US based luxury watch manufacture RGM unveils a new limited edition timepiece from its Pennsylvania Series featuring a Grand Feu enamel dial inspired by baseball, the most popular game in America.
While touring the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, USA three or four years ago, RGM Watch Company founder Roland G. Murphy became intrigued by a display of watches with unique enamel dials.
The collection included a rare 1892 American Waltham Watch Co. pocket watch featuring a baseball-themed enamel dial. Murphy was captivated by a watch that married American watchmaking history with America’s pastime, baseball. The idea was born to make a modern watch inspired by this classic American theme.
Creating an enamel watch dial is a high-risk art. Enameling is a technique in which colored powdered glass is applied to a metal plate. The surface is then heated to a temperature high enough to cause the powdered glass to melt and form a new surface. The Grand Feu technique involves meticulously coating a watch dial with successive layers of enamel. Once a layer is ready, the dial is heated at extremely high temperatures, ranging from 1472-1652°F (800-900°C).
The repeated baking of each individual layer ensures a uniquely crisp aesthetic while permanently setting the enamel. Using high heat to create these beautiful dials also poses a risk. Each time it is re-fired, the danger of cracking, melting, or burning increases. The Roman numerals and baseball figures are also baked into the surface.
The watch in the museum’s collection from which Murphy drew his inspiration features a detailed colour illustration of a baseball player positioned at each hour mark. Each individual representation depicts a player in a variety of poses, including batting, throwing, catching, sliding and fielding.
A crossed baseball bat motif in the center displays a banner reading “Waltham.” The company name, “American Waltham Watch Co.” is also lettered directly above the sub-second dial. Wanting to pay homage to this work of art, the RGM dial is strikingly similar.
Because each known example of the Waltham watch had different hands, RGM chose their blued steel Keystone hands as a nice complement to the white enamel of the dial. Under this extraordinary dial is RGM’s original in-house movement: Caliber 801.
Also inspired by America’s great watchmaking history, the 801 has classic bridge shapes, polished or blued steel components and is entirely hand-finished and decorated. The movement can also be customized.
The watch is housed in a polished stainless steel “Pennsylvania series” case. Like many of the components of the Caliber 801, the case is also made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. The keystone winding crown completes the Pennsylvania theme.
The watch was unveiled next to the original pocket watch on September 27, 2014, at the National Watch and Clock Associations’ museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Model: RGM Pennsylvania Series Caliber 801 Baseball (PS801BB)
Limited to 10 pieces
RGM Caliber 801, Manual winding, American-made
Rhodium or Gold Plated
7-tooth winding click
Optional wolf’s tooth winding wheels available
Power Reserve:40-44 hours
American-made polished stainless steel
Sapphire crystal front and case back
Dimensions: Diameter: 43.3mm & Height: 12.3mm
Width between lugs: 22mm
Crown: Stainless steel, Keystone insignia
Grand Feu white enamel
Roman numeral indices, fired in enamel
Baseball player in various positions decorate each hour, fired in enamel
Subsidiary seconds dial
Blued steel Keystone hands
Gold brown alligator with contrast stitching