We received an RGM Tourbillon in for repair a few months ago that brought back a flood of memories.
Back in the mid 90's I worked on the design of a Tourbillon after I had visited Lemania in Switzerland. They agreed to sell RGM a small quantity of Tourbillon and Repeater movements. Of course I wanted something classic so I went to work coming up with what this piece would look like. I wanted an engine-turned dial, blued steel hands, solid rose gold case, something in the same family look as our first watch the model 101-M. The end result was our rose gold model 104-T, which exceeded my expectations. It was to be a limited Edition of 15 watches, I think we made about 6 of them in rose gold.
I always wanted a Tourbillon so I thought I would make one special watch for myself in white gold. I had this watch marked 0/00 as it would be my special prototype. RGM was a very young company at this time and the realities of financial pressures forced me to sell this watch when it was completed. I had forgotten all about this watch until it showed up for service 20 years later.
It took me a few minutes to process what it was, then I realized this was the watch that was supposed to be mine! It was like seeing an old friend again.
It had many scratches and marks on the case; whoever owns it was using it all these years. I was glad to see someone had enjoyed the watch that was to be mine.
With 2017 being our 25th anniversary we will be introducing a few new models this year. Below are pictures of Engine-Turned dials being made for one of these models.
More work needed to complete these dials but they are shaping up nicely!
More news to come.
We sponsored Richard Sach's cyclocross team for many years, and during that time we made a limited edition version of our Model 254 North Pointer.
Richard makes hand made bicycles and we make watches so it was a good partnership. We might do something in the future with Richard again, he's a good friend and fellow craftsman.
If you're looking to have a special bicycle made Richard is a top choice, check out his website here.
How time flies!
It’s hard for me to believe I have been making RGM watches for 25 years, it seems just a few years ago that I started.
When I first started I did not know where it was going, it's like talking a walk not sure where you would end up. I just concentrated on the projects at hand and did not worry about 10, 20, or even 25 years later. Well here we are and it has been a wonderful ride.
When I first started I just wanted to make a living doing what I loved, so I will say I was successful at that. The goal was never to make a lot of money or be rich. I always put much more back into the watches and the construction so I could be proud of the things we make, and that they would last.
At my former job, I was mostly working on plated quartz watches, I was not satisfied with designing those kinds of watches. So, the backlash was the first 5 years of RGM we only made solid gold and platinum watches, and of course everything had to have a mechanical movement. Not only that all the watches had a real hand cut Engine-Turned dial and blued steel hands.
I had more and more request for stainless steel watches so I designed the model 107, it was our first stainless steel watch and it is the oldest in our lineup being still available today.
Being a watchmaker I wanted my own movement, this was a burning desire, so around 2000 I started on that quest which took a long time of prototyping, testing, and spending a lot of money! It was around 2007 that we had the first working Caliber 801 movement that we could finally offer in an RGM model.
Over the next 5 years we added two other movements, our Tourbillon and the Caliber 20. We have a couple of other movement designs on the drawing table now.
Another quest I had was bringing Engine-Turning in-house, this took years to develop but we did it and have been making our own Engine-Turned dials for several years now. We own 6 machines, and this equipment is getting harder and harder to find.
I also wanted to keep expanding what we could offer on the bespoke or custom made side of the business, this has grown every year as we offer a service almost no one else does. Designing a custom watch with an individual is one of the best parts of my job, and the satisfaction of building something special for the owner is very gratifying.
Repair and restoration of watches is another area we have always concentrated on, it helps us stay informed on what others are doing and we also learn from what has been done in the past. I also feel an obligation to bring old watches back to life, it’s a way of keeping history alive.
I hope you enjoyed this little walk done memory lane with me.
PS. Since this is our 25th anniversary year keep watching as we introduce new and special things throughout the year.
Here is your chance to cast your vote, we hope you pick our beautiful RGM PS-801-EE with our in-house 801 movement, hand cut Engine-Turned main-plate, and a real fired Grand Feu enamel dial.
Sean Burch contacted us in 2016 and told us about his expedition, and that he needed a rugged watch to accompany him on his climbs. He had seen our Model 300 Diver and thought it would be the perfect watch to survive the elements.
We were very happy to help Sean and become a partner on such a historic expedition, and of-course we agreed that our Model 300 was up to the task to perform well in the extreme environment, which it did.
Sean Burch "I am in Love with your watches, especially the Model 300 Professional Diver. It preformed flawlessly"
We will make a Limited Edition of 5 watches with the same case back engraving as Sean's watch to help commemorate this historic expedition.
WASHINGTON, DC......... American explorer Sean Burch has returned home after setting a new
official world record by making the most first ascents of previously
unclimbed mountains in Nepal's history. Burch made 31 first ascents in 21
days climbing in previously unexplored areas within the remote regions of far Western Nepal.
Burch spent up to 16 hours a day climbing, and battled severe winds, high altitude, snowstorms, trench foot,
frostbite, and extreme hypothermia after a near helicopter evacuation was needed by the American Embassy in Kathmandu after an
unplanned overnight bivouac in sub-freezing temperatures high up on a mountain due to his team’s logistical error.
Burch remarked, “A major reason for this expedition was to document uncharted mountains that were high enough to be unspoiled by humans in order to show climate change as it occurs in real-time, which I have done so in the past with many of my previous expeditions. To have the expedition almost end, and then be able to continue and achieve this latest world record in a country so dear to my heart is a dream come true."
