CF Martin is celebrating the manufacture of its two millionth guitar at the January 2017 NAMM Show with the launch of an extraordinary showpiece guitar, made in association with American watchmaker RGM Watch Co, another historic Pennsylvania-based company. And yes, the new guitar will actually have a custom working RGM timepiece built into the headstock!
Martin Guitar and RGM will also collaborate on the limited edition D-200 Deluxe series. This collector’s model is limited to only 50 guitars and each model will feature a beautiful watch theme throughout the design, including the pickguard which has pearl inlays of watch gears. The guitar will also come with a custom RGM watch.
Martin’s two millionth guitar will feature a D-45 style body, with the back and sides constructed from Brazilian rosewood. The top is crafted from highly-figured bearclaw Engelmann spruce. The intriguing aspect of the guitar is the use of a watch motif to mark the anniversary, replete with decorative gears, guilloché (a process of cutting geometric patterns into metal), decorative inlays and a working watch embedded within the headstock. In order to bring this idea to life, Martin recruited the help of one of America’s most notable watchmakers, Roland G. Murphy of RGM. Chris Martin IV, Chairman and CEO of Martin Guitars, instantly saw the value in what RGM brought to the table. “The two millionth guitar is complicated, particularly because it incorporates an actual watch into the design. But once you’re excited, you sort of put aside the hurdles that you have to jump over.”
The D-200 Deluxe features a classic 14-fret Style 45 Dreadnought with the top crafted from highly-figured bearclaw Engelmann spruce that features an aluminium rosette with guilloché engraving – a refined process of cutting geometric patterns into metal that also appears on the stainless steel tuning machine buttons of the edition.
The guitar’s back of rare pre-CITES Brazilian rosewood is inlaid with spectacular watch gears cut from reconstituted stone, mother-of-pearl, bloodwood, Hawaiian koa and ebony. The equally spectacular soundboard inlays feature a minute track in mother-of-pearl, birdseye maple, flamed Hawaiian koa and ebony, and a pickguard with pearl inlaid watch gears. Yet another unique decorative detail is the triple-strand abalone pearl striping that bisects the length of each side, referencing the early Spanish-inspired instruments of C. F. Martin Sr. The maple bound ebony fingerboard showcases watch gear mechanisms with the highest level of delicate inlay art. Each guitar is furnished with a newly-designed wearable edition watch from RGM that references details from the D-200 guitar design and bears a matching serial number with each edition instrument. Lastly, each guitar comes in a premium aluminium Zero Manufacturing attaché case with a built-in hygrometer that allows the interior environment of the case to be seen without the need to open the case. Limited to no more than 50 highly-collectable pristine guitars, this instrument will be played and prized until the end of time. The RRP will be £127,500.