We Found Another Connection Between RGM and William Penn

A Little background on William Penn:

From IW Magazine in 2000

William Penn (October 14, 1644 – July 30, 1718) was an English colonial proprietor and the son of the admiral and politician Sir William Penn. Penn was a writer, early Quaker, and founder of the English North American colony the Province of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom.

Many of you know we made a watch style named after William Penn. If you would like to see more on the watch click here.

Last week a local gentleman stopped by and gave us the research he did on the deed of our property here at RGM, 801 West Main St. He does this as a hobby and for the historical society, he was eager to show us what he found.

RGM William Penn Model 121

The earliest deed record he could find for the property here at RGM was dated 1743, the recorded owner of the property was “Honorable the Proprietaries of Pennsylvania”, the owners were Richard and Thomas Penn the sons of William Penn.

How fitting that we made a watch in the name of William Penn, he was an important figure in the history of the United States and especially Pennsylvania.

Roland

Hirsch Performance Straps on RGM Sport Watches

We started using the Hirsch Performance straps a few years ago for some of our sport watches like the RGM Model 151. We have found that most of our customers love these straps because they are durable, flexible, water-resistant, and most importantly they are very comfortable.

RGM Model 151-PR Professional Pilot

You can order several sizes from our RGM accessories page, and they come standard on many model 151 watches.

Click here for the RGM Accessories page

Try one your love it!

Special October Events for RGM This Year

October 5th

At RGM in Mount Joy on Saturday, October 5th from 9am to 4pm we will have an Open-House of our workshops and we will have watches on display. You can also see how we make our watches from our hand made Engine-Turning to the assembly of our Caliber 801 movement.

Also, during this event you can order or purchase a watch including the following.

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  1. New RGM Watches

  2. Pre-Owned RGM Watches

  3. Out of Production RGM Watches

  4. Traded-in watches from other brands like Omega, Rolex, Hamilton, JLC, IWC, Tag Heuer, and others.


No Reservations needed

October 24th

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Come see us in Manhattan at the Jean-Rousseau Boutique on Thursday, October 24th from 4pm to 9pm. During this event we will be showing our watches and the beautiful watch straps and leather work from JR.

If you order or purchase an RGM watch during the one day event, a custom JR strap will be included at no extra charge. You can pick the leather, stitching, and how the strap is marked, perhaps with your initials next to ours!

JR will also offer 10% off on custom straps, and 15% on stock straps and watch accessories (pouches, rolls and cases) during the event.

Atelier Jean Rousseau

373 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Between E. 45th and E. 46th Streets

No Reservations needed


October 25th and 26th

Once again we will be at the WatchTime New York watch event in beautiful Gotham Hall. Come see us at our booth and talk watches with us, and see what’s new. The event begins with a VIP Event on Friday, October 25, followed by a full day of educational panels, seminars, tours, and events on Saturday, October 26. The WatchTime event is always one of the highlights of the year, so be sure to register early as it often sells out.

Click here for more details.

RGM and EOT Whats the Connection? And the EOT Model 22 Deck Watch....

EOT C1

I thought I would talk a little about RGM and it’s relationship with EOT. I (Roland Murphy) started EOT which is short for equationoftime.com back in the late 90’s. It’s a small watch forum site that has always taken a back seat to RGM, but it does have some very loyal contributors which has kept the site going all these years.

Years ago we made a few EOT watches which were designed and assembled here at RGM, the EOT C1, C2, Sea3, and the EOT Model 22 Deck watch, the deck watch was inspired by Deck watches and Marine Chronometers made here in Lancaster County back during WWII.

EOT C2 and Sea3

The EOT watches were popular especially the C1, and the Model 22. We might build a new EOT watch going forward from time to time but nothing is in the works as of this writing. We can still assemble a few EOT watches, if interested send us an email, sales@rgmwatches.com.

Matt V did a very nice review back in 2005 of the EOT Model 22 Deck Watch, I thought I would share that review here which will also help to preserve it.



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Equation of Time

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"22 Standard"

A Homage to Hamilton's classic deck watch

by Matt V.

The successful revival of a timeless classic...

2005



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Founded in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1892, Hamilton has been producing watches for the general public since 1893. But in 1940,  the Hamilton watch factory focused production on timepieces for the US military and supporting the war efforts. Over one million different watches were produced in their factory during the war and Hamilton continued to develop and produce new timepieces in Pennsylvania for as long as 1969. Ever since, the Hamilton Watch Factory is part of the Swatch Group and over the past few years has released a number of homage watches celebrating some of their past horological successes. But let's go back to the 1940's and World War II. When the US Navy Bureau of Ships was looking for an inexpensive deck chronometer for use on Navy vessels, Hamilton responded. Ships at the time had to rely on accurate timepieces not only for Navigation, but also to synchronize movements with other ships for example in supply convoys, radio discipline and so on.  A mass produced (yet nevertheless accurate) ships chronometer was an important detail to help keep ships moving and supply lines going.

