Written by RGM Friend Brad Jacobs
As noted some weeks ago, RGM Watch Company and the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors arranged for an event, free to the public, during which visitors to the NAWCC HQ could stroll through their extensive collection of clocks and pocket and wrist watches, with Roland Murphy of RGM pointing out and discussing some of his favorite pieces. About 45 people, in addition to Roland, two of his watchmakers (Alan and Benoît) and some members of the NAWCC staff, gathered for the tour. After a quick introduction by Roland, the group watched "Tick Tock Tale", a very clever vintage-style Disney short film (2010) featuring a cast of animated clocks, and then ventured into the galleries.
Roland chose several notable clocks and makers to discuss, including clocks by Simon Willard and his brothers, and Seth Thomas. Pocket watches he emphasized included a Patek Philippe Grand Complication, which Roland restored for the museum in the early 1990s, and some very rare and desirable watches from A.L. Breguet (Paris, France) and Wm. Dudley (Lancaster, PA). Examples of machines used for case decoration, similar to the rose engines used at RGM for guilloché, were explained, as were some details of the specifications for railroad-grade pocketwatches such as those from Elgin, Hamilton and Ball.
Roland was sure to explain some of the important history of Hamilton Watch Company, of which the NAWCC has an extensive collection (clocks, watches, memorability and documents, including the archives of the original company)--Roland worked for Hamilton in the 1980s and 1990s, but was able to provide history dating back to the company's predecessors such as Adams & Perry and the Lancaster Watch Company.
One particularly interesting section of the museum is devoted to watches and clocks made by members of the NAWCC, which sponsors a competition each year where members vie for top honors in 25 categories including watch making, clock making, clock case making, decorative endeavors and others. In this section are some fantastic creations including wooden clocks, tourbillon pocket watches and some of RGM's creations, including RGM watch #001. Originally sold ca. 1992, it was bought back by Roland and has been loaned to the museum. Roland has also provided a prototype Martin guitar, which he and his staff helped design when Martin & Co. were planning a custom piece to celebrate the production of their 2,000,000th guitar.
The photos below show some of the action. Those interested in a tour such as this, or a tour of the nearby RGM facilities, should visit RGMWatches.com and subscribe to their newsletter. The next event will be announced there and via RGM's facebook page..
I hope to catch up with you there!
Roland explains various types of early American clock styles and movements, and the importance of New England clock makers such as Seth Thomas: