American Watch Brand: RGM

Welcome back to our third installment of our American Watch Brand series. For this article, we’re heading all the way to Mount Joy, Pennsylvania to learn about a rather incredible American watch brand, RGM.

But first… here’s a bit of information about the American watch industry today. The United States does not have a large watchmaking industry, so many brands source their movements and materials from countries such as Switzerland, China, Taiwan, and Japan. Although there are many brands that design and assemble their watches here in the states, very few brands produce true made-in-America watches.

That’s one way in which RGM is different. RGM pushes the boundaries of US watchmaking by manufacturing their own watch parts, cases, and movements here in the US. Ninety percent of their materials are made in America, and the remaining ten percent are sourced from Switzerland.

RGM 801-EE

Roland G. Murphy, founder of RGM, has always had a “desire to make [his] own movements here in the USA, not in a large industrial way but in a small series of hand crafted timepieces.  [He] pursued this for many years and [they] sold the first watch with one of [their] in-house movements in 2007.” The brand’s first in-house movement was the Caliber 801, and they’re still producing this movement today.  Since 2007, RGM has added an additional three in-house movements to their lineup: the Tourbillon, the Caliber 20, and the Caliber 801-SW.

RGM 801-COE "Corps of Engineers"

As for their watchmaking process, RGM uses both traditional watchmaking tools, as well as some modern machines like their CNC milling machines. If you’re interested in the process of making a watch, RGM has quite a few watchmaking videos, such as the workshop sneak peek video below. You can see all of their videos here.

RGM Vimeo Video

RGM’s Most Popular Watches

Some of their most popular models include the 801-COE and PS-801-EE, and both of these models feature RGM’s American-made, 801 movement. The 801-COE was “inspired by the US Corps of Engineers watches from WWI, with a real glass-fired enamel dial and blue steel hands,” and the 801-EE model blends “two old world arts, a Grand Feu real glass enamel skeleton dial and a hand-cut engine-turned (guilloche) main-plate."

Although RGM manufactures their own in-house movements, they also offer a few watches with Swiss-made movements, including the 151 models. The 151 models feature a stainless steel or titanium American-made case, and there are quite a few variations to choose from, so it’s easy to find a watch that fits your style. These watches are powered by the RGM-ETA 2892-A2 automatic movement, and prices range from $2,950 to $4,350. 

RGM 801-EE

RGM Trade-in Program

RGM also offers a trade-in program, which is a unique program that not many watch brands provide their customers. According to Murphy, their trade-in program began when one of their customers could not buy a watch until they sold a watch that they already owned. Murphy decided that offering a trade-in option would be a good way to sell more watches and help customers trade a watch that they do not wear for a watch that they’re interested in. This is a great alternative for customers nervous about selling a watch online.

To trade-in a watch, customers should email pictures of the watch to RGM, and RGM will determine what they can offer in trade. Customers can trade-in many different types and brands of watches. If you’re interested in this program, you can learn more here!

RGM Model 25

RGM Custom Watches

Because RGM manufactures their own watches, that gives them more freedom to customize watches. For instance, the 801-COE model offers optional add-ons, such as a “hacking second” feature, wolfs tooth winding wheels, a custom engraved balance bridge, and a motor barrel system. This allows buyers to choose features that mean the most to them and to make their RGM watch unique.

Another option that RGM offers is custom-made watches (also known as bespoke watches). Murphy says that they make quite a few “custom watches for individuals or small series for companies,” and custom watches can include “modifying a model [they] have with a new dial and hands, adding a special engraving, or making something entirely new.” Here are examples of some of their custom-made watches.

RGM Custom Watches

All-in-all, RGM is creating some rather incredible watches, and they’re helping to bring back traditional watchmaking to the United States. When asked where RGM is heading next, Murphy was excited to say that they’re working on a smaller in-house movement, as well as a new sport model. Stayed tuned for details! 

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