The challenge was nothing new: an English carpenter by the name of John Harrison was the first to build a successful clock that actually worked on a ship moving in all 3 dimensions. In the year 1761, John Harrison's famous "Chronometer #4" was successfully taken along during a sea voyage to use accurate time as a method of navigation (Longitude). Harrison proved that it was possible to create a timepiece that was both accurate enough to be used for navigation aboard a ship and small enough not to interfere with the ship's operation. Harrison’s clock however was extremely complex and difficult, thus expensive to reproduce. So in the 1780s and 1790s two great rivals, John Arnold and Thomas Earnshaw developed a new form of chronometer that could be mass-produced. Earnshaw invented a particular form of escapement with a device called a "spring detent" and a type of balance wheel that compensated for changes in temperature.

So how did Hamilton address the issues at hand in the 1940's? How did they come up with ways to keep the watch wound properly, avoid that an operator might setting the time by mistake when winding the watch, keep the movement running accurately in different positions and at different temperatures? 

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The new Hamilton deck chronometer was designed and built specifically to meet the needs of the U.S. Navy. At a massive 35-size, it was by no means a small watch but nevertheless it was smaller and constructed simpler than the famous model 21, making it perfect for mass production. The movement inside the "Model 22" is a manual wind 21 jewel lever escapement chronometer movement with a Breguet style overcoil hairspring. A 60 inch long mainspring insured a steady amount of power to the gear train and a biaxial thermal expansion balance wheel as well as an Elinvar hairspring are responsible to keep the balance swinging at the same pace, independent of temperature. A power reserve indicator as well as about 48 hours of power reserve helped keep the chronometer running.



The whole package was typically stored either inside a box with gimbals to keep the watch dial-up even during extreme roll and pitch of a ship. However, another version looked more like a pocket watch and was kept inside a padded box without any gimbals, but a glass covered opening that allowed to see the time without opening the box.

An ingenious "pin" on the outside of the watch case at the 11 o'clock position needed to be depressed before the crown could be pulled out in order to set the time; this simple "safety device" prevented accidental time setting or change of time when winding the watch.

 

The dial of the "Model 22" was an off-white color (more of a silver color in the civilian versions produced after the war) with black printing. No luminous material was used on the dial or the large black "spade type" hands. A unique and oversized crown with a groove in the middle placed in between thick crown guards makes the Hamilton model 22 instantly recognizable while making it easy to wind the watch or to set the time, probably even for the large fingers of a rough sailor .  


An acrylic (plastic) crystal in a coin edge bezel that is simply screwed onto the watch case covers the dial, making it a breeze to replace the crystal even without special tools should the need ever arise. The back is easily unscrewed as well and a soft iron cover protects the movement from magnetic fields.

The movement itself is nicely decorated with Geneva stripes. Its designation is engraved and states "Hamilton Watch Co. Model 22,  21 jewels,  Adjusted to Temp & 8 positions, Made in U.S.A." and in my case " US NAVY - BU Ships 1942" as well as the individual serial number. A fine regulation (that reminds me a little of a swan neck regulator somehow) helps adjust the regulator lever in small increments to regulate the movement to perform to chronometer specs even today.

The Hamilton "Model 22" is a classic Marine Chronometer and Deck Watch that certainly played a significant role in American horology, so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to pay homage to this watch and to come out with a wristwatch in the tradition of the Hamilton Model 22.


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Founded in Mount Joy (Lancaster County), Pennsylvania around 1991, Roland Murphy's "RGM" watch company has long been an insider's tip for great quality American watchmaking. Roland Murphy originally went to school for clock making in Lancaster, PA at the Bowman Technical school. In the clockmaking course, he also covered pocket watches, which is how he discovered his interest in watchmaking. Roland ended up going to school at WOSTEP in Switzerland in 1986 and returned to the US to work  in the watch industry in product development for a watch group and for one of their brands. He worked on the design of new watches, placing orders for sample components like dials, hands and cases and discovered that he had a talent for putting together new designs and watches. So in the early 1990's, that talent turned into a business that today not only produces some of the finest custom timepieces, but is also well known amongst watch enthusiasts for quality service work. Besides the RGM line of watches, Roland started an endeavor to offer more affordable watches under the "Equation of Time" label, also known for a watch and dive watch forum with the same name on the Internet.

I don't recall when I first heard about the idea for the EOT model 22 on the watch forum. However I do remember seeing the first drawings and hearing about some of the ideas for the homage watch during a get-together of watch enthusiasts in Lancaster, PA at the "Convergence" event in 2003. At the time, a watch under at least 40mm in diameter didn't appeal to me at all and my requests to consider a larger case size went unheard. The following year, at the "Convergence" meeting in Lancaster in 2004, Roland officially introduced the model 22 and I finally had a chance to check it out "in the flesh" and to strap it on my wrist for a personal "test ride".

