James McCabe Lurgan Review
Here on WWR, I like bringing your attention to newer brands you may not be aware of. If those brands happen to be offering some nicely affordable pieces in their catalog, well, all the better. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the first of two pieces that we had in from James McCabe.
As it sometimes goes with the smaller brands, you either get a clever name for the watch, or a reference number (rarely both). Here, we do actually have both. The broader line that this watch is from is the Lurgan; our specific review sample is the JM-1007-01. Ostensibly, this is a dress watch, given the croc-embossed strap, polished cased, and Breguet-style hands – and I could see it being used for that purpose, on the right wrist. My wrist, however, wasn’t the right one. While this is a larger case (45mm x 13mm), it’s not the biggest I’ve seen – until you incorporate the lug length.
Normally, the lugs aren’t something I pay a great deal of attention to, unless it’s something unique (like we saw on the Refined Hardware Gatsby), or it’s a particularly good fit to my wrist. On this particular watch, we have lugs that look and feel like they’re longer than you might otherwise expect. Some of this is I’m sure due to accommodate the lug bar – but even so, it felt excessive to me. And looked that way when I wore it, almost like I was a little kid wearing my dad’s watch, in some form.
Surprisingly enough, the oversize onion crown didn’t present any issues for me. I fully expected to have it digging into my wrist throughout the day, and that simply wasn’t something that happened. So, past the obvious style it imparts, it does give a very nicely functional use when you adjust (or set) the time, or feel like giving the automatic movement a wind. Oh, and that movement? It’s a Miyota 8S27.
For this particular movement, you can see two sides of it. The first is of course the cutout on the dial. While I’m generally like these (as they give you a nice reminder of the machine at work), here you have the balance wheel obscured a great deal by how it’s mounted in the movement – which definitely takes away some of the appeal. Flip the case over, and you can see the partially decorated back of the movement, and skeletonized rotor. To my way of thinking, this would have been better served with a solid caseback. Opening it up just shows how uninteresting (visually) the movement is, and how much smaller it is than the case it’s housed in.
Ok, ok, I know it seems like I’ve been particularly critical of this watch. It’s not what I set out to do, but there were just details that kind of gnawed at me a bit. Let’s turn our focus, then, to what I think was well done in the piece. As a whole, I liked how they handled the dial. The polished indices are on top of a grooved track (perhaps reminiscent of an LP) that both serves to differentiate parts of the dial, and keep the markers from disappearing on a white background. Given the larger case size, they used it well to make for a very readable dial, helped along with appropriately sized hands (perhaps the hour hand could have been a tad longer).
While I normally don’t care for off-balance dials as we have here, I didn’t find it to be a major deterrent. It’s just enough of a tweak that it makes it different from what else you may find, but not so obnoxiously off-kilter that you feel like you’re looking through a funhouse mirror. I did also appreciate the inclusion of a 24h subdial (the one over at 9 o’clock). While this is by no means necessary in a dress piece, it’s a nice bit of data to have, especially if this is a watch you’re not wearing frequently. Then again, I just like having a GMT indication, so it could be personal preference working in it’s favor.
In the end, the watch was a bit of a mixed bag. With it’s overall styling, this is a watch I really wanted to like. Given some of the other details I mentioned though (lug length, how the movement is displayed), it keeps me from giving a resounding recommendation on the watch. If you’ve got larger wrists, though, and are looking for your first mechanical, this could be a reasonable option for you. Coming in at a price of $387 (direct), it’s also one that won’t break the bank. mccabewatches.com
- Brand & Model: James McCabe Lurgan (JM-1007-01)
- Price: $387
- Who’s it for?: Someone looking for a big dress watch showing off it’s mechanical heart
- Would I wear it?: No – the lug configuration simply makes it too large for my wrist
- What I’d change: Shorten the lugs (and then use a curved lug bar) and remove the windows (front and back) on the movement
- The best thing about it: The overall look of the dial – it puts me in mind of a “black tie” sort of setting