An Inside Look At Shane Tulloch’s Impressive Regulator Watches
The New Zealander is not your typical born-and-bred Swiss watchmaker, but that’s a good thing.
Shane Tulloch loves to make people happy. As a child, he watched his father, an artisan jeweler, hand clients their custom pieces. “Their faces lit up with joy,” he said, “that left a strong impression on me.” Tulloch grew up around his father’s workshop, and that’s where his love of craftsmanship began.
Tulloch went to university and graduated with a business degree. He worked for the high-powered McKinsey & Company consulting group. While there, he learned about consumer branding in the luxury category and how to grow a brand. Still, his passion was to be a real creator and to bring joy to other people, as his father did.
Passion for Creation
“I knew [creating] would be more fulfilling than my consulting career,” Tulloch said, “however, I was never as good with my hands as my dad,” so he chose a different craft. Watches were a logical choice, and they quickly became the passion that Tulloch sought and are to this day. He quit his consulting job in 2012 and began studying to be a watchmaker.
Again, Tulloch chose a road less traveled to study watchmaking: for four years, he worked on his own. He independently studied design, micro-mechanical engineering, and watchmaking. Why learn this way? “I worked on my own instead of going to watchmaking school because that is the way I learn best,” he said. “I wanted to get deep into designing movements and complications from the ground up.”
Indeed, he left no stone unturned in his studies. When he found a book that he wanted to read about movement design and construction, titled Traité de Construction Horlogère, by Michel Vermot, Philippe Bovay, Damien Prongué, and Sebastien Dordor, he couldn’t find a copy in English. So, he translated over 900 pages from French to English himself, a process that took about five weeks.
He didn’t go it all alone, though. In Switzerland, he “met with artisans and small firms that make various components,” including springs, wheels, and escapements.
Learning from the Best: Eric Giroud and Kari Voutilainen
Giroud and Voutilainen have helped educate and guide Tulloch through his process. It’s a feather in his cap because if these two powerhouses took him on, he must have made quite the impression. “Eric Giroud helped to develop my design sketches and concepts for the case and dial into 3D models,” he said. “Eric has a very good feel for aesthetic elements.”
Along with the team at Kari Voutilainen’s dial making company, Comblémine SA, Tulloch created his prototypes and movements, including the finishing. Christophe Beuchat, Voutilainen’s head of engineering, “was instrumental in making sure the movement is a very strong construction with excellent chronometry/timekeeping performance,” says Tulloch.
So let’s get down to the watches. TULLOCH’s first novelty is the T-01, First Edition. Its design is classic and unexpected at the same time. Tulloch was inspired by going back to the roots of watchmaking. Regulator-style pocket watches were immensely appealing to him as an inspiration for his design and movements. “They come from a time when minutes mattered more than seconds, and I liked that,” he said. His first series of watches are regulators, with a twist, “looking at the past with a modern take.”
The watches’ hand-wound movement has two barrels, allowing for softer and thinner springs that deliver stable, smooth power. And a large balance wheel maintains a high amplitude, further contributing to its accuracy.
The movement of the T-01, First Edition is extensively hand-crafted and can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback. And the two barrels are decorated with a hand- guilloche, a technique Voutilainen often uses for his dials, creating a scintillating pattern on the surface. Not only that, but the guilloché can be customized to the owner’s taste from a range of several patterns.
Another example of TULLOCH’s finishing is the beveling of the bridges. He wanted a rounded profile instead of the customary straight 45-degree edge, so each of the edges is filed and polished by hand. A time-consuming process, but it “allows the edges of the bridges to catch the light at any angle,” an effect that is important to Tulloch. The wheels are another of the movement’s highlights - they are made of solid 18K white gold. As Tulloch says, “they polish up very nicely." That’s a lot of eye candy for the collector.
Tulloch put his own spin on the dial design, forgoing the typical symmetry of dial displays. The hour sub-dial sits at 1 o’clock, and the seconds indicator at 7:30. It makes for an eye-catching dial that’s just slightly unexpected looking but still rings true as a classic design. Also, the hour numerals are machined out of the solid white gold dial, creating a three-dimensional effect. “This makes the numerals really catch the light,” said Tulloch.
The case is quite classic with a thin bezel designed so as not to draw attention from the dial. The crown has a slightly rounder shape than is customary. Tulloch decided to give it 24 flutes for the 24 hours of the day. The T-01, First Edition measures 40 mm across and 11 mm high. The double-barreled movement holds a four-day power reserve. The watch is water-resistant to three atmospheres.
Only 50 individually-numbered watches will be made in TULLOCH’s debut collection, 25 in white gold with a gray dial, and 25 in rose gold with a white dial. Every watch will come with two alligator straps that are hand-stitched on both sides and are fastened with a pin buckle. The TULLOCH T-01, First Edition is priced at $36,800.
(Images and videos provided by TULLOCH)