Making only 15 examples of a timepiece – indeed anything – automatically makes it special and usually highly coveted. If that item also has a high price tag (say for example 17,200 Swiss francs), it could also exclude many from owning it, although price doesn’t always translate to value and exclusivity.
So here we have the London Chronograph by Speake-Marin, released in a – you guessed it – limited edition of only 15 examples and retailing for 17,200 Swiss francs.
But price and limited release aside, what really makes the London Chronograph special is its heart, specifically the Valjoux 92 calibre.
The calibre is a great example of bad timing to some extent, having reached its ‘prime’ years during the quartz revolution in the 1960s. The Valjoux 92 was always a popular hand-winding chronograph movement, and it was also used by some of the largest brands, including Patek Philippe, Rolex and TAG Heuer.
Alas, the dominance of the quartz made these calibres even more rare, and the movement components used for the London Chronograph were stored in a safe for years before being reassembled by a Speake-Marin master watchmaker.
All that makes this a desirable timepiece for both contemporary and vintage watchmaking lovers. And it would appear that the use of such vintage movements is part of the brand’s broader strategy to develop similar exclusive watch lines in the future.
Here, the movement finds a good home with the London Chronograph, housed in the brand’s popular Piccadilly 42mm titanium case.
Fans of the brand would have noticed that this is the first time for a Speake-Marin dial to have indexes replaced by the letters S-P-E-A-K-E, making it a bit more unique.
Adding further depth to the dial are the two floating counters. The red counter measures the chronograph minutes while the white counter serves as the seconds dial. Both are contrasted nicely with the elegant blue hands which indicate the hours.
It’s obvious that the red colour of the chronograph function is a tribute to sport racing watches, which becomes even more evident when the watch is paired with a multicolour strap featuring racing stripes.
But this watch is also a tribute to Peter Speake-Marin’s early years in watchmaking. As a qualified horologist from London, the brand’s founder cut his watchmaking teeth restoring vintage watches, many of which were powered by the very same Valjoux 92 movement.