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The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

The Internet is a wonderful thing – it enables all sorts of business and activities, and allows us to more easily gain knowledge on whatever our chosen hobby happens to be. With the watch world, we’ve got no end of sites, personal blogs, and forums to rely on. But sometimes you just want to have a face-to-face chat about watches – and that’s where the Commonwealth Crew comes in.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

At least, that is, if you are in the Chicago area. The Commonwealth Crew is one of the newest offshoots of the rather popular Red Bar Crew out in New York. For those not familiar, that started out with a couple of guys (Dr. Jeffrey Jacques and Adam Craniotes) getting together to talk watches.

That then turned into a weekly gathering that has seen many people showing up, some amazing pictures of watches out on Instagram, and even some brand participation here and there (the July Chicago meeting saw CT Scuderia sending in some samples). Seeing that success, Paul Lewin and Chase Fancher decided the Windy City needed its own version.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

What are these meet-ups about? At the surface level, it just looks like a bunch of watch collectors getting together and showing off their watches – much like you might think about a car show, perhaps. Having attended my first one (and more on that in a bit), I can safely say there is more to it than that. While it is very cool to see the variety of watches people bring (which can range from Fossil and Disney watches, all the way up to pieces from the likes of Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Cartier), it is the owners of the watches that are the draw.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

If you are like me, you probably do not have many friends who are just all that in to watches. Sure, they might appreciate something you have, but they are not quite immersed in the scene, so to speak. Even with the amazing benefit I have got corresponding with our aBlogtoWatch team, and people in the industry, it is nice to get out from behind the emails and spend some time chatting over drinks about horology.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

Ostensibly, I was a special guest at the Commonwealth Crew event on July 15th (for the record, I had already planned to attend prior to the invite). I went in the capacity of an aBlogtoWatch editor, and I spoke briefly on what it is like to be in that position, and then answered the variety of questions that the crew had. And while, yes, a lot of those questions were aimed at learning more about how watch reviewing works, it was really all in the vein of watch guys wanting to learn more about watches. And frankly, that was plain fun.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

Once my short spiel was over, I had plenty of time to talk with others, and learn about their watches and what they enjoy about the pieces. I learned about some details on a Hamilton that you might not otherwise notice, got up close and personal with an Audemars Piguet for the first time, and even saw an iPhone app at work that “places” a watch on your wrist. And those are just a few of the conversations that were had. When you get a bunch of people together who are passionate about a topic, you’re going to find quite a few conversations you can hop into and participate in.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

All said, I am rather glad that these sorts of meet-ups have gotten started. While I have attended the Chicago one (and of course there is the New York original), there are also some other groups started up in LA and Toronto, and I have a feeling it will continue to spread. I think if you have an interest in an event like this, try to seek one out in your town (Instagram is a great place to find them, search for flavors of #redbar). And, if they do not have one in your city? Why not start one up? It can be a fun night out, and you will most certainly meet some great people you likely otherwise would not run into.

The Commonwealth Crew Horology Club In Chicago Shows & Events

For those of you who are in the Chicagoland area and are interested in attending, you can get in touch with the organizers at this email address. They do control the membership notification list a little bit, just so they can protect the watch collections showing up (to actually join up, though, it is pretty simple – just an email asking to be on the list).  For the Commonwealth Crew, the notices are sent out a few weeks before the upcoming meeting, and then the final details for where and when hit about a week or so prior. I am really glad I was able to get to the July meeting, and hopefully will be a fairly regular attendee, with the next occasion coming up in early August.



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  • antongiw

    What’s the name of the app that allows you to try watches on your wrist?

  • DG Cayse

    Bravo Mr. Kansa…great article. Great name for the group.

    (I am a former long-time member of the Commonwealth Club of California)

  • mgennone

    How do you register, attend Red Bar Crew events? Thanks

  • mgennone Shoot me an email, and I’ll get you the details.

  • antongiw I’ll have to look into that for you.

  • Very cool. Sounds like you had a good time Patrick. I’d just hate to start a meet-up here and find out the only other guy is a friend of mine whom I see regularly at another monthly meeting (Hawaii Jewelers Assn), ha ha.
    I like that all watches are welcome and that you got to enjoy a diverse range of watches.

  • MarkCarson I’m in. 

    Mahalo nui loa 😉

  • Chaz_Hen I like the stuff on your blog Chaz. You on Oahu?

  • YadaZhu

    Anyone want to start one in Calgary, Alberta (Canada)

  • MarkCarson Chaz_Hen yessir…

  • antongiw The Vacheron picture was just a Google image, but AP does have an app.

  • Twinbarrel

    Thanks mentioning Toronto.
    Most organized watch events outside of Europe are in the US. We have nothing in Canada despite the many watch enthusiasts. In the GTA (Toronto area) we have a few small occasional event organized solely by enthusiasts. We’re trying. Sometimes three, four five or more people. You find each other on blogs like this. If you’re a regular reader or active responder you might get approached or find someone in your area when leaving clues of location in their posts.
    Another note:
    I find it interesting that we have no brand design houses in canada. I often bring it up as we seem a fogotten demographic or perhaps dismissed by sales volumes. I was in Paris last May and visited nearly every brand design house and purchased from one. Some ltd editions can only be purchased at a brand design house. My new Panerai I purchased last year was bought in the US. See, much of my Canadian money flows abroad because we mostly have AD’s here. Nothing wrong with that but I can see the brands will look at their sales and won’t count my money to include in Canadian retail results. So because we buy elsewhere the brands sales results by demographic are skewed.
    It would be nice for canada to be recognized by the brands so we can get our own limited editions that can only be purchased in Canada. Fun too.

  • spiceballs

    Nice article Patrick – thx

  • JasonC74

    In Dallas I run an event about every 6 months.  We’re about to have our third GTG next weekend and we’re expecting about 30 people and I have samples from some micro-brands en route.  It’s a lot of fun doing these events.  I’d recommend getting involved in one and head to the Dallas GTG if you’re in the area.