It is extremely rare for every single component of a watch’s case, its dial and its movement to be designed by just one man. When that man has the talent of master watchmaker Peter Speake‐Marin, the result is a timepiece of transcendental harmony of form and function, aesthetics and technique. The result is the Thalassa.
Hours, minutes, seconds and date powered by a manual winding movement – the words almost belie the complexity of a timepiece whose each and every element has been thought out, designed, fabricated and hand‐finished with functional purpose, holistic unity and long‐term reliability in mind.
While the eye is immediately attracted to the visually striking blued‐hardened steel outer dial and the iconic Speake‐Marin wheel displaying seconds, the superb hand‐finished movement visible through the transparent sapphire inner dial soon draws the viewer’s gaze ever deeper, hinting at the complexities within. The juxtaposition of blued‐steel between the warm German silver bridges of the movement and white gold of the case highlights every aspect of this uncompromising watchmaker’s watch.
Turning the timepiece over, a panoramic display‐back filling the whole diameter of the case is revealed. The breathtaking vista of the calibre SM2m manual‐winding movement encompasses the hand‐finished, sweeping gothic curves of the German silver bridges, over‐sized jewels and screws and the elegant, double‐ended swan’s neck for the regulation. It also showcases the sublime artistry of the movement’s architecture. However, the fact that this apparently “simple” movement comprises 146 parts – more than many tourbillons – all of which have been manufactured specifically for this calibre is evidence that there is far more to it than meets the casual observer’s eye. From the sublime allure of its hand‐finished components to the over‐engineered quality of its mechanisms, the SM2m will provide both accuracy and pleasure in equal measure for generations to come.
“Stylistically I wanted this watch to be very recognisably mine. It follows very closely many of the features first seen in my original Foundation pocket watch, e.g. the topping tool inspired wheel (displaying the seconds), bridges in German silver, circular graining and large sweeping curves. My style is very representative of myself especially as I had no constraints imposed by existing movements components or constructions I was able to design this movement exactly as I wanted. This is the great advantage of starting with a blank sheet.” Peter Speake‐Marin.
The nautical ambience generated by the blued‐steel of the outer dial, hands and seconds wheel inspired the name “Thalassa”, a primordial sea goddess from Greek mythology and the personification of the Mediterranean Sea.
Marin 2 “Thalassa” – The overwhelming impressions on viewing and handling the Marin 2 “Thalassa” are those of complete harmony, between all of the elements both inside and out, and of solidity. As elegant as it is, the Marin 2 feels like, and is, a watch designed from the ground up to give reliable, accurate service for many generations.
Case – The 18k white gold “Piccadilly” case is an iconic Peter Speake‐Marin design. The basic shape was inspired by the working cases used to house prototype movements he worked with early in his career. The name “Piccadilly” is in honour of the formative years Peter spent working in restoration at Somlo Antiques in Piccadilly, London. The lugs holding the strap are designed to assure a solid connection to the case, with a screwed solid stainless steel bar attaching the strap to the lugs.
Dial – The dial comprises two parts: an outer dial of laser‐pieced hardened blued‐steel hand finished with hand‐applied Super‐LumiNova for the hours and minutes flush with the surface (rather than the more common method of printing the luminova on the surface), and an inner dial of transparent sapphire crystal allowing appreciation of the hand‐applied circular graining and micro‐mechanics of the top of the movement. Watching the wheels turn as you wind the watch is an interactively rewarding experience.
Hands and seconds wheel – Three‐dimensional blued‐steel Super‐LumiNova‐filled foundation‐style hands indicate the hours and minutes and impart an instantly recognisable Speake‐Marin element to the dial. The shape of the highly distinctive seconds wheel echoes that of the mystery winding rotor found on automatic Speake‐Marin movements and is inspired by the wheel found on antique watchmaker’s topping tools. Just hand‐bevelling the hardened‐steel seconds wheel takes over two hours and that care and dedication is typical of every component in the timepiece. While the second wheel is large, opting for small seconds over a central second hand allowed the movement to be slimmer (as well as incorporating the signature wheel shape).
