The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

OK, so before you begin reading this I need you to start the above video of a choir rendition of "America the Beautiful." The video has some cheesy imagery of course, but interestingly sums up my swelling patriotic pride in America's first made (and designed) tourbillon movement. It is no surprise that this comes straight from Pennsylvania at RGM. The brand recently announced America's first made and designed watch movement (in a long time), and now its very first tourbillon. Hailing from Lancaster county, it is funny how this innovation in the American watch industry stems from a place where much of its population is living in the past. I am of course referring to the wealth of Amish that live out there.

It is an interesting framework for watch making in general. While new inventions and innovations are regularly announced from around the world, it is at its heart, a super retro industry. So for ultra developed America (relatively speaking) to finally come out with a complication it could have mastered a long time ago if it put effort in it is rather ironic. It speaks about our efficient and practical minds as Americans (before you go on a rant just think about it and how we have more or less rejected a lot of the "why do they do that" traditions of other countries"). This mentality often results in shunning fancy artisan work on a mass level like tourbillon movements that are more or less made solely for the sake of beauty, complexity, and tradition. A tradition that America has lost long ago, and is slowly regaining in certain communities.

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

The RGM Pennsylvania Tourbillon Calibre MM 2 movement is based on the RGM Calibre 801 (which itself borrows design elements from classic American made pocket watches - think prior to 1900). As a tourbillon the movement is lovely in design and decoration. RGM has created over the last several years a bona fide classic watch makers workshop. Though only recently has the brand been very interested in being serious movement makers. This is a direction the brand is moving in, in addition to creating beautifully decorated movements using classic guilloche machine engraving. Those wise in the ways of movements will quickly look at the Pennsylvania and realize that while it is similar to Swiss, French, or German movements, it has a uniqueness to the design, and looks to have elements taken from all parts of watch movement making history.

The movement is large and so is the diameter of the tourbillon. Material in the movement include German silver (not actually silver), gold, silver, and steel. It is made to be fitted into a 43mm wide case (available in steel or gold). Like some popular Swiss watches these days, the watch case will have a side mounted sapphire crystal near the tourbillon for a better view of the movement. While the watch itself hasn't been shown yet, I imagine that the dial will be very classic, and also have a large amount of guilloche machine engraving. The watches will no doubt feel similar to those decorated in Germany as Benzinger. Then again, you'll look at the movement as see the interesting "T" icon that represents Pennsylvania.

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

The American Tourbillon: RGM Pennsylvania Calibre MM 2   watch releases

The final watch that will be the RGM Pennsylvania Tourbillon has yet to be released. It will be debuted in the middle of June though. While this isn't the most complex tourbillon in the world, it is nicely made with 100% American elbow grease. The first one ever, and better late to the game than never. So listen to "American the Beautiful" and think of those proud stars and stripes when looking at this new classic looking, thoroughly American calibre. Price starts at $75,000 for the watch in a steel case. $95,000 in gold, and $125,000 in a platinum case. Ask yourself, how much of a patriotic watch lover are you?

6 comments
Tom
Tom

Hey Ariel,
I just wanted to let you know I was exploring the RGM website and found this picture of a custom watch labeled prototype with the tourbillon inside. Maybe something to add to the post.
http://www.rgmwatches.com/Argm026.html
Thanks for all the great watch news, I am a young guy (22) who got into watches a few years ago and I've been hooked on the site (and your luxist posts) ever since.
Tom

Brian
Brian

RGM is a brand that never ceases to amaze me. They make movements and watches that easily rival their Swiss counterparts. What is truly impressive is that they are able to do this without the marketing budgets the big players have.

Pat I., RGM is a true American watch maker. The 801 and this new Tourbillon are made entirely by them in Mount Joy. They manufacture the gears, the bridges, the plates, etc. in their own shop. In addition, they began making their own cases a few years back. I would guess that they do not make their own springs, but that is something almost no manufacturer does themselves.

Mike
Mike

Very nice. Especially the side view of the tourbillon. Something to be proud of.

Pat I.
Pat I.

I love RGM watches. But like most small manufacturers - don't we need a definition of what
"American" means? What percentage of the watches do they have made in the US? Springs? Balances? gears? Cases? Hands? I'm just curious.

Also - with all the effete' boutique brands circling the drain, it's interesting to note the different approaches of American and Euro/Swiss
watch manufacturers:

EURO:

Restore a "historic building". Interior should reflectect hipster/modern mentality and be environmentally friendly.

Annex the name of a quasi historic watchmaker. Proudly proclaim to manufacture watches in the spirit of (insert name here).

Hire a bunch of precious designers with bedhead hairstyles, expensive clothesand chunky disaffected European architect glasses.

Prepare lots publicity photos of serious/angst-ridden/pouting watch designers peering through loupes.

US:

Rent a storefront or borrow space in the back of your dad's machine shop or dorm room.

downlaod some pirated CAD software off the net.

Design a watch around a standard movement.

Assemble watches yourself.

Sell online.

S\When you're solidly in the black, slowly progress toward manaufacturing your own movement.

Thrive while your overseas competitors go bankrupt and blame clueless, Americans for not fully understanding the importance of wearing a 50,000 dollar watch on a daily basis (get the watch magazines to echo this sentiment).

Place ads showing your product without, male models dressed as pilots, weird father/son shots
guys piloting vintage motorboats or fixing antique cars or BS photos of watch company owners posing with their "insirpiration" - their two year old sons.

That's it.

It hasn't been a good morning.

Jerome Pineau
Jerome Pineau

Wow truly remarkable - I'd heard of Chinese tourbillons (actually there's one in a Nina Ricci model I believe) but not US - It's funny because in my scanning of the markets I am detecting strong watch interest from that area as well (matter of fact I just sent an M113 to our Hodinkee contest winner not far from Phylly) - I'm getting some interesting feedback from that part of the country - equally for Milwawkee/Chicago great lakes area. I'm curious if you concur. I never equated watchmaking with the Hamish either (an area I knew well) but indeed when you look at the origins of watch making in Switzerland, I can see why that would work as well (I don't suspect the Hamish make movements do they?)

In any case, when you look at this type of work, and then the several US made brands out there (Xetum being the one I know best personally) it really gives my US heart a much needed boost in these times! Bravo.

admin
admin

Hi Tom,
Not sure if that is going to be the final dial - maybe it is. Either way, thanks for adding to the discussion with the link.

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