Speake-Marin: the Spirit Wing Commander 42 mm Titanium Orange at Goodwood
With this masculine, sporty and atypical piece, English watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin remains loyal to his brand’s DNA whilst revolutionizing his own style. Alexander Friedman, our special correspondent at Goodwood, organized a high-quality photo shoot for the watch.
Introduced in 2014, the titanium Spirit Wing Commander 42 mm goes straight to basics: it features a large date, a power reserve indicator and a seconds counter inspired by the emblematic 'topping tool' dear to Peter Speake-Marin.
Speed-themed decor at Goodwood, United Kingdom
The Festival of Speed – FoS for insiders – is an unmissable automobile event that is organized every June at Goodwood in the United Kingdom. The festival’s 2015 edition was the perfect opportunity to wear the Spirit Wing Commander – here as a sporty and casual version with an orange rubber strap – and do a photo shoot amongst racing cars from the golden age of car racing, such as this splendid single-seater from 1975.
Peter Speake-Marin launched the Spirit collection in 2011. It was dedicated to British Army military wristwatches and it was a game changer for the English watchmaker. The collection’s new, more sporty, casual and refined style could not go unnoticed. The Spirit Wing Commander and the Spirit Seafire – the very first chronograph developed by the independent English brand – are two models from the collection. Peter Speake-Marin needs no introduction. The talented master watchmaker is the champion of the Swiss Made label and is known for his pieces equipped with great complications. Indeed, his creations are a delight for collectors and experts with their perpetual calendars, minute repeaters and tourbillons; all produced in his workshops in Switzerland but preserving a British style.
The name "Wing Commander" was inspired by the martial universe that surrounds the Spirit collection. In the British Air Force, this title is equivalent to the rank of a lieutenant-colonel or a flight commander. But why did he bring a military watch to an event swarming with roaring racing cars when there were so many car-inspired watches? Well, it was no incongruous decision, as the sporty look of the Spirit Wing Commander 42 mm Titanium Orange is very attractive to drivers.
Gentlemen, start your engines
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is a famous international event for fans of beautiful mechanics and car racing. Since 1993, it has gathered the world's most beautiful classic and contemporary cars and offers the public the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) and take a better look at them. It is also the time when you can encounter the most famous former or current drivers and leading figures in the history of car racing. Such a festival could only be found in England since the English do love their cars. The spectacle goes on for four days in an electric atmosphere with open-air concerts, first drives in racing cars, and air shows. The best part of the Festival is the famous 1.87-km hill climb where the best unique sports cars race every year in the hope of breaking the record set by former F1 driver, Nick Heidfeld in his McLaren MP4-13, in 1999.
The Spirit Wing Commander 42 mm Titanium Orange is undoubtedly seducing due to its strong character and deep masculinity.
Notwithstanding its military origins, this Titanium Orange version that comes with a rubber strap exudes a certain competitive streak that fits perfectly with the atmosphere of the Goodwood Festival of Speed. And after a closer inspection, it seems that this version, apart from its military references, is filled with references to the automobile world. For example, there is the black matt resin dial similar to a racing car's dashboard counters. It displays information that is perfectly readable both day and night thanks to the white Super-Luminova-coated indexes and the Roman numerals. Thus, the driver can focus on the road and on their driving.
The Foundation hour and minute hands are also luminescent. There is a large date that can be set swiftly and is ideally placed at 12 o'clock. The power reserve indicator at 6 o'clock evokes the shape of a fuel gauge with three colors to indicate the power reserve level: white when the watch is entirely wound, black when it is it only half wound and red when it needs to be rewound. The disc of the small second at 9 o'clock is inspired by the iconic 'topping tool' and is hand-lacquered in orange for this version.
Available in four colors – white, red, blue and orange – it adds a refined and modern touch to the watch and this can be matched with a rubber strap of identical color.
Light body and in-house engine
The Spirit Wing Commander is ultra-light thanks to the polished grade 5 titanium used for the iconic 42-mm Piccadilly case. The lugs are screwed to form a frame and the rubber strap is attached to them, which evokes the rubber of a slick tire. As the strap seemed ideal for the mechanical thunder of the FoS, it replaced the usual hand-stitched leather brown strap. An in-house engine (namely the self-winding 1024SPM caliber) with hand-crafted finishes is placed under the titanium back cover engraved with the Spirit collection’s motto – Fight, Love and Persevere. Its 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) frequency is a guarantee of high precision. Its unique barrel provides a 48-hour power reserve without needing to wind the famous striated crown, signature of the Speake-Marin style.
All in all, this pure and oh-so-British Speake-Marin timepiece is appealing thanks to its at the same time tough and casual look.
It is one of those watches that makes the day of collectors and watch enthusiasts looking for a different and prestigious watch. Provided with admirable finishes, it reflects the original values of high-end watchmaking.