Swiss newspaper 24 heures posted a story yesterday stating that English watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin left the brand he founded 15-years ago. His departure was said to be in the works for some time, and the talented watchmaker is now already working on his next project.
According to industry sources, the England-born watchmaker sold stakes in his company over the years, owing to a decline in the appetite for high-end watches in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The end result was that, as of five-years ago, Speake-Marin himself no longer owned any shares in the company he founded.
Speake-Marin SA is currently owned by the Rosnoblet family, with Christelle Rosnoblet holding the CEO position. The Rosnoblet family owns the Provencia Group, which is a franchisee of the Carrefour hypermarket chain in the the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
The watch brand was – and perhaps still is – known for its complicated movements and artisanal dial offerings, however in recent times, it increasingly focused on accessible ETA-powered timepieces. The change in direction was one of the first notable changes under new management.
Peter Speake-Marin, who is exceptionally well regarded within the industry for his talent, generosity and soft-spoken personality, is now focusing on an online watchmaking program. The program is expected to debut in September 2017, and may well be a natural progression for the watchmaker who – in recent years – has run watchmaking courses at global watch events such as Dubai Watch Week.
As an independent watchmaker, Peter Speake-Marin collaborated with several companies including Harry Winston, Maîtres du Temps, and MB&F.
You can read the original 24 heures story here.
Update 27 June, 2017
Maximilian Büsser posted a tribute to Peter Speake-Marin on his personal Facebook page:
“Without Peter Speake-Marin, MB&F would most probably not exist. Early 2007 when one of our main suppliers renegated on his commitments, Peter managed to bring together a dream team of independent watchmakers to help assemble our first HM1 movements. Without him and that team (amongst them Stephen McDonnell), we would have gone bankrupt. Peter is one of the greatest human beings in this industry. It saddens me to know he has left his brand, and at the same time I am extremely eager to see his next endeavor centered around sharing watchmaking knowledge. If someone can do it right, it is Peter. You are The MAN my friend!”