Well, I shouldn't have done that. This is the second time something like that has happened to me (the first time was trying on a Panerai "just for size" during a vacation in London in 2003 causing me to start saving my watch funds for a few months until I was finally able to buy my first Panerai) so what can I say: I fell in love with the watch right there and than.

Roland and Rich really tried everything to stay true to the spirit of the Hamilton Model 22. From the look of the dial on their homage watch, the hands, the crown and crown guards to the packaging with a rich wooden box with a thick leather strap just like on the original deck watch box, part of the "Limited Edition" package (see photo on the left, photo courtesy of EOT).

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The "Limited Edition" sells at US$ 2,200.00 and offers the watch on an alligator strap with an inscribed case back and individual serial number (one of only 50 pieces). Furthermore it comes inside the wooden presentation box in the tradition of the Hamilton Model 22. The other version offered by EOT is the "Standard Edition". For US$ 1,800.00, it comes on a regular leather strap (with quick change spring bars), a steel case back without inscription / individual serial number and a pouch and outer box. An additional US$ 145.00 you can get a sapphire crystal case back and US$ 75.00 will buy you a different bezel (smooth) to change the looks of the watch.

Well, I went with the "Standard 22" plus the crystal case back and received it as a Christmas present from my wife this past Christmas. Since than, it has changed my views on non-black dial watches as well as watches that are less than 40mm in diameter and the EOT model 22 found its way onto my wrist surprisingly often even against some serious competition (see photo on the right, photo courtesy of EOT) .


Movement

Soprod SA

  • The EOT model 22 uses a 21-jewel, hand-wound "SO 7001RM" Swiss movement, finished with Geneva stripes and blued screws. According to the EOT site, it "includes some exclusive modifications".  The movement is obviously based on a Peseux 7001 manual wind movement, produced since 1971 (now ETA). The original Peseux 7001 manual wind movement has a diameter of only 23.3 mm and a 2.5 mm height, only 17 Jewels, sub second at 6, a power reserve of 42 hours and beats at 21,600 bph. The version used here seems to be the modified version by "Soprod", the so called "cal. Peseux 7001-SO" with Nivarox 1 hairspring, Glucydur balance, adjusted to five positions and resulting in an increased height of  4mm to support a wind indicator (power reserve indicator) at the top, in line with the center of the sub-seconds at the bottom and the central minute and hour hands. I have no information about the extent and detail of the modifications for the EOT model 22 and the website doesn't offer more detail either about this unique movement. The only other watches I have seen so far using this movement are the Anonimo model 5002 (selling for $1,800 as well) and the Limes "GangReserve" (U73W.2-LHR1.1), selling for as low as $1425.00. The decoration is so nicely done that I absolutely recommend getting the crystal back option that allows a view of the mechanics!





Case, Crystal and Crown

  • The stainless steel case of the model 22 is available in two different finished; polished or bead-blasted matte. My experience with other watches in the past has been that scratches were difficult to touch up or to remove with a bead-blasted finish, so I opted for the polished finish on my model 22. While it may be a little more flashy than the original Hamilton model 22 looks, this was going to be my dress watch and therefore the nicely polished finish was a plus for me. And indeed, the case and finish on my model 22 were absolutely smooth and perfect. Both the bezel as well as the sapphire case back have a beautiful coin edge which helps when you want to remove (unscrew) the bezel or case back. A really nice feature if you scratch or damage either and want to replace them. A slightly domed sapphire crystal has the original feel to it while offering modern scratch resistance. The crown looks like a miniature version of the original from Hamilton and is large enough to make winding or setting the watch a pure joy. Speaking about winding the movement: this thing winds really smooth and I remember someone saying about it that it's "just like butter".

    The watch has a 39mm diameter without the crown and almost 45mm with crown. Lug tip to lug tip it measures 44mm and the lug width is 24mm.With the crystal back, it measures not quite 13mm thick.  




Dial and Hands

  • Hamilton's original used black spade hands and the hands on the EOT model 22 look very similar to the original. One of the first things I noticed was that the minute hand of the EOT is a tiny bit longer than the minute track and extends over the edge. I am not sure if this is deliberate or a result of a missed tolerance and to be honest, I wasn't quite certain initially if this was going to bother me long term. However it seems that close-up photography exaggerates the issue and during regular use, I haven't even noticed it at all.  The dial itself is an interesting silver gray color with a texture that sometimes looks bead-blasted, sometimes looks like it has been brushed in one direction. It seems to change color depending on the light, from a silver white to a warm off-white which contributes to its beauty. Under a loupe it almost looks like the dial printing is actually etched into the dial. No logo or manufacturers name adorns the face, just the "Lancaster, PA, U.S.A." and "Chronometer" designation as well as the "Up / Down" indications on the wind indicator. I did notice a small irregularity in the close-up shots of the number "20" in the sub seconds dial; not sure if this is an issue with just my watch or if the top of the number "2" is meant to be thinly printed on all dials. The hands are painted black with some sort of powder coating, which allows them to keep a classic matte black (anthracite), sometimes slightly brown appearing look rather than a modern shiny and more reflective "flashy" plastic look. A detail that I really appreciate on this watch!





