Speake Marin Velsheda Gothic is an unusual high-end timekeeper because of its minimalism and its featured functions. It only includes a single hand which is used to show the time which is a fairly rare trait in times when watches receive new and more and more complex new features. Despite this apparent simplicity it is a haute horlogerie piece that looks very stylish and has a strong horological backbone embodied in an automatic movement with supreme decorations. The watch from the J-Class series is set in a mid-sized titanium housing and it possesses a fine looking enamel dial with Gothic numerals.
The uncommon timekeeper by Speake-Marin has its roots in a piece which was initially made in a single copy at a private request. Its success and admiration toward it then brought to creation of Shimoda model which was a series-produced model with a single hand with. Velsheda models share many characteristics with this watch, but are also distinguished with a smaller profile. As for the name of Velsheda it is a tribute to the famed Velsheda single masted racing sailboat. This J-class vessel was originally made in the 1930s and its name was comprised of combined names of the owner’s three daughters called Velma, Sheila and Daphne. It was a boat which won many prestigious races and which is still in use after the reconstruction in the late 1990s.
The latest among Velsheda models which we are now talking about comes with a new type of dial which is responsible for the “Gothic” part of its name. It features a combination of alternating Roman and Arabic numerals, of which the latter ones are made in the so-called Gothic style. The numeral at the top of the face is made in red color which is a nod to old-style pocket watches which commonly had the same numeral in this color.
Since the watch has only a single hand as its indication, the chapter ring of the model is untypical, since every hour is divided to 12 segments which correspond to five minute periods. This way, the wearer can tell the time with precision which is more or less quite sufficient for everyday use. Even though the piece does not have a second hand, its movement supports the feature. Instead of it being conjoined with a hand, it is connected to the recognizable topping tool-shaped wheel in the center of the watch. The same topping tool (which is by the way the brand’s logo) is in the center of the single hand of the watch (and right under the second’s wheel). As two symbols move in different speeds, they are intertwined and this make eye-catching patterns that change every second. In order to facilitate the legibility of the piece, the single central hand of the watch ends with a red colored tip. For the sake of esthetics, this hand is polished and heat-blued.
All of this is done on a background of a crisp white enamel dial that also speaks about the high class of the timekeeper. The fact that the watch has a heat treated face is hidden in its five o’clock numeral which features a minute inscription which cannot even be seen with the naked eye.
The stylish piece from the J-Class collection is placed inside a round housing made of titanium. It has the diameter of 42 mm and the thickness of 12 mm. The iconic Piccadilly-styled housing comes with alternating polished and brushed finishes where the former ones grace the front and the back, while the latter one is seen on the side of the case. The construction likewise includes a fixed bezel and two sapphire crystals on both sides which are additionally treated with glare-proofed coatings. Supported water resistance is to 30 meters.
The piece with the reference number PIC. 10026 runs on Calibre Vaucher 3002 mechanical self-winding movement. It includes 28 jewels, has the width of 11 ½ lignes and the thickness of just 3.7 mm. Moreover, it includes a variable inertia balance and a flat balance spring, while its frequency is 4 Hz. Its twin barrels mounted in series which are stored with energy by a tungsten oscillating weight with a single winding direction provide power reserve which lasts for around 50 hours.
Since we are talking about a high-end timepiece, it comes as no surprise that its movement is also lavishly decorated by hand. Among various haute horlogerie finishes we should underlined the blue rotor in the shape of the brand’s logo (the same one as used in the center of the dial and in the crown of the piece) which revolves on a background embellished with the radiating Geneva striping motif.
For the wristlet, the brand from the Swiss town of Bursins which is led by Peter Speake-Marin chose a hand-made natural alligator leather strap in black color. It fastens with a deployant buckle which is, just like the timekeeper’s housing, made of titanium.
Speake-Marin Valsheda Gothic is only the latest watch in its family. There are also previous Valsheda models with dials that have solely Roman numerals. One of them is with the same titanium case and a blue strap, while two others feature red gold housings and brown attachments. The most lavish among them has its bezel completely covered with baguette diamonds.