One of the best perks of joining Collective Horology, an invitation-only group of watch enthusiasts, is exclusive access to special edition watches like the Urwerk UR100-V P.02, a tribute piece. to the original prototype of the space shuttle program, the Enterprise.
Urwerk produced 24 pieces, 20 of which were offered to members of the Collective of nearly 100 enthusiasts for US $ 62,500 and four reserved for archival purposes.
With a donation of US $ 50,000 to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York, which houses the Enterprise, Collective co-founders Asher Rapkin and Gabe Reilly also enlisted the help of the museum’s curator to consult them on the project.
The design is inspired by the Enterprise cockpit, from gauges and colors to textures and fabrics. The openings at the top left and right of the dial follow the typical space shuttle launch and landing sequences, following the phases in minutes. The approximate location of the shuttle during each launch and landing phase is displayed with colors: green represents the shuttle on Earth; blue shows the shuttle traveling in the Earth’s lower atmosphere; red represents the upper atmosphere; and black indicates the time in low earth orbit.
The Urwerk is the fourth timepiece that Collective has developed for its community. So far it has partnered with Zenith and H. Moser & Cie. for his brand-focused Collective (C) series, with Los Angeles independent watchmaker Josh Shapiro, and now with Urwerk for his independent-focused limited Portfolio (P) series. The goal is to launch a new model in each series every year.
Longtime friends and fellow Facebook executives, Rapkin and Reilly, both 39, met in college in New York City and bonded around a number of common obsessions, including music groups and Watches.
âEven long before we could afford to wear anything remarkable, we were still extremely curious about watches,â said Rapkin. Penta during a recent conference call with Reilly.
They got involved in old-fashioned watch forums and enthusiast sites, but over the last few years they recognized the huge growth that was happening in the watch collecting community which was both exciting and somewhat problematic.
âThe people-to-people connection that made collecting watches such a wonderful hobby has been a bit lost considering how many people have come,â says Rapkin. âWe wanted to create a new community that would be held with collaborative watches that would be built exclusively for this community. “
These collaborations are concept-driven like the Urwerk project, and they don’t just settle for small design tweaks, like a special coloring of the dial. âAs we move forward with these projects, what we’re looking for in a partner is less about the brand and the products and more about the people of the brand,â says Reilly. âAre they open to real collaboration? Are they creative? Can they think in concepts? Are they going to work with us on something bold? “
It all started in 2018 with a secret Facebook group, which Reilly describes as âthe beating heart of Collectiveâ. The group includes discerning collectors as well as newcomers, celebrities and industry insiders, from brand executives to authorized dealers, who agree to check their professional hats at the door.
âHe adopted a really interesting tone, one of diversity, open-mindedness and learning,â he says. “We have people who publish everything from Seiko 5 to Greubel Forsey, or they can explain why they love Grand Seiko dials.”
But Collective is not open to just anyone with a yen for watches. To maintain an intimate and engaged circle, the founders established an application process to assess an aspiring member’s interest in taking an active role in the club.
If approved, the entry price is the purchase of the latest Collective watch, which, as stated, currently costs over US $ 60,000 (its most expensive piece to date). Whether an applicant pays for a US $ 8,000 watch or a US $ 60,000 watch, the membership experience is the same. Once in the club, members are asked to invest in at least one collective watch every two years.
âThe goal is not to exclude, but to find people who are really enthusiastic about being part of an active community,â explains Rapkin. âThe current collaboration may have drawn them in, but ultimately it’s the desire to be part of an active community that we believe will keep them here. “
Admission decisions are not left to the founders, but rather to a membership committee with the intention of eliminating prejudice. âThe reason we’re doing this is because it’s the fairest way we know of to get people who are genuinely interested in participating and not just buying a watch,â says Reilly.
In addition to providing access to exclusive limited editions for its members, Collective leverages its community angle by hosting special in-person events meant to go beyond typical collector meetings.
Founded in Silicon Valley, Collective’s initial hub for such events was the Bay Area. But, Reilly and Rapkin have since moved to Southern California and plan to host events this year in New York City and the UK.
âWith the next coin, we are looking to create enough volume and membership slots to attract members from the UK,â Rapkin said. Still, they expect to keep membership numbers below 150 next year.
This next C-series release, slated for October 7, is with a mystery brand described as having a historic connection to the UK but not based in the UK and in Reilly’s âdream collaborationâ. It will be the largest series to date with 125 pieces, more than double the number of previous C-series watches, priced at US $ 7,800.