Accuracy

  • The 21-jewel, hand-wound "SO 7001RM" came to me running 5 seconds fast per day on the wrist with a beat error of 0.3ms and a 326 degree amplitude. After about 4 weeks it is running now about +2s/24h on the wrist and still has the same beat error and amplitude. I am very happy with the performance so far, well within COSC chronometer specs and I can live with the fact that the movement doesn't "hack".






Strap, Buckle or Bracelet

  • In spite of its smaller size, the EOT model 22 has a 24mm lug width, just like the 44mm Panerai models and thus allows me to take advantage of all the 24mm straps that I have already collected for my Panerai (and all the interesting, often exotic 24mm straps that are being offered on the market in 24mm). The generic leather strap that came with the EOT "Standard 22" was nothing to rave about. While the "Special Edition" comes with a genuine alligator strap, this one simply comes with a padded leather strap (choice brown or black) with a quick-change springbar. The buckle is generic as well. While a nicer strap IMHO would have probably been fit for a watch at this price level, I understand the need to differentiate the "Limited Edition" from the "Standard Edition" and luckily have a few nice straps to wear the watch on. Currently I am switching back and forth between a padded alligator strap with large scales in tan color with white stitching (Breitling style, see below) and a thick alligator strap (Panerai style, see at the top) with large scales in black with matching black stitching.  







User Manual and Packaging

  • The EOT model 22 came inside a black EOT leather pouch and outer box. No manual or additional warranty papers were included  (but I believe that EOT/RGM has no problem tracking these watches to their respective owners for their 1 year warranty). The Packaging for the "Standard Version"  is nothing fancy, but than again I didn't want to spend an additional US$ 400 for the "Limited Edition" with the nice wooden box, so I have nothing to complain about in regards to the basic packaging.

Comfort

  • Really not much to say about that one; the low and nicely down curving lugs set the watch low and comfortably on the wrist. All edges and corners are smooth, nothing that feels in the way. A note though: I am wearing my watches on the right wrist and have never been bothered by the large crown and crown guards, so I can't say with certainty if these could potentially be an issue and dig into the wrist/hand when the watch is worn on the left.  

Value

  • The EOT model 22 is a very unique watch with a proud heritage, but even more importantly: it is a beautiful watch. I have caught myself so often over the past few weeks just admiring the simple beauty. I don't know what it is about this watch, its provenance, the fact that it was designed and assembled here in the US by a small independent watch manufacturer, the fact that only very few people know about them or own / wear them, the lack of "brand name" on the dial and watch...or simply its classic looks. I love this thing. By all standards, this is not an inexpensive watch and I have been asked by other WIS why I didn't go for a different watch instead, with examples ranging from various brand names to different styles of watches with totally different movements.

    The answer isn't that simple. Yes, there are lots of watches at a lower price offering great value. But there is no other watch just like this, no other watch that I know off that feels like this to me and has the memories attached. I know and have met the people that made this watch, that designed it, that assembled it and that sent it out to me and I know that I can contact them should I need help with it. And as much as I'd have liked to get the cool wooden box and genuine alligator strap of the Limited Edition with the Standard Edition watch at the $1,800.00 price, I understand that Roland, Rich and the other guys from RGM have to make a living too. So if you can afford it, go for the LE; either way, this watch to me is a great value ESPECIALLY when comparing it to a lot of the mass produced/ mass marketed timekeepers out there. As always, your mileage may vary...

The Revival of American Watchmaking story by Michael Clerizo for Barrons

Full Article click here

By Michael Clerizo

July 3, 2019 2:01 pm ET

American watchmaking was once a thriving industry. After the Civil War, the U.S. dominated the world market in inexpensive, accurate watches, a position maintained into the first half of the 20 th century. Starting in the 1950s watch production declined in the country due to a lack of investment and loss of market share to watches produced in Japan and Switzerland.  American brands were bought by overseas groups and production relocated to Europe and Asia. 

But the industry is experiencing a revival of sorts, led by a few highly talented individuals. However, the challenges they face are many: from learning the craft, to affording the necessary equipment, to finding suppliers and attracting customers.

The most successful American watchmaker is Roland George Murphy, who established the RGM Watch Co. in Mount Joy, Pa., in 1992. Murphy, 57, spent three years training and five years working in product development for Hamilton, an American watch brand now based in Switzerland. 

Custom Cityscape RGM with Lapis Dial

We made 6 custom RGM Model 25 watches with very special multi piece dials. These were made for a company that builds and restores large commercial buildings including sky scrapers, in fact they have done restoration work on the US Capitol.

