Speake-Marin Dong

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Speake-Marin Dong

Post by mrneddles » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:47 am

Speake-Marin unveil the Dong Son, a specially-commissioned, limited edition featuring an 18k red gold dial with etched motif inspired by ancient Dong Son bronze drums

The Dong Son – inspired by a Vietnamese cultural treasure

The Dong Son by Speake-Marin is a commissioned, limited-edition timepiece featuring a red gold dial stunningly etched away to leave a fascinating motif inspired by the prehistoric bronze drums of the Dong Son culture in the Red River Delta of Vietnam.

The intricately detailed dial is complemented by the drum-like Speake-Marin Piccadilly case in 18k red gold, further evoking the beauty of the ancient Dong Son drums.

In addition to the signature Piccadilly case, the Dong Son possesses other quintessential Speake-Marin qualities including characteristic pleated crown, signature Foundation hand, mystery winding rotor and features the new, automatic-winding Eros 1 movement with five-day power reserve.

Peter Speake-Marin says: “It has been a pleasure to explore and showcase the ancient Dong Son culture and one of its prized artefacts through creating the Speake-Marin Dong Son timepiece.”

The Dong Son bronze drum culture

Dong Son drums are bronze drums crafted by the Dong Son culture in the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam between about 600 BC and the third century AD. The Dong Son people were highly-skilled bronze casters and their drums are considered to represent an artistic level that few cultures of the time could match. Weighing up to 100kg, some drums would have required the smelting of between one and seven tons of copper ore. Since the late 17th century, more than 200 such drums have been discovered from eastern Indonesia to Vietnam and parts of southern China.

Drum from Sông Đà, Vietnam. Dong Son II culture. Mid-1st millennium BCE. Bronze.

It is generally thought that the Dong Son drums were used as musical instruments in festivals, in prayers for rain and for good harvest, in rituals such as weddings and funerals, and for rallying men for war. The sides and top surface of the drums were usually decorated with geometric patterns and realistically inscribed scenes depicting daily life, for example war, animals and boats.

The unique dial of the Dong Son

These traditional patterns and iconography provide the inspiration for the highly-intricate dial motif of the Speake-Marin Dong Son. In fact, the Dong Son dial motif takes its cues from some of the most revered Dong Son drum creations, including the Hoàng Ha drum, Co Loa drum and the most important of all due to its well-preserved nature and intricate decoration, the famous Ngoc Lu drum.

The top surfaces of these drums are adorned with a central starburst and concentric circles within which are repetitive images of armed warriors and flying egrets as well as geometric hatching.


The dial motif of the Speake-Marin Dong Son follows a similar pattern to these historical masterpieces, with an outer ring of graceful egrets complemented by an inner ring featuring plumed warriors holding their weapons between the 12 points of the eye-catching starburst. These 12 points also form a neat horological reference for the central, sculptured signature Speake-Marin ‘Foundation’ hands indicating hours, minutes and seconds.

Intricate etching

It is not just the iconography of the Dong Son drum motif that gives the Dong Son dial its vitality, but also the spectacular precision of the etching in the 1.0mm 18k gold dial.

“The precision of the etching to create the Dong Son dial motif was only made possible thanks to an extremely innovative chemical etching process,” says Peter Speake-Marin. “Such an astonishing level of detail couldn’t have been achieved by human hand.”

The etched areas are 0.3mm deep and boast a matte finishing which impresses when applied to the natural red gold and when the dial is treated with an ‘all white’ or ‘all blue’ process that provides a breath-taking contrast with the circular-grained, red gold motif.

Signature Speake-Marin Piccadilly case

The Dong Son features an 18k red gold Piccadilly case with soldered lugs, bearing all the hallmarks of Speake-Marin’s meticulous quest to create classical masterpieces that endure – just like the Dong Son drums themselves.

At first glance the three-piece case appears similar to the original Piccadilly, but on closer inspection it can be seen that this one is much slimmer – just 12mm in height and 38mm in diameter – an elegant design made possible by the new Eros 1 calibre.

Display-back and Eros 1 movement

The Eros 1 calibre is an automatic winding movement and features a long, five-day power reserve and the signature Speake-Marin ‘mystery’ winding rotor. The large-diameter, circular-grained movement dominates the view through the display-back and provides a technical backdrop for the beautifully finished rotor.

Dong Son Technical Specifications*

The Dong Son is a limited edition of 18 pieces in 18K 5N red gold in 38mm case featuring natural dial etching, ‘all white’ dial etching or ‘all blue’ dial etching

Features and indications:
■18K 5N red gold dial decorated with intricate etching inspired by Dong Son drum motifs
■Central hours, minutes and seconds
■Automatic-winding Eros movement with five-day power reserve
■New, slim Speake-Marin Piccadilly case

Dial and Hands:
■18K 5N red gold dial decorated with fine etching inspired by Dong Son drum motifs
■‘Foundation’ style central hour, minute and second hands

■Calibre EROS 1, automatic-winding mechanical movement
■Dimensions: 30.40mm x 4.35mm
■Power reserve: 120 hours
■Jewels: 35
■Twin barrels
■Frequency: 28,800vph / 4Hz
■Three position crown: manual winding, rapid date correction and stop-second time setting
■Signature Speake-Marin ‘topping tool’ mystery rotor
■Blue winding rotor

Case and strap:
■Iconic Speake-Marin Piccadilly case crafted in 18K 5N red gold
■Three-piece case construction
■Dimensions: 38mm x 12mm
■Front and display-back sapphire crystals treated with anti-reflective coating
■Case-back circumference engraving: “Speake-Marin – The Piccadilly”
■Water resistance: 3atm/30m/100ft
■Genuine, natural alligator leather strap
Mortuus Fakeuus

Re: Speake-Marin Dong

Post by Mortuus Fakeuus » Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:26 am

It reminds me of a very nice, very unusual watch from India that a WL WIS posted sometime earlier this year, though the detailing was nowhere close to the breathtaking art seen here. Nice post! :face:
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