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You may not spend much time in California, but even if you have never been there, you are probably familiar with the famous “Hollywood” sign that’s mounted in the hills above the city.
Originally built in the early 1920s to promote a housing development called “Hollywoodland,” the sign was eventually shortened to read just “Hollywood” and became iconic. A few years ago, the sign was restored, as it was suffering from decades of exposure to the elements.
A group that calls itself Hollywood 1923 was able to salvage part of the metal that formed the old sign. They approached American watch company RGM and asked them if they could produce watches using the metal from the old sign for the dial of the watches.
That did not work out, due to various manufacturing issues, but RGM did not completely do away with the idea of using the metal from the metal from the sign. Instead, they had small metal scrolls made that said “Hollywood,” and these are mounted on the face of the watch.
You might not be familiar with RGM, but the Pennsylvania-based company has been making watches in America for 25 years. They make fascinating and attractive mechanical watches, though they use movements sourced from elsewhere. In the case of the Hollywood watch, the movement used is a Swiss movement made by ETA.
Other models use vintage movements; the 222-RR, for example, uses a rebuilt movement from Hamilton pocket watches. Production is modest, and the prices you’ll pay for RGM watches typically fall into the mid-four figure range, though some models, such as the Tourbillon, push the $100,000 mark.
In the case of the Hollywood watch, the price is $9500 or so. The price is the least of your worries if you want one, however. Production was limited to only 12 pieces, and half of them are gone as we write this.
The case is the same one used for RGM”s model 25, being made of stainless steel. The movement is an ETA 2892-A2, a Swiss-made automatic movement.
The dial has a nice Art Deco look to it, using period numerals on the face along with the image of a film reel. The watch is time-only, with hours, minutes and a sweep second hand. It says “RGM Watch Col” at the top, and between the hands and the 6 o’clock position, you’ll see the “Hollywood” banner, with “1923” just below it.
If you’re a film buff, a watch collector, or a fan of movies, this would be a nice watch to own. Plus, it’s made in the United States, which these days is a bit of a rarity. It only seems appropriate to have an American watch company produce a timepiece that pays tribute to a sign that is undoubtedly an American icon.
If you’re interested in learning more about the RGM Hollywood watch, you’ll find more information at the Hollywood 1923 Website. That’s also the only place where you can buy them.