The dials are made of galvanic copper on Argentium Silver with a Guilloché (Engine-Turning) Breguet line, Lapis lazuli background sky, and Stainless Steel cityscape. The dials are made from 4 major parts.

We have made many custom watches over the years and it is still one of my favorite things to do, working with a client to achieve a beautiful unique watch for them is always a challenge we are up for.

This watch exceeded my high expectations, so I thought it would be interesting to show some of the working images and pictures from this project. We always work to making the best watch we can, and often make changes along the way to the final result. We were originally going to have Black Mother of Pearl as the sky but we decided Lapis looked much better for this watch. Lapis is a beautiful blue and has flecks in the stone that look like stars in the sky, perfect for this watch.

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New Version of the RGM Model 300 Diver

Model 300 Professional Diver

After a request from a customer we decided we really like the combination of the natural Mother of Pearl dial with the blue ceramic bezel insert, so just in time for summer we have added this beautiful watch to our diver lineup.

The model 300 diver was designed from the ground up as a professional dive watch. It features soft iron shielding over the movement to protect against magnetism and a 5mm thick sapphire crystal to withstand high pressure at depth. The single direction dive bezel is held on by screws in the side, which allows the bezel to be adjusted easily by the watchmaker.  It’s used by professional divers around the world.


For more details click here

Riesentöter Region - Porsche Club of America Custom RGM Chronograph

We have made a custom version of our RGM Model 455 Chronograph for the Riesentöter Region - Porsche Club of America. The watch has the Riesentöter Region logo, and the Porsche Club of America logo on the dial.

The first watch was made to be auctioned off at the club charity auction.

Additional watches will be made and can be ordered directly from RGM by calling or emailing.

Price $3950.

ORDERS by Phone 717-653-9799, or Email Sales@rgmwatches.com

More information on the RGM Model 455 Chronograph click here.


The club has visited RGM twice, you can see previous blog post about the visits below.

First visit to RGM click here

Second visit to RGM click here

Hodinkee Writes About The RGM PS-801-Skeleton

NICHOLAS MANOUSOS

JUNE 13, 2019

Initial Thoughts

The caliber 801 skeleton has been in development for more than a year, and the hard work resulted in a fresh take on the 801 movement that allows us to easily admire its architecture. When skeletonizing a movement it is easy to go too far and end up with a watch that is difficult to read, or is very fragile due to the amount of metal removed from the mainplate and bridges. In my opinion, RGM got it just right with the 801 skeleton. In a way, it is is the logical progression of the 801 series.

RGM Spring & Summer limited opportunity

RGM Spring/Summer limited opportunity

 

We will be giving away an Orbita Sparta watch winder a $295 value, with the purchase of any RGM Model 455 Classic Chronograph.  Orbita is one of the best manufacturers of watch winders in the world. We only have 6 winders so you must be one of the first 6 orders to qualify for this limited opportunity.

Model 455-T

 

We have a few versions of the Model 455 to choose from, and all are inspired by the great classic chronographs from the 1940's with their technical and functional dials with Tachymeter, and Telemeter scales.

 

 Model 455 web-page click here

 

If you’re interested in securing one of the 6 that come with a winder email us at sales@rgmwatches.com , or call 717-653-9799.

Orbita Sparta Watch Winder

Model 455-BT

Quill & Pad Article about American Watch Brands and the Truth Behind the Dial.

Excerpt From Quill & Pad Article about American Watch brands.

RGM: the modern American watchmaker
Luckily for those of us in the United States, Roland G. Murphy has put his watchmaking expertise and passion for American horological history into a company that indubitably builds the modern American watch.

Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (home of the former Hamilton Watch Company) RGM Watch Company manufactures its timepieces using modern technology blended with antique watchmaking tools and methods such as engine turning – perhaps better known as guilloche – which is the process of engraving decorative patterns onto metal using a hand-driven rose engine.

RGM even bases its designs on iconic American pocket watches. The Pennsylvania Series 801 caliber draws inspiration from the unique winding click of the Illinois Watch Company’s “Illini” model – see the The Schmidt List: Top 5 Funky Clicks for a detailed explanation of this component’s function – and its crown and ratchet wheels are finished like those of the Illinois Bunn Special.

Further, the 801 caliber includes a bridge plate construction resembling the Edward Howard model of Keystone Howard watches, and the Pennsylvania Series 801 Classic Enamel uses high-fire double-sunk enamel dials like those on nineteenth-century American pocket watches.

See a complete breakdown of this model in RGM Pennsylvania Series 801 Classic Enamel Offers Traditional Timelessness Bridging Past, Present, And Future.

These inspirations represent the great American railroad watches, which were some of the highest-grade watches of their time. And RGM makes sure that the quality of its movements is nothing less than the watches it honors.

