Urwerk and Collective Horology Launch Shuttle-Inspired UR-100V
Collective Horology’s second collaboration in their Portfolio series is a three-way collaboration with Urwerk, the independent Swiss watch manufacturer, and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The project has produced a bespoke timepiece that pays tribute to the experience of piloting the Space Shuttle Enterprise on the 40th anniversary of the first Space Shuttle program. It is the product of their shared passion for space exploration as well as mutual quest for creative, concept-driven watches.
Ever wondered what that final countdown feels like before being launched into space? The Urwerk UR-100V P.02 collector’s wristwatch will give you an idea with a dial display that tracks the space shuttle program’s typical launch and landing sequences in minutes. These are visible through apertures that also show the approximate location of the shuttle at each phase of launch and landing. Green represents the shuttle on Earth. Blue indicates the shuttle traveling through the Earth’s sky or lower atmosphere. Red represents the upper atmosphere and black indicates time in space or, more precisely, low earth orbit.
The latest addition to the Portfolio Series by Collective Horology, a membership driven watch community co-founded by childhood friends Asher Rapkin and Gabe Reilly in California, is a bespoke timepiece that is an ode not only to space travel but the travelers themselves. Collective was formed to connect a community of enthusiasts, who are passionate about watchmaking, through an exclusive membership that enables access to the production of two collaborative series. The Collective Series is an annual collaboration with their favorite watch brands while the Portfolio Series is a showcase for independent and high-horology watchmaking.
Martin Frei, Urwerk Co-founder and Chief Designer, and Felix Baumgartner, Urwerk Co-founder and Master Watchmaker, had never collaborated with anyone other than other watchmakers (and one fine whiskey maker) before, but through some good introductions Collective was able to get their attention. “What we like, and think is exciting is that a watch is a creative canvas upon which stories can be told. We don’t fancy ourselves watch designers but, because of our marketing background, we do see ourselves as storytellers,” says Rapkin. “We loved Urwerk’s use of orbiting satellite hours and minute hands for the UR-100 SpaceTime launched in 2019, but we saw an opportunity to tell a different story. If Urwerk were to create a watch that was a tribute to the space shuttle prototype, Enterprise, what would that be?” says Reilly.
Then, being native New Yorkers, Rapkin and Reilly decided to find an institution they love in the city that could assist with and benefit from the project. They approached several museums, including the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, whose complex has sat on the edge of New York’s Hudson River for 40 years and is just two miles from where Rapkin grew up. “Going there as a child was just the most incredible experience. We chose the Intrepid Museum, which has the space shuttle Enterprise on permanent display, because they were open and enthusiastic about the project,” he says. “Because the museum was such a major part of both Gabe’s and my youth, and because 2020 was a uniquely challenging year for museums around the world, we and Goldsmith & Complications, the official authorized dealer, are going to donate a total of US$50,000 dollars from the proceeds of this project to the Intrepid Museum to help ensure that Enterprise’s stories of bravery and innovation will be told for generations to come.”
Owners of the unisex Urwerk UR-100V P.02 for Collective will be the recipients of a “very special wristwatch... We sincerely hope that they will derive as much pleasure from owning this watch as we did in creating it. Quite literally, it is a childhood dream come true.”
This note from Frei and Baumgartner in the Owner’s Manual acknowledges the investment of all of their knowledge, skills and creativity – with significant creative, scientific and historical contributions from the Intrepid Museum – to produce the piece. Through conversations with Collective, the Museum’s Curator of Aviation Eric Boehm and even a former astronaut, they ultimately landed on what this watch is – a tribute to the experience of flying the space shuttle.
“My father is a physicist and night-time was his favorite time. When I was a child, he sometimes woke me so that we could gaze at the sky together. The seemingly infinite black of the night would sometimes appear terrifying, and, despite my father’s presence, I did not always feel particularly reassured. But then he started to teach me how to "read the sky". At night my father did not speak to me like a scientist, but as a storyteller. The sky was not the limit anymore but the place to reach,” says Frei.
Rapkin says watching First Man, starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, captured the feeling for him of how terrifying and intense it must have been to sit in a capsule - or Space Shuttle - being rocketed into space.
“Everybody portrays it as a much simpler experience than it really is. When you ask an astronaut about it, which we've never had the chance to do until now, they tell you that for some it can be transformative, others downright scary. The watch lets you contemplate what these early explorers went through to explore the Universe beyond Earth on behalf of all of us.” While the standard edition of the UR-100V tracks the kilometers traveled on the equator in 20 minutes and the kilometers the earth covered around the sun in the same period, the P.02 takes a completely different approach, using the two lateral apertures to track the process and timing of both take-off and landing for the Space Shuttle. A custom made, detailed manual provides great detail into that process, allowing the wearer to experience the same period of time that an astronaut might have when launching or landing a Space Shuttle mission.
“When you get your hands on the P.02, your impulse is immediately to watch the wandering hour complication play out. As you watch the hand wander through the space shuttle’s typical launch sequence you really can think about what seven minutes sitting at the top of a rocket must be like.” Therein lies the value. Owning a watch like this is an investment in the art of watchmaking as well as storytelling. Boehm says the Museum was excited to help Collective and Urwerk capture the experience of flying the space shuttle by highlighting the instrumentation on board. “I was thrilled to assist in bringing the P.02 to life, taking design inspiration from Enterprise’s cockpit instruments to help tell the story of some of the shuttle program’s most dramatic moments: launch and landing.”
The Urwerk UR-100V P.02 for Collective will be available exclusively to existing and new Collective members. Those interested in joining Collective and acquiring the timepiece can visit Collective's website (collectivehorology.com) where more information as well as a membership application are available.
Florida based, independent watch salon, Goldsmith & Complications is the official authorized dealer for the collaboration and will handle delivery in partnership with Collective and Urwerk.
About Collective Horology
Established in California by two longtime friends and watch enthusiasts, Collective has quickly grown into a global community of enthusiasts who all share a passion for watchmaking. Collective was formed to build deeper relationships among like-minded collectors, as well as develop unique collaborative watches and experiences for its members.
Founded in 1997 by Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, Urwerk is the result of a strongly held belief that the history of Fine Watchmaking is a constantly changing art. Felix Baumgartner, a watchmaker like his father and grandfather, has time running through his veins. A graduate from the Schaffhausen watchmaking school, Felix learned the secret language of minute-repeaters, tourbillons and perpetual calendars at his father’s bench. Martin Frei is the artistic counterweight to his partner’s technical expertise. Accepted into the Lucerne’s college of art and design in 1987, Martin delved into every form of visual artistic expression from painting and sculpture to video, emerging as a mature artist. The two men met by chance and discovered a common fascination with the measurement of time, spending hours analyzing the gap between the watches they saw in the shops and the vision of their future creation: “Bringing out yet another version of an existing mechanical complication was not our aim,” the two explain. “Our watches are unique because each has been conceived as an original work. Above all, we want to explore beyond the traditional horizons of watchmaking.”
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is a nonprofit, educational institution featuring the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world’s fastest jets and a guided missile submarine. Through exhibitions, educational programming and the foremost collection of technologically groundbreaking aircraft and vessels, visitors of all ages and abilities are taken on an interactive journey through history to learn about American innovation and bravery.
The Intrepid Museum fulfills its mission to honor our heroes, educate the public and inspire our youth by connecting them to history through hands-on exploration while bridging the future by inspiring innovation.