Hands-On With The Urwerk UR-CC1 Black Cobra

Inspired by many, the UR-CC1 Black Cobra has conquered its own space in the 21st century. In 1958, an independent watchmaker by the name of Louis Cottier created a brand new way of displaying time by introducing a linear hour watch that eliminated the use of hands. Instead, the time was displayed on two graduated openings in the case, with the hours and minutes on rollers. The design nicknamed the “Cobra,” was revolutionary and was made to become Ref. 3414 at Patek Philippe. However, it was never produced for the market, and eventually found residence inside the Patek Philippe museum.


Fast forward to 2009, and enter Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei, the creative duo behind Urwerk. Using Cottier’s brainchild as a muse they set about creating a modern version which would overcome the production issues.


Frei’s original sketch of a linear display watch was first penned in 1999, and took eleven years to fully develop, including three years of research and development to overcome the technical challenges involved in linearly indicating the hours and minutes in this fashion.


Finally, the CC-1 is release in 2010, but it very quickly transforms, shedding its skin and releasing its dark side, the grey gold threatening a lethal dose of black AlTiN scratch resistant coating. The CC-1 Black Cobra really is a feat of engineering.


I think all that hard work was definitely worth it. Urwerk has produced an incredible time machine which is unique in its looks and it mechanics. The linear concept has challenged more than one creative, but Baumgartner and Frei’s perseverance pays off. This is not a watch for the faint of heart but a must for any die hard collector that can appreciate both the high technical standards, and stunning as ethics of the design.

Photo Credit: Alex Rose. For more information, please visit the official Urwerk website.

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