American watchmaking is vastly underrated when it comes to the global stage of horology. Particularly when it comes to technical tool watches and pilot’s watches from brands like Hamilton and RGM. In fact, to celebrate their 30th anniversary RGM have launched the new Model 600-B Chronograph, which is one of the most archetypal military inspired pilot’s watches I’ve seen recently.
For those unfamiliar with one of the finest American horological exports, RGM was founded in 1992 by Roland G. Murphy. Roland was a product developer and technical manager at Hamilton for several years prior to starting his eponymous brand. While they specialise in custom built and bespoke watches, they also keep horological traditions alive with a range of vintage and military inspired watches. It’s the latter category that the Model 600-B occupies.
Stylistically it’s inspired by the golden era of pilot’s watches, the 60s and 70s. That means a 42mm diameter stainless steel case. Historically pilot’s watches were larger than alternative styles because they require a larger area for the display to enhance legibility. Today 42mm isn’t an uncommon size but it feels appropriate. Additional vintage features include the oversize knurled crown, which is designed to be easy to operate while wearing aviation gloves.
As for the dial, it’s also focused on easy utility and legibility, essential qualities for a military pilot’s watch. It has bold white Arabic numerals coated with SuperLuminova, making it readable in all lighting conditions. The same goes for the syringe hour and minute hands as well as the central chronograph seconds hand. Additionally, there’s a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9. A date window was intentionally omitted from the piece so that the display doesn’t feel cluttered, a decision I wish more watchmakers would follow.
What distinguishes the new RGM Model 600-B Chronograph from the existing Model 600 is the blue colouration. It’s a rich colour produced in lacquer with a sunray brushed finish. It gives the watch a fresher, colourful appeal in comparison to the matte black of the previous version. In addition to the colour change, the Model 600-B is RGM’s first production watch with a box sapphire crystal.
The movement powering this watch is the RGM-ETA/Valjoux 7753, an automatic chronograph calibre. It has a 48-hour power reserve and the movement is finished with Cote de Genève, not that you can see it due to the solid caseback that protects the piece.
Pricewise, it’s not exactly accessible at $4,250 (approx. £3,475). However, the gorgeous lacquer dial, Swiss movement and vintage military aesthetic go a long way to justifying its purchase.
Price & Specs:
- Model: RGM Model 600-B Chronograph
- Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 12.4mm height (14mm at crystal edge), stainless steel case, blue lacquered with radial finish dial with X1 strength Superlumanova, 30-minute register and sub-second
- Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
- Movement: RGM-ETA/Valjoux 775, Swiss Made automatic chronograph, 27 jewels, rhodium finish, Cote de Geneve pattern
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 48h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph
- Strap: Brown leather
- Price/availability: $4,250 (approx. £3,475)
More details at RGM Watches.