Recently at the WatchTime New York show, Roland Murphy of RGM Watch Company showed off his newest collection of Art watches for men and women. Significantly different for RGM, which usually plays on the classical side of things (enamel dials or engine-turned dials) or American-inspired pieces (railroad watches), these timepieces are designed to inspire the art lover in all of us.
Those already familiar with Roland Murphy and RGM Watch Company may be a bit surprised by the newest Artwork watches he has just released. RGM watches – crafted in Mt. Joy, PA – are typically very classic styles with clean dials beautifully engine-turned / guilloché or enamelled. Some RGM watches feature apertures for sneak peeks at a moon phase or are openworked to allow viewing of a portion of the movement. The newest RGM Art watches take that classic watchmaking style to new heights by offering hand-painted artistic dials.
These newest watches – there are two models for men and two for women – also represent the fine art of watchmaking and hand craftsmanship, and continue a centuries-old tradition of decorative art dials. They simply do it in a way Roland Murphy and RGM has not done before, with hand painting and luminous painting for the Lady RGM Art watches, and with marquetry and cloisonné enamel work for the men’s Model 25 Art Watches.
The two 40mm men’s Art watches are inspired by the sea. One features a cloisonné enamel dial that recalls Monet’s Regatta at Argenteuil with vivid hues of blue with white sailboats and a touch of verdant green in the background. The wood marquetry dial watch is inspired by Castillo de San Marcos fort in St. Augustine, Florida. The stainless steel case is made in America, and these watches are fitted with Swiss automatic movements that house a solid gold RGM perlage-finished rotor. The watches offer 42 hours of power reserve and feature a sapphire caseback for viewing the movement. Interestingly, both of these models retail for USD 13,900.
Because the petite 28mm watches are all about the old-world craft of hand painting, RGM did not produce a new movement for the series. Instead, for these women’s watches, he turns to a stellar calibre, the Swiss-made ETA-Peseux 70001 hand-wound movement with 17 jewels and 42 hours of power reserve. With precision ensured on the inside, RGM turned a host of artists from around the world to do the hand painting of the two versions.
One Lady RGM watch features a miniature hand painting on a mother-of-pearl dial and depicts a beautiful blue titmouse bird with yellow breast perched on a flower branch. The flowers are depicted in pink and resemble cherry blossoms or hydrangeas. The shadows of certain blossoms fall behind them in shades of grey, and in a few places green leaves pop out, as well. The simple beauty and detailed painting of this dial is a study in art and elegance. This version is offered in stainless steel or in 18-karat rose gold with a diamond-set case and lugs. It is finished with a Keystone insignia alligator strap in a bright pink that matches the flowers.
The second Lady RGM art watch being released showcases miniature hand painting but with luminous paint. The lotus flower is created in hues of pink, lavender, blue and purple with a centre showcasing some fire yellow and red. It seems to occupy three-quarters of the dial, which is midnight blue behind the lotus with wisps of fluorescent green floating on the edges looking almost like the Northern lights. Thanks to multiple layers and levels of luminous paint, the dial has a depth and glow to it that offers it a unique character. This watch is finished with a pale blue alligator strap that matches the blue in the petals. Crafted in 18-karat rose gold, it is also available in a 28mm case made of American stainless steel.
Each of the watches features a sapphire crystal and a sapphire caseback for viewing of the movement, which features Cote de Genève, perlage and anglage. Like all of RGM’s watches, the discerning woman can also commission a unique piece hand-painted according to her own artistic desires. These watches retail from USD 15,900 to USD 24,900 (depending on the model and the presence or not of diamonds).
More details at www.rgmwatches.com.
This article has been written by Roberta Naas, founder of A Timely Perspective; and author of six books on watches.