The pair single-handedly run Collective, and they have worked on the designs for all of the collaborations.
For the Zenith project, which took a year to complete, Mr. Reilly said the idea behind the timepiece was: “Let’s bring Silicon Valley reductive design language to it — white and gray and monochromatic — compared to a stock model.”
The result, executed by Zenith’s design team, “looks like a Silicon Valley watch,” he added.
Once that collaboration had rolled out, the duo worked with the independent watchmaker J.N. Shapiro, based in California, to create a watch for the brand’s Infinity Series, which was marketed as having the world’s first guilloché meteorite dial. The 10 timepieces, priced at $21,500 each, sold out — as did the batch of 50 H. Moser & Cie. Pioneer Centre Seconds Rotating Bezel ($15,900 each). The model was the only Moser watch to have a 12-hour travel bezel and a proprietary dial color, named Collective Green.
Late last year, Mr. Reilly and Mr. Rapkin collaborated with IWC on a redesign of its Pilot’s Chronograph, featuring a dark color palette, a matte dial and stylistic touches that nod to the company’s heritage. “What makes it so special is the stark Teutonic vibe,” Mr. Reilly said, explaining that they created “the day wheel in the German language, which IWC hasn’t done since they made the watch that inspired us 20 years ago.” The limited-edition set of 125 models also sold out, at $7,150 each.
Last year, Collective expanded its reach, adding a chapter in Britain. “We saw a lot of people applying from England,” Mr. Rapkin said, noting two factors that might be driving the phenomenon: the lack of opportunities for British watch fans to connect with independent watchmakers, and Collective’s own connections with those makers.