URWERK's 'lethal' Black Cobra watch
Known to Gizmag readers for its outlandish timepieces, Swiss watchmaker URWERK's latest offering – the UR-CC1 Black Cobra – definitely falls into the “cool watch” category. Made from titanium and gold treated with aluminum titane nitride to achieve the black coloration, the Cobra shows the time via two linearly-progressing bars that indicate the hour and minute, and a dual clockwork/numeric seconds display.
For the latest generation, the color has been changed from gold to black... but beware! In the words of URWERK, “A sudden shedding of the skin has transformed the grey gold ‘King Cobra’ case into black, a color often signaling lethal danger. In coloring the UR-CC1 anthracite, team URWERK reaffirms the aggressiveness of this piece, pushing the Cobra to the extreme. Black character and black heart. Don't be afraid, but do be very careful of the UR-CC1.” Yikes!
According to the company’s press release, it took three years of research and development to overcome some of the watch’s technical challenges.
The bars that indicate the minutes and hours are printed on two rotating aluminum cylinders - the minute cylinder turns steadily, while the hour cylinder jumps from one number to the next. These cylinders are considerably heavier than traditional watch hands, so there was a concern that they would require too much power to operate.
A honeycombed rack/lever was the solution. This assembly transfers energy from the watch’s triple-cam movement into the turning of the minute cylinder, via teeth on the end of the lever that engage with a cog on the end of the cylinder. A system of gears uses that energy to also advance the hour cylinder, once every 60 minutes. The lever’s honeycombed nickel composition allows for a balance between rigidity and low weight, keeping its power consumption down.
The seconds are displayed via both a speedometer-like horizontal indicator, and a window in which numerals appear. These tasks are accomplished simultaneously through the use of a rotating disc, with the horizontal indicator needle and the numerals etched into it. In order to keep the weight down, and to manage the minute detail required, the nickel disc was manufactured using photolithography (as was the rack/lever).
The UR-CC1’s lightweight parts not only keep it energy-efficient, but they also allow it to work regardless of its gravitational orientation, and to make it relatively shock-proof.
In case this doesn’t all sound fancy and expensive enough already, you should also know that the URWERK Black Cobra’s body is composed of titanium and gold, treated with aluminum titane nitride to achieve the black coloration. It has 27 jewels in the base movement, and 10 in the complication.
And oh yes, only 25 of them are being made. The price is rumored to be somewhere over US$100,000 - lethal danger, indeed.