RGM Watch Co. is really an oddity in the business, planning and assembling ground-up developments, dials and cases in a nation that is for some time deserted such horological tries. The times of incredible American brands like Hamilton, Waltham and Ingersoll are a distant memory, however RGM brought conventional watchmaking, thinking back to the 1990s, settling in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. How about we investigate the RGM Caliber 20, a watch that helps restore America as a genuine part in Haute Horology.
The brand is presently the lone vertically coordinated American producer that plans/constructs extraordinary developments in-house, equaling the accomplishments of Swiss and European partners. RGM has a few developments added to its repertoire, including the Caliber 801 (presently with a skeletonized variation ), Pennsylvania Tourbillon and Caliber 20 . That last development is the focal point of this review and is housed in a tonneau-formed case with a mostly skeletonized dial, all hand-worked in Roland’s Pennsylvania workshop. Different dials are accessible for this piece with bespoke alternatives also, yet the overall design is the equivalent throughout.
The Caliber 20 was named for the 20th anniversary of the brand, established in 1992 by Roland G. Murphy. The actual development is something other than an in-house creation and is a gesture to conventional American watchmaking. When planning calibers, Roland draws on the past for motivation. For instance, the Caliber 801 (his first development completed in 2007) has spans enlivened by the Keystone Howard Watch Company’s leader “Edward Howard” model. The profound cleaned winding wheels were enlivened by the Illinois Watch Company’s “Bunn Special” model and the winding snap was roused by the Illinois “Illini” model. It’s protected to say that Roland knows some things about America’s horological past.
In this occasion, he chose to join an engine barrel into the Caliber 20, a component that hasn’t been seen in more than 50 years. What is an engine barrel you inquire? It’s an old American framework once utilized in the most noteworthy level railroad watches to stop extra development harm brought about by a messed up fountainhead. The barrel and arbor capacities were switched, having the barrel go to wind the watch and arbor turn as it runs. In the event that an origin broke, the abrupt stun went to the winding cog wheels, not to the delicate stuff train and escapement. After a second kind of engine barrel was planned more to diminish wear and contact, which is the sort utilized by RGM. An engine barrel is unmistakable by the fastener wheel shield having three little screws rather than an enormous focal screw.
Prior to establishing RGM, Roland learned at the Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, PA prior to going to the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP) in 1986. He later worked for the Hamilton Watch Co. until 1992. The company today stays little and free, handcrafting watches in a restricted arrangement utilizing both current and conventional strategies. Motor turned guilloché dials are created with collectible, hand-worked hardware and developments are done and gathered by hand. Roland will likewise work with clients to make a special, bespoke piece starting from the earliest stage, an extraordinariness in the extravagance watch industry. The Caliber 20 is an advanced interpretation of American watch history with an esthetic that could flourish in an alternate era.
Case and design
The tonneau-formed, cleaned 316L treated steel case (18k rose gold is discretionary) is 42.5mm x 38.5mm and 9.7mm in stature. Like the brand’s Classic Enamel PS-801-CE we as of late reviewed, the sides have a progression of edges crossing to the hauls, seeming like segments supporting the front and back gems. The staggered bezel slants descending at a sharp point, fanning out to a level edge that trusts the evidence speak for itself segment. A level sapphire precious stone covers the dial. The P-formed carries bend down lower than the caseback, keeping it from laying level on a surface. This shields the back sapphire precious stone from direct contact and looks like a smaller than expected table. Encompassing the back gem is an inclining bezel that reflects the front, hung on by twelve cleaned screws. RGM’s far reaching, in-house Caliber 20 is on full display.
The enormous, knurled and formed crown is not difficult to wind and pull to set the time, with a Keystone emblem toward the end (same as the previously mentioned Classic Enamel PS-801-CE). It doesn’t screw down, yet the case is water-impervious to 50 meters. Albeit protected in a pool, it’s most likely best to just eliminate a particularly decent piece from your wrist prior to swimming. The drag width is 22mm and cleaned outside screws secure the tie, which I typically really like to spring bar pins, both for style and comfort. Care should be taken while eliminating these screws, notwithstanding, to abstain from scratching the case and cosmetically harming the screw heads.
