Today we’re offering you a look at one of the pieces from independent watch brand Speake-Marin’s Velsheda, a single-hand watch that is unlike any other. Released during Baselworld 2014 as part of the J-Class collection, inspired by the timeless aesthetics of classical racing yachts and specifically for this watch, marine compasses.

Speake-Marin Velsheda 9

While I thought the watch’s name “Velsheda” was a Gaelic word (please do pardon my ignorance), the name was actually taken from a J-Class yacht built in 1933 and commissioned by businessman William Lawrence Stephenson, who named it after his three daughters Velma, Sheila and Daphne.

At first sight, the Velsheda has all the familiar traits you’d expect to find in a Peter Speake-Marin watch: 42mm case “officer’s style” round case, thick lugs with large screws, clean white dial, flame-blued hands and of course, a topping tool motif somewhere.

Speake-Marin Velsheda 1

Some of you might remember the older Peter Speake-Marin single-handed Piccadilly “Shimoda” watch (you can see an example here), which you could call the Velsheda’s predecessor. But where that was a more traditional interpretation of a single-handed watch, the Velsheda takes on a much more artistic form.

Speake-Marin Velsheda 3

Set against a two-level white lacquer dial with black Roman numerals is one of the largest hands you’ll ever see on a wristwatch. Done in flame-blued steel, the shape of the hand is inspired by a marine compasses. The regal hand makes a complete revolution around the dial every 12 hours. The black chapter ring contains 5-minute marks, with the 15, 30 and 45-minute marks slightly longer and more pronounced for easier reading.

Speake-Marin Velsheda 4

The truly outstanding feature however is at the very center of the hand, with two superimposed topping tool-inspired wheels, the upper of which serves as a constant seconds indicator of sorts. As the top one revolves, the two wheels create constantly morphing patterns that are nothing short of hypnotizing. It’s this very animation that makes the Velsheda such a captivating piece, especially for a single-hand watch.

Speake-Marin Velsheda 5

Speake-Marin Velsheda 6

From a purely practical view however, the only flaw I can see with the design of the hand is that it can be difficult to read at a quick glance. Not so much because it’s a single-hand watch, but because both the pointer side as well as the counterweight side of the hand are almost exactly the same length, making it tricky to make out which side you’re supposed to be read if you’re in a hurry.

The Velsheda is equipped with Speake-Marin’s Eros movement, featuring a “mystery” rotor in- you guessed it, a three-spoke topping wheel motif, flame-blued with beveled and polished edges. The automatic movement delivers a power reserve of 5 days (120 hours) when fully wound.

Speake-Marin Velsheda Movement

The 42mm case wore rather comfortably on my 6.6″ wrist. Note that because the bezel is slightly on the wider side, the watch can appear slightly smaller than stated, which is not a bad thing for such a style. The case measures 12mm in thickness, though the way the thick lugs sit on the wrist can make it appear to sit slightly higher on larger wrists.

Speake-Marin Velsheda Wrist

The Speake-Marin Velsheda comes with a price tag of around $8’500 USD, making it a very attractive option for those looking for something a little different, or perhaps one’s first foray into the world of independent watchmakers and brands.

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