The name Magon Watches will undoubtedly say nothing to you, and for a good reason since the brand is being launched as you read this introduction. However, the name behind this newcomer is not unknown and will resonate in the mind of independent collectors: Stephen McGonigle. One of the two brothers behind the watchmaking company McGonigle, Stephen has decided to add a solo album to his discography, without abandoning the main band, just like his brother John did with Oileán Watches (no worries, McGonigle watches is still alive). Let’s have a look at the first creation of Stephen, the Magon Fórsa Titanium Chronograph.
When he decided to fly solo for a while, Stephen McGonigle went for something (objectively) personal and unique to him. Behind this new tonneau-shaped chronograph is a lifelong passion for the sport of rugby. But there’s nothing gimmicky here or simply a watch for rugby fans. Magon Watches is first and foremost the project of a great watchmaker who knows a thing or two about creating high-end watches. Admittedly, we’re in totally different territories here, be it in terms of inspiration or watchmaking credentials, but there is still a certain McGonigle touch.
Given the rugby inspiration, the choice of the tonneau-shaped case is quite obvious. But still, as Stephen reminded us, making a tonneau-shaped watch isn’t the easiest and requires far more work than a classic round case. This explains why there are not so many of them on the market and even fewer tonneau chronographs. This case, made by a high-end case maker from Germany (the only part that isn’t Swiss-made in the watch), measures 46mm (height) x 43mm (width), with a thickness of 13.80mm. Besides the apparent curves of the profile, it is entirely rounded and shows almost no sharp angles. And since Stephen went for grade 5 titanium, it makes the finishing of the case even trickier.
There are two versions of the Magon Fórsa Titanium Chronograph available. One is made in polished titanium and one in matte black titanium, which is first sandblasted and then black DLC coated. The case is water-resistant to 100m and features sapphire crystals on both sides. And the top crystal is shaped so it follows the curvature of the case. The crown also shows a rather unique design. Depending on the model, the watch is worn on a 22/20mm hand-stitched rubber strap that can either be black with a pattern that reminds of the surface of a rugby ball or bright green with an alligator pattern.
The dial of the Magon Fórsa Titanium Chronograph is deceptively simple. But, as Stephen McGonigle explained to us, it was “the most complicated dial I have ever worked on“. Its production involves both stamping and CNC work. The finishing on the dial is done manually, and all the Super-LumiNova is hand-painted. Often brands will use a flat dial in a tonneau or curved case, but Stephen didn’t want that and instead chose a more challenging design that follows the curves of the case. The whole watch, even though from a completely different category and price range, has been approached like a McGonigle project. Here again, the inspiration for the dial is relatively straightforward, yet with a design that is deliberately minimalist.
Under the sapphire caseback is a La Joux-Perret column-wheel integrated chronograph movement with automatic winding. While the technical base is known, Stephen went for a specific decoration that involves straight-grained bridges with polished bevels, black DLC screws and a DLC-coated column wheel with column tops polished, and finally, a green PVD rotor.
Availability & Price
The Magon Fórsa Titanium Chronograph is available from the brand’s website directly – www.magonwatches.com – and is limited to 50 pieces. It is priced at EUR 9,800 (excl. VAT) in polished titanium and EUR 11,800 (excl. VAT) in DLC titanium. Objectively, a rather high price that reflects some manufacturing choices, the independence of the brand and the low quantities produced.