G Watches is the brainchild of Oliver Gallaugher, a 32-year-old designer who specialises in neo-vintage and avant-garde watches. His creations boast strong aesthetics and high mechanical merits, both on the front and back. His debut model, Deep Space, is a remarkably sophisticated first effort, but its making has more to it than meets the eye. Priced at £7,800, the Deep Space is not your typical microbrand offering or Kickstarter project. Gallaugher himself is not a trained watchmaker or a well-heeled collector. O.G is a craft brand of a different kind.
- Oliver Gallaugher
Gallaugher may lack a traditional watchmaking education, but his fascination with watches runs deep. He draws inspiration from his grandfather, an inventor and engineer, which gives him an inherent advantage. However, in his hometown of Bristol in the west of England, where horology is distant from everyday life, Gallaugher’s journey was a solitary one. Initially, he sought internships or any opportunity going with established brands, but when that proved fruitless, Gallaugher’s determination drove him to take control of his own destiny.
Having taught himself how to design watches, Gallaugher built a website offering his services. By achieving top rankings on Google, he established a channel where people could reach out to him directly. Over the past five years, he has worked with watch brands and enthusiasts, helping them conceptualise their watch ideas. Through sourcing materials, liaising with manufacturers and creating premium products, the worldwide industry network he has developed now forms the backbone of O.G.
- The swan neck regulator and Glashütte rachet-click system are key features of the movement that accentuate the vintage style.
Gallaugher says his watches are “for people who resonate with his story to follow their intuition, their vision, and persist”. The brand promises to produce small-batch series, each with its own unique theme, crafted by artisans around the world. The 41mm Deep Space is the result of collaboration with small independent workshops. The steel case, dial, buckle and hands are crafted in Hong Kong, Moscow and Glashütte, while the bespoke strap comes from Da Nang, Vietnam. Final assembly and decoration take place at DK Precision Mechanics in Glashütte.
At the heart of the Deep Space beats the hand-wound Swiss Unitas 6498 movement, which has been extensively modified to O.G’s specifications and named after Gallaugher’s grandfather, Guy. The exclusive GUY-1 calibre incorporates a swan-neck regulator and winding-click system. The custom-built mainplate and bridges are milled and exquisitely decorated by DK Precision in-house, featuring Geneva stripes, gold perlage, polished chamfers and jewel countersinks that create a feast for the eye.
- With its neo-classical case, minimalist dial and lavishly decorated movement, the Deep Space watch perfectly embodies the ‘quiet luxury’ trend of late.
In contrast, the dial embodies the “deep space” theme with its simplicity and purity, depicting the night sky adorned with shooting stars. The diagonally brushed and PVD-coated surface is hand engraved with 0.3 and 0.4mm small stars, creating captivating flashes of light when tilted. Gallaugher takes great pride in what he calls his “unique and original concept”, which represents the first taste of O.G’s upcoming abstract “Lyrical series”, combining traditional and artisanal disciplines like hand engraving, enamelling and guilloché.
Every detail of the Deep Space, from the artistic dial to the proprietary movement and handmade, non-stitch strap, exudes connoisseur appeal. Limited to only 10 pieces, each watch comes with a lifetime warranty and is made exclusively to order. Gallaugher implemented this strategy due to cost limitations, stating, “One of the biggest factors was actually money because I don’t have a huge financial pool to draw from, and I’m not a huge company that has all these resources.”
Gallaugher acknowledges the challenge of creating a handcrafted, mature piece in such limited quantities, explaining, “Many manufacturers have some kind of minimum order of 300 pieces or 500 components.” This would have spelled the end for his brand before it even started. Launching a craft brand in the past was not only costly but also a formidable endeavour. As Dave Brailsford, watch consultant turned co-owner of English fine watch brand Garrick, says, “I’ve worked with a lot of brands, I knew how difficult it was [to start one]. It is easy now compared to what it was back in the day. Ten years ago, it was extremely hard to make your mark.”
However, times are changing, and boutique manufacturers and craftsmen now support ambitious start-up projects like O.G. Gallaugher commends his partners who believe in his vision and make O.G possible. Through his own design, sourcing, branding, marketing, and communications, he has already won half the battle. “I think people would be very surprised to know how much money I’ve actually put into this and what I’ve been able to create for that,” he says. With only a four-figure investment, Gallaugher has successfully launched a brand in the high-end segment. O.G not only represents his personal triumph but also exemplifies the industry’s new openness to young, independent craft brands that invigorate the market.