Peter Speake-Marin seems to be one representative of a dying breed in these modern, industrial times. The “breed” to which I refer is none other than that of the tinkerer, the individual innovator, the technical man who’s simultaneously a specialist and a generalist.
I’d just like to take the opportunity to highlight some of his accomplishments, and what it is about him that makes him different. First, the individual abandoning reputable corporations and going solo to begin his own brand seems like the stuff of centuries ago. It’s reminiscent of the guild system with its apprentices, journeymen, and masters. If you really examine Speake-Marin’s experience, you’ll see that that’s very much the avenue he took.
Fresh out of college with a technical education, he refined his knowledge specifically around the Swiss watchmaking industry. Once he had a thorough hands-on understanding, the man essentially interned at a number of different, but respected, companies. Nothing seemed to fit. Here we see Peter Speake-Marin the restless apprentice, unable to find something able to hold his interest for very long.
His time at London’s Somlo Antiques was his journeyman phase. He settled down and focused intensively on his work. By understanding and emulating the work of masters before him, he acquired the necessary expertise to go it alone. To become a master, one must first toil away with their pieces. This was an inside-out education, and if I may be permitted to guess, what finally helped Peter evolve into the watchmaker that he is today.
The final master’s stage is to lead one’s own workshop, with one’s own apprentices and original pieces. That’s precisely what Speake-Marin is doing today in his workshop in Switzerland with the Speake-Marin Watches brand. In a refreshing throwback to the past, the craft system seems alive and well. One is only left to wonder how many future masters like Speake-Marin are being honed in his workshop at this very instant.