The ancient Dong Son people of Vietnam and more specifically, their bronze drums, served as the inspiration for Speake-Marin’s newest unique piece, the Dong Son Tourbillon. The Dong Son drums were bronze drums created by Dong Son culture that existed around the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam between 600BC and 300AD. The drums were said to represent an artistic level that very few cultures of the time could match, and the independent watchmaker is paying tribute to this ancient culture with a unique creation of its own.
As you can see from the picture above, the Dong Son Tourbillon features the brand’s calling card, the Piccadilly case, which frames a beautifully decorated 18k solid red gold dial. Speake-Marin says the dial gets its design cues from some of the most revered Dong Son drum creations such as the Hoàng Ha drum, Co Loa drum, as well as the famous Ngoc Lu drum. The top surface of these drums are said to be adorned with a central starburst and concentric circles, within which are a set of repetitive images of armed warriors and flying egrets, as well as geometric hatching.
Following this, the Dong Son Tourbillon’s dial features an outer ring of egrets, along with an inner ring decorated with plumed warriors holding their weapons between the 12-points of the central starburst pattern. These warriors, as you may have guessed, function as hour markers for the smaller of the two Speake-Marin “Foundation” style heat-blued steel hands.
To make it easy for the wearer to quickly figure out the time, the dial features a prominent roman numeral at the 12 o’clock position, just above one of the inner ring’s plumed warriors. Likewise, on the periphery of the outer egret ring, sits a railway-style minute track, which the minute hand fully reaches (see picture above).
The intricate 18k red gold dial measures 1mm thick, and the incredible details are the result of an interesting chemical etching process. This process creates motifs that are just 0.3mm deep – a result that is impossible to achieve by hand engraving says Peter Speake Marin.
The Dong Son Tourbillon features a 60-second tourbillon, visible at the traditional six o’clock position. It is framed by a steel guard, and is secured in position by a polished bridge produced from Durnico steel, which is noted for its strength. Like all of Speake-Marin’s tourbillon movements, the tourbillon cage is shaped like a topping tool wheel, which is also the brand’s logo.
As you’d expect, the watch features an exhibition caseback, which gives the wearer the opportunity to enjoy, and examine, the beautifully finished SM/CDH Calibre SM3 automatic movement. The movement features a platinum micro-rotor, and offers a power reserve of 72-hours when fully wound. The calibre is the work of specialist movement developer Création et Développement Horlogers (CDH), a Swiss company that Speake-Marin collaborates with (hence the ‘SM/CDH’ movement label).
Speake-Marin is yet to announce price of the Dong Son Tourbillon.
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