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RGM’s 151-PR Professional Pilot Turns One

-Keith Lehman (PA) 2/24/17

Today is the 1-year anniversary reveal of the RGM Model 151-PR “Professional Pilot.” The following describes the watch in the press release:

 

This new model has a very technical but traditional pilot style dial with large Super-Luminova numbers for low light visibility. Two versions are available: one with a date window at 3 o’clock and a more period look without a date. The dial displays hours 1 thru 12 and the minutes 5 thru 60. The dial and second hand have red accents which blend nicely with the classic rhodium finished sword style hands.

 

A prominent element of all 151 models is the American-made stainless steel case, or option titanium case. Each case part is cut from a solid block of 316L surgical stainless steel or aircraft quality titanium. The 151-PR is a functional, technical and aesthetically pleasing pilot watch which fits very comfortably on the wrist. It is a welcome addition to the RGM 151 lineup of technical Pilot watches.

Watchmaker and owner of RGM Watch Company Roland Murphy had this to say about the success of the watch. “Our 151 models sell well, and it is often split between models. The 151-PR gives another look that is a bit dresser with the rhodium hands.  The character of the watch changes a lot with a dial and hand change.  If you look at all our 151 models they all have a classic pilot feel but they express it in a different way.”

 

As time ticks on WatchNews looks forward to celebrating more anniversaries with Mr. Murphy and RGM Watch Company.

It’s Time for Smartwatch Makers to Give Us What We Really Want

-Keith Lehman (PA) 2/22/17

Despite the hype, smartwatch sales took a nosedive in 2016. The International Data Corporation (IDC) released figures from the third quarter of 2016 (3Q16) showing a 51.6 percent decline in overall year-over-year smartwatch sales. On the basis of these figures, Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers, commented that “It has also become evident that at present smartwatches are not for everyone.” That could be the understatement of 3Q16.

 

So what went wrong? This isn’t the first time that an entire industry overemphasized the importance of a new product. Brian Heater points out his frustrations with Android Wear 2.0 in his article “Smartwatches Need to Get Better.” Delays in OS, poor functionality, and unfulfilled promises are some of his criticisms. Although reviews of the Series 1 and 2 Apple Watch are generally good, the repeating offense—as with Android and Google watches—is they still need a smartphone.

 

Dick Tracy, the relentless comic strip crime detective who debuted in 1931, wore a two-way wristwatch radio that later was upgraded to a TV, and he used it to contact supporting characters. This device did not require a smartphone to operate. Apple, Google, Samsung, and the rest know that consumers want an independent device that works like a smartphone, not just an add-on.

 

Perhaps this is just the natural progression of technology for smartwatches to be dependent on their smartphone masters, but this writer presumes that predicted smartwatch sale projections have something to do with it and would not be surprised to see a truly independent smartwatch emerge around 2020 when smartphone sales are expected to decline.

 

Former Time Is Money Class Gets Facelift

-Keith Lehman (PA) 2/21/17

In his latest course Evaluating Time™ Adam Harris expands his former Time is Money course on identifying counterfeit wristwatches to include identifying and valuing wrist and pocket watches.

 

The National Watch and Clock Collectors’ website describes Evaluating Time™:

 

This course gives an overview of the evolution of watch types and appropriate terminology and criteria for making value judgments based on comparative analysis. Participants will learn the correct methods to identify watch types, key components, and characteristics and to evaluate authenticity, originality, condition, quality, and desirability. Participants will learn proper examination techniques, what to photograph, and research tools and methods as well as how to apply critical appraisal skills, such as qualitative ranking, classification, rarity determination, and how to write accurate descriptions.

 

WatchNews had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about this second installment of his course.

 

WN: Last year your evaluation course had the title “Time Is Money.” This year the name was changed to “Evaluating Time™.” Please explain why the name change and is the course different from last year’s?

AH: The course essentials are basically the same, just a few improvements based on participants’ input. We believe the new title reflects the contents of the course, which is appraising and evaluating pocket and wristwatches from the beginning of watchmaking until about the 1960s.

 

WN: Can you explain a little bit about what students will learn from taking this course?

AH: Students will be fully versed in how to accurately appraise and evaluate a pocket or wristwatch. They will learn how to date the timepiece, understand its originality versus fake, marriage, franken or forgery, and ultimately decide its value. Correctly photographing timepieces under different environments and writing a professional client appraisal will also be covered.

 

WN: Last year you mentioned that this class benefits professionals in the auction, pawn or appraisal businesses. Would collectors and hobbyists also find this course beneficial?

AH: That would depend on the person and his or her definition of a “hobbyist.” Collectors would certainly benefit from knowing the value of a prospective purchase—to make a more definitive decision. For hobbyists, understanding more about their hobby can increase the fun.

 

WN: What did you learn from teaching the course last year?

AH: All the participants enjoyed it, and we learned from some qualified appraisers who attended how to make the appraisal form more legally correct. We also made some minor improvements to the course notes.

 

WN: Have you added any new pieces to this year’s class?

AH: No new pieces were added, unlike “Luxury or Lie?” where the counterfeit market is evolving practically each day. Of course, market prices will change, but the original course teaches how to get up-to-date evaluations.

 

WN: What aspect of evaluation have you found to be the most difficult for students to understand? Why is it challenging?

AH: Few appraisers understand the mechanics of a timepiece; some may say that is not important to value something, but I believe that without the knowledge of what makes a timepiece tick or what its complications actually do, no one can accurately value, or indeed decide what devalues a timepiece. We spend one day presenting “what is under the bonnet” so that students can determine the large difference in value between a working “repeater” watch and one that is not! We also teach how to best photograph a timepiece, not just for quality, but for later research and records.

Sometimes an appraiser has only one chance to see and touch the timepiece before doing the appraisal. Correctly photographing all relevant parts—not just dial and movement—become extremely important.

 

WN: Can you share with us a small tip when evaluating a timepiece?

AH: The most important tip is knowing where to find all the information needed to evaluate a timepiece. The course includes a high-quality 461-page book and an emailed version of the book.

 

WN: Thank you Adam for your time!

 

Evaluating Time takes place April 29-May 1, 2017. It’s not too late to sign up. Click here for details and registration.

Watches that Made US Presidents Tick

-Keith Lehman (PA) 2/20/17

George Washington's Pocket Watch, c. 1775, (Unknown Swiss Maker). Courtesy NAWCC.

Today is an opportunity to celebrate our Commanders in Chief, past and present. Originally known as Washington’s Day the holiday celebrated the birthday of George Washington, our first Commander in Chief, but over a hundred years later, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the name was changed to Washington’s and Lincoln’s Birthday. Now known as Presidents’ Day we have the opportunity to not only examine the legacy our leaders have left behind but also some of their artifacts—including their watches.

 

In Hodinkee’s Historical Perspectives Your Complete Guide To The Watches Of United States Presidents (Updated Yet Again) Eric Wind takes us on a journey through presidential timepieces over US history, beginning with Washington and ending with Trump.

 

The National Watch & Clock Museum’s Enlisting Time website showcases George Washington’s pocket watch which they had on exhibit in 2014.

 

In The Top 6 Watches For President Donald Trump Watchuseek’s Michael Weare picks out six watches for President Trump to wear based on the current administration’s political agenda.

 

Finally, Norma Buchanan of WatchTime take a comprehensive look at timepieces worn by US presidents starting with Washington and ending with Barack Obama in her article First Watch: U.S. Presidents and Their Timepieces.

 

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