Master watchmaker Roland G. Murphy, America’s only luxury-brand watchmaker, has taken his passion for watchmaking to the Internet. Murphy’s Web site, designed especially for fine-watch enthusiasts like himself, even lets visitors get involved in designing a new watch.
The roughly 400 handcrafted RGM mechanical timepieces produced annually by Murphy and his small staff in Mount Joy, Pa., are priced from $1,750 to $310,000 and are highly prized by collectors and watch connoisseurs.
“From the first, I’ve loved working with watches,” Murphy told JCK. “It started with [learning about] the movement. That led to styling and design, and eventually the whole picture. There’s something very special about doing something you love, like mechanical watches, and creating that item for people, doing the styling and design, the assembly, working on the various parts and then putting it on their arm to wear it.”
EOT. Murphy’s delight in watchmaking is so strong that, in addition to RGM Watch Co.’s own Web site (www.rgmwatches.com), he has created a site called “Equation of Time” (www.equationoftime.com), which is strictly for watch enthusiasts.
EOT, as it’s also known, displays no obvious connection with RGM Watch Co., although RGM advertises on it (as do other watch brands), and RGM’s graphic designer designed and maintains both the RGM and EOT sites.
Why did he create EOT? “I love watches and have a passion for watchmaking in all its forms, extending beyond labels,” says Murphy. “I wanted a place where I can communicate about watches on a more generic basis, one that gives a platform to people to think and communicate about watches.”
Watch enthusiasts around the world have responded strongly. In the first two weeks of June 2002 alone, EOT’s forums posted 2,065 comments about watch issues.
All-purpose. EOT is designed to be a self-supporting, all-purpose watch resource center. It has a store selling watch tools, accessories, and books; a place to buy and sell modern and vintage watches; watch topic discussion forums; a dealers and private sellers exchange; a question-and-answer section on how watches work; movement specifications; links to watch company Web sites; a directory of watch firms around the world; and a “tech talk” discussion area.
EOT’s most unusual aspect is its users’ involvement in designing and creating the new EOT watch brand. “This is a watch the way watch collectors and enthusiasts want it,” says Murphy. “People from all over the world who come to EOT’s watch forums were invited to help design this, voted online for the 20 best [suggestions on various aspects], and then we incorporated their ideas, with some tweaking, on dials, color, logo, hands, and other features,” says Murphy. The result is the first EOT watch, handmade by RGM. Called C1 (“C” for “collaboration”), it will be sold this year through EOT and a few watch stores for about $500. Only several hundred C1s will be made, but, says Murphy, “We plan to continue doing this occasionally.”