Do you consider RGM to be independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie?

Last week a request reached me to consider adding Roland G. Murphy and RGM Watch Company to my list of independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie watchmakers and brands.

rgm tourbillon

To be honest I didn’t know too much about RGM, besides seeing some mainstream divers and general purpose watches with ETA movements from them. So before answering that request I had to investigate the brand, which I did.

This brought me to the obviously in-house (in Pennsylvania, USA) production by RGM of a time-only and a tourbillion movement. And even despite the bombastic music and a very American attitude – sorry guys, nothing wrong with that of course :-) – RGM made an interesting and informative video on the production of the movement.

However does this entitle RGM to be independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie? Please let me know what do you think; should I include them in my list…?

To ease your investigation on RGM, here are the links to the RGM website and to the tourbillon video on YouTube.


6 Responses to Do you consider RGM to be independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie?

  1. Frank on May 9, 2011 at 14:18

    Like you I only knew RGM as manufacterer of ‘mainstream’ pilot and divers watches with ETA and Unitas movements inside. And after looking at their current collection again, before answering your question, and the majority of the RGM collection still corresponds with my initial ideas.
    I get the idea RGM wanted to move up a league (or two) and an in-house tourbillon was the way to get there. To me this does not qualify them as ‘Independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie’.

    Curious what other people think…

  2. Paul Hubbard on May 9, 2011 at 18:31

    RGM really, really is awesome. From the lower-end stuff like the 151P I have, all the way up to recased Hamiltons, in-house movements, and the only American rose engine left. Their guilloche work is amazing.

    I reviewed the 151P here:

    SteveG has pictures of the better grade stuff:

    Wonderful stuff.

  3. Joost on May 9, 2011 at 19:25

    I did not even know RGM to be honest.

    But I sure like that tourbillion…

    Great post Gerard!

  4. Nick Orloff on May 10, 2011 at 08:14

    I read an article about RGM a year or so ago, and recall looking at their website at the time thinking “interesting but nothing special”. I’ve just been for another look, and still like what I see, but don’t feel compelled to add them to my “want list”.

    And does a $75,000 tourbillon fit in the range of a manufacturer of $3,000 to $6,000 watches? It seems out of place.

  5. Laurens Floyd, Jr. on May 11, 2011 at 05:06

    I visited RGM’s atelier in 2009 and saw Roland’s caliber 801 about to be introduced. It is the only manufacture caliber made exclusively in America…out about 2 years now. I knew the 801 tourbillon was coming in 2009 and then when a well known watch blog wrote a report on GTE this March, the reviewer rated it his favorite watch and brand of the exhibition. His guilloche work on his 5 antique rose engines are some of the finest in the world in not just my opinion but many watch aficianados around the world.

    Roland G. Murphy received his initial training in the U.S., followed by WOSTEP and working in Switzerland for brands we all know, and then moved back to the U.S. to establish his atelier. Steller watches!

  6. Gerard Nijenbrinks on May 12, 2011 at 21:31

    Thank you all for your thoughts and reactions.

    I had a nice conversation with Roland G. Murphy himself as well, and he informed me that besides the two now existing RGM calibers, there will be two more coming this year.

    So in my opinion RGM being the only maker of high grade movements in the USA, and even making some cases and dials in-house as well, certainly deserves to be included in my humble list of independent Ultra Haute Horlogerie.