Continuing with Perpetuelle’s special coverage of the “Unique Masterpieces” commissioned exhibit by MARCUS London for its 10th anniversary, here is a striking rendition of Baumgartner & Frei’s (Urwerk) CC1 Cobra. This black and red edition CC1 Cobra, a modern horological masterpiece, was brought to life as a piece unique for MARCUS. The full exhibit of masterpieces, all in a theme of “black and red” or “white and red” and many of which I have written about in the past two months (links below), are now on display now through the end of September at the MARCUS Bond Street boutique in London.
Urwerk CC1 Cobra for MARCUS London
45.7mm x 43.5mm case in 18 carat in white gold with AlTiN (Titanium Aluminium Nitride) finish, Titanium base plate
Linear jumping hours, Linear retrograde minutes, Digital and linear seconds (world first)
Perpetuelle regulars may recall the original Urwerk CC1 Cobra which debuted in 2009 — its linear time display (via retrograde hours and jumping minutes) and seconds display in both digital and linear formats was completely beyond any notion of what a timepiece should be.
the original Urwerk CC1
Turns out it the linear time display was not without precedent — Patek had its own Cobra, a prototype from 1958. So while Urwerk’ CC1 was born of multiple inspirations: “the talented and avant-garde watchmaker Louis Cottier (1894-1966); a reflectionion on the myriad dimensions of time; and even a fond reminiscence of the linear instruments panels found on some old American cars,” we see that the prototype 1958 Patek Philippe Cobra also had a role to play.
1958 Patek Philippe Cobra
Urwerk’s avante-garde timepieces are of the “love/hate” type, engendering strong feelings of one or the other for each person who sees them. The same could be said of many watches these days, though it is quite clear that Urwerk creations are for the modern horological enthusiast who embraces the bold and unconventional. It think it is safe to say that once bitten with this brand and their philosophy, you become totally hooked. You just need to get bitten, that’s all Like Marcus Margulies.
While it is no surprise that one would find Urwerk in a shop like MARCUS — known for its embrace of the avant-garde — according to MARCUS founder Marcus Margulies it was not without Felix Baumgartner’s unwavering commitment to stand behind he and Frei’s product that it actually happened:
Felix Baumgartner will probably blush when he reads this introduction, but he is the most single-minded perfectionist I have met in a long time. Our initial meeting was not our best conversation. I could not come to terms with the margins he was offering and he continually told me not to worry as I would sell the watches very quickly – a line I have heard to my cost on countless occasions. When I mentioned this to him his reply could not have been simpler: ‘It is not a problem for me if you don’t sell my watches, I will take them back’. This was a first for me, in nearly 50 years in the watch industry.
Urwerk’s Felix Baumgartner is likewise complimentary, recalling his years doing business with Marcus Margulies:
April 2003, London. I was in London with my colleague and Urwerk co-founder Martin Frei and we were playing tourists on New Bond Street – nothing extraordinary, just two Swiss friends on holiday in London. We arrived at the end of this famous shopping street and found ourselves in front of Marcus’s display window, which was dominated by a huge aquarium containing goldfish swimming around expensive watches. It was a unique, surreal spectacle and we couldn’t take our eyes off of it. We then looked at each other, both thinking the same thing: ‘Urwerk has to be here!’
March 2004, Basel. Martin and I were blown away by Marcus’s London boutique and we couldn’t wait to meet the man himself. Marcus Margulies is one of the smartest and sharpest people I know. With such vast experience, there’s nothing that Marcus doesn’t know about the watch business. He has an eye for excellence and makes decisions with blinding speed. You have to really stay on your toes to keep up with him. What amazed me the most then, and still amazes me now, is his enthusiasm. After all these years of walking the red carpets of the world of Haute Horlogerie, Marcus is still passionate about exceptional timepieces. When he is holding a watch that grabs him, it’s like he becomes a child again, with sparkling eyes and excitement in his voice. That’s also why he is the best. I doff my cap to you, Mr Marcus!
It is on account of relationships like this that the MARCUS unique masterpiece exhibit is able to come together.
Lots more Marcus Unique Masterpieces yet to come…stay tuned in.