eBay to the rescue again. I swear, I have so many conversations with watch executives and designers that end with "and I got it on eBay." A lot of brands use vintage watches and instruments as the basis for new timepieces - a least from a design perspective. Most of the watches based on aircraft cockpit instruments have the designers checking out actual instruments. Either they go find a plane or buy stuff online - often on eBay. RGM for instance picked up a couple of these cool WWII era cockpit clocks online originally made by Hamilton, and decided to make a watch based on the theme. It is cool to see the original next to the the RGM wrist watch
This watch is called the RGM 801 Aircraft and comes with a few different dial choices. Dial options are typical of many RGM watches. You can get the hour indicators in three different ways (24 hour format, 12 hour format, or using a minute scale). The yellow and aquamarine colors are taken right from the original clock. Actually, the original cockpit clock is really cool. It would have been a feat for any brand to replicate the clock with functions and all. Look below to check it out. Eight day power reserve, date, trip time, chronograph, and the time in 24 hour format - that would be impressive in a wrist watch.
RGM didn't exactly make a new movement for this watch, but the cockpit clock's spirit does live in the piece. It does however only tell the time. The first thing I noticed about the RGM 801 Aircraft piece was the wonderful brushed finishing on the case. RGM is an American brand and they made all their own cases and many movements. This watch has both - born in Pennsylvania. The 42mm wide steel case is really beautifully made - making it easy to scoff at a lot of the competition's finishes. Sapphire crystal over the dial as well as for the caseback. While the dial colors are different, they are unique and RGM altered the hues just enough for the piece to look elegant.
Inside of the RGM 801 Aircraft is their in-house made caliber 801 manually wound movement. At first glance you'll notice the excellent finishing of the beautiful mechanism. Most of the watch's value is in the movement and RGM does not let you down. Distinct from Swiss movements, the caliber 801 feels inspired from old pocket watch movements. It has 19 jewels and operates at 18,000 beats per hour. According to RGM, you can get it in a rhodium or gold plated finish. The large blued screws and red synthetic rubies are a highlight of the movement's design. Price for the RGM 801 Aircraft watch is $6,400.
[Update: July 8, 2014 - While we value the quality of their product, in light of recent events, aBlogtoWatch will no longer cover RGM products and cannot endorse RGM as a company. - Ed. ] What's This?