RGM is celebrating its 30th anniversary with the introduction of a couple of new watches, including an updated Model 222-RR. The American watchmaker released this model in 2017 for its 25th anniversary and following an update in 2020 with a Type II Montgomery Railroad Dial, we have this latest variant with a Type I Montgomery dial. The original aesthetic was patented at the start of the 20th century and has specific design elements for professional railroad-grade watches. Although RGM has several in-house movements under its belt, founder Roland Murphy also appreciates the classics and uses two vintage (fully restored) Hamilton pocket watch movements for authenticity and just the coolness factor.
The stainless steel case is unchanged from prior iterations, coming in at 41mm in diameter and 12mm in height (lug-to-lug is 52mm). There are modern sapphire crystals front and back, and water resistance is rated at 50 metres. So, this is a modern watch with classic elements, much like a restomod car (a restored classic with modern upgrades). The crown is positioned at 1:30, paying homage to early 20th-century railroad watches that used converted pocket watch movements and dials. This actually positions the dial for a straight view when driving (or flying if you’re a pilot), similar to the Longines Avigation Type A-7 1935.
The dial is white Grand Feu enamel with Henry S. Montgomery’s Type I layout that includes a marginal minute safety design. Minutes are printed at the outermost perimeter with every fifth numeral in red. The 6th hour numeral is also printed within the small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock (or around 8 o’clock as the dial is tilted). It’s said that only true Montgomery dials have this number 6. The hour and minute hands are blued steel in the classic railroad style, and coupled with the oversized black Arabic numerals, legibility is excellent against the white dial. Most railroad watches used Montgomery dials back in the day and RGM’s latest piece would be perfect for last century’s railroad professionals. The case is fitted with a 22mm brown leather strap with white stitching and a steel pin buckle.
Powering the watch is Hamilton’s classic hand-wound 921 calibre, which was a common pocket watch movement at the time and proven workhorse. It has 21 jewels, beats at 18,000vph (2.5Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve (approximate). A second version, the 923 calibre with 23 jewels, is rare with less than 4,000 being produced. RGM offers this movement as an upgrade. Both are entirely rebuilt, refinished and decorated with new mainsprings, resulting in calibres better than the new originals. The entire process of reassembly/adjustment is also performed by a single watchmaker. Functions are limited to hours, minutes and small seconds. RGM was the first brand to use these Hamilton 10 sized pocket watch movements in wristwatches and they provide a cool, vintage aesthetic.
The 2022 RGM Model 222-RR Classic Montgomery is available now and retails for USD 6,450 with the 921 calibre and USD 7,950 with the rare 923 calibre. For more information and to make a purchase, please visit RGM’s website.