Having one master craftsperson involved in a project might be considered fortunate; two is fortuitous; three must surely be a crowd; but four master craftsmen involved in a single project? That can only be the Speake-Marin Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project.
The Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project is a one-off piece commissioned by an experienced collector who is passionate about high-quality artisanal craft and believes that it is the people involved that impart a timepiece with its “soul”. And considering the calibre of the master craftsmen involved in this adventure − Kees Engelbarts (engraver), Eddy Jaquet (engraver), Christophe Seewer (leather embosser), Peter Speake-Marin (watchmaker) − the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project timepiece will have more soul than Motown!
The inspiration for this special timepiece is the Kennin-ji Temple, a historic Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. Founded in 1202, the Kennin-ji Temple is considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Japan, and the temple’s founding abbot Eisai is credited with introducing the Zen philosophy to Japan.
To commemorate the temple’s 800th anniversary in 2002, the Hatto building (Dharma Hall) was enhanced by a dramatic painting of two dragons on the ceiling by artist Koizumi Junsaku. The expansive painting covers approximately 175 square metres and the style differs from the traditional circular layout as the commissioning Abbot requested that the dragons be “rampaging across the ceiling”.
To honour and convey the power of this monumental painting down to the scale of a wristwatch, the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project timepieces features ornately engraved twin dragons spilling out from the dial to the case and onto the surrounding presentation box.
Peter Speake-Marin, “due to the complexity of the subject (two dragons instead of one), the incredible detail of the engravings and the fact that it isn’t just one component that’s engraved, but the designs cover practically the whole watch.”
The multi-national Swiss-based team of four Masters responsible for the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project are:
Peter Speake-Marin (English): project manager and watchmaker responsible for the in-house SM2 movement beating beneath the dragons on the dial.
Kees Engelbarts (Dutch): engraver for the dial, and case.
Eddy Jaquet (Swiss): engraver for the SM2 movement.
Christophe Seewer (Swiss): engraver for embossing the leather of the presentation case.
The attention to detail on this piece is unparalleled: for example the original stepped bezel was redeveloped to have a rounder profile so that the dragons flow seamlessly from the dial, over the bezel and down the sides of the caseband.
And the engraving isn’t restricted to the top and sides: the movement is also engraved and the leather lining of the presentation case is embossed with a similar dragon motif to the watch.
The artistry of the Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project is peerless in both conception and execution. The Speake-Marin Kennin-ji Temple Masters Project is an engraved unique piece engraved by four masters in a 42 mm white gold case