Ireland - our little homeland has recently proven its reputation for hospitality. The Celtic Tiger may be licking its wounds, but in a week of welcomes we've wooed Queen Elizabeth II and had the US President supping pints. But the real question on everyone's lips is - Can the Irish make fine watches? The answer of course is... Yes We Can! Well the McGonigles can and their second piece, the Tuscar more than proves it.
It has been said that TV presenters should never work with small children or animals, similarily Irish brothers should not combine talents in the workplace, let's just say it does not make for the most harmonious of business models. John and Stephen McGonigle are an exception to this rule. Furthermore when Daddy McGonigle made the suggestion that a qualification in watchmaking might prove useful, both sons eventually heeded his advice and enrolled at the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin. The work portfolios of both John and Stephen thus far read like a who's who in the business - Audemars Piguet, Christophe Claret, Franck Muller, Breguet and that most valuable of learning curves, prestigious restoration work.
The McGonigle Watch brand was launched in 2007 with their first piece, the McGonigle Tourbillon based on a Claret ébauche, and with a rather striking "M" forming the tourbillon bridge. The piece was well received by the industry, praised for its simplistic design, the clarity of its dial and its flawless finishing. With such an outstanding début, the next McGonigle watch had to be exceptional. John and Stephen had a vision to create a piece "with a high focus on excellent timekeeping, a substantial power reserve, solid reliability and with superb finishing" and one which had "the principle mechanical elements visible on the dial side". Sometimes if you want something to be done to your own particular requirements, the best practice is to do it yourself. Not only accomplished in the art of fine watchmaking, the McGonigles proved themselves also to be accomplished in the fine art of sticking their necks out. The decision was taken to create their own movement, a bold move for such a small independent brand so soon in its development.
The McGonigle Tuscar launched in a ten piece "One of Ten" white gold case edition. Inside the Calibre McGO1 manual wind mechanical movement produces 90 hours of power reserve via double mainspring barrels connected in parallel. Also of note is the free sprung balance spring with Breguet overcoil and gold escape wheel which requires no lubrication. To perfect the design and specifications of the McGO1, the McGonigles collaborated with the renowned Alberto Papi. The Tuscar retains some of the features of the Tourbillon, the transparent sapphire dial providing a focus on the exquisite beauty of the movement, the case shape and tapering crown and the unique Celtic script, designed by another talented family member, their sister Frances.
The images that you and I are drooling over show the already sold out "One of Ten" edition. Now available is an 18k red gold edition limited to 20 pieces, with hand polished stainless steel hands with rose gold arrow heads.
In our mission of educating the masses on the many virtues both visual and technical of contemporary timepieces, we at the Watch Press have often faced ridicule. Our peers don't understand us. We often speak in a language alien to them. Many of our friends still shop at Argos for their watches. But when we come across an independent watchmaking brand like McGonigle Watches and see what can be achieved it all suddenly becomes worthwhile. The fact that two young Irish lads can produce such unique watches of such sublime quality simply makes our little hearts burst with national pride.
More information at the McGonigle official website