RGM 160 Watch Review

RGM 160 Watch Review

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

This is the RGM 160. It is on the mid-to-upper range of RGM watch which don't use in-house made RGM movements. With a versatile and useful set of complications from the ETA Valjoux 7751 automatic movement, this is a very attractive mix of having an American made watch with a Swiss movement. RGM is making their own movements now for the 801 handwinder and tourbillon, but have not ventured into other complications. Historically, the Swiss approach was to make modular movements and buy prepackaged complications from companies such as Dubois Dupraz and Soprod, I'll be curious to see what route RGM takes in the future.

I asked to review one of their simpler watches, but when Rich countered by offering me a 160 to review, I jumped at the chance.

This is a triple-date, also known as 'full calendar' for the inclusion of day, date and month. It's also a 12-hour chronograph and moonphase, all built on a nicely decorated ETA Valjoux 7751 movement.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As with RGM's other high-end watches, you can usually assume it'll a) have their honest-abe engine-turned dial and b) not be cheap. Both are true here, and this piece is all about the dial as other brands have pieces with 7751 movements.

I've seen lots of watches stamped to imitate guilloche, but this is the first time I've seen it in person. Up close, it's quite something:
RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

You can spend hours looking at this dial. There's a lot to appreciate and it's all superbly made. Blued hands and a champagne dial that changes color in different light.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The crystal is domed sapphire, which is super difficult to photograph. The caseback also includes a sapphire window to appreciate the movement:

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Most watches with the 775x tend to run large, but the 160 is as svelte as I've seen, an amazing 38.5mm by 15.0mm to the top of the domed crystal. 20mm by 4.0mm non-tapering, five-link solid bracelet with butterfly deployant clasp, 6.7mm crown, a solid 192 grams with all of the links.

The watch comes with a non-scratching brass pusher to adjust the date, the button is recessed at eight o'clock as shown above.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The box is a very useful two-watch storage box with space for straps and such.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The butterfly deployant is well made but lacks micro-adjustments for size, a pet peeve of mine.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The feel is very dressy. Gorgeous mirror finishing, alternating with brushed on the links, and the same stepped bezel as my 151P:

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

So what's it like to wear one?

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

First off, surprisingly comfortable. It's thick for a dress watch, but with the stepped bezel and matching bracelet you notice less. The balance and comfort are both good, and you could reduce the weight quite a bit by wearing it with a strap instead. Secondly, the first impression you get is "instant family heirloom." The triple-date is a look first seen in the 1950's and sixties with the Valjoux 72 and similar movements, and that combined with the guilloche dial and Breguet hands is just utterly classic.

RGM 160 Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Other things of note: The movement has a 2-hand subdial at nine o'clock. The longer hand is actually the second hand, and the shorter is a 24-hour hand, basically showing AM/PM. The movement handwinds but does not hack, and the setting procedure is a bit more complex due to the triple date. There's no lume, and the crown is non-screwdown, this is not a sports watch and you should keep it dry.

The triple date is a super useful complication, though to be honest I don't much use the moon phase.

Triple-date movements come in four varieties:

  1. Triple date / full calendar. All non-31-day months require adjustment, as the movement does not account for them.
  2. Annual calendar. Knows about 30 and 31 day months, has to be adjusted only once a year, on March 1st.
  3. Perpetual calendar: Knows about leap years, usually requires adjustment every century.
  4. Secular calendar: Adjust every 400 years. Getting kind of silly here.

In all cases, read the owner's manual carefully, as it's often possible to cause expensive damage by not following setting procedures. I also recommend the use of a watch winder, as a simple way to keep it set and running while not worn.

As you'd expect at this price, the watch is delightful to interact with. Pushers are crisp and definite, handwinding smooth, setting precise with no slop, and of course timekeeping is chronometer-grade.

I'm particularly struck by the classic diameter. The RGM 160 feels restrained and classic. Stylish, not fashionable, and I would wager long odds it'll feel the same when your grandchildren inherit it. This is a watch for the ages. List price is $6,300 on a strap and $6,950 on the bracelet shown. That's not cheap, though to be fair, it's a fraction of what you'd pay for most comparable Swiss watches.

To paraphrase the movie, if you can afford to, I highly recommend picking one up.

[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?

What do you think?
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  • MarkCarson

    Goregeous watch. I agree, a classic looking watch, not a trendy watch that will go out of fashion. Very reasonable price for what you get.

  • I have only one word, “WOW” this is an amazing watch with amazing design and quality and this will live forever with the buyer until he or she decides to let it go. I was searching for Stuhrling Original Watch and drop on your page and found this unique and amazing time piece. I not only like it but Love it.

  • mojomarc

    A very nice watch with a nice cent of complications. This one would definitely fill a hole in my collection until I can save up the ridiculous amount this sort of suite of complications would cost me in a Patek.  But that one probably requires a lottery win, while this one does not 😀

  • JHerforth

    Love RGMs stuff and it’s on my bucket list of “someday” watches. I have to get down to Lancaster to see this shop.

  • arthurdavis

    nice watch but too small

  • jhcam8

    Pretty small by today’s standards, as Ariel will agree.  Why did Hubbard note 4 types of calendars and not specify which the reviewed watch has?

    • MarkCarson

      jhcam8 Yeah I noticed that too when I first read the review. But reading it again, he does call it a “Full Calendar” early on (and well before the list of calendar types). So he did note it, but quite a bit before the list is all.

  • bichondaddy

    What an exceptional timepiece!!  Would love to own one!!

  • jhcam8

    Good eye, Mark – too obtuse for a review that I just want to read, not study!

  • Pilot747767

                                   Beautiful watch. Would love to win this watch. I like the polished silver best but and color and finish would be fine. Thank You for the giveaway!!

    • MarkCarson

      Pilot747767 Ummm, I don’t think the RGM is this month’s give away. I wish it was though.

  • HawaiianHorology

    This is the classic triple calendar moonphase set up.  Movado and JLC (VC too) have very fine examples from the 1950s.  This one has a nicer dial though.  Most of the time, the moonphase opening is toward the center of the face and not towardst the bottom.  For the small diameter, it is VERY thick.  Anything in the ballpark of 13.5 to 14mm thick would probably do well @ 42mm.  This one is a hefty 15mm.  Very nice but really, nothing that special.  There is a LOT of competition at this price range and because it is based on an ETA ebauche, you are likely to see the same layout on many watches.

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  • terryn1

    I have this watch and it is a bit small and harder to read for an older guy. It is beautiful though and one of my nicer watches in the collection.