When Adam Craniotes conceived RedBar Group in a midtown Manhattan bar in 2007, he had no idea it would one day have 40 chapters across four continents. A community-based organization that holds social events for watch lovers, Redbar today has 3,000 members and counting. “At RedBar everyone is on equal footing, regardless of the pieces they own or how large their bank accounts are,” Craniotes, a former copywriter now entirely devoted to RedBar, told Sotheby’s. “We measure the worth of collectors by the size of their passion.” Ahead, Craniotes shares more about RedBar, his personal collection and the pieces he is coveting from Sotheby’s Important Watches auction (24 May, New York).
How did you come up with RedBar? What void did you hope it would fill in the watch community?
RedBar began organically as a simple, monthly meeting of the minds between two collectors: my good friend, Dr. Jeffrey Jacques, and myself. There was no thought to taking it any further than that, with our intention merely to take the conversation "offline." It grew far beyond anything that either of us envisioned, as clearly we had tapped into something that was heretofore missing from the scene – i.e. regular face-to-face interactions with like-minded individuals. This is a tactile hobby, as well as a social one, and these needs cannot be adequately addressed from behind a computer screen.
How often do you have events, and what can attendees expect?
The New York City chapter, which is the original, meets once a week, rain or shine. Other chapters meet twice a week or once a month. For the most part, the gatherings are casual, with some members bringing several watches, while others come with what's on their wrist. There's no format, other than to share in conversation and vibe with fellow collectors. We do engage directly with the brands, so members can also expect to attend private events where they can view the latest and greatest from their favorite manufacturers.
What do you think is a common trait among watch lovers?
Watch collectors are curious by nature, and detail oriented to the extreme. They appreciate handcraftsmanship just as much as they do clever, technical engineering.
ADAM CRANIOTES, PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER OF REDBAR GROUP.
About how many watches do you own?
I own approximately 30 mechanical timepieces and over 40 G-Shocks – the G-Shocks were an early love that I never grew out of and don’t plan to.
What was the first luxury timepiece you owned?
A matte-dial transitional Rolex Submariner Ref 16800, which I purchased secondhand from Tourneau back in 1992. I still wear it to this day.
What watch are you dying to add to your collection?
While this answer probably changes on a daily basis, I've been yearning for an Urwerk for a long time. I've always loved their unique, yet highly intuitive take on telling time.
Do you have a favorite watch or two?
There's my IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar in ceramic, which, on specs alone, is grail material. However, my love for this watch stems from far more than aesthetics or complications; there's a personal aspect to how I managed to acquire it, which is worth as much to me as the watch itself.
I've also got a thing for my IWC Mark XVIII “Special Watch for Aviators,” which was designed with the input of diehard IWC collectors and produced in an extremely limited series of 27 pieces. As with the aforementioned BPPC, the story behind how I acquired this watch, as well as how it connects me to the brand, my fellow collectors and friends is priceless to me.
Launch the slideshow to view Adam Craniotes' favorite upcoming lots from Important Watches: