to weave traditional horology of the highest order into classic yet youthful expressions – never leaning too far towards either side of the spectrum. And their newly debuting Speake-Marin One & Two Openworked Tourbillon Limited Editions are prime examples of that.
Four expressions of the watch are available to explore. You can choose between two case metals, black DLC-treated titanium and rose gold, and each are available in both 38mm and 42mm case sizes – 10 of each configuration, 40 pieces in total. No matter which size you opt for, each of the Picadilly-styled cases are 30 metres water-resistant and 12.35mm thick.
The case metals are both finished in the same style, with polished or glossy finishes to the lugs and bezel and a caseband so richly and finely brushed you cannot see the lines of the finish unless you look closely. A hair over 12mm thick may not coincide with the typically thinner profile of a dressier timepiece, but when you consider the smart-casual nature of these Openworked Tourbillon limited editions, and the depth of their dials, any qualms you may have will immediately be forgiven.
While the cases can be purchased in different materials and colour schemes, the dials all leverage stealthy black and dark grey tones – resulting in a more youthful and modern vibe. But do not be mistaken, traditional craftsmanship is definitely at play here as well. As an openworked watch, the in-house designed, developed, and assembled Speake-Marin calibre SMA05 is the star of the show – front and back – impeccably finished by their in-house watchmakers.
The matte finish to the dial-side components allow the chamfers found on the darkened bridges to pop that much more, the clearest sign of haute horology finishing being the curved-spoked tourbillon-carriage wheel at the 1:30 position, the very wheel that is used as Speake-Marin’s logo, revealing sharply finished angles. The black framed central hours and minutes hand are executed in the signature spade-suit style of the brand, filled with a brighter grey colour to ensure they are visible against the darker backdrop. At 5’ you will find the movement’s micro-rotor, winding the watch as it is worn – your wrist beneath serving as the backdrop of this highly opened segment of the calibre. Lastly, at the 7:30 position is a small power-reserve indicator that will let you know just how much of the 72 hours of power the barrel at 10’ has stored.
You would think a high complication watch such as this would be offered on a leather strap, but this is not Speake-Marin’s style. Instead, you have a supple rubber strap that is super comfortable on the wrist.
The rubber strap is outfitted with a case-matching pin/buckle closure, and, with many loopholes, you have plenty of increments of size to work with. The straps we saw were in two different tones of grey, but Speake Marin makes rubber straps in a variety of colours you could explore for these watches as well.
The SMA05, in this execution, may be a modern matte in finish frontside. But, in line with their pursuit to blend tradition and modernity, the backside of the calibre, also beneath an AR-coated sapphire crystal, reveals traditional decorations such as Cotes de Geneve, circular-graining, and thin and gorgeous chamfers with elements of beadblasting as well.
Off-centered tourbillon placements are not strictly a Speake-Marin design cue, but the 1:30 placement is certainly a hallmark of the brand. And, just to tick off a few more spec-boxes, the movement is comprised of 290 components, runs at a 3 Hz/21,600 vph beat rate, and, again, has a weekend-proof 72 hours of power reserve on a full wind off the wrist.
To be honest, with my smaller wrist I previously found the Picadilly-style case very intimidating. But, with both 38mm and 42mm options, the cases will wear really well on most wrists – the 38mm suited very well to my 6.5-inch wrist. The sloped lugs create a nice wrapping camber, and, on the supplied rubber strap, hugs the wrist very nicely. Obviously a high complication comes at a higher cost, and the piece is very limited, but those in the market for a high-tier timepiece who enjoy being different from the herd, will find a lot to love in this watch. And if you like the Speake-Marin Openworked Tourbillon, but your wallet cannot swing it just yet, definitely explore the time-only Academic line which is Speake-Marin’s entry point into the distinct and distinguished brand.
Speake-Marin Openworked Tourbillon Limited Edition pricing and availability:
The Speake-Marin One & Two Openworked Tourbillon Limited Edition is available now as a limited edition of 10 pieces per configuration. Price: TBA
|Model||One & Two Openworked Tourbillon|
|Case Dimensions||38m or 42mm x 12.355mm|
|Case Material||Matte black DLC-coated titanium or 18K rose gold|
|Straps||Rubber with case matching pin/buckle|
|Functions||Hours, Minutes, Tourbillon, Power Reserve|
|Finishes||Côtes de Genève, circular-graining, beadblasting and chamfering|
|Power Reserve||72 hours|
|Availability||10 pcs. per configuration – four configurations. Available Now|