Rpaige

Rpaige is US based mechanical watch brand established by Richard Paige, a passionate lover of horology and the founder of TimeZone.com, one of  the world’s most popular horology forums.

The Rpaige watch was conceived, designed and produced by Richard Paige. Richard is a 4th generation watchmaker, who founded several high profile watch stores in California. His signature store was Paris 1925, in San Francisco. During his tenure at TimeZone.com, Richard launched an online watch repair school. Also, Richard conceived and produced 4 other limited edition watches, all sold out, and marketed exclusively on TimeZone.com. Richard has designed and produced furniture, jewelry, glassware, and art, all in the Art Deco theme and sold exclusively through retail stores. The Rpaige watch company is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii.

The limited edition Rpaige Wrocket watches incorporate antique/vintage “12 size” (39.78mm) American pocket watch movements made by either Elgin of Illinois, or Waltham of Massachusetts.

Wrocket Watch Collection
The Wrocket model comes from the joining of two technologies: the wristwatch and pocket watch. The wrist-pocket = the Wrocket watch.

The 12 size pocket watch movements measures 39.78 mm, a perfect size for a modern oversize wristwatch. The 12 size movements were produced mainly between 1897 and around 1929, after these dates, the wristwatch gained market acceptance and popularity, and the movements were then manufactured much smaller to fit into wristwatch cases. Although the movements in these limited edition watches were produced between 1899 and 1929, it does not mean that they have “old technology”.

The basic design of the mechanical wristwatch has not changed since the late 1800’s. In fact, the materials and workmanship used on these movements is far superior to most brand name watches. The only major improvements in modern watch manufacturer were the “Incabloc shock protection system”, the “unbreakable mainspring”, using newer alloys, and anti-magnetism. Although the watch is not shock resistant, it is still very durable, and they are meant to be worn.

Rpaige “Wrocket” watch equipped with Elgin Pocket watch movement

The story of the Rpaige “Wrocket” watch begins with Richard Paige & his wife’s search for an affordable fine mechanical watch to gift him on his birthday. Both could not find a suitable timepiece as per their specifications in an affordable range. In fact, it is very difficult to find Swiss mechanical watches from elite manufacturing houses in mid price range ($2,000 to $3,000). In order to purchase luxurious mechanical timepieces from Swiss luxury watch brands, we need to shell out huge amount of money. The desire for a relatively affordable luxury watch paved the way of Richard Paige to create the new watch brand.

USA had a rich heritage of mechanical watch industry since 1800’s and it was the home to historic watch brand like Waltham, Elgin, Hamilton, and Illinios. Richard Paige, himself had founded several vintage and modern watch stores in the San Francisco Bay area, starting in the 1970s through 2001. However, the quartz revolution of 1970’s ruined both US and Swiss watch industries.   He had witnessed the “death” of the mechanical watches in the 1970s, replaced by the electronic, battery operated quartz movements.  He had been in the business long enough to see the resurrection of the Swiss watch industry in the 1990s, as well as the extinction of the American watch Industry in the 1960s. Gradually affordable and less expensive mechanical watches became rare.

Richard Paige had previously produced four limited edition watches for his website, TimeZone.com, in the late 1990’s and completed the final watch edition in 2002. These limited edition watches were made exclusively by well known watch companies, who were looking for a platform for their brands on the internet, and to promote their brand on TimeZone.com. These watch companies had the foresight to understand that the internet would eventually become a major source of adverting, promotion and sales for their brands, and by joining up with TimeZone.com, the leading and most popular watch website at the time, they could expose themselves to this important audience. Thus the limited edition TimeZone watches were born, and proved to be highly successful, each limited edition model sold out.

However, a lot has changed now and the industry was evolving into a “war of attrition”: most of the well known brand name watches were bought up by the large Swiss watch conglomerates, the biggest player being the Swatch Group. Swatch owns around 18 different brands, including Breguet, Omega, Tissot, Blancpain, Tiffany & Co, Longines, Rado, and Hamilton. But the real dominance of this conglomerate is their ownership of ETA, otherwise known as, ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse. ETA produces the vast majority of Swiss watch movements for worldwide distribution to greater and lesser watch companies, specifically their workhorse movement, the ETA 2824-2. In short, about 80% of Swiss watches sold worldwide have these movements in their watch, regardless of brand.Most of the Swiss watch brands  have to mange their production on the availability of ETA movements.

Even some Swiss watch manufactures started to produce their in house movement to become independent and to restrict the monopoly of an individual company. Like every passionate watch lovers, Richard Paige considers the mechanical movement or “engine” of the watch as the most important part. It’s the heart and soul of a watch, and determines the brand’s relevance, worth, prestige, and historical place in the watch world.

For a watch company owner, it is very important to determine the type and make of calibers that to be used in his watches. As Richard Paige himself does not produce mechanical watch movements, he must outsource from a third party. However like many players in the industry, he wanted to avoid the movements produced by ETA or any other company.  Also, he couldn’t use a “great House” movement that would make the watch way too expensive for his parameter of a watch under $3,000.

Being a well trained restorer of vintage American pocket watch movements, he decided to in corporate his expertise and knowledge to make new watches that reflect the great US watch making heritage.

The Vintage American pocket watch movements feature oversized components and it’s easier to understand the mechanism. These timepieces boasts great materials, great design, and visually beautiful. Richard page then decided to procure American pocket watch movements made between 1890 and 1930, the Golden Era of Watchmaking.

A Vintage Waltham pocket watch movement

According to Richard Paige, the American watch companies produced the finest watch movements in horological history. These masterpieces of machinery far surpassed the workmanship and finish of the Swiss watch industry products from the same period. He decided to use only fully jeweled (15 or 17 jewels) movements for The Rpaige watch, and found that the most bountiful were the Elgin and Waltham movements. Only a small percentage of watchmakers today can restore an antique watch movement, so picking the right watchmakers was critical. He took help of his three cousins who are also fourth generation watchmakers, to restore the antique movements.

Richard Paige, who also loves Art Deco designs, decided to use the Art Deco inspired case for his new watches. Moreover, it should be an “oversize” watch, around 42 to 44 mm, and the “12 size” (39mm) to perfectly accommodate pocket watch movements. Further, these magnificent watch movements mostly came from “open Face” pocket watches, meaning the winding crown was at 12 o’clock on the dial, and the second hand at the 6 o’clock position.

Wristwatches have the crown on the side at 3 o’clock, and the sub second dial at 6 o’clock. So It was necessary create to newly designed dial that had the winding crown at the 3 o’clock position, which due to the design of the movement placed the sub second dial at 9 o’clock.  The Art deco numbered dial accommodates specially designed “art deco” round hands. Every Wrocket watch is a unique creation itself its dial, case, hands and movements differ from one model to another. These watches are produced in a limited number of editions and the movements themselves dictated the number.

Richard Paige offers the limited edition Wrocket watches in the following versions:-

– 199 pieces  in steel case with black dial and round art deco hands

– 99 pieces in titanium case with black dial and round art deco hands

– 50 pieces in steel case with white dial and black round art deco hands

– 50 pieces in steel case with original hunter’s case movements with original pocket watch enamel dials and original hands

– 25 pieces in steel, 25 pieces in titanium of special high grade, rare, vintage/antique movements

The Rpaige Wrocket watches can be purchased on brand’s online store. Richard Paige also offers the customization of watch that could be converted to one of the Rpaige “wrocket” watches. The RPAIGE limited Edition “Wrocket” watch comes with a limited 1-year warranty from the date of purchase.

Official website: http://www.rpaigewatch.com

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