RGM Watch Made From The Hollywood Sign Metal

We made 12 custom watches for our customer "Hollywood 1923", they had bought up the metal that was salvaged from the last restoration of the Hollywood sign.

They wanted to make a watch using this metal as the dial, after they visited us we could see the the metal was not in good enough condition to makes dials out of.  So I had the idea to make little signs or plaques out of this metal and attach them to the dial.   I also thought it would be a good idea to give it the shape the real sign has on the hillside.  They loved the idea and the final look was better then I imagined.

In our talks with the customer they wanted to also have an old Hollywood theme on the dial, we had the idea to put an old film reel design in the background, and use Art-Deco numerals. 

The case design is our new Model 25 case made here in the USA, we also make the plaques here in the USA and print the Hollywood name on them here at RGM.

Its always a challenge to make a theme watch that has a high grade classy look, I think we pulled it off with this beautiful watch.

The watches are available from "Hollywood 1923" not directly from RGM.

Forbes Article click here.

RGM's 25th Anniversary Event and New Releases

On September 15th and 16th 2017 RGM celebrated its 25th year of making watches with an open house at our workshop in Mount Joy, PA USA, and we unveiled 3 new models and a new movement caliber at the NAWCC Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, PA USA.

The open house gave a glimpse of how we makes our watches, another highlight was seeing the hand operated Engine-Turning (Guilloché) machines in actions that decorate many of the RGM models.

At the NAWCC Museum our founder Roland Murphy gave a tour of the museum highlighting some of his favorite clocks and watches in the collection.  Several display cases stood covered in the lobby. One by one, they were unveiled, introducing the new models for everyone to see.

The new movement is caliber 801SW, a sweep second (center second) version of the original 801 movement.  This is the fourth in-house movement from RGM. The 801SW has a very classic build. Though similar to the original 801 movement, the sweep second version has many new and unique parts, including a new main-plate to achieve the center second function.  Most center second movements have a wheel that is friction fit onto a pivot from the third wheel coming thru the bridge. To service the watch this wheel must be pulled off and pressed back on.  The 801SW movement has the third wheel and the sweep drive wheel on the third wheel arbor. This double wheel sits under the bridge, eliminating the friction wheel system. This system requires more parts but is a more reliable construction.

The first model to use the new 801SW caliber is in the Corps of Engineers family. The 801SW-COE looks very much like the popular 801-COE, except for the large blued steel center second hand stepping around the Grand Feu enamel dial.  Both watches are very similar but have a very different feel.

The second watch introduced is Model 222-RR (Railroad). Like other models in the 222 line, the Railroad model features restored Hamilton 921 or 923 movements. This model employs a case with the crown at the 1:30 position and a real Grand Feu enamel dial.  The dial has a railroad theme, and is modeled after American railroad watches from the past with its Box car style dial. The blued steel hands are true to the classic form. The placement of the crown at 1:30 is reminiscent of watches from the early part of the 20th century. It’s also very natural to read the time when worn on the left wrist.

Model 25 is the third watch that was unveiled. This beautifully classic model is very similar to the Pennsylvania Series watches RGM already makes with its coin edge case and hand cut Engine-Turned dials. The 40mm cases are made in the USA and the movements are the reliable Swiss ETA 2892-A2, top quality version.  The American-made dials are available in different Guilloché patterns and galvanic colors. 

The previously introduced Chess Watch was also on display at the Watch and Clock Museum. It was the first model RGM introduced for their 25th anniversary. 2017 marks the most models ever introduced in one year by RGM, a fitting way celebrate a quarter century of watchmaking in America.

Some Famous Visitors Passed RGM Last Week Here in Mount Joy, PA

Last Thursday the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales came to Mount Joy to parade down Main Street.  The route took them directly in front of our RGM Watch Company home here at 801 West Main St.

The eight 2000 pound horses are some of the most impressive animals we have ever seen. We also liked the beautiful Dalmatian. So we thought we would share a few pictures with our RGM followers.


RGM On Season 3 of INSP's Handcrafted America

At the end of May and the beginning of June 2017 INSP Network had their film crew visit RGM and did 2 days of filming for a new segment to be aired on season 3 of Handcrafted America. Host Jill Wagner got to try her hand at a little Watchmaking, and Engine-Turning.  And no, she did not use that hammer in the picture.

It's nice that this has fallen on our 25th Anniversary year!  