See complete article here:
https://quillandpad.com/…/modern-american-watches-the-tru…/…

NEW - PS-801-Skeleton .. See it at the LA WatchTime Show this week.

PS-801-Skeleton

 The Caliber 801 was introduced in 2007 as our first in-house movement. Now, after more than a year in development, we are proud to introduce a classic skeleton version of our most famous movement.

 A solid gold plaque at the bottom of the dial divides the minute into thirds. The three arm second hand enables a clear view of the movement and the escapement. The different lengths of the arms of the second hand allow for easy reading of the seconds as they pass.

 All of the components of the movement are hand finished using traditional techniques. The matte grain finish and polished bevels (anglage) on the bridges and main plate require many hours by a skilled craftsman.

Inspiration was taken from skeleton watches from the early 20th century which were less ornate with clean lines and a functional aesthetic.




WatchTime Los Angeles ... A Collectors and Enthusiasts Horological Experience!!!!

WatchTime is bringing its hugely successful WatchTime New York event concept to the West Coast next week May 3-4, 2019 at the Hudson Loft space in Downtown LA. You can expect a similar experience to WatchTime New York event. https://www.watchtimeevents.com/

Here at RGM we are looking forward to seeing some of our clients and followers from the West Coast, just like we enjoy so much seeing everyone at the New York event. Over the past four years, WatchTime New York has emerged as the largest and most important luxury watch event in the United States. In October 2018, the show welcomed over 1,400 collectors and 31 brands to Gotham Hall in Midtown Manhattan. Like WatchTime New York, WatchTime Los Angeles will offer the passionate collector and enthusiast a horological experience unlike any other.

We are looking forward to showing two new RGM models next week, we hope you can be there and be one of the first to see them in person.

Europa Star Writes About RGM in American Watch Report

From - Europe Star chapter 2, 2019

Full American Watch Report article click here

Portrait

 Roland G. Murphy: the last American master

Roland G. Murphy, founder of RGM Watch Company

In the place where the erstwhile giants of American watchmaking, including Hamilton Watch Company, were established, near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, we met Roland G. Murphy. This master watch restorer founded the RGM Watch Company brand in 1992, the only American watchmaker still producing its own mechanical movements. He represents an isolated, independent mind on the other side of the Atlantic, far away from the Swiss ecosystem.

RGM Watch Company is housed in a former bank in the small town of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. It’s a solid brick-built structure with a vintage but still very reliable safe. On the ground floor, three watchmakers are busy at their workbenches. After the tour, the discussion begins with Roland G. Murphy, one of America’s only master clock and watchmakers.


Roland G. Murphy, founder of RGM Watch Company

“The United States has always been a country oriented towards mass watch production, before everything moved to Asia,” says Roland Murphy. “The large factories in our region operated very differently from our craft workshops. In a sense, I am an heir to this watchmaking tradition, but an heir with a very different face.” He feels closer in spirit to the likes of Kari Voutilainen, Svend Andersen, Peter Speake-Marin or the Grönefeld brothers.

However, it was at the Hamilton facilities in Lancaster that it all began for the native of Maryland. Before Hamilton he completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter. During that time he took a job with Danecker Clock Co. where he worked on the wooden cabinets for clocks. When the company went bankrupt, Roland Murphy bought the stock of clocks and began to analyse their movements. This was the beginning of a passion that still grips him today.

PS-801-CH “Chess in Enamel”: the first RGM timepiece with a double-sunk real glass fired enamel dial



A pioneer in the “new wave” of independents

He joined a technical school in Pennsylvania (which has since closed its doors) to take a watchmaking course, before flying to Switzerland in 1986, where he perfected his skills at Wostep in Neuchâtel. Back in the United States, he was hired by SMH to work on product development for the Hamilton brand in Lancaster. However, Roland Murphy did not really feel at home in a group, where individual initiative is necessarily limited by the many constraints, work meetings and hierarchical superiors. Besides, he missed working with his hands. He decided to leave the group. Hamilton, meanwhile, would relocate permanently to Biel in 2003.

He is operating under additional constraints, far from Switzerland’s watch supply chains.

At the beginning of the 1990s, there were just a handful of independent master watchmakers, a new generation led by François-Paul Journe, Franck MullerAntoine Preziuso and Vincent Calabrese – a far cry from the current Carré des Horlogers! When he founded RGM Watch Company in 1992, Roland Murphy was one of the early birds of this “new wave” in watchmaking.

And he was operating under additional constraints, because of his location, far from Switzerland’s watch supply chains. “My colleagues have access to local technologies and skilled labour, support from foundations and much more media attention,” says Roland Murphy. “I’ve been wanting to hire a Finnish watchmaker for several years now, a former intern, but working visas are very difficult to obtain.”