Burch was named Honorary Goodwill Ambassador to Nepal by its county’s government in 2011 for his humanitarian efforts
within the country. This latest world record was authenticated and verified from three government entities in Nepal.
Burch has been working to help raise awareness and funds for the people of Nepal for almost 15 years, and with this expedition was tying to promote The Nepal Trust for their support towards improving community development, especially women and child health. Burch worked with local indigenous Nepalese from Humla district to stimulate their local income economy and promote tourism in Nepal overall.
A portion of his interview on CNN last week regarding the expedition: Click Here
The 2,000,000th Martin Guitar was a very special project; that guitar will find its home in the C.F. Martin Museum at the factory in Nazareth, PA. The D-200 Guitars are inspired by the Two Millionth and will be limited to just 50 pieces. Each D-200 guitar will be delivered with a brand new RGM watch that was designed to go with the guitar. The dial has a larger opening in the center to give you the feel of a guitar's sound hole.
We also made the Engine-Turned sound hole ring for each Guitar and designed the tuner knobs. We worked closly with Martin on the general layout and design of watch themed body and neck of the guitar like we did on the two millionth.
RGM / Martin D-200 watch features
1. 316L stainless steel case made in the USA.
2. Solid silver Hand cut Engine-Turned Guilloche dial made in the USA.
3. Swiss automatic movement with 14K solid gold winding rotor made in the USA.
4. Blued steel hands
5. Scratch resistant Sapphire crystals front and back.
6. Leather and rubber watch strap for comfort and water resistance.
7. The watch is fitted in a handmade Scatola del Tempo leather box made in Italy.
The watch in the head stock of the C.F. Martin Two Millionth guitar is based on our Caliber 20 model. We modified the main-plate to have the same shape as a head stock.
We also made a much bigger crown for this one off special.
The case is something very special and complicated, we needed to integrate two of the tuners in the case to conserve space, it was very time consuming to design.
More details to come!
We have been working on this project with Martin Guitar for almost 3 years now. We have created a special version of our Caliber 20 movement to fit in the head stock of the 2,000,000. Martin Guitar, a major milestone for Martin. We were also involved in the design or the watch themed body, and made several parts for the project. We made the tuner knobs, tuner bodies, the case that holds two tuners and the watch its self. We also did a lot of Engine-Turning, including the sound hole ring, tuner knobs, inlays in the body, and other parts.
Martin is also making the D200 model that is inspired by the 2,000,000. guitar, we were also involved in this limited edition project making parts for the Guitar and making a watch that will go along with each guitar.
This was a once and a life time type of project and we are proud to have shared the experience with such a great company as C.F. Martin.
See video below for more information.
We love Engine-Turning here at RGM, in fact our first watch we ever made had a real hand cut Engine-Turned dial, its a hallmark of RGM.
Many companies stamp their dials to try and look like real hand cut Engine-Turning, but of course here at RGM we need the real deal.
We love Engine-Turning so much we have 5 machines and do our own turning in house.
Favre-Leuba will be relaunching the brand officially in 2017, RGM has been chosen as the US service center for after sales service of new model and vintage models.
RGM and pilot watches started back in the mid 90's with the model 107-P., since then we have made many different models but none more popular the the 151 versions.
The first 151 models had cases made in Germany, after we made our first cases here for the Tourbillon and the 801 we were running low on the 151 cases. We decided it would be a perfect model to switch the case making to the USA, we have been making the cases here now for over 6 years.
The many faces of the 151 - We have several dial and hand options which help make the 151's very popular, and of course the pilot watch look is the main theme.
Below you will several variations.
We decided to bring back this limited opportunity we offered last year.
Here at RGM we price our watches at the price they sell for, we have the best quality at every price point so it makes sense. With that said we have decided to have a special on the model 455 chronographs from now until the end of the year.
Its a rare opportunity that will only be offered on our blog and social media, that way this special is for those who follow RGM only.
Today through December 31, 2016 anyone mentioning the special will get 25% off any model 455 Chronograph.
Here at RGM we use 4 different companies for our watch straps. The reason we use more then one is different companies have different strengths and specialties. We use Stylecraft from the USA, Jean Rousseau from Paris France and USA, Hirsch from Austria, and Camille Fournet from Paris France.
Recently we visited Jean Rousseau's boutique and workshop in New York. They are a French company with most of their production coming from Paris. They opened their USA branch to be able to react to customer demand quickly. In the New York workshop they can make straps within a week on rush orders.
We visited so we could look at skins, colors, and linings so we can have a better idea what is possible.
This beautiful custom RGM was a delight to design with the client. He wanted a clean looking classic watch with our American made 801 movement. He also wanted to customize the movement as you can see. We took the watch to WatchTime New York last week to show in our display and it was very well received!
Dial- Custom Grande Feu white enamel with the track divided for easy reading of the time with just the hour hand.
Movement- Modified single hand RGM 801 with optional Motor-Barrel system and custom solid gold hand engraved balance bridge, with a precision Swan Neck regulator. The regulator will become a 801 option soon on our website.
We have done many of the WatchTime events over the last several years, it's great to get out and see many of our clients and friends an meet new ones.
This year we will be bringing a Rose Engine so we can demonstrate how we cut those beautiful patterns on our Engine-Turned dials. For those of you who have not visited our workshop this is a rare opportunity to see a Rose Engine working. It's not easy to move one of these around but we think it will be worth it.
We hope to see you there October 14 or 15