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Speake-Marin Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project

In the world of horology the AHCI (Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants) is considered one of the most creative platforms for watchmakers. To be part of this exclusive club is exceptionally hard and only the Crème de la Crème is allowed entry. This essentially means that the level of craftsmanship is exceedingly high and the designs are innovative. Recently when I travelled to Baselworld I visited their stand and was amazed how popular it was. Due to my hectic schedule it was pretty much impossible to arrange any more meetings. Maybe next year I’ll finally get to meet ateliers like Konstantin Chaykin, Thomas Prescher, Antoine Preziuso, Marc Jenni, Vincent Calabrese, Vianney Halter and Peter Speake-Marin.


Even though I massively admire the work of Peter Speake-Marin I have never written an in depth article about any of his timepieces. I have included his watches in two themed editorials entitled ‘Classical Watches’ and ‘Skeleton Watches’. As well as producing timepieces under his own name he also has collaborated on projects with other renowned watchmakers. For example he has acted as a design consultant for Harry Winston, MB&F and Maîtres du Temps. In 2008 he solely concentrated on his own brand and has created a range of wonderful timepieces. In my opinion one of his most impressive watches to date has to be the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project.


When I originally received the press release for the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project I was pretty intrigued. Normally Peter Speake-Marin’s watches are classically designed with the occasional modern twist. However this creation is pretty unique and totally captivating. Dimensionally the timepiece exudes modest proportions and has a diameter measuring 42mm. Unfortunately I missed out on the chance to try on this watch at Baselworld because of time restrictions. However I would envisage the piece to be fairly lightweight and comfortable on the wrist. Ultimately this is down to the stylish case design and choice of luxurious 18-karat white gold in production.


Visually the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters packs a pretty impressive punch. Certainly this has to be one of the most ornate timepieces I have ever seen (with the exception maybe of ArtyA’s Arabesque Tourbillon). The theme of the watch is inspired by a large ceiling painting of two dragons found in Kennin-ji Temple in Japan. Essentially Peter Speake-Marin’s aim was to replicate this design on a miniature scale. To help him accomplish this ambitious task he has employed the immense talents of Kees Englebarts. I am a huge admirer of Kee’s work and his love of mythological creatures. The meticulous engraving on the dial and case is a revelation. Clearly the level of craftsmanship is extraordinarily high and the attention to detail unsurpassed.


At the heart of the watch is a highly sophisticated hand-winding movement. The Caliber SM2 comprises 29-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. This mechanism has been engraved by master craftsman Eddy Jaquet and is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters features hours, minutes and a respectable power reserve of 72-hours.


The Kennin-Ji Temple Masters is a unique 1/1 piece and is displayed in an extraordinarily lavish engraved wooden (leather lined) presentation case. It is pertinent to mention that a discerning collector commissioned this watch so no price is available.



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