Watches: Peter Speake-Marin Velsheda (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on May 4, 2014

Although it seems relatively easy to impress with watches that are bursting with complications or models boasting unheard-of materials and avant-garde aesthetics, standing out from the crowd with a classically designed two-hand model, let alone single-hand timepiece, is an entirely different matter. With the Velsheda model unveiled during Baselworld 2014, however, Peter Speake-Marin has done a fantastic job in accomplishing just that.

Part of the “J Class” collection, the new piece is named after a British racing yacht built in the 1930s. Still racing today, this yacht incorporated some of the most sophisticated technical designs of her time for spars, rigging, sails, deck gear and ropes. During her short racing career, she competed with the greatest names in classic yachting including Britannia, Endeavour and Shamrock V and was a regular race-winner.

Here the seconds disc in the centre is nearly exactly aligned with the hour hands

The Velsheda is a model of minimalism with a flame-blued single hand to tell the time on a white lacquered dial with black Roman numerals. Beautifully sculpted with a topping tool centre, it extends from one end of the dial to the other with a pointer on one end to indicate the time and an arc at its opposite tip and travels slowly around the dial once every 12 hours.

While here it is not, creating a more complex motif

This extreme purity of lines, though, does not mean that this compass-like watch was not carefully designed. Look closely and you will notice the multi-layers of the dial that help create a sense of depth. You will also realise that the black Roman numerals are slightly tapered towards the centre to draw the eyes inwards to the dial centre where the seconds disc shaped like a topping tool provides the only noticeable animation on the dial. Superimposed on the slower moving centre of the unique hand, the two topping tool motifs create ever-changing and mesmerizing designs as they follow their course.

Housed in a 42 mm highly polished Piccadilly stainless steel case with a two-position fluted crown, the self-winding mechanical Eros calibre that animates this watch features an unusually long five-day power reserve. Its hand-finished bridges and iconic topping tool rotor can be admired through the sapphire exhibition back. Mounted on a black alligator strap, this very elegant timepiece is secured by a stainless steel pin buckle. It retails for CHF 8,500, which makes it an excellent value for money model.

Speake-Marin had so many stunning models to present this year that it is hard to decide which one I really prefer, but I am pretty confident saying this one will count among my favourites.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: