With this new limited edition timepiece, American traditional watch manufacture RGM is beginning the celebration of its 25th anniversary by immortalizing Chess in enamel. This new timepiece takes inspiration from an iconic pocket watch owned by American Chess Master Paul Morphy and manufactured by American Watch Company.
In May 1859, Paul Morphy was presented with a pocket watch from the Testimonial Committee of the New York Chess Club as a tribute to his genius and worth. The watch, made by American Watch Company, was an elegant specimen of art and ingenuity. Unfortunately, it vanished sometime after 1921.
Not much is known about what happened to the pocket watch given to Morphy for his achievements; today only the original dial survives, on display at the NAWCC Watch and Clock museum in Columbia, PA, USA. It was here that RGM’s Roland Murphy first saw this unique enamel dial that he knew would one day be the inspiration in an RGM model. Instead of the usual Roman numerals on the dial, various chess pieces represent the hours, finely done in red and black.
The Black King stands at twelve, the Red King at six, the Queens at one and eleven, Bishops at two and ten, Knights at three and nine, Castles at four and eight, and Pawns at five and seven.
RGM chose to create their enamel dial with similar chess pieces indicating the hours. “Chess in Enamel” also marks the first time RGM has released a double-sunk Grand Feu enamel dial in one of its models.
Under this extraordinary dial is RGM’s original in-house movement: Caliber 801, which is also celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2017. Inspired by America’s great watch making history, the 801 highlights classic bridge shapes, reminiscent of Keystone Howard Watch Company’s “Edward Howard” model.
The unique winding click is inspired by the Illinois “Bunn Special.” Like the great Railroad watches from America’s past, the 801 features a high-grade finish that denotes the quality of its construction, including polished and blued steel components. The movement can also be customized.
The watch is housed in a polished stainless steel “Pennsylvania series” case. With its large lugs and ribbed sides, the watch is architecture on the wrist. Like many of the components of the Caliber 801, the case is also made in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA, and finished by hand.
Inspired by Pennsylvania’s popular nickname, blued steel Keystone hands mark the time. The Keystone winding crown completes the Pennsylvania theme.
The RGM Pennsylvania Series Caliber 801 Chess watch is limited to 25 pieces in stainless steel.
Model: RGM Pennsylvania Series Caliber 801 Chess (PS-801-CH)
American-made RGM Caliber 801, Manual wind
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
Width between lugs: 22mm
Crown: Stainless steel with Keystone insignia
Grand Feu (Great Fire) white enamel double-sunk
Black and red chess piece indices, fired in enamel
Subsidiary seconds dial
Blued steel Keystone hands
USD$13,900 (steel), gold and platinum by request