- RGM Watch Co. of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania, is one of the last all-American watchmakers around.
- A team of nine makes about 200 handcrafted watches each year.
- On average, the entire assembly process for a watch takes three to five days.
Meline: RGM Watch Company was founded in 1992 by Roland G Murphy. Today, it’s considered one of the only companies in America devoted to old-world watch making.
Roland: There’s no electronics, there’s no circuit boards. So there’s a whole lot more involved in producing it. And something traditional that can be beautifully built and still be admired and appreciated here today. It’s really more about the craftsmanship or virtually no one is making mechanical watch movements and series here in America. You know, we’re the only one. You know, making one of our watches with an in-house movement, you know, it’s, it is a process.
Meline: To create a watch, Roland first drafts the design, then a 3D program models each part. Next, the movement bridges and main plate are constructed and decorated. The main plates with the movement parts the watch will be fitted to, and the bridges will mount onto the main plate to support the inner workings of the watch. For efficiency sake, RTM makes these pieces in batches of a hundred or less. After they’re made it’s time to build the watch. First, the movement pieces are assembled. These are the engine of the watch with all the gears working together to keep time. The watch face or dials engraved using the Gulch rose engine, which dates back to 1857. Guilloché makes each watch unique. Since it’s done by hand, there will be minuscule differences between each watch. Guilloché is associated with Swiss and German made watches and is rarely done at the U.S. The finished numbered dial is now attached to the movement of the watch. Then the watch hands are attached and the dial of movement is cased. On average, the entire assembly process takes three to five days and involves one or two watchmakers. RGM creates one-of-a-kind custom pieces that sell for thousands of dollars like this Kauai model estimated to cost 13,900 and watches and series that range from 2,750 to 98,500, The team of nine handcrafts about 200 watches each year.