Ancient Temple in Kyoto Inspires Speake-Marin’s Latest Timepiece

Kyoto's 800-year old Kennin-Ji temple serves as inspiration for this bespoke timepiece by Speake-Marin that's decorated with a pair of hand-engraved dragons on the dial, case and movement.

Independent watchmaker Speake-Marin collaborated with a trio of artisans of different specialties to create the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project wristwatch. Commissioned by a collector, the timepiece is a one of a kind creation decorated with relief engraving of twin dragons, based on the ceiling mural of the Kennin-Ji temple in Kyoto.

Possibly the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto, once the imperial capital of Japan during the Tokugawa Shogunate, Kennin-Ji was founded in 1202 and celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2002. On that occasion, a monumental ceiling painting measuring some 175 sq. m was commissioned for the temple. Painting by Japanese artist Koizumi Junsaku, the ceiling depicts twin dragons, a motif reproduced on the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project.

The 42mm case and dial are both white gold, with the dragon motif on the dial continuing onto the case. Even the lugs have been shaped like claws of a dragon.

Dutch engraver Kees Engelbarts was responsible for the decoration on the case and dial, while the movement was engraved by Eddy Jaquet, a Swiss engraver whose work includes the Master 7 Decimal Repeater by Voutilainen.

The twin dragon motif is repeated on the embossed leather of the presentation case, which was done by Swiss leatherworker Christophe Seewer.

And the movement is the calibre SM2, Speake-Marin’s top of the line in-house movement that has German silver bridges. As a unique piece ordered by a client, the Kennin-Ji Temple Masters Project has been spoken for. Speake-Marin, however, does custom watches frequently, with other examples including the Shimoda Majestic Monkey and the more recent Only Watch piece.

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