Insider: Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra. A Stealthy and Unconventional Time Telling Wristwatch.

The Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra is the first watch without wandering-hours that has been released by Urwerk. First released in two variants, including polished steel and gunmetal grey steel, the new Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra is cloaked in a completely black case —in 316SL steel and grade 5 titanium, PVD coated in black— that makes the watch look as stealth and striking as it gets. Equipped with a roller and a case construction out of a Sci-fi movie, the UR-111C Black Cobra features a non-conventional way of setting the time and winding the watch. Prominent red, yellow and green indications present time through the use of an anodized aluminum cylinder and LIGA-processed nickel second wheels in a what is a jumping hours, linear retrograde minutes and digital seconds timepiece.

Things to Know About the Watch

The robust and top heavy case on the new Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra measures 42 mm wide x 46 mm long and 15 mm in thickness. The hours and two versions of the minutes are displayed within glass sapphire covers along the side of the case so that you can see them at a glance without turning your wrist or letting go of the steering wheel. Again, converting the horizontal movement to a vertical time display required precisely angled transmission with miniature bevel gears. The jumping digital hours and progressive minutes are displayed on rotating truncated cones left and right of the retrograde linear indication of the minutes.

Because Felix Baumgartner and Martin Frei wanted to produce something visually different and make the linear track longer at the same time, they decided that the linear track of the display should slant diagonally across its aperture, instead of horizontally in line with the rotating cylinder that carries the helix marker along the track of minutes. Because of the slanting track, the cylinder rotates 300 degrees about its axis to bring the helix to the 60th minute, at the same time arming a long, coiled spring. To bring the helix back to the start, the spring releases to snap the cylinder forward another 60 degrees and make the hours jump to the next hour.

With a roller integrated into the top of the case above and parallel to the winding stem. The rolling long fluted cylinder can be rolled with the thumb to wind the watch. To set the time, instead of pulling out a crown you swing out a lever from the side of the case and turn the roller in either direction.

The UR-111C’s digital seconds are mounted alternately on two tiny wheels: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 on one wheel, and 5, 15, 25, 35, 45 and 55 on the other. Each openwork seconds wheel weighs 0.018 grams —0.025g with numerals miniature lacework in metal— thanks to the LIGA-process. The seconds numerals look strangely close as they pass across a circular window in sinuous progression. They appear alternately, transported into visual range by a dense cluster of precisely aligned optical fibers, known as an image conduit, positioned a tenth of a millimeter above the numerals. This is a world première in the watchmaking industry.

As it is now the norm with Urwerk, all time indications had been coated with super bright superluminova that adds an interesting touch to the watch when exposed to low lighting conditions.

The Movement

The beating heart inside the Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra is protected by a solid case back with grooves. The 37-jewel automatic movement with its unique indications provides a power reserve of 48 hours when fully wound. Additionally, due to its transmission systems and selfwinding gear, the movement is positioned into the watch from the side of the case, once the panels have been removed and the time-setting lever has been dismantled.

On the Wrist & Price

On the wrist, just like with every other Urwerk watch despite its unconventional case construction, the Urwerk UR-111C Black Cobra wears surprisingly comfortable for its size. Much nicer than the polished steel and gunmetal finished counterparts released last year, the Black Cobra is simply incredible. Fitted with a black fabric strap —a combination between aramid and sailcloth— with pin buckle, the watch is very stealthy and somewhat looking like a timepiece that could be worn in a Mission Impossible movie.

Sticker Price $135,000 USD. For more info on Urwerk click here.