WatchTime New York, America’s largest luxury watch show, is returning this fall! Held for the second year in a row at Manhattan’s luxurious Gotham Hall on October 14-15 (click here for details and tickets), the event features a lineup of sponsoring watch brands from Germany, Switzerland, Japan, and even one American watchmaker, Pennsylvania-based RGM, which will be showcasing its Caliber 20 timepiece.
Launched in 2012 in commemoration of RGM’s 20th anniversary, Caliber 20 joins its predecessors, the groundbreaking Caliber 801 in 2008 and the MM2 Pennsylvania Tourbillon movement in 2010, in the exclusive fraternity of “Made in the U.S.A.” watch movements manufactured entirely at brand founder Roland G. Murphy’s small atelier in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, a traditional center of watchmaking since the 1800s.
Fittingly, the watch’s movement incorporates a distinctly American technological touch, one nearly lost to antiquity: the so-called “motor barrel” system. An American invention, the motor barrel (illustration below) was designed to reduce friction and wear in the mainspring barrel surfaces, thus transmitting power more efficiently. According to Murphy, motor barrels were commonly used in the movements of top-grade American-made railroad watches of yesteryear, such as the Illinois Bunn Special and Hamilton 950.
The RGM Caliber 20 Watch has a polished, stainless steel, tonneau case measuring 42.5 x 38.5 mm, with a sapphire crystal in the front and back. The case, like the movement, is made at RGM’s atelier. The dial, made of solid silver, is available with either a full guilloché (pictured) or skeletonized dial. Hours and minutes are indicated by two blued steel hands with keystone-shaped tips to represent Pennsylvania. The running seconds are displayed on a rotating disk at the top right of the dial and a precise moon-phase indicator, with mother-of-pearl moon disks, is installed in the lower left.
Caliber 20 is a manual-wind movement with 19 jewels and a frequency of 18,000 vph. Its mainplate and bridges are cut from German nickel silver, hand-finished and left unplated. Like other RGM in-house movements, it boasts an array of decorations, including côtes de Genève, perlage and anglage, in addition to the novelty of the motor barrel system.
The watch, which comes on a brown or black Louisiana alligator strap, is a relative bargain compared to others with in-house mechanical movements, starting at $29,500. (Murphy says he can produce the watch with a gold case, for a higher price, on request.) If you’d like to see and try on the RGM Caliber 20 watch, or any other of RGM’s American-made collection, for yourself, don’t miss out: click here to claim your ticket for WatchTime New York 2016.