Stoic Pilot’s Watch (Review) + interview with founder Peter Speake-Marin

First, when I heard about this brand, I thought it was another microbrand from Asia, but then I talked to the founder and learned that he was a very known person in watch world Peter Speake-Marin! Yup, the same one! And my interest sparked even more! Before we take a closer look at the watch and the company itself, I had a little chat with him:

1. Introduce yourself
I have been a watchmaker for the past 30 years, during this time I have worked in many areas of the industry from restoration to brand development. Today my time is spent split between education with The Naked Watchmaker platform (www.thenakedwatchmaker.com) and the development of STOIC timepieces, (www.stoicworld.com)
2. Before you became a watchmaker/designer, what was your intended career path in life?
There wasn’t a true path, I started early at 17 years old, and beyond wanting to work in a mechanical domain I had no real direction.
3. What started your watch passion? 
Working on and restoring extraordinary historical pieces from Breguet to Arnold and vintage pieces manufactured until the 1950s, whilst developing a restoration workshop in London in the early ’90s. It was mind-altering, working on watches, pocket and wrist which gave the direction for what has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
4. What makes a good wristwatch to you?
It must speak to you on some level, before the basic function of the watch. Watches are an emotional purchase and for myself, I am today more fascinated in the process than the result. Possibly I am  ‘too close’ to the industry to be objective in relation to the final product as a conventional client would be. When I see watches today I see the process behind them, the people, technology, challenges, the time spent which go beyond the final product. I see a watch as being the result of that process and because of that I look at watches in a very different way to other people. In short, a good watch which will survive time in design and mechanics is the result of a thorough and well thought-out process.
5. What watches do you have in your personal collection? And if you have some interesting story for one particular one, can you tell it?
Historically I have owned many watches, but fewer than people imagine. When I developed Speake-Marin watches with Daniela, my wife, we never owned the product because we needed to sell it and with each new model and prototype I would change and wear them constantly to validate each watch. At the same time, I would not purchase other brands products because my goal was always to sell my own, you can’t sell a Mercedes Benz effectively if you are driving a BMW. The result is that after 17 years of developing a watch company I left with no personal watches from that brand or any other. Today my daily watches are the three first models of Stoic, they are a reminder to me of the value of time, of what is the most important elements in my life that I have often forgotten, all which would be lost if I was not aware of the value of the most important commodity, time itself.
6. As I know Speake-Marin watches have sold for 5 to 6 figures and everyone was expecting something similar under a different brand, but you wowed the watch world with the Stoic brand. Why did you choose to design a range of affordable watches rather than independent/high-end watches?
Partly because I have never executed a project like this one before, never in collaborations, or my own businesses and I wanted to make watches that virtually anybody could purchase, not for financial motivation because whether a watch is 3 figures or 6, the purchase is about value not price. Part of the motivation of the project has been from the start to be able to make watches that can introduce people, young and older to the world of watchmaking through classic designs which tend to be far more expensive than Stoic timepieces, for any product of the equivalent quality.
7. Who is your ideal customer?
Stoic timepieces have only just been born, In the first few months, the purchasers have been a mature generation, beyond generation Z and the millennials whom I thought would be the early adopters of the watches.  I still believe that as the brand develops we will see more and more people adopting the designs as a first step into the world of quality watches.
8. Tell about what you like to do outside of watches. Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Historically, with my previous work especially the art pieces, the inspiration came from travel and often Asia, also from themes such as Momento Mori which places an emphasis on the value of time, the value of life. With Stoic, the influences derive from my days in restoration and love of vintage designs, which lead the way an industry developed over the last half a century.
9. How do you see Stoic watch brand in the future
It will grow, diversify and become a recognised name in the watch world, it will become a brand opposed to micro-brand that can appeal to everybody, both young and older, anybody who appreciates both the value of the watches, as well as those who see a little further beyond the watch and to the message behind them (literally, engraved on the case backs) which is about the value of time, the value of life…
10. Are there any other new watches coming out next year from Stoic?
My friend, for that you will have to wait and see; but the adventure has just begun 😉
11. What are your opinions about microbrand watches in general? 
In 2005 I was interviewed and asked what I thought the future of independent watchmaking would be like, the term micro-brand did not exist at that point in the way it does today. My reply was that the market over the coming years would become saturated with products and brands because it has never been as easy to develop a brand and with time to communicate its existence. The problematic would be to see the real value of a brand separated from financial opportunism. Ultimately natural selection will define who survives and who does not. The product is only part of the success of a business, equally important are the process, marketing and constant momentum, no matter how good a product is without the aforementioned elements it will not survive, and products which are not great but have a complete holistic approach to the business will prosper. You only need to walk into jewellers and watch shops to see this is true. It is a very competitive business and one which is constantly changing, but one which I personally have always loved.


Stoic has 3 watches in their current collection. The Pilot’s watch that I chose, a Chronograph in that Rolex Daytona style and a diver which is also pretty interesting. The Chronograph is the only watch in their collection that has a quartz movement. I chose the Pilot’s watch because I don’t get this style of a watch that much in for review and you “the readers” have been asking to deliver some Pilot watch reviews from brands that aren’t that well known and so I deliver!

