Concept & Design
and Stephen wanted to distil the elements that they loved and respected in
the masterpieces that had passed through their hands while working in
As watchmakers they strive for elegance, simplicity, precision and
reliability. In an efforts to achieve these goals they have taken the view
that less is often more. This is a principle that is adopted with the
design of the McGonigle Tourbillon.
basic design of the movement and most of the components has been sourced
from Christophe Claret.
The movement is a hand winding mechanical tourbillon with a 110 hour power
Either red, blue or clear jewels can be used depending on the colour of
the material used for the case.
principles adopted with the Tourbillon cage is a very definite ‘less is
more’. The McGonigles decided to dispense with the regulator to adjust
the timekeeping of the watch. This eliminates one of the eight elements
that disturb the regular timekeeping of a watch. Put simply to regulate a
freesprung watch it is necessary to balance the weight of the balance with
the length of the balance spring. It’s not a simple task.
Rather than add weight to the Tourbillon cage, to poise it, they have
removed weight from the other side. The net result is a lighter cage. A
cage stops, recoils and accelerates six times every second. A lighter cage
makes this effort more efficient. Less is more. It also looks cleaner and
The Mainplate and Engraving
mainplate and bridges are made from an alloy referred to as German silver.
This has traditionally been used on only the highest grade watches because
of its rigidity. The recessed areas of the mainplate and the underside of
the bridges have been finished with fine spotting or ‘pearlage’. The
back of the mainplate is hand engraved with a Celtic inspired design by
Frances McGonigle. The edges of these components are hand bevelled. The
remaining surfaces are circle grain finished. The mainplate and bridges
have been left without an electroplated finish. It would be a pity to hide
the beautiful lustre of this metal.
treatment of key components is conducted by the McGonigles themselves
using special jigs to reduce the risk of distortion. This is necessary
because of the shape and fineness of certain components.
The steel components are hand beveled, and flat polished on tin blocks
with diamond paste. This produces what is referred to as a ‘black’
All screws are hand slotted and bevelled. The top surfaces are flat
polished by hand on tin.
The side of all steel, components and screws are straight grained.
train wheels and barrel have the unusual feature of wolftooth gearing.
This style of gearing was often used in late nineteenth and early
twentieth century high grade Swiss pocket watches.
This calibre, to John and Stephen's knowledge, is unique in using this
type of gearing for the gear train.
dial is on two levels. The lower hour track is machined in to the case
ring. This, like the movement is made from German silver.
The upper dial
is machined out of a slice of sapphire crystal. There an opening at six to
expose the tourbillon cage. There is an
additional opening in the dial at 12 o'clock. This allows the viewer to
see part of the barrel and the wolf tooth gearing.
indexes are drilled into the sapphire to correspond with the hour indexes
on the lower dial.
case is a mixture of subtle shapes with strong lugs crafted out of gold or
platinum. The case has very slight oval shape. The
opening for the glass is round but the bezel is slightly flared at 3 and 9
o'clock, almost imperceptibly so but enough to hold your eye and draw you
the lugs also flare outwards as they extend from the case. They sweep
downwards to give a 'crouching animal' tension to the case.
The Crown has also a slight taper. It's quite
large and has grips in the style of the Ogham alphabet (the ancient Celtic
alphabet used in the logo). With this design it is quite tactile and easy
to use, an important detail often overlooked on manual watches. The back
has a sapphire glass back through which the engraved mainplate can be
viewed. The case back is secured by screws. The bezel is secured by screws
inside the case. The case is water resistant to
3 atmospheres, although swimming with this watch is not encouraged.
presentation case is a handmade combination of leather and Irish Bog Oak.
The Oak is 5000 year old wood preserved in Irish Bog before being
reclaimed and prepared by specialist craftsmen. The case also incorporates
the McGonigle name in the Ogham alphabet. This ancient Celtic alphabet was
used in traditional carvings and inscriptions.
mechanical watches require service at regular intervals and McGonigle
watches are no exception. However because of the high value and the
specialized nature of our watches it is especially important that only the
most qualified watchmakers work on them. John and Stephen would always
prefer to service their watches themselves, but in the event that this is
not convenient or possible they will insure that someone that they trust
can. The McGonigle brothers are in the process of establishing alliances
with a number of independent watchmakers to insure that the expertise to
maintain the watches will always be there long after they are gone.