The RGM segment will debut on November 3, 2017

Link to INSP's Handcrafted America website

Quill & Pad Visit RGM

Last Friday here at RGM we had the pleasure of a visit from Quill & Pad's Elizabeth Doerr and Joshua Munchow.  We had a great day talking watches and playing with machines.

More about Elizabeth and Joshua: Click here

I found out Elizabeth had never tried using a Rose Engine so we had to remedy that. 

I have known her for many years; it was great to finally be able to show her where we make our RGM watches.  

Elizabeth is one of the best writers in the industry and has a true appreciation for fine watchmaking, and on top of that she's a good friend!

And I think she's a natural at the Rose Engine!




It was great meeting Joshua for the first time.  He has a technical background and really can appreciate our machines, and how we make our watches in our little Pennsylvania workshop.

Joshua doing Perlage, Anglage, and Geneva Lines.  See photos below of Joshua having fun and getting a little machine time in.



The Inspiration Behind RGM's Caliber 801 Unique Winding Click

RGM Caliber 801


The unique 7 tooth winding click of the RGM 801 movement is inspired by the Illinois Watch Company's "Illini" model.  The Hamilton grade 400 is the same basic movement.  Hamilton bought Illinois Watch Co in 1927.






It was designed by American watchmaker Charles E. DeLong who had many watch related patents.  The original Patent drawing number 1283476 from Nov 1918, Watch Main Spring Click Illinois Watch Co.


The Home of RGM Watch Co.

Photo from about 1920

Original bank name on basement vault

The old bank building we call home here at RGM was built between 1915 and 1920. We dated the building as close as we could from old newspaper articles.   The first bank in the building was the Florin Trust Company; the name is still on the basement vault door.   Florin merged with Mount Joy in 1963.



During the great depression, the bank closed and the building become a post office and a café.  During the 1950’s, the building was renovated and was once again a bank, which it remained until about 1998 when two banks merged and closed the building.


Building today, home of RGM

I noticed the building for sale in 2002. After the purchase at the beginning of 2003, we stopped working on watches for a month to work on the building and get it in shape so we could move in.  We have done many repairs and upgrades over the years to the old place.   We have even added work shops to the basement using most every corner of the building.  As our capabilities have grown over the years, the building has been used to its full capacity.

One of the main reasons I wanted the building was the main floor bank vault.  Having a room you can securely lock at night was perfect for us, and gives us and our customers peace of mind, as we also lock up the repairs that are in the building.


I must say we were very fortunate to find this great old bank building!


Inside Main floor vault door

Main vault door

You're Invited to the RGM 25th Anniversary Event!

For our 25th Anniversary you are cordially invited to the RGM Open House and the NAWCC Museum.

We have decided to open our doors again for a behind-the-scenes look at RGM on Friday September 15, and Saturday, September 16, 2017. 

The Open House will allow you to see the machinery in motion as we demonstrate how we make many of the parts that go into our watches.  See firsthand how we marry the old with new by observing vintage machines working in harmony with modern technology to create unique timepieces.

We will provide our guests time to examine our timepieces, and even make a purchase if you are so inclined.

The second phase of the event will take place Saturday afternoon at the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, PA. As a special bonus, attendees will be guided through the museum by Mr. Murphy himself.


· Friday, September 15, 2017, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Open House of RGM Watch Company, 801 W. Main St., Mount Joy, PA 17552


· Saturday, September 16, 2017,  9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Open House of RGM Watch Company, 801 W. Main St., Mount Joy, PA 17552

· Attendees will be provided a break for lunch, then reconvene at the NAWCC Museum at 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., 514 Poplar St. Columbia, PA 17512

At the Museum

1. Unveiling of several new models for our 25th Anniversary. 

2. Tour of museum given by Roland Murphy

3. Giveaways and refreshments. 


Pre-registration is not required.

We look forward to seeing you!

RGM Eye Loupe Made from Carbon Fiber and PLA

Here at RGM we have a 3D printer that we use to make some tools and jigs, it can be useful in some applications, like a dial indicator holder that is custom fit to our Rose Engine, or a special movement holder for the watchmakers.  

We decided to design an eye loupe that would be light, attractive, and functional.  We decided to use a carbon fiber PLA for the main body of the loupe. The loupes achieved what we wanted, they are good looking, light, and functional! We imported the 4 power lens, and it is very light and clear, in fact our watchmakers use the loupes in their daily work.  You can also unscrew the top bezel to remove the lens for cleaning.