So the watch we are looking at today is the Pilot’s watch! The watch came in a very nice cardboard box,, well packaged and padded for safety while shipping. Inside the cardboard box, you will find a hand signed thank you note from Peter Speake-Marin himself and a zipper pouch in which you will find the watch. The packaging is very simple but functional, I really like that zipper pouch as it will be very useful when travelling, one watch on the wrist and second in the pouch. First impressions were that it is very small in size, only 38mm in diameter. And I really like that it is that small, you don’t see that many small-sized Pilot’s watches in the microbrand market. I wish more brands would start making smaller watches in 38-40mm sizes as I think the smaller watches are coming back in style. Don’t see that many big watches on people’s wrists.
The case of the Pilot’s watch is composed of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well machined with nice angles and sharp lines. Stoic makes all their watches in Asia, and I like that they don’t hide that as I myself think that China now makes really great and high-quality products and this watch is no exception! The finishing on the watch is very well done. The case diameter is 38mm, the thickness is 13mm and from lug to lug it measures at 45mm. The proportions, in my opinion, are perfect for everyday use. The top side of the case is satin brushed and the rest of the case has a polished finishing. On top, we have a fixed polished bezel which gives the watch more of a classic look. At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull signed crown. The crown, in my opinion, is a bit too small as it is pretty hard to grab, I wish they made it a bit bigger so it is easier to grab. Also would be cool if they made it screw-in so it would have bigger water resistance. The exhibition screw-in case back has a sapphire crystal, which is a very nice addition as not so many brands bother to put the sapphire on the back. The crystal has a quote printed on the glass “Nothing is ours, except time” Seneca. Which I guess is one of the slogans that they use for marketing. Around the case back you will find some specifications engraved on it. On top of the case sits a flat sapphire crystal with 3 layers of AR coating which really work great! One of the best AR coating I’ve seen on a watch that costs under 400$! The water resistance is 10ATM (100M) which is a standard for pilots watches, but I wouldn’t recommend going swimming with it as it has only a push-pull crown and not screw in.
The dial is in grey sunburst which really makes the dial pop. It really plays with the light and sometimes it looks darker or lighter grey colour. Around the dial, we have a chapter ring with white printing with a minute track. The hour markers are printed on the dial in white colour and at 12 o’clock we have the classic triangle just like the old Flieger watches had. All numerals and that triangle have a lume applied. Not the best lume, but it works in the dark fine. At 12 o’clock just right under the triangle we have an applied Stoic logo which is a nice addition to the dial and the logo isn’t bad looking too. At 3 o’clock we have a date window with a white date wheel. I wish they made the date wheel in the same colour as the dial, but here it doesn’t look that bad. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands are polished and have a lume applied in the middle. The lume on the hands is a lot better and brighter, but it doesn’t last that long too. The stick-shaped second’s hand is also polished. Overall the dial looks good, it is very easy to read despite the watch being that small and it looks pretty good too.
The movement that is inside the watch is Japan made Seiko NH35A, which is reasonably well regulated at +15 to +18 seconds a day. This movement is pretty popular in the microbrand world as 50% of watches that are coming out have this movement inside them. It has proven it’s reliability and easiness to service within many years. You just can’t go wrong with Japan made movements from Seiko. It is an automatic 24 jewel movement with 41-hour power reserve and beating away with 21,600 BPH.
The watch comes with a dark brown leather strap stitched in the Pilot strap style with white stitching. Alo on each strap side we have two metal rivets that are usually used in pilot’s watch straps. The underside is lined with beige softer material and is signed with Stoic watches logo. The leather is very soft and supple so on the wrist, it wears very comfortably. The watch came with double hinged deployment clasp which is very well machined,, but the only thing I would like them to do is to make the edges on the clasp not so sharp as right now, they are a bit too sharp. But the clasp nonetheless is a very good one, it works really good and is very well finished and signed with Stoic logo. The strap is 20mm wide at lugs and has the built-in quick release spring bars.
Overall I really like this watch. I was a big fan of Speake-Marin watches and I can understand why Peter created this brand. After spending more than a month with this watch I really can say that they are pretty good. Yes, it has some things I don’t like, but there isn’t a watch that is perfect! Is it a good watch and worth buying? Well, I think yes! The company is really great, good customer service. For the price of 390$, you get a very nice designed watch, nice small and versatile sized case for comfy everyday use, sapphire crystal on front and back, automatic Japan-made movement which is reliable and easy to service and very nice strap and clasp!

Price: 390$ @ stoicworld.com

Model Name
The Pilots Watch (#1)Reference
MP1Functions
Hour, minute, central seconds, date

Movement Type
Automatic

Movement Reference
NH35

Special Movement Details
Rotor with Geneva stripes

Case Material
316L Stainless steel

Case Diameter
(3-9hr) 38mm

Distance Between Shoulders
20mm

Case Thickness
13mmCaseback
Sapphire with printed quoteBezel Glass
Sapphire with 3 layers of anti-reflective coating

Water Resistant
100m

Strap/Bracelet
Leather (quick release)

Strap Length
75mm x 116mm

Buckle
Double-hinged deployment

Warranty
2 years

Notes
Shipping cost included

2 thoughts on “Stoic Pilot’s Watch (Review) + interview with founder Peter Speake-Marin

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