RGM Watch Company is housed in a former bank in the small town of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

How to source critical components

Fortunately for him, the watchmaker initially acquired a large number of Nivarox assortments via third parties, which he still uses today. The first models were skeletonized column-wheel chronographs equipped with Valjoux movements. With the help of Jean-Daniel Dubois (now director of Vaucher Manufacture), then at Lemania, he was also able to launch several small series of tourbillon, minute repeater and perpetual calendar watches.

At the same time, he continues to work as a restorer of vintage timepieces, providing after-sales service in the United States for brands such as SinnEberhard & Co. and Titoni. This supports RGM’s activity as an independent brand, with a dozen employees today. In 2007 the RGM Watch Company launched its first in-house movement after seven years in development. Today, the company has four Made in America calibres, for an annual production of some 250 watches. The brand has specialized in the segment of custom-made models, a growing niche, as well as in the trade-in of second-hand timepieces against new RGM watches.

Today, the company has four Made in America calibres, for an annual production of some 250 watches.

A certain vision of Americana

Current collections include the Pennsylvania series, which ranges from models under $10,000, equipped with custom cases, with parts made by a local aerospace industry supplier (!), to a tourbillon model in steel priced at $95,000. For the company’s twentieth anniversary in 2012, the Calibre 20 was launched on a model with guilloché dial and precise moon-phase indication.

The most recent movement developed by Roland Murphy and his team is the Calibre 801 with a sweep second, inspired by Patek Philippe’s classic central second system. The watchmaker is currently working on a new higher-end calibre, similar to the Zenith 135 or the Peseux 260.RGM Watch Company also uses ETA movements to offer more accessible watches, such as the 151 model priced at $3,000. The company even offers its vision of Americana through the Baseball Watch model.

RGM 801-COE Corps of Engineers watch

Bad retail experiences

Most customers are American watch connoisseurs. Roland Murphy chose to switch to a 100% direct sales model more than a decade ago, after a series of bad experiences with retailers. "At first, I started by collaborating with retailers, but I realized that it was better to give it up for a small independent brand like mine,” explains the watchmaker. “The major brands give advantages to sellers to ensure their supremacy. One day, a customer went to a point of sale that represented me in California and asked for the price of one of my watches: he was immediately redirected to another brand. This happened three times in three months. Enough to understand that it was no accident.”

"I started by collaborating with retailers, but I realized that it was better to give it up for a small independent brand like mine.”

RGM Watch Company took the drastic step of withdrawing from the dozen or so points of sale that represented it in the United States. “By getting rid of this margin, it also allowed me to offer more affordable models,” continues Roland Murphy. “In the end, we reduced production and increased our margins. With the advent of the internet, we have really grown, especially thanks to the impact of social networks and the support of specialized blogs.” The watchmaker manages the Instagram account of his brand himself.

RGM’s in-house Caliber 801, inspired by America’s watchmaking history

A region forgetting its horological past

With his experience as a restorer, the watchmaker doesn’t want to hear about using silicon in his calibres: “When I think of a watch, I think of its repair in several decades’ time. Too few brands take this into account. This is also why independents are so popular with collectors. We’re dealing with humans, not technocrats.” Roland Murphy’s succession seems to be assured, since his son-in-law works for the company, and his son has just graduated with a specialization in CNC operations.

The citizens of his region are no longer exposed to the importance of the watchmaking industry, however. “Many people are unaware of the long industrial and watchmaking heritage of our territory, despite the presence of the National Museum of Watchmakers and Clockmakers.” So, with his good humor and sincere speech, Roland Murphy acts as a salutary reminder, which may lead to new vocations among those whose grandparents devoted their lives to watchmaking.
















Limited Edition RGM Model 500-GMT-RS "Richard Sachs" Version.. Pre-Orders Available

Model 500-GMT-RS

Both Richard Sachs and Roland Murphy have a passion for handcrafting and making very special products for their clients, often creating bespoke pieces of art. They can be described as traditionalists who believe in providing customer service and building the right product for each individual.

Years ago we made an RGM/Richard Sachs watch, and we have had many requests for a new model, so we’ve teamed up to create a truly special GMT watch.

Renderings are of the new RGM Model 500-GMT-RS which will be ready around Oct/Nov of this year 2019.

 Limited Edition of 50 Watches.

Anyone who pre-orders the watch now will get some extra goodies at no extra charge as outlined below.

  1. 3-year warranty in place of standard 2-year warranty.

  2. Extra RGM watch strap.

  3. Richard Sachs water bottle.

  4. Signed Richard Sachs cycling cap.

  5. Personalized engraving added to the case-back.

 

To order the watch, a 50% deposit is required, and the balance is due when the watch is ready later this year.  The price of the watch is $4750 on strap. An optional stainless-steel bracelet will be available later.

Email for more information

Call to place an order 717-653-9799

 

RGM Model 500-GMT-RS

Specs:

  1. 41mm 316-L stainless-steel case with unidirectional 24-hour bezel.

