Roland G. Murphy's RGM watch company is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, historical home of Hamilton Watches. It occupies a unique niche in the industry, that of being America's premier watchmaking firm, and one of the very few worldwide which will design and execute a small series or even a single watch to the customer's specifications, whether this consists simply of a special dial or custom-decorated movement, or even exclusively tooled case and hands, or any combination fitting the desires and budget. Although a very small company, RGM also offers a catalog of series-production watches, an idiosyncratic selection encompassing chronographs, alarm-watches and jump-hours, even minute repeater or tourbillon, as well as simpler designs.
The current watch represents RGM's most basic product, a standard time-and-date watch packaged in a midsized stainless steel case. Offered in a selection of four distinct dials, the designs chosen for the shared elements are unusual. The dials are all in traditional military style, white and luminous markers and hands against a black (or blue) background, but the common case is a modestly sized, very elegant and thin brushed-and-polished affair, much more usually seen in a dress-style watch. Personally, I have found this a pleasing combination, such a watch is light and unobtrusive, at home in most circumstances, yet easy to read and a bit sporty.
Even though the very common ETA 2892 automatic movement is installed, RGM has specified or employed very high quality components, and the standard of finish is far above the commodity level. The case is 35mm diamter by 7.5mm thick, and sports flat sapphire crystals in both front and screwed-down back, beautifully curved lugs and a protected onion crown. The dial is perfectly smooth and totally black with very clean, slightly raised Arabic numerals set inside luminous markers. The matching sword hands are luminous-filled, and the whole design is exceptionally legible and uncompromised. Overall RGM presents a watch which is handsome and elegant, yet durable and unfinicky, an excellent entry into their relatively exclusive line of watches, and enjoyable to wear under a very wide variety of circumstances.