For those lovers of American horology, RGM has something very special going on in Mount Joy, PA, next month that you may not want to miss. The American brand, founded by watchmaker Roland Murphy in 1992, celebrates its 25th anniversary with an open house on September 15 and 16, 2017. Additionally, on Saturday the 16th, following the morning open house, visitors will join Murphy for a three-hour private tour of the nearby National Watch and Clock Museum (NAWCC) in Columbia, PA. There, RGM will unveil several new watches made to celebrate the quarter-of-a-century birthday.
What is so special about this is not just that this exceptional American brand is 25 years old, but also visitors are guaranteed to get a real behind-the-scenes look at the incredible workshops and technical prowess of this company and its watchmakers and artisans. It isn’t every day that a watch brand invites its followers and watch lovers inside for demonstrations of vintage machines and state-of-the-art technology working in tandem to create exquisite American timepieces. In fact, the brand was the first and is the only one to create mechanical movements in series production in the United States since the late 1960’s.
Roland Murphy is known for his passion for keeping certain watchmaking arts alive, including the beautiful craft of hand guilloche – the making of fine engraved patterns on watch dials and parts. This work, done by hand with a special rose tool, is incredibly difficult to achieve. One must exert constant pressure at all times for a uniform design, and patience is truly a virtue with this engine-turning art. It is one that Murphy and RGM have perfected, and one that will be quite interesting to witness.
I have known Roland Murphy since the launch of his company, and have, on many occasions, gotten to talk with him about his passion for restoring old movements and for building new ones, as well. Everything he creates pays tribute to the great era of American watchmaking, with updated panache.
The eponymous (via initials) brand is the premier American watch company making high-end timepieces using American-made movements and only the finest materials. Not only does RGM offer quality collections, special editions and limited series watches, but also the brand creates custom timepieces of top bespoke quality inside and out.
In fact, in his workshops, Murphy builds his own movements and certain collections are highly coveted. The Pennsylvania (801) series watches, for instance, have a bold but classical appeal thanks to the ribbed case sides of the made-in-America cases. Finished by hand, the architecture of these cases perfectly matches with the quality of the interior calibre.
A special version of the PS801
The American 801 movement is inspired by America’s watchmaking history. For instance, the bridges recall those found in the Keystone Howard Watch Company’s “Edward Howard” model – a beloved piece of its time. The manual wind, 19-jewel, movement is hand finished with a Cote de Genève perlage and offers hours, minutes and seconds.
Another version of the RGM PS801, made for the 25th anniversary, with enamel dial
Each of the watches in this collection has reference numbers that connote some important feature of the timepieces. For instance, the letters PS represents Pennsylvania series, and other letters are also used for applicable purposes: E stands for Engine-Turned dial; EE means Enamel and Engine-turned dial; S stands for Skeleton dial; ES represents Engine-Turned with Skeleton dial, etc.
In addition to exquisite movements built in the RGM workshops in Pennsylvania, the brand also has mastered the art of enamel, bringing Grand Feu real glass enamel work to many of the brand’s special timepieces. These dials are exceptional and are often graced by equally as intuitive accents, including minute tracks, subdials, innovative numerals and creative hands.
For instance, RGM has recalled the beloved Keystone Hands originally made by Keystone Watch Company in Lancaster, PA, from 1886 or 1891. In some of its timepieces, he utilizes these keystone hands, which is not just reminiscent of history but also of the brand’s own DNA, as Pennsylvania’s nickname is “The Keystone State.”
The list of accomplishments by this 25-year-old company continues to works of haute horology, with complex chronographs and even tourbillons being produced. In addition to building his own watches, RGM has been chosen by museums, auction houses and watch companies to service and restore rare and exclusive timepieces and to make special-series pieces.
Getting an insider’s view of where the magic in American watchmaking happens, visit the RGM 25th Anniversary Open House. Pre-registration is not required.
Details of the RGM Open House
- Friday, September 15, 2017 – 10am to 4pm – Open House at RGM Watch Company, 801 W. Main St., Mount Joy, PA 17552
- Saturday, September 16, 2017 – 9am to 12pm, Open House at RGM Watch Company, 801 W. Main St., Mount Joy, PA 17552 – 2:30pm to 5:30pm, Reconvene at NAWCC Museum 514 Poplar St., Columbia, PA 17512
contact: RGM Watch Company