Date ring – While largely hidden under the blued‐steel outer dial, except for the current date, every single number of the “Poor Richard” font has been individually sized and orientated by Peter Speake‐Marin to maximise and optimise its position and legibility in the date window at 4 o’clock.
Motivation – “Developing a completely new movement like the SM2 is a massive undertaking, especially for an independent watchmaker like myself, but I took the plunge in 2007 and after more than two years of development, the SM2 became everything I hoped it would be and more.”
Philosophy and design – The SM2 is a totally original calibre with 100% cent of the components specifically made for this movement. It is the result of an Intransigent approach to movement architecture focusing on ease of servicing and maximum reliability and longevity, as well as beauty. An important criterion of the SM2m architecture was consideration for the watchmaker assembling the movement. For example, a window around the balance allows it to be easily viewed and manipulated. Myriad details like these, although technical in nature, add to the beauty and harmony of the design. This exceptional calibre is the result of enormous thought about every bridge, lever, wheel and jewel.
Fine finishing – The movement is hand‐assembled and finished. Unless for technical reasons all surfaces, visible or not, are finely decorated with an attention to detail usually reserved for very high‐end complications. Sensual, long‐flowing gothic curves form the untreated German silver plates, a material that is more demanding to work than conventional plated brass, but offers increased rigidity. Furthermore it slowly oxidises over the years to a high contrast patina highlighting the large jewels and polished steel surfaces.
Features – Calibre SM2m benefits from Peter Speake‐Marin’s over‐engineered approach to design, in which every element, right down to the jewels and screws, are selected with a view to maximising longevity. All wheels are made from a beryllium‐copper alloy, which has inherent self‐lubricating properties and higher tensile strength than the usual brass wheels. The balance beats at 21,600vph, providing higher precision than the traditional 18,000vph, while allowing both a lower mainspring tension (less wear) and a higher power reserve than the current standard of 28,800vph. The escapement has both fine and coarse adjustments of beat and rate, which is extremely complicated and expensive and will perhaps only be appreciated by watchmakers, but it is indicative of the movement as a whole. Like virtually every other component in the movement, the large diameter (10.9 mm) chronometer balance was designed by Peter Speake‐Marin as the part he wanted did not exist.
While the calibre SM2m shares the underlying architecture of the SM2a automatic movement, it required the development of a new mainspring, mainspring barrel, new barrel bridge, new train bridge, new main plate and a new setting mechanism combined with the calendar mechanism.
“While I have paid a lot of attention to the aesthetics, there are usually technical reasons for many of the design features. For example, on the back the over‐sized jewel for the mainspring barrel is visually very striking, but I have chosen that for its longevity and strength. The separate claw‐shaped escapewheel bridge allows the escapement to be removed without having to dismantle the entire movement.”
Limite Edition of 30 pieces.
Movement – Calibre SM2m manual winding. Frequency 21600 v/h (3Hz). Power reserve 80 hours. Number of jewels 23. Total number of components – 146. Chronometer balance – Masslots. Breguet over‐coil. 0118gr inertia 25mg.cm2. Bridges/main plate – German silver. Shock protection Incabloc. Movement assembled by hand. All bridges, levers and mainplate hand‐finished with circling, spotting, straight graining and polish. All pivots burnished.
Functions – Hours, minutes, seconds (wheel), date; manual winding
Case – 18K white gold. Dimensions 42 mm X 12 mm.
Dial – Outer dial laser‐pieced hardened blued steel with hand‐filled Super‐LumiNova filled hour and minute markers. Inner dial in sapphire crystal.
Hands – Flame‐blued steel with Super‐LumiNova centers.
Sapphire crystals – Anti‐reflective treatment front and display back.
Strap – Crocodile leather strap.