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Watchuseek team visited with Speake-Marin and observed a gradual evolution of a small brand into a mid-level brand. Pierce Brosnan, after spending some time with Peter on a movie set (where Pierce is a watchmaker by day and assassin by night), is now an ambassador for the brand. Speake-Marin's strategy to make unique watches at various price levels is the key for organic growth.

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Peter answered a few questions for us:

There is a big debate on the use of term "made in-house" among the watch enthusiasts. Why is it so important to build everything independently in this globalized, shrinking world?

PSM: There are simple and complicated answers to the caliber questions and a hundred nuances. The simple answer in a perfect world where everything worked first time and quality, consistency and price were not issues, would be that everybody would have an entirely in house calibre which would be a unique expression of that company. The reality is that this is not the case. Also amongst the nuances, every company sources 'some' components from somewhere outside, whether it be jewels, mainsprings, balances or balance springs etc. After this where is the line drawn? I could write an essay, or probably a book on the subject having developed calibres and using existing calibres. The final most pragmatic answer is; does the watch work efficiently for the type of piece it is whether simple or complicated. Is it honest to the philosophy of the company that uses or makes it and is it the correct price for what it is. I use existing calibres and make my own, if I didn't mix the two I would never be able to make the diversity of watches that I do, or it would take me another lifetime to get to where I am already today.


Serpent Calendar


Velsheda, single hand indicator

Follow up: Is innovation or independence more important?
PSM: Neither, the most important element in watchmaking today is; does it touch the final client on an emotional level. Whether the watch is born of innovation or independence it must appeal on an emotional level to that consumer, it could be both or neither.

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Tourbillon Magister

What are your thoughts on the use of silicon parts in watchmaking?
PSM: It is an ingenious and relatively new technology which will continue to morph in its development and has not yet been remotely exploited in relation to its potential. If used appropriately it is quite brilliant compared to conventional manufacture but as with all techniques of manufacture must be understood to be correctly used.

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Tourbillon Magister

In the unpredictable wave of global commerce and finances, watch companies tend to navigate by covering both the high-end complications as well as entry level timepieces. What is your navigation strategy?
PSM: It was developed by chance rather than planning due to the irrational way I developed Speake-Marin, by executing every idea which came into my head. Today this has become coherent and I have 3 collections, the Spirit line which are our entry level watches which are associated to early vintage military watches. The J-class which are more expensive classical time pieces often in precious metal cases and with complications and the Mystery Cabinet which has more esoteric pieces, miniatures, mechanical art and fine art watches, often obscure, which appeal to collectors. Through these collections my work finds a place in a multitude of cultures and countries that vary enormously.

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Piece Unique with jumping hours (to be sold in Harrods)

As a watchmaker you have to think of both technical and aesthetics. If you had the opportunity to design or re-design something non-watch related, what would it be? It can be something which fascinates you or bothers you.
PSM: Everything. This is linked with the insanity of a designer made worse by being a watchmaker.

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Serpent Calendar

What one advice would you give to a novice watch collector just starting to explore horology?
PSM: Ask a 1000 questions and then make up your own mind by listening to your own instinct on what to buy, which will probably disregard the 1000 questions originally posed. Its a necessary process.

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There will be a colorful surprise unveiled from Speake-Marine during the Basel show :-!

Editor: Bhanu Chopra
Photo: Scott SitkeiWitz
 
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