Baselworld Day 1-Speake-Marin...

Janna pictured the previous day in Luzern, mentally preparing ourselves for the next four days.

This year I chose to wear Marco's superb classic Johann for the trip.

Consolidation of their previous 3 years worth of hard work has allowed most of the lovely people we work with to have emerged from “The crisis” relatively un-scathed. We were eager to see what was being presented the Basel 2012. Thursday morning was our first day at the fair, and Peter Speake-Marin was the first of many appointments. Since my first meeting with him all those years ago he has come farther than anyone in terms of growing his business and expanding the horizons of what might be possible.

His newest model is the latest version of the Serpent Calendar, that in it’s previous iteration was one of Peter’s most successful models. This generation of it differs somewhat in the dial design, but retains the basic concepts but with a two layer dial and a shortened Serpent date hand. Classic elongated black romans and his newer version of the Piccadilly case. He has chosen a different base movement on which to base his Caliber Eros1. It has two barrels and provides 120hrs, essentially 5 days, of reserve when fully wound. He has kept his signature and at this point in time iconic rotor, that has also developed into his company logo.

The new 42mm steel Piccadilly Serpent Calendar.

The back of the SS Serpent Calendar showing off the blued steel "Topping tool" rotor.

Here on the wrist, classic Speake-Marin!

The 38mm 18K RG Serpent Calendar.

The back showing off the new caliber with blued rotor.

The other piece I was eager to see in person is the Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater. Each piece of this tiny series of only 6 pieces is unique, in that the hand engraving on the bridges and plates on the back of the movement are each quite different. I saw a dragon depicted on one and Venus on another. At around $340-350K it is not inexpensive, but when one sees it, you understand. The dial side is skeletonized to reveal the amazing micro-mechanics of the rack and the snail cams that allow the piece to chime.

The superb 18K RG Renaissance Tourbillon Minute Repeater.

Peter also showed us a stunning art piece, which at this stage is a prototype and not available for public consumption, but one heck of a piece. This may or may not make it’s way into the main product line, we’ll have to and wait and see. Another two amazing watches were a diamond pave Union Jack dialed piece in WG and a stunning Marin 2 in WG with a diamond pave case and whimsical dial.

Pave diamond Union Jack Piccadilly.

The remainder of the day was spent visiting with all the Independent Watchmakers over at the AHCI stand and their colleagues right next door who aren’t members, but whom are closely associated with. The Gronefeld bros. Tim & Bart from the Netherlands, Stepan Sarpaneva from Helsinki, Finland, Kari Voutilainen also from Finland, but now firmly ensconced in Moutiers, Switzerland, Ludovic Ballouard another French transplant, and one of my favorite sleeper micro brands, Urban Jurgensen. This amazingly talented and quite varied group, never fails to disappoint. See the continuing reports to follow...
Dinner that first night was kindly laid on by Thomas Prescher at this home, and we were treated to a traditional Swiss meal of cheese fondue, quite delicious and vastly superior to what I have had before. Perhaps the Kirsch had something to do with it!