We’ve got our hands on a very special timepiece for all the Kobold fans out there. The Kobold Watch Company U.S.S. Pittsburgh was a collaborative design between Kobold and Chronoswiss of Munich. The collaboration is a fine testament to the time Michael Kobold spent as an unpaid intern at Chronoswiss.
As the story goes, Michael was a 12 year old boy when he began collecting watches and he was fascinated by the complex inner-workings of the mechanical movements in his collection. He would remove the case backs to study the world within and take watches apart just to put them back together again. At the youthful age of 16, Mike began sending letters to various watchmakers, begging to be brought in under their wing. He yearned to have any part in the watch industry, even if it meant being an unpaid intern.
The legendary Gerd-R. Lang received one of young Michael’s letters and invited him to learn about watches at Chronoswiss in Germany. After putting in his time at Chronoswiss, he traveled abroad to attend college at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – where it all began.
Rumors have it that he started the company in his dorm room, operating exclusively through the Internet. Now, Kobold has become a name recognized all over the world by watch collectors. He really did make it to the top so to speak. For the 2009 Everest Challenge Expedition he climbed to the summit of Mount Everest for charity. The goal was to raise $250,000 or more for the Navy SEAL Warrior Fund. Now that’s what you call great marketing!
The USS Pittsburgh: Kobold x Chronoswiss
“Limited to 200 pieces only, the USS Pittsburgh Chronograph offers other thrilling features. We thought that such a beautiful case must protect only a most lavishly decorated automatic movement. Therefore the movement was hand-decorated and features a gold-plated winding rotor, which has been skeletonized and engraved with our company seal. The bridge and rotor also feature Cotes de Geneve polishing and the other plates have been engine turned. Finally all 25 jewels were set in gold, and to complete the ensemble, the screws were blued.To distinguish this model even more from its peers, the dial features the vessel’s hull number -SSN 720- above the hour register. As a result, the USS Pittsburgh Chronograph is the only Kobold watch ever to feature this prestigious classification from an official certification board.” -Kobold website
More than just a timepiece, this limited edition model honors the USS Pittsburgh submarine that was launched in 1984. More on Wikipedia.
“Undoubtedly one of the most challenging and desirable professions in the world of seafaring is that of a submariner. Our USS Pittsburgh Chronograph pays tribute to the vessel USS Pittsburgh, a Los Angeles class nuclear attack submarine and its crew, as well as countless other submariners. Its signature bezel, with the distinct beveled edge and the relief-engraved minute scale, in combination with the unique crown and push-piece guard make the USS Pittsburgh a classic yet functional timepiece.” -Kobold website
Among famous brand ambassadors like James Gandolfini and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, many other recognizable names are known to sport Kobold timepieces including: President Bill Clinton, Kiefer Sutherland in 24, Leonardo DiCaprio, artist Burton Morris (also from CMU), and even the Greatest Performer of all Time, Michael Jackson.
Specs from the Kobold website:
USS Pittsburgh Chronograph
case surgical stainless steel (316L); satinized, polished dimensions 38 mm diameter (bezel end to bezel end);
16 mm height overall crystal synthetic sapphire; domed, anti-reflective (inside only); extra-thick crown screw-locked; push pieces protected bezel rotating, uni-directional; count-up minute scale; ratcheted back synthetic sapphire crystal; domed; screw-locked ratings* waterproof (20 atm/660 ft); antimagnetic; shock-resistant;
pressure-proof to 20 atmospheres
movement Valjoux 7750; Swiss-made; chronograph mechanism winding automatic mechanism jewels 25 balance Glucydur mainspring Nivarox 1 decoration skeletonized rotor, gold-plated; engraved & signed; engine-turned surfaces; Cotes de Geneve on bridges & rotor; polished stainless steel screws functions hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph hours, minutes, seconds; other 42 hours power reserve
(2003-2013) Kobold’s best-kept secret is the USS Pittsburgh Chronograph. Never advertised and only listed on Kobold’s website for one year, the USS Pittsburgh has been a favorite among die-hard Kobold enthusiasts. Produced in a series of 100 watches with a guilloche-finished Jet Black dial and 50 watches each with Arctic Blue and Titanium Grey dials. Designed by master watchmaker and Chronoswiss founder Gerd-R. Lang. The USS Pittsburgh’s case is by far the most stylistically complicated case Kobold offers. Stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, uni-directional rotating bezel, Valjoux 7750.