How this All-American Watch Company Crafts its Timepieces

How this All-American Watch Company Crafts its Timepieces

  • RGM Watch Co.Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, is home to one the oldest all-American watchmakers.
  • Each year, a team of nine creates around 200 handcrafted watches.
  • A watch’s assembly takes on average three to five working days.

Meline:Roland G Murphy, the founder of RGM Watch Company, founded it in 1992. It is today considered to be one of America’s few companies that still makes old-world watches.

Roland:There are no electronics and no circuit boards. Producing it is a lot more complicated. A beautiful traditional piece that can still be appreciated today, but is beautifully constructed. It is more about the craftsmanship, as virtually no one makes mechanical watches movements and series in America. We are the only one. We know that making a watch with an internal movement is difficult.

Meline:Roland draws the watch’s design and then creates a 3D program to model each component. The movement bridges and main plates are next constructed and decorated. The main plates will hold the movements parts. The bridges will mount on the main plate to support its inner workings. RTM produces these parts in small batches, usually less than 100. It’s now time to build the watch. The first step is to assemble the movement pieces. These are the parts of the watch’s movement. They include the engine and all the gears that keep time. Gulch rose engine engraving, which dates back 1857, is used to engrave the watch face and dials. Guilloché makes each watch unique. Each watch will have a slight variation because it is done manually. Guilloché is associated with Swiss and German made watches and is rarely done at the U.S. Attach the finished numbered dial to the watch’s movement. The watch hands can then be attached to the movement and the dial is finally cased. The entire assembly takes about three to five working days. One or two watchmakers are involved. RGM crafts unique custom pieces that can sell for thousands, like this Kauai model, which is estimated at 13,900. They also make watches and series that range from 2,750 up to 98.500. Each year, RGM’s nine watchmakers handcraft about 200 watches.

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