A new version of a watch that is one of the best-selling models in the Speake-Marin collection, the 2017 New Brown Serpent Calendar has the same very three-dimensional dial of its predecessors, with an enlarged, convex calendar chapter ring, and now with a snailed-finish brown ring for the hours. All the rest of the habitually quirky Speake-Marin design style is there: the distinctive calligraphic calendar numerals, the house-style hour and minute hands, the squiggly date hand, large conical crown, and the Piccadilly case. The New Brown Serpent Calendar has another idiosyncratic feature: the calendar scale starts at the 1.30 point instead of at the top of the dial. This is to improve the balance. All together, the dial is truly unique, and inherently practical, because for once, the date numerals are large enough to see, a relief to people who don’t like straining to see the tiny numerals in the conventional date window.
As in several of Peter Speake-Marin watches, the idea comes from historical precedents. He himself says, “The idea is simple and goes back over a century to early pocket watches that used a curved hand to differentiate the date from the time indications. The Serpent Calendar now brings a fresh look to this classic design.” Jaquet Droz is another brand that uses the serpent hand for the calendar. Here is another example, a brand called Hallmark:
The watch is powered by a Vaucher 3002 self-winding movement, running at 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hertz) and providing 50 hours power reserve. Vaucher is a movement-making company based in Fleurier, and it developed from the workshop that Michel Parmigiani created in 1975. By the 1990s, Michel Parmigiani was making his own watches, and Vaucher had become part of the Sandoz group. Hermès is also a Vaucher shareholder and uses some Vaucher calibres. The caseback side of the Speake-Marin New Brown Serpent Calendar is as distinctive as the dial, with the blued oscillating weight in the shape of Speake-Marin’s topping tool logo (it always reminds me of the Isle of Man three-legged triskele emblem, but Peter Speake-Marin is from Essex). The image below is from a previous version of the watch.
Price and reference
The Speake-Marin New Brown Serpent Calendar, reference 10006-05, is a limited edition of 28 watches. Price is 11,880 Swiss francs.