In 2006, two brothers John and Stephen McGonigle, having established workshops in both Ireland and Switzerland, created their own brand, McGonigle Watches. John and Stephen McGonigle are the only Irish watchmakers of Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendents (Horological Academy of Independent Creators, or AHCI)
While a relatively new brand, John and Stephen bring with them more than twenty five years of collective experience and in-depth knowledge at the very zenith of the watchmaking profession.
The brothers grew up in Athlone and attended the Irish/Swiss Institute of Horology. They have been involved behind the scenes in the development and production of some of the most daring complicated watches in recent years. Responding to the lure of Switzerland, the cradle of haute de gamme watchmaking, each worked at the houses of such classic brands like Audemars Piquet, Franck Muller and Breguet, garnering valuable experience in such roles as Head of complications and Prototyping. The first model resulting from their collaboration has yielded an exquisitely finished Tourbillon expressing the virtues of elegant simplicity and artisan craftsmanship. The watch is a manual wind Tourbillon wristwatch available in Platinum or Gold. The clean lines, the complex case and the sapphire dial stay true to their philosophy that less is more.
Drawing on their experience, John and Stephen distilled the elements that most appealed to them from watches they had previously worked on, bringing the finish to a new level. Every surface of the movement is fastidiously crafted. The edges of every component are bevelled and polished. The steel surfaces are flat polished and are set against a hand engraved mainplate inspired by the Celtic art of their sister Frances.
On the 1st of March 2010 the McGonigles announced ‘The Tuscar’ with a subscription-only limited edition series of 10 pieces called, “One of Ten”, featuring a white gold case and a transparent sapphire dial revealing all of the subtleties of the stunningly finished movement beneath. The Tuscar marks an important milestone for the McGonigle brothers as it features their new in-house designed and constructed calibre. This new movement is of an unusual construction, designed for optimum performance and to highlight the McGonigles’ trade-mark high level of craftsmanship and finish.
Biography of John McGonigle
John McGonigle studied watchmaking at the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin before spending two years repairing watches and clocks in Ireland & the UK. After studying at the international watchmaking school, WOSTEP in Neuchatel, Switzerland, John worked as a service manager and watchmaker in Bermuda. On his return to Switzerland, he worked for five years with Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus. This was to be a pivotal period in his career as he gained considerable experience and skills in traditional ‘haut de gamme’ watchmaking.
After a rewarding period absorbing and learning as much as he could at Audemars Piguet, in 1997 John seized an opportunity to develop prototypes for Christophe Claret. There he developed Grande Complications, Tourbillons, Automates, and Minute Repeaters with Westminster Chimes. In 1999 John returned to Athlone in Ireland, and established his own watchmaking workshop where he produces complications for Swiss watch houses. In 2007 John joined forces with his brother Stephen to create their own brand, McGonigle Watches, which they launched at the AHCI stand as candidate members with their first model, a tourbillon.
Biography of Stephen McGonigle
tephen graduated from the Irish/Swiss Institute of Horology in 1996 winning a scholarship to Switzerland. He followed this with some excellent experience working for Somlo Antiques in Piccadilly, London as a specialist in the restoration of fine antique watches. He then moved to Switzerland where he joined his brother John working at Christophe Claret producing complications of every kind, from sapphire Tourbillons to Tourbillon Minute Repeaters and the development of complicated prototypes for prestigious brands. Stephen subsequently joined Frank Muller where he worked in the production and after sales service of complications and gained experience with the Grand Sonnerie wristwatch.
After Frank Muller Stephen moved to Breguet as Head of Complications in After Sales Service, and was involved in the training of watchmakers. Amongst other work, Stephen had the valuable opportunity to work on the restoration of the famous Sympathique clocks. He then joined The British Masters as Head of Complications. Stephen then opened his own independent atelier creating complications for some of the most prestigious names in watchmaking.
In 2007 Stephen joined forces with his brother John to create their own brand, McGonigle Watches, which they launched at the AHCI stand as candidate members with their first model, a tourbillon.
Official website: http://www.mcgonigle.ie