Pen Maker Grayson Tighe And Watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin Utilize Creative Dong Son Theme

by Elizabeth Doerr

 It’s not just the Đông Sơn drum theme of these two quite different collector’s items by watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin and pen maker Grayson Tighe that caught my eye: it was more than that, it was the actual pieces themselves.

Peter Speake-Marin is an independent British watchmaker who lives and works in Switzerland. Much of his career has been spent making distinctive bespoke timepieces combining the inspiration and taste of both himself and his client.

Dong Son Tourbillon by Speake-Marin

Dong Son Tourbillon by Speake-Marin

Additionally, he uses his travels as great inspiration for his at times unusual and always creative themes.

Grayson Tighe specializes in limited edition and one-of-a-kind collector-grade writing instruments. Using unusual materials such as mokumé gané and damascened steel, his pens are always fascinating and original works of art.

Grayson Tighe Zirconium Dong Son fountain pen

Grayson Tighe zirconium Dong Son fountain pen

So it shouldn’t be quite that surprising that both of these artists have managed to create gorgeous and very rare products inspired by the Đông Sơn culture in the Red River Delta of Vietnam.

Bronze Dong Son drum believd to be over 2,500 years old

Bronze Dong Son drum believed to be more than 2,500 years old

Made in three parts (barrel, head, and leg), the ancient Đông Sơn drums were cast in bronze using a wax casting technique: drum parts were first sculpted in wax, then coated multiple times by a ceramic slush, left to harden, and then fired — thereby melting the wax in the center and leaving a hard cavity mold. The Dong Son would pour molten bronze into the mold to create the drum components, which could weigh up to 100 kilograms when complete.

Close up look at the intricate detail on an historic Dong Son drum

A close look at the intricate detail on an historic Dong Son drum

The decorative carvings vary from drum to drum, but popular motifs include animals (birds in particular), farming, warriors, and boats.

Grayson Tighe Zirconium Dong Son fountain pen

Grayson Tighe titanium Dong Son fountain pen

Though Speake-Marin drew his dial layout design inspiration from notable examples of Đông Sơn drums, Tighe chose to weave the Đông Sơn patterns into a more abstract arrangement partially predisposed by using mokumé gané material made from copper and German silver, grade 2 and grade 5 titanium, and/or zirconium with grade 2 and grade 5 titanium on the writing instruments’ barrel and cap.

Dong Son Tourbillon by Speake-Marin

Dong Son Tourbillon by Speake-Marin

Speake-Marin’s dial plate is crafted from 18-karat red gold one millimeter thick. The intricately detailed engravings can be finer than a human hair and 0.3 mm deep — the depth is necessary because some versions have the recesses filled with blue lacquer for increased contrast. This is achieved by using a special process of chemical etching for maximum depth and precision.

The Speake-Marin Dong Son Tourbillon

The Speake-Marin Dong Son Tourbillon

For more information, please see Ancient Drums Are Booming: The Speake-Marin Dong Son Tourbillon and www.speake-marin.com/dong-son-tourbillon.

Tighe’s designs are no less tricky in their own way. “The titanium and zirconium versions are very advanced and a big step up from making Damascus steel [in terms of difficulty and precision], needing working at very high temperatures, which is dangerous [meaning easy to bungle] and unforgiving,” says the Canadian pen maker.

Grayson Tighe mokumé gané Dong Son fountain pen

Grayson Tighe mokumé gané Dong Son fountain pen

For more information, please visit www.graysontighe.com/gallery-limitededitions.

Grayson Tighe’s limited edition pens are available in three versions as follows.

Quick Facts Zirconium/Titanium Mokumé Gané Dong Son
 
Materials: solid zirconium and titanium mokumé gané
 Embellishment: engraving
 Type: fountain pen
 Nib: blued titanium
 Limitation: 18 pieces
 Pricing: approx. $3,700
 Availability: exclusively at Miluxe Boutique Vietnam

Mokumé Gané Dong Son
 
Materials: solid two-tone titanium with copper and German silver mokumé gané overlay
 Embellishment: engraving
 Type: fountain pen
 Nib: 18-karat gold
 Limitation: 18 pieces
 Pricing: approx. $3,000
 Availability: exclusively at Miluxe Boutique Vietnam
 
Limitation: 18 pieces

Titanium Mokumé Gané Dong Son
 
Materials: solid two-tone titanium with mokumé gané
 Embellishment: engraving
 Type: fountain pen
 Nib: blued titanium
 Limitation: 18 pieces
 Pricing: approx. $3,200
 Availability: exclusively at Miluxe Boutique Vietnam

Quick Facts Speake-Marin Dong Son Tourbillon
 
Case: 38 mm, 18-karat red gold
 Movement: automatic SM/CDH Caliber SM3 with 60-second tourbillon
 Functions: hours, minutes
 Price: approximately 110,000 Swiss francs
 
Originally published at Quill & Pad.