The phrase “Eire” would possibly encourage photos of verdant land, creamy darkish Guinness, fortunate shamrocks, and mischievous leprechauns, however few are prone to affiliate the nation with tremendous watchmaking.
Even when Irish watchmakers John and Stephen McGonigle launched their very own model McGonigle Watches again in 2006, it was (and nonetheless is) primarily based in Switzerland the place the brothers skilled and honed their expertise engaged on problems for prestigious Swiss manufacturers.
I first met brothers John and Stephen at Baselworld 2006, and on the finish of the day prompt to John that we seize a beer (or two) and I interview him for an article in iW journal. He got here throughout as pretty relaxed throughout the day, however as I began the interview he appear to develop more and more nervous and harassed. I requested him if something was improper and he replied that it was simply that it was his first time being interviewed by an actual journalist. I laughed and replied that that was my first time being referred to as an actual journalist.
McGonigle Watches grew efficiently, particularly after the launch of the Tuscar in 2010, which featured the brothers’ first in-house motion. Nonetheless, with Stephen residing in Switzerland and John in Eire the logistics of working collectively (even pre-COVID-19) led the brothers to amicably cut up. In 2020 John launched his personal model Oileán (pronounced il-awn), which is Gaelic for “island.”
Whereas maybe higher recognized for making up to date watches, John is likely one of the finest watch restorers I do know and his hand ending is second to none. So for Oileán he determined that he would make watches that enabled the actions to take middle stage.
Oileán H-B1: motion
John McGonigle’s first watch is the Oileán H-B1, a triple-calendar column wheel chronograph powered by a extremely modified new-old inventory Valjoux 88 motion.
“Modified” doesn’t do justice to what McGonigle has carried out to this legendary chronograph motion, although. He has superlatively polished all parts to scale back friction, thinned the springs in order that they function extra easily and effectively, straight grained the flat metal, and beveled and mirror-polished all screw heads.
McGonicle additionally changed lots of the unique copper-beryllium and brass parts with metal elements, each to maximise the lifetime of the motion and to allow a a lot increased degree of hand ending. And if that wasn’t sufficient, McGonigle additionally changed a few bridges with these of his personal design.
Whereas the clear, barely smoked sapphire crystal dial affords tantalizing views to the highest of the motion, the view by means of the show again is just breathtaking.
Oileán H-B1: dial and indications
Not surprisingly for a triple calendar chronograph, there’s a lot happening dial aspect of the H-B1. The time is displayed by central hours and minutes through skeletonized fingers with cool blue Tremendous-LumiNova-filled arrow suggestions. Small seconds are in a subdial at 9 o’clock.
The triple calendar capabilities embody the day at 11 o’clock and the month at 1 o’clock, whereas the date is displayed by a central arrow-tipped, heat-blued hand across the periphery of the dial. There’s additionally a moon part indicator (as a result of why not?) throughout the chronograph’s 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock.
The chronograph contains a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock (with “Eire” on the backside), and an elegantly slim, central, blued elapsed second hand with luminous tip at one finish and an arrowhead counterweight on the different.
Shoppers have the choices of both white or black for the day and month disks in addition to having the principle plate and bridges both rhodium- or gold-plated.
Oileán H-B1: case
The case, a really wearable 40 mm in diameter, is in light-weight Grade 5 titanium. However the triple calendar module does bump up the thickness to a chunky 14.2 mm. This isn’t a discreet under-the-cuff gown watch – nicely, not until you have got massive cuffs.
The extremely polished titanium chronograph pushers are on both aspect of the crown that includes an engraved Oileán harp emblem (the harp being one in every of Eire’s nationwide hallmarks). On the opposite aspect of the case band are two flush corrector pushers for the calendar indications.
McGonigle’s purpose was to spotlight the motion with the very best conventional watchmaking strategies and hand ending. He has completed that fantastically as nearly all the sensationally completed motion is open to view both by means of the sapphire crystal dial or show again. Whereas not a restricted version, McGonigle is limiting manufacturing to only eight items a 12 months, and never surprisingly already has a backlog of orders.
The Oileán H-B1 is a look ahead to motion geeks (like me) and whereas at €32,000 (earlier than taxes) it actually isn’t low-cost, it’s the very best value-for-money, exquisitely hand-finished, difficult watch I’ve ever seen. And as there’s a two-year ready checklist for the Oileán H-B, it seems that quiet a couple of collectors agree.
For extra data, please go to www.oilean.watch.
Fast Info Oileán H-B1
Case: 40 x 14.2 mm, Grade 5 titanium with show again, water resistance 30 m
Dial: clear smoked sapphire crystal
Motion: hand-wound modified Valjoux 88 with triple calendar, 3 Hz/21,600 vph frequency, energy reserve 40 hours
Capabilities: hours, minutes, small seconds; date, day, month, moon part; chronograph
Strap: leather-based with titanium pin buckle
Limitation: 8 items per 12 months
Value: €32,000 (excluding taxes)
* This text was first printed on February 26, 2021 at John McGonigle Oileán H-B1 Triple Calendar Chronograph: I Don’t Know Of A Extra Stunning Sophisticated Motion Obtainable For The Cash.
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