  2. Screw-Down crown.

  3. Richard Sachs GMT hand, and engraving on case-back.

  4. Automatic ETA 2893-2 GMT movement.

  5. Superluminova on dial and hands.

NEW - RGM Model 151 Stainless Steel Bracelet

Years ago we had a metal bracelet for the Model 151, we have been looking for a replacement for several years, and now have a new even nicer bracelet available. The new bracelet can be ordered on a new 151, or can be purchased separately for any RGM 151 we have made in the past.

The bracelet is available in 316L stainless steel, it has a push button release clasp with a safety lock. Sizing is easy because the bracelet has screws not pins for removing links, and the solid stainless end-pieces are custom made to fit the 151 case. The clasp is engraved with the RGM logo.

The bracelet is available in a brushed and polished combination finish, or we can brush the entire bracelet.

Link to RGM 151 page click here

Looking Back......The day I Met Watchmaker George Daniels

First Edition

I first heard of George Daniels back in the 1980’s when I first went to school for clockmaking and watchmaking, I quickly went on the hunt for his now famous book on watchmaking, back in the 80’s the first edition was available, and I bought a copy.  I spent many hours, months, even years reading and examining the illustrations in the book.   I dreamed of making his tourbillon watch which he outlines over several chapters, who knows maybe some day I will make that watch.  The book was also my first introduction to Engine-Turning which has a chapter devoted to it as Mr. Daniels would Engine-Turn his own cases, and dials.  I was instantly fascinated with this work also, and as many know I pursued it some years later hunting down machines and finding craftsman to help teach me this beautiful craft.  Today we make many beautiful watches with this handmade work.

 

Once I started RGM in the early 1990’s I would attend the Basel Fair each year meeting suppliers and other people in the watch industry.  Every year I would make this trip to Switzerland and would also take the time to visit other companies not at Basel. This was very important then when I was just starting out making and designing my own watches, I rarely attend the fair now. If you have ever been to the Basel Fair you know how large this event is, and back in the 1990’s it had even more companies there as it was also a big show for suppliers. Now the fair has changed a lot over the years, and it’s very different today compared to then.

 

One year in the mid 1990’s when I visited the Basel Fair, I made my way back to the stand of the Académie Horlogère des Créateurs Indépendants (AHCI) and to my surprise George Daniels had a watch or two on display, I also heard he was there at the fair, but at the time I was in the stand he was not there.  I stopped back a few more times but I missed him each time, I thought I would not see him at all during the visit.   I was tired from the trip and thought I would go back to Neuchatel where I was staying early that day, so I made my way to the train station in the middle of the afternoon.  After making my way to the platform I could see the train was there waiting, once I boarded it looked like a ghost train, not many people were leaving Basel at that time.  I made my way into one of the cars and there was only one person in the car, to my amazement there he was the master himself, George Daniels sitting there by himself.  I couldn’t pass this opportunity up, so I went and sat across from him and introduced myself.

 

The train station in Basel is pretty big with several tracks, I was surprised when we left the station that know one else was in our train car.  I was going to Neuchatel which is a fairly long train ride from Basel, and Mr. Daniels was going to visit his good friend and watchmaker Derek Pratt who was another legend in watchmaking.    During this train ride of course we talked about watchmaking, the watch industry, and many other things.   He was wearing two wrist watches, one was a Rolex and the other was an Omega, both watches were fitted with his Daniels Co-Axial escapement which he had done years before.  He expressed to me his disappointment in the Swiss watch industries lack of interest in his escapement. He told me about some of his meetings and it seemed at that point he had given up hope of ever seeing it produced on a large scale.  Of course, we all know a few years later Omega decided to work with him, and the Co-Axial escapement is being used across the Omega lineup today.  I remember being at the Basel Fair the year it was introduced and seeing Mr. Daniels, and Mr. Hayek talking about it for the press and attendees in the Omega stand.

 

Co-Axial Escapement

We continued our conversation on the train, and I was talking about Tourbillon watches, he quickly let me know that he thought the tourbillon should be seen from the back of the watch, and not from the front. At that time Breguet and some other brands had the Tourbillon featured on the front of the watch which is what most customers of these watches wanted.  Mr. Daniels was old school and that’s what I would expect from the old master.  We continued the conversation and he handed me his Rolex and Omega to look at.  He said that the timing of the watches with his escapement was better then the rate he could achieve with the original escapements.  I am sure he spent many hours fitting and adjusting the escapement to these watches.  We talked for almost and hour and half on this amazing horological train ride, what a privilege I will never forget.

 

Once I found my way back to my hotel, I thought to myself, you could never arrange a private conversation with George Daniels for an hour and half.  Somehow I think I was meant to leave the Basel Fair early that day.

 

Thanks for listening

Roland Murphy

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George Daniels 1926-2011

Derek Pratt 1938-2009