Speake-Marin stacks up the tourbillons

April 2016

The brand’s new masterpiece – the Black Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon - features two 60-second tourbillons which enhance the contrast and add balance to an already beautiful dial.

The mechanical justification for including a tourbillon is pretty straightforward: correct for the effects of gravity and you get a more accurate a timepiece. But there’s also the visual appeal of a spinning tourbillion.

Peter Speake-Marin recognises this mesmerising effect:

“The tourbillon is one of the things that I love most about watchmaking. Not because of the precision it gives to the timekeeping, but because of the animation it gives to the dial. It shows time moving in a way that a minute-repeater or a grande sonnerie, for example, can’t offer. It’s something which, for me, is quite profound, illustrating the passing of time.”

Speake-Marin stacks up the tourbillons

It’s safe to say that the tourbillon is the favourite complication of the brand’s founder. In fact, the tourbillon has played an important role in the history of the brand. The first ever timepiece to bear the Speake-Marin name was the Foundation Watch, a hand-made pocket watch equipped with a tourbillon.

The tradition continues 20 years later with the Black Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon, which boasts not one, but two tourbillons.

From left to right, we find the twin tourbillons vertically stacked on the dial, supported by a massive bridge that’s impeccably finished with mirror polished internal bevels. Each 60-second tourbillon adjusts for the positional effects of gravity, and a spring absorbs and balances any subtle variations between the two cages. This is accomplished through an additional miniature limited-slip spring gearbox called an équilibreur de marche (rate equalizer).

Speake-Marin stacks up the tourbillons

On the right side of the dial we see the an oven-fired enamel sub-dial displaying the time using Speake-Marin’s signature Foundation hands in heat-blued steel. Positioning the time display on the right side of the dial allows you to tell the time as the watch peeks through a sleeve, hiding the visually mesmerising tourbillons underneath.

Just above the sub-dial is a 72-hour power reserve indicator, a cam-shaped disc that cleverly opens when fully wound and gradually closes and signals it’s time to rewind when you see red on the disc.

Speake-Marin stacks up the tourbillons

To accommodate this dual display on the dial, the watch takes on quite broad proportions. We get a 46mm Piccadilly case in 18K white gold case that ensures the display is not at all crowded, but as a result wears a little large on the wrist.

Many brands pride their use of tourbillons to make a more accurate timepiece. Some even double them up to make the point even more obvious. Spake-Marin doesn’t refute that, but the brand is also direct about the simpler things in watchmaking: the visual appeal. Part mechanical improvement, part concern for aesthetic appeal, the Black Magister Vertical Double Tourbillon provides the best of both worlds.

Technical information

  • MOVEMENT: SM Calibre SM6, manual wound vertical double tourbillon movement. All black guilded treatment mainplate
  • INDICATIONS: Off-set hours, minutes with power reserve and day/night indicators
  • POWER RESERVE: 70 hours
  • CASE: Piccadilly case in 18K white gold. Front and back sapphire crystals treated with antireflective coating
  • DIAMETER: 46 mm
  • WATER RESISTANCE: 3 bar (30 meters)
  • DIAL: White enamel dial
  • HANDS: Speake-Marin signature “Foundation” style hands in heat blued steel
  • STRAP: Alligator. Pin buckle in 18K white gold