Tuscar Banu is the third timekeeper created by the Irish-Swiss high-end brand McGonigle ran by the McGonigle brothers – John and Stephen – who both have the experience of working for some of the most prestigious companies in the industry. Their third timepiece is, as the previous ones, made with a one-time used in-house caliber. The movement with a large balance made for Tuscar Banu exposed through a skeletonzied section was made in the collaboration with the iconic figure in the world of watches, Alberto Papi. McGonigle Tuscar Banu features demanding and striking Haute Horlogerie finishes and comes in a case made of red gold. It is released in a limited edition of 20 pieces and has the price of just under $60,000.
Prior to establishing the workshops of their new brand in both Switzerland and Ireland in 2007, Jonh and Stephen McGonigle were already involved in the creation of some of the most complex watches in recent years, since they both used to work for some of the top watchmaking brands. John, who studied the craft in the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin and WOSTEP school in Neuchatel, is a member of the Academie Horlogere des Createurs Independents (AHCI) that rounds up the most influential independent watchmakers. His previous work includes the involvement with Audemars Piguet where he was gained experience in production of timekeepers with intricate features such as ultra-thin movements, minute repeaters, perpetual calendars and tourbillons. Later on, John McGonigle developed prototypes for Cristophe Claret and expanded his work to the creation of Grande Complications, Automata and striking mechanisms with Westminister chimes.
The younger of the Athlone-born McGonigle, Stephen, likewise has an impressive resume in the trade. Still a candidate for the membership in the AHCI, Stephen also got his education in the Dublin’s Irish Swiss Institute of Horologyand, and had a stint in Cristophe Claret. Moreover, he was involved with Frank Muller and Breguet. Both brothers were additionally engaged on the repairing and servicing of antique watches and clocks.
Irish-Swiss Watchmaking Brand
John and Stephen McGonigle decided to open their own brand back in 2007 which is the same year when they launched their premier model that included a tourbillon complication. More recently, Mcgonigle revealed Tuscar One in Ten skeletonized model. Tuscar Banu which was initially unveiled this spring is only the third model by the brand that is distinguished by the creation of time-only watches with proprietary movements and hand-performed demanding finishes.
The name of Tuscar Banu derives from Gaelic language. While the term “tuscar” signifies a cluster of rocks with a lighthouse which is the first part of Ireland that can be seen when one approaches the country from east, “banu” simply means “dawn”. Tuscar Banu shares some of the technical features of the brand’s first and more complex tourbillon model and also some of its aesthetical elements. Its face is partially skeletonized on its lower section. The upper part of the dial is made of clear sapphire which got a circular graining finish and includes raised Arabic numerals that further contribute to the overall three-dimensional appearance. Moreover, we can notice manually polished steel hands with a lovely looking arrow shaped tips made of rose gold that received beveled and grained finishes.
As the previous timepieces form the McGonigle’s collection, Tuscar Banu has a 43 mm wide housing which features an elliptical shape with only slightly flared sides. It furthermore includes lugs that are a bit curved to the outer side, as well as a tapered crown with grips that facilitate handling. The housing is made of 18 K gold, it features waterproofness of 30 meters and it includes glare-proofed sapphire crystals on both front and exhibition rear side.
Collaboration with Alberto Papi
Inside the watch there is a movement which the McGonigle brothers designed with the help of Alberto Papi, one of the most renowned Swiss watchmakers. As it is in accordance with the brand’s policy, hand-wound McG01 hand-wound mechanical caliber with 31 jewels will be only used in this model. The caliber has a free-sprung balance which enables the stability of rate and enhanced positional accuracy, especially since it is coupled with a Breguet overcoil. Its precision is further improved with the large size of balance which has the diameter of 12.8 mm. The frequency of the regulating organ is 2.5 Hz. McG01 caliber has a baseplate and bridges made of untreated German silver alloy that is distinguished by exceptional rigidity and includes a gold escape wheel. For the 90 hours long power storage, it utilizes a hand-wound system with twin mainspring barrels set in parallel placement. As it has been with other movements by the Irish-Swiss watchmaker, the caliber is made with train wheels with peculiar woolfteeth gearing which was once used in high-end pocket watches at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the following century. As far as the finishing of the movement is concerned, we can notice perlage, beveled edges and a circular grained surface. The steel parts feature black polish, and while the screws are manually slotted and beveled, both of them are with straight grained sides. McGonigle Tuscar Banu watch is paired with a black hand-stitched alligator strap which locks with a hand-engraved folding buckle made of 18 K rose gold. The technically demanding and opulently finished high-end watch by the McGonigle brothers is made in a limited edition of 20 pieces.