Martin Gluck is a fascinating gentleman. An army Psychologist and watch collector – he has direct family links to the watch world, as well as a wide ranging collection. His grandfather (after whom he is named), operated the first watchmaker’s supplies business in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When his father was 18 years old he went “on the road” as a salesman for his family business. After Martin Gluck Sr.’s death, the brothers split up and his father ran his own watchmakers supply business. Martin can recall playing with unwound main springs as a child, but having no idea what they were! Eventually his father went to work for a national wholesale jewelry corporation. During this time he can remember him wearing a gold Waltham and several Gruen watches. In this interview we discuss his wider interest in watches as well as his stunning RGM. It was a joy discussing watches and their stories – one watch geek to another.
So Martin, what was the first watch?
For either my 13th or 16th birthday I was given a beautiful rose gold Bulova. Between then and the event that began my personal involvement with multiple watches there was college, army, marriage, graduate school and moving to Dallas, Texas. In 1978, at the height of the Quartz watch era, I took my Bulova to a local jewelry store and asked if they could get a quartz movement for it. No they could not; so I sold the watch as scrap gold and bought a new quartz watch. [I think I hear you gagging all the way from England.] I have no recall what watch I wore during the years I was in the Army; even though I was a Psychologist and thus not in combat units, I am sure I did not wear a gold watch on duty.
The watch I purchased was an Andre Pailet – the store’s private brand. I have learned since that is actually a Tissot. A yellow gold, vacuum sealed, chronometer [so they said]. I still have that watch, although the case suffered gouges from a battery change where the man had no idea how to safely and correctly open the case – break the vacuum by removing the crown.
How has your collecting evolved over the years?
Well, skip to 2000 and the availability of the “web”. Like many, I began looking at watches on line. I was thinking to replace the Andre Pailet, but I am really not sure what triggered these searches. Be that as may, I bought three automatics during the year – a Limes, a Seiko and a Chase-Durer [Swiss]. In any case there are Chinese [I think their $200 – $300 watches are truly bargains], Swiss, German, and finally American. The most prominent [expensive!] watches are a Ulysse Nardin and a Breguet. There are also ca. 1960s Omega Seamaster DeVille and Tudor Prince and Princess Day-Date.
How did you come to own your RGM:
Now for RGM – the first attraction was that is was “made in Pennsylvania”. [Remember my family background.] I thought his attitude about watch making in the USA and the associated craftsmanship as conveyed on his web site was – is – admirable. The idea of an individually “hand-crafted“ watch made for me was tantalising. I had an opportunity to buy an RGM watch on line and did so. It is one that uses a Swiss movement as the base but has an original guilloche dial done by one of Roland’s staff. When ordering my watch, I had occasion to speak with the watchmaker who had made that dial and designed the one for my watch. Keeping in mind my and the watch’s origins, do you recognise the shape of the hands?
Pennsylvania’s nickname, because of its geographical and historical location in the Colonies, is the ‘Keystone State’.
I finally decided to order the watch in January 2015. It was delivered this past November . During the time it was being made RGM sent email progress reports, and brief videos of the particular stage of manufacture. [These videos can be seen on the RGM site.] The 801 is a manual wind movement. For really correct technical details you best see RGM’s web site. I particularly like doing business with small companies where you a can get to speak with live people immediately and who recognise you in return. Ordering the watch, requesting specific details – e.g. case engraving – and handling the business side were all accomplished in a most pleasant personal manner.
From an aesthetic perspective, what attracted you?
I saw the dial design while it was still on the Rose Engine and thought it most attractive. It is uncluttered yet displays the intriguing quality of a true guilloche dial.
What 3 words come to mind when you think of the RGM?
Neat, Functional, Impressive!!
The first photo of this articles is a similar watch as Martin’s (that is in all other photos), however it features different hands and a different guilloche pattern.