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.
Dwight Yoakam was checking out the work we did on the 2 Millionth Martin Guitar at NAMM 2017, he was impressed with the Engine-Turning, Tuners, and the RGM watch in the headstock. Nice to get a "Great Job" from Dwight!
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