Made in America: RGM PA Series 801 Watch Celebrates Chess

In 1859, American chess master Paul Morphy was presented with a beautifully crafted pocketwatch from the Testimonial Committee of the New York Chess Club. Morphy, one the greatest chess masters of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion was also described as “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess” due to his brilliant but brief chess career.

Original Paul Morphy dial
The original dial from the Paul Morphy pocketwatch

Morphy’s pocketwatch vanished sometime after 1921 and today only the original enamel dial survives, on display at the NAWCC Watch and Clock museum in Columbia, Pa. It was here that RGM’s Roland Murphy first saw this dial that he knew would one day be the inspiration for an RGM model.

Instead of the usual Roman numerals on the dial, various chess pieces represent the hours in red and black. The Black King stands at 12, the Red King at 6, the Queens at 1 and 11, Bishops at 2 and 10, Knights at 3 and 9, Castles at 4 and 8, and Pawns at 5 and 7.

RGM Chess in Enamel - front
The RGM PA Series “Chess in Enamel” recreates the Morphy dial, with chess pieces at the hour markers.
RGM Chess in Enamel - Keystone crown
The steel case features RGM’s Keystone crown

RGM chose to create its enamel dial with similar chess pieces indicating the hours. “Chess in Enamel” marks the first time RGM has released a double-sunk grand feu enamel dial in one of its models and also marks the beginning of the celebration of RGM’s 25th anniversary.

The stainless-steel case is made in Lancaster County, Pa., and measures 43.3 mm by 12.3 mm; gold and platinum versions are available by request. The case is equipped with double sapphire crystals and houses RGM’s manual-wind Caliber 801, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017. The in-house movement has 19 jewels, 18,000 vph and a power reserve of 44 hours.

RGM Chess in Enamel - back
The watch is powered by RGM’s manual-winding Caliber 801, made in-house at the company’s Lancaster, PA workshop.

The RGM PA Series 801 “Chess in Enamel” is limited to 25 pieces and priced at $13,900.

RGM Chess in Enamel with king
RGM Chess in Enamel with king


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  1. Foulis

    I saw it now, July the 4th. Ironic on this day to see an American made timepiece having a “royal” symbol @ 12. America fought hard to send that symbol home….

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