When history triggers an idea for a unique gift
Caesar crossed the Rubicon. Alexander entered Asia Minor. Pancho Villa rode into Texas. The reason why the story of Pancho Villa resonated so uniquely the creators behind The Unnamed Society is not just because it veers off the beaten path. Villa’s was a legend born at a time of great technological innovation: he was two years old when Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call; and barely eleven, when George Eastman invented the Kodak camera.
By the time Pancho took centre stage as a key player in the Mexican revolution, the power of communication through sound and image – of “the here and now immortalised” – had become as inevitable as it was unstoppable.
Yet without these two aligning with a third invention that had already gained some momentum, there would arguably never have been a Pancho Villa. Samuel Colt had already been dead sixteen years when Pancho was born in 1878, but his invention, a “revolving gun design” had already reshaped the American West and was beginning to shape the rest of the world...
Every revolution is founded on values
The other reason the story of Pancho Villa finds its way into the first chapter of The Unnamed Society is that each revolution depends on exclusivity (at the core is always a very small group in the know), secrecy (nothing out in the open) and complicity (as sharing true beliefs is risky, trust is paramount).
The higher the stakes, the harder it is to become part of the inner circle. In describing Pancho Villa and the way his legend grew, John Reed, the writer and journalist who chronicled Villa,
described into the revolutionary’s redoubt at “El Passo” as the “Supreme Lodge”, almost a haloed place where resided the “Ancient Order”.
To fight and die for the revolution was to go down in history as just another tragic footnotes. To fight and die under Pancho Villa was to live on eternally as a “verdadero hombre”, a true man. This sense of belonging to something greater than oneself, of sharing an obvious yet secret understanding, and attaining the seemingly impossible is core to The Unnamed Society.
But why the revolver? And why a clock?
What Samuel Colt revolutionised is the impact of time when using a firearm: The revolver conferred the power to stop time cold by eliminating the manual reloading process – and the potentially fatal vulnerability that came with it.
The purity of purpose inherent in the revolver makes it a compelling platform for telling time: it aptly symbolises the preciousness of every moment, the speed at which it can be stolen and the complexity of what is, ultimately, a simple proposition.
And it reminds us, more vividly no doubt than a conventional clockface can, of the priceless value there is in heeding the simple words, “carpe diem”. How could the gift of time be more unique or richer with meaning?