Featuring a classic twentieth century movement, refined and enhanced to the exacting standards of haute horlogerie by the hand of one of the world’s most respected independent master watchmakers, the breathtaking Oiléan HB-1 by John McGonigle is a hand crafted piece of ethereal beauty, which combines Swiss watchmaking excellence with contemporary design, infused with subtle nuances of celtic mysticism.
Visually stunning with its transparent dial whose subtle grey-brown tint throws a shadow-like effect across the otherwise fully exposed mechanism beneath, Oiléan is an exquisite new piece from this internationally renowned master watchmaker, and one which is irresistibly eye catching on the wrist, with intricate detailing and immaculate finishing throughout.
Taking its name from the Gaelic word for ‘island’ Oiléan sees this brilliant Irish watchmaker returning to his roots and striking out in a new but familiar direction. As co-founder of the McGonigle watch company, his work alongside his Neuchâtel-based brother Stephen has been acclaimed around the world by the most fastidious of collectors. Leaving his brother to continue and nurture the family brand from Switzerland, John has put his life’s experience into Oiléan, an Irish watch, manufactured in Ireland, and featuring a ground-up reworking of one of the most elegant and sophisticated Swiss movements, the Valjoux 88.
Boasting a veritable suite of complications, Oiléan HB-1 features a triple calendar with moon phase, and chronograph, and the watchmaker has entirely disassembled and taken this rare, historic mechanism to its component form, and part by part applied his mastery to each individual piece, polishing, reprofiling and finishing, before crowning each completed movement with a beautiful golden harp-shaped chronograph bridge, which is the first thing to greet the eye when viewed through the sapphire caseback.
Its dark smoked sapphire dial features outline subdials for the thirty-minute and twelve-hour chrono counters at the 3 and 6 o’clock positions, and the small constant seconds at the 9, and offers a view of the mechanism and its secrets beneath. The day and month discs are fully visible, and align under a pair of central apertures, while the moon phase display fills the centre of the subdial at the 6. Around the edge of the dial, applied steel baton indices are accented with cool blue Super-LumiNova as are the tips of the unmistakable signature McGonigle hands, while the date is indicated by an arrow-tipped pointer which jumps forward around the rehaut at midnight.
Oiléan HB-1 is presented in a round case of Grade 5 titanium measuring 40mm across and 14.5mm tall, with contrasting brushed and polished finishes, and among its features are a concave bezel, trapezoidal chronograph pushers and shallow filets on the sides of the lugs. The raised silhouette of Oiléan’s harp motif adorns the crown.
Turned over and the sapphire caseback reveals the watchmaker’s superb haute horlogerie reworking of the historic Valjoux 88 manual winding movement which derives 40 hours of power reserve and beats at 21’600 vib/h.
With each piece being manufactured by hand, and only a handful of pieces being produced each year, the Oiléan HB-1 is already a rare and collectible wristwatch.