Canadian watchmaker Bradley Taylor’s passion for watchmaking was ignited in Le Locle, Switzerland where he attended Korpela & Hofs Watchmaking Competence Centre to study traditional watchmaking. He absorbed generations of knowledge learning under the venerable Henrik Korpela, attaining his watchmaking diploma in 2015 after successfully completing the demanding 4500-hour program.
Soon after graduating and working in after-sales service he was trained at Patek Philippe in Geneva, passing their challenging level II certification over the course of one month. Opportunity arose when his friend and fellow watchmaker Charles Birchall moved back to Toronto from the Isle of Man and the two started brainstorming. They started the first luxury Canadian watchmaking company Birchall & Taylor in Toronto, developing and making two watch models, the Reference 1 and 1R.
Sadly, Birchall & Taylor closed its doors for good in the face of COVID-19 despite showing great promise with its debut Reference 1 and 1R watches, of which 35 were sold around the world. Now, Bradley continues to follow his passion making watches to his own vision and standards from the beautiful west coast in Vancouver, Canada.
The Canadian watchmaker has revealed his first solo watch, the Paragon, a 39mm stainless steel 3Hz automatic, he produced in a spare bedroom during the pandemic. Taylor, who is based in Kitsilano, Vancouver, produced the watch to develop his own individual style, searching for a modern guilloché (the finely engraved repeating patterns on traditional dials) style as well as seeking to explore hand and numeral design.
The quality of the Paragon’s dial is outstanding, both in detail and finish. Available in purple, light blue, or black – as well as custom colours on request – the dial is classical but striking its use of the spiral ‘La Tornade’ guilloché to frame the centre.
In the spirit of traditional établissage (or division of labor) watchmaking, Bradley Taylor turned to perhaps the world’s most renowned dial-maker Kari Voutilainen and his Swiss dial-making company, Comblémine. The new La Tornade guilloché pattern can be seen running around the border of the dial and again on the small seconds sub dial, this time in reverse.
Bradley Taylor turned to Canadian typographer Ian Brignell to create a distinct set of numerals to serve as hour markers, which are machined before being finely polished and then individually applied, and the ‘Bradley Taylor’ word set which is printed on the dial. Each carbon steel hand is first laser cut to achieve the correct profile and then shaped and polished by hand, with each taking 20 hours to perfect before being heat treated to attain the correct color, which customers can specify.
Bradley Taylor selected the recently developed 5401/32 automatic movement from Vaucher SA (the movement manufacturer owned by Parmigiani Fleurier which has suppled movements to Richard Mille among others) to power the Paragon. The movement features hand-finished internal bevels, Cotes de Geneve striping and a 22k yellow gold winding rotor, which Comblémine finished with the same La Tornade guilloché pattern.
With a diameter of 39 mm and height of 9.8 mm, the Paragon is very much a gentleman’s dress watch. Though its form is simple, details like the flat, concave bevel and generously fluted lugs given it a bit of flair. A detail that is especially intriguing and illustrative of the attention to detail in its design are the screws for the case back.
Unable to obtain screws that met his aesthetic sensibilities, Mr Taylor developed his own, which he believes are the smallest square-slot screws ever made. Like the components of the dial, each screw is hand-finished. The unusual screw head is modelled on the square-drive Robertson screw invented by fellow Canadian P.L. Robertson in 1908, which was once used in Ford Model Ts assembled in Canada.
Notably, despite its genteel styling, the Paragon has been constructed to be surprisingly robust – allowing it to be an elegant, everyday watch – boasting an unusual water-resistance rating of 120 m.
Bradley Taylor will produce just 12 pieces of the Paragon with each priced $22,000 USD, please inquire about availability and purchasing. Come into the beautiful and timeless world of Bradley Taylor for more information.