Located in a 19th Century industrial warehouse in Toronto’s West End, the Birchall & Taylor workshop is a place where one’s sense of time can start to dissipate. Creating the ideal timepiece is about more than counting the hours, and it takes countless hours of planning and engineering to get there. It requires an imagination that can run unbounded, even as we work within parameters of just a few microns. But most importantly, it requires of us the kind of passion that can only be moved by obsession. For Birchall & Taylor, watchmaking can only really be described as an obsession.
Charles Birchall and Brad Taylor first met in 2012, some 6,000 kilometres from home. The two young Toronto natives had each journeyed independently to the historic Swiss city of Le Locle, which has produced some of the world’s finest watches for centuries, to study watchmaking in its classical form. By an extraordinary coincidence, they found themselves enrolled in the same school.
As they continued their studies together in Switzerland, Birchall and Taylor often engaged in lengthy conversations about their craft. They developed a shared language and outlook centred on a mutual reverence for traditional watchmaking techniques. Even as they parted ways after their studies – Birchall going on to apprentice under one of the world’s most respected master watchmakers, and Taylor undertaking after-sales repair service for the most highly sought-after brands – they continued their dialogue for several years.
Eventually, Birchall and Taylor’s intellectual collaboration heralded the conception of Reference 1: a watch that would harness modern design principles without sacrificing the honesty and technical skill of classical watchmaking. The young watchmakers saw their greatest opportunity to realize their vision in their hometown and Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Birchall & Taylor was founded in 2017 to share our vision and obsession for creating beautiful watches, and to bring watchmaking closer to home.