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The American watch manufacturer RGM took us by surprise at this year’s Baselworld with an original and astounding watch. The luxury enamelled dial with chess pieces is a truly unique creation inspired by history.

RGM watches: check mate on an enamelled dial

Eva Ledecká
11.May 2017
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1 minute to read

Enamel coating is an ancient technology, first use of which in our country was recorded on the Czech crown jewels. What led the relatively new watch manufacturer (the RGM brand was created in 1992) to use this complicated technique on something as small as a watch dial?

Celebration of an American chess grand master

Inspiration for production of this original watch came from the pocket watch made by the American Watch Co. This was given to the chess master Paul Morphy in 1859 after his return from a successful series of competitions in Europe which made him a major chess hero in America.

Nothing is known about what happened to the watch. Only the original dial remains today, this being displayed in the Clock Museum in Pennsylvania. It is precisely the uniqueness of this dial which led representatives of RGM to decide to use it in their design.

Luxusní byt na pronájem 181m2 v Karlíně
Luxusní byt na pronájem 181m2 v Karlíně, Praha 8

Chess pieces instead of numerals

What makes the dial unique? Instead of the usual Roman numerals, you will find luxury chess pieces on it which are finely crafted from red and black enamel. The black king is placed at the 12 o’clock position, the red at 6 o’clock. You will find the queens at 1 o’clock and 11 o’clock. Apart from these, the dial also includes castles, bishops and knights.

Enamel coating: a luxurious result with a great deal of risk

This is a technique, in terms of which coloured powdered glass is applied to a metal plate. The surface is then heated to a temperature hot enough to melt the glass and create a new surface. The dial must be covered with several layers of enamel, each of which is heated to a very high temperature (800-900 °C). The red and black chess pieces are thus baked into the surface.

Creating a luxury enamel coated dial is a very risky project. Every time it is heated, it could crack, melt or burn. This great risk does however offer a great reward: the amazing appearance of an enamel coated dial is absolutely unmistakable.

Not only luxury, but also precision

Underneath this unusual dial, hides an original calibre 801 movement. It has classic bridge shapes, polished or blued steel components and is finished and decorated by hand. The watch and the dial are set into a stainless steel casing.

This unique item will last for generations – just like the dial which provided inspiration for its production.

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RGM Watch Co.
801 West Main St. Mount Joy, PA 17552 USA