You can find the loupes in the tool category on our accessories page of our website here. 

The loupes are available in 6 different color combinations. 

Timelapse from our 20th Anniversary 5 years ago!

We made this time lapse video during our 20th anniversary. This year we will hold our 25th anniversary event on September 16, 2017.  More information will come over the next couple of months about this special event.

RGM's Roland Murphy with Antoine Simonin his Former Instructor

Back in September 2016 my wife and I attended WOSTEP's 50th anniversary (here is a link to a blog post I made about it)

At the event I had the privilege to show some of our RGM watches with a few other independents who graduated from WOSTEP, you will recognize many of them.

During the evening portion of the event we met at a beautiful Chateau in Neuchatel Switzerland. Mr. Simonin was there, he was the director of WOSTEP for many years and my instructor back in 1986.  I took this opportunity to have the below picture taken with him. 

Antoine Simonin, watchmaker with over 50 years in the profession

  • Well-known expert in the Swiss Watch Industry
  • Watchmaking Instructor
  • Specialist in old and new horological books
  • Antique watch expert
  • His publishing house Editions-Simonin was established in 1984 and has published over twenty titles.

One of my favorite stories from back in school was about "Lap drawers or trays", American watchmaker benches traditionally had a lap tray you could pull out to your stomach, this was to catch any parts that might fall or roll of the bench towards the watchmaker.  In Switzerland they did not typically have these trays on their benches.  I remember asking Mr. Simonin why they did not have them, his answer was..... a good watchmaker should not drop parts on the floor!


A week or so later when I came back from lunch I found Mr. Simonin on the floor looking for a watch part.  I got on the floor to help, then I looked aver at him and said what are we looking for, then I added "I bet a Lap Drawer would have come in handy"  He said nothing, but the look on his face said plenty!  I stopped talking at that point.  Memories..... 

Photograph Of Roland's Bench Top

Some of you know that besides my passion for watches, I also have a passion for Photography, in fact 3 others here at RGM have this same passion.  Between the 4 of us we take all our own photos, because of this we can get just what we are looking for.   This is very handy as we need many photographs for our website, social media etc....

For fun I took this image today of my Bench top.   The watches in the photo are as follows: PS-801-CH "Chess in Enamel", Model 400 Chronograph, and the watch movement in the center is a scarce 18-size 24 jewel Rockford Watch Co. railroad grade movement.


10 Years Ago We Were Featured On The PCN Tours.

The PCN (Pennsylvania Cable Network) Tours feature Pennsylvania companies giving a video tour showing how they do things. It is basically done with one person and a camera, low budget, and little editing.  This episode with RGM gives almost an hour long look of how we were doings things a decade ago in 2007.  Enjoy this walk down memory lane.

Custom "Bespoke" RGM With Horse Racing Theme

One of our clients asked us to make a watch that would have a horse racing theme and his logo.   He also asked that the numbers have the same color combinations that you see above each starting gate at the track.  This sounded like a fun project, an interesting challenge to make what he wanted, and also to make a watch that would be balanced and well done.

We made several dial drawings working to the final design, here is one that is close to the final design.  We removed the RGM logo from the dial so only his logo was visible on the front.  We had a date as an option, by removing it we could have the 3 with its colors also included. The dial is thick and made of solid Argentium silver. I thought adding some Engine-Turning would enhance the bespoke feel, and improve the final look.

The client also wanted a larger automatic watch so we built the watch using our model 250 as a base, at 42mm in diameter and thicker than most of our other models.  This was a good choice because we wanted to engrave horses racing down the side of the case, and the larger case would make the engraving more visible.

I always enjoying working on projects that help people see their vision come to life in the form of a special timepiece. 


PS-801-CH "Chess in Enamel" Inspired by Paul Morphy's watch from 1859

This is the first new model to be introduced in our 25th anniversary year here in 2017.  We thought a piece this special should be the first of the year.  It's also the first RGM with a double sunk Grand Feu enamel dial, just like the original that inspired it!

American Paul Morphy was the greatest chess player of his time, and in 1859 he was given a very special watch. Today only the dial survives, it was the inspiration for this incredible watch. 

More on the PS-801-Ch "Chess in Enamel" Click Here