The Low Down
Collective founders Asher Rapkin and Gabe Reilly refer to their latest collaborative watch, the C.03, as a ‘love letter to IWC’, and there’s certainly no denying it is a lovely watch. And while media and community partnerships are something of the dish de jour, Collective provides a fresh take on the genre.
We spoke to Rapkin and Reilly about Collective, about their model of collaboration prior to the launch of the C.03; “Collective creates collaborative timepieces for a community of engaged enthusiasts. We built the company around the idea of creating a safe and open-minded commu-nity of enthusiasts. Our goal is to create a space where people can share honest thoughts and learn from one another without fear of trolls or judgment.” This desire for a safer space perhaps informs why Collective opts for small and private over large and loud: “There’s a role for both large, public groups and smaller, private groups. For our part, we hope that the future of the watch community is more about intimacy rather than exclusivity. So many people feel locked out of everything in the watch world – allocation, groups, communities – that we fear that too much exclusivity could lead to diminished interest in the hobby. That’s bad for everyone. How-ever, smaller and more diverse communities allow for deeper relationships to be built – both between collectors themselves and between collectors, brands and ADs.”
All this sets the scene for C.03, a pilot’s chronograph that speaks to the glory day’s of Günther Blümlien’s days at IWC, and the purposeful watches created at that time, particularly the IW3706. This pared-back IWC Pilot’s Chronograph features a 41mm case, currently the only chrono of that size with a black dial. Speaking of dials, a utilitarian design has some subtle tweaks that marks this watch as special. Gone is the red running seconds hand, and the day disc is in German, a nod to IWC’s home in the Swiss-German town of Schaffhausen.
Turn the watch around, and, unusually for a Pilot’s chronograph, you’re treated to more of a show. In lieu of a solid, plane-emblazoned caseback you get a sapphire-covered view of the movement. In particular, this watch is powered by the caliber 69385 — as opposed to the Valjoux-based 79320 found in the regular production black-dial model. It is, if you will, some-thing of a mullet – business at the front and party at the back.
Really though, the entire watch is business-oriented — it’s made to be worn, and worn well. The C.03 is, in addition to being a love letter to IWC, a testament to the power of functional beauty.
Movement: IWC-manufactured caliber 69385, automatic with 46 hours of power reserve.
Functions: Chronograph with hours, minutes and seconds, day and date with German display.
Case: Stainless steel, 41mm by 14.5mm, water-resistant to 10 bar.
Strap: Black, steel bracelet available separately.
Price and availability: USD 7,150 application at collectivehorology.com; Limited to 125 pieces