Dial and hands
There a few dial choices accessible, one has a strong silver guilloché face with moiré design and the other is mostly skeletonized. My unit is the skeletonised one with a huge moon stage on the base left and seconds circle on the upper right. All dial choices are designed along these lines. My watch sneaks up all of a sudden with motor turned, silver dial areas over the seconds circle and beneath the moon stage, with the moon created from mother-of-pearl. The primary plate and setting parts are uncovered and hand-got done with perlage and anglage (chamfered edges).
A minute track encompasses the border with Roman numerals marking the hours at 12, 3 and 6 o’clock. The seconds plate, a common component of watches during the 1930s, is set apart by a bolt tip framed by the state of its guilloché cover, while the base moon stage is somewhat covered by a coordinating guilloché cloud shape. It is an exactness moon-stage work that would have just a one-day blunder over a 120-year time span (accepting the watch is ceaselessly running). The blued cornerstone hands are a sign of RGM and top pick of Roland. The focal wedge in a curve that secures any remaining pieces, the cornerstone is additionally an epithet for Pennsylvania – The Keystone State. Roland was given a bunch of old cornerstone hands at watchmaking school in Lancaster, PA, made somewhere in the range of 1886 and 1891 by the Keystone Watch Company. The plan had an effect and they would now be able to be found all through numerous Caliber 20 and Caliber 801 arrangement watches.
The hand-wound Caliber 20 is the third in-house development for the company, following the Caliber 801 and Pennsylvania Tourbillon. Named to commemorate the brand’s 20th anniversary, the tonneau-molded development is a victory of American horology. Highlighting the recently referenced engine barrel, one of the primary at any point utilized in a wristwatch, it’s a gesture to extraordinary American railroad pocket watches. The development is hand-implicit RGM’s workshop with the fundamental plate and scaffolds cut from German silver, hand completed and left unplated.
Finishing incorporates Côtes de Genève, perlage and anglage, and every development requires a while to create. It’s additionally a sizeable development that fills practically the total of the presentation caseback. The Caliber 20 has 19 gems and beats at 18,000vph (2.5Hz) with focal hours and minutes, a different seconds plate and moon stage. Roughly 90% of the development is hand-inherent Pennsylvania, with only a couple parts like the origin and gems being outsourced.
A 22mm dark croc tie is fitted to my piece and truly complements the general esthetic. It’s all around cushioned and comfortable, without feeling excessively hardened and oppressive. Numerous ties are accessible for this watch with the dominant part delivered in Florida by Stylecraft. RGM utilizes a couple of other sources too, like Jean Rousseau and Camille Fournet in Paris, and Hirsch in Austria.
RGM has genuinely taken conventional watchmaking back to America and the Caliber 20 mirrors Roland’s enthusiasm for incredible watchmakers from past periods. The engine barrel has been resuscitated after over fifty years, last found in the most noteworthy level railroad watches. The cornerstone hands address both Pennsylvania and The Keystone Watch Company (from Lancaster, PA) from the 19th century. Customary hand gathering and completing of the development is comparable to grounded European brands in this value range, which is even more great given RGM’s generally short history. The entirety of RGM’s in-house developments are hand-twisted and there are no current intends to plan a programmed (there are some Swiss automatics in lower-end pieces).
Roland feels that his calibers are more customary and “unadulterated” without a rotor darkening the pinion wheels, extensions, plates and by and large magnificence of the development. Most developments/watches are additionally round and it was eager to plan a tonneau-formed caliber, particularly for just the third in-house development in the company. Roland delivered a complex tourbillon development earlier, notwithstanding, so I’d say he’s exceptional to keep seeking after new and striking plans. His most recent skeletonized variant of the Caliber 801 is a cool change of his first development and shows an ability to advance existing developments just as planning new ones. Custom and quality structure the foundation of RGM, and American Made is not, at this point a horological dream of the past.
Price and Availability
The Caliber 20 is delivered in low volume and might be worked to arrange, contingent upon request. Steel models retail for USD 29,500 and 18k rose gold models retail for USD 42,500. I wouldn’t name these costs as available, yet these are hand-made extravagance watches, requiring a while to create, with a general quality and finish of European partners. For gatherers and watch devotees, costs are comparable to comparative watches. Furthermore, in the event that you need to purchase American, this is plainly your solitary stop – Weiss Watch Company out of Los Angeles likewise delivers an in-house development Caliber 1003, however it’s firmly displayed after the Swiss ETA-Unitas 6497. You can buy a Caliber 20 and discover more data at RGM’s site .