Preservation and watchmaking savoir-faire, a strange association?

The weather that day was perfect. The sun’s appearances were punctuated by the dance of the clouds, allowing us to admire every nuance of the piece.

Let me introduce you to it because it’s a chance to have it in your hands and there are only 10 in the world. Nine on the wrists of lucky, or soon to be lucky, collectors and the last one here at the future Speake-Marin Museum.

Speake Marin Rhino

Geneva is beautiful in January. The lake sparkles, the cold is dry and the atmosphere is warm. Almost like this piece. The sun’s rays are sucked into the lacquer of the dial, leaving this engraved rhinoceros head to stand out.

This limited edition does not come out of nowhere, it is part of a larger project. Come and discover it!

Cette édition limitée ne sort pas de nulle part, elle s’inscrit dans un plus grand projet. Viens la découvrir !

Meeting the challenges of the 21st century with watchmaking savoir-faire

No, Speake-Marin has not discovered the answer to all our ills by simply changing a movement, that would have been far too easy. However, they do intend to do their bit.

To achieve this, they have decided to release limited series each year as part of their Art-Series collection, featuring an endangered animal species. The aim is to raise awareness among customers through the sale of these pieces, and then to donate the funds to an association to support their actions.

Speake Marin Save the Rhino

Based in London, Save the Rhino International was chosen for this first series. Their seriousness and the concrete actions they take part in and support did indeed seduce the brand.

Yes, the choice of the organisation was meticulous because the Speake-Marin teams really want to make an impact. These limited series are not just for superficial marketing. Having had the opportunity to talk to the teams, we can tell you that the project is supported by all.

When you hold it in your hands, your eyes are captivated, drawn by the deep black dial and the details of the engraving. What surprised me the most was the details of the engraving. I felt like I was being watched by this rhinoceros head. For long seconds, I looked into his eyes, trying to discover his story. I must admit that the engraving work was admirably well done.

Rhino Gravure Speake Marin

Do you know what makes this engraving so lively?

The stamp that blurred the 9 silver coins of the limited edition required no less than 40 hours of manual work. For more than 40 hours, the engraver shaped his stamp, imbuing it with life and realism, after which an oxidising acid was added by hand to achieve this unique shade of grey.

Like a sun, the small seconds of the SMA03 in-house movement comes to life at 1:30, setting the rhythm of the hands. The more we look at the piece, the more we would like to remove the sapphire crystal to complete the experience of sight with the touch. The 15 layers of black lacquer so purify the dial of all distractions that it is fully possible to admire this creation.

Black dial Speake Marin
Logo Speake Marin Rhino

I find this piece so poetic. It is almost the keystone of a paradox. On the one hand, you have an animal species in danger of extinction for which the fight is on and every hour counts, and on the other hand you have a timepiece that brings together skills that take time and experience to master. One fights against time for its survival and the other needs time to fully express itself. Perhaps this is where Save the Rhino International and Speake-Marin fit together so well.

The issue of rhino conservation is not one of my hidden interests. That’s why we went to meet the association to understand their work and struggle.

A long-term work

The work of Save the Rhino International is quite simple. They raise awareness of the issue of rhino conservation through their actions to raise funds to support the work of those on the ground. By being in contact with the organisations on the ground, they know what their needs are and can therefore allocate the appropriate budgets.

Do you know how many races of rhino there are on Earth?

Rhino Speake Marin

There are five! Two are in Africa and three in Asia. It is one from Asia that Speake-Marin chose to participate in its protection thanks to its creation, and more precisely the one from Sumatra in Indonesia. There are only about 80 of them left alive, perhaps even fewer. The destruction by man of their habitat and the fragmentation of the forest has dispersed them and thus prevented their reproduction. The Indonesian government decided to collect them in rescue centres to protect them, gather them and allow them to reproduce before returning them to the wild.

The funds from the sale of the nine limited edition pieces will go directly to support the Sumatra Rhino Sanctuary. In concrete terms, these funds will pay the salaries of the Rangers, the petrol for the cars and part of the running costs of the centre.

International Rhino Foundation - Sumatra Sanctuary
Credit International Rhino Foundation

When I interviewed the members of the association, they shared with me a rather special piece of information that helped me to understand something. In 10 years, thanks to their actions, they have managed to stop the decline of the rhinos. 10 years is a long time and it shows that they are playing for time. It’s the long term that’s important, not the small, fleeting victories. You can only see the benefit of your actions over time.

One thing is certain, thanks to Speake-Marin, watchmaking has allowed me to discover other horizons, and I hope that these few lines have allowed you to discover this magnificent limited edition and the cause it supports.

This year it was the rhinos. What will it be tomorrow? The suspense remains!