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
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 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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2004 we had a little movie made to show people what we were doing here in Pennsylvania. We made this before we were doing YouTube, and Vimeo. It looks a little dated, but it was fun to make.
This was shot on actual film!
We were very happy when we found out "Made in America" was going to visit us back in 2006. It was a great experience and exposure for us, it definitely got us more attention.
RGM was founded in 1992, not 1991 like they say on the video, they were close!
This was filmed the year before the Caliber 801 was introduced, our first in-house movement which we debuted in 2007. If you look closely you will see rough prototypes of the caliber 801 movement in this video.
Enjoy this walk down memory lane with us!
This year 2017 we find we have reached three significant anniversaries for RGM. The biggest is our 25th anniversary, I started RGM way back in 1992. Then we also have the 10 year anniversary of our Caliber 801, the first high grade mechanical watch movement made in a series in the USA since 1969 when Hamilton stopped the production of the 992-B. Then we have the 5 year anniversary of our Caliber 20, the first wrist-watch movement with a Motor-Barrel in over 50 years. More on the Motor-Barrel click here.
1992 - The start of RGM
2007 - Our First in-house movement Caliber 801
2012 - Our third in-house movement Caliber 20
In between the Caliber 801 and the Caliber 20 we developed our own in-house Tourbillon, another first for the USA. The first Tourbillon made in a series in the USA, and the only one curently made here.
Its been an exciting journey and we have many special watches coming out this year to celebrate!
Thank you to all our loyal friends and clients thru the years, without you it would not have been possible.
Martin Guitar does a video series from time to time with CEO Chris Martin, it is called "A Word from Chris". This month they put out a 2 part video about the collaboration with us on the 2 millionth guitar, and the inspired D-200 which is a limited edition of 50.
The second video has more information about RGM's part.