American watchmaker RGM introduced its Model 600 Chronograph last year with inspiration from military pilot watches from the 1960s and 1970s. It had a straightforward design with a black dial, bi-compax layout and no date and joined the rising trend of military-inspired chronographs like the Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic Chronograph and Longines Avigation BigEye. Blue dials are really trending as well and Longines recently introduced the Avigation BigEye Titanium with a gradient blue dial, trading a bit of authenticity for style. The indie watchmaker is following suit with the RGM Model 600-B and a striking sunray blue dial.
The chronograph is part of RGM’s broader pilot collection that house ETA movements in lieu of in-house calibres. This allows for more accessible pieces that still showcase the brand’s quality and design prowess. The case is stainless steel with a brushed finish (polished bezel) and contemporary size – 42mm in diameter and 14mm in height with crystal. That crystal, a raised box-style sapphire, is a first for RGM’s production watches and appeared with the original Model 600. It adds to the vintage style with distortions at sharp angles like acrylic. There are basic pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock, and the crown has a double gasket and Keystone insignia, the latter being a common theme for the brand. Coupled with the solid caseback, water-resistance is rated at 100 metres. The watch is fitted with a 22mm retro brown leather strap with white stitching.
The dial is the standout feature with blue lacquer and a sunray finish, which adds some panache to an otherwise no-nonsense aesthetic. The snailed sub-dials at 3 and 9 o’clock – 30-minute counter and small seconds, respectively – share the blue hue. Syringe-style hour and minute hands are filled with X1 Super-LumiNova, along with the hour marks behind the Arabic numerals. The numbers themselves don’t glow, but overall, legibility is excellent with bright white dial elements against the darkish blue. RGM again decided against a date window, which would’ve looked out of place on such a retro tool watch.
As mentioned earlier, the watch has an ETA movement over one of four in-house calibres. An ETA/Valjoux 7753 automatic chronograph runs the show and features 27 jewels beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 48-hour power reserve. RGM has customised the movement as the base is designed with three sub-dials and a date at 6 o’clock (requiring a recessed pusher). Should you ever need to remove the caseback, it’s rhodium-plated with Côtes de Genève. To keep things period correct, RGM went with the solid back.
The RGM Model 600-B Chronograph retails for USD 4,250, which is the same as its black dial counterpart. As an independent brand with limited production, the price is reasonable and on par with comparable watchmakers. There are also extensive modifications to the movement that have to be considered. Both the blue and earlier black models are available now at RGM’s webstore. For more information, please visit RGM’s website.