Snake Bites America

Watch collectors either love or hate designs from Franc Vila. No other watch has a face that loosely resembles a cobra head—set into a case that looks like an egg sitting on its side. The reptilian look is furthered by the segmented scale style of the rubber strap (a separate crocodile strap is also included). Only an elite few will be able to enjoy the look of the famed FV Evos 8 Cobra Blue Bandido watch in all black and blue, which is a limited edition set reserved for the U.S. only.

Technologically speaking, there is nothing about Franc Vila watches that is absent in other timepieces, but his unorthodox designs capture the imagination in a way that other classic timepieces fail to do. At 55-mm wide (300 meters water resistant), the size of the case sounds intimidating, but wearing it isn’t unwieldy because the cases are wider than they are tall. At just 42mm in length, this watch won’t take over your wrist. The oblong shape is actually flattering, helping to visually elongate the arm. The Blue Bandido Cobra has a variety of materials for the case. You’ll quickly notice the wealth of carbon fiber all over the case, surrounding the bezel, and on the crown guards. The watch also uses a black tone called DieHard Extreme steel for the bezel, with titanium on other parts of the case. The thick rubber strap forms a flowing shape with the watch and grows thinner around your wrist, while its thick end pieces help the watchcase preserve an elegant unbroken line.

Using a large barrel-style crown and hefty chronograph pushers, the FV Evos 8 Cobra is a highly functional timepiece. Reading the dial is a charm due to Franc Vila’s excellent contrast of black and blue. The electric blue colors for the hands and hash marks on the dial are applied wonderfully (like a rich lacquer) giving the watch a reassuring luxury presence. Carbon fiber is also on the dial, with a textured decorative black metal in its center. While complex, the arrangement of elements on the face and dial are well balanced despite their awkward proportions.

While Franc Vila sources high-end mechanical movements, his watches are fitted with a custom automatic rotor that the brand calls their “Gold Concept Rotor.” Using gold for weight, the rotors are meant to resemble the shape of the watchcase and dial—a design decision that may be the first of its kind. The automatic chronograph movement also has a big date indicator below the 12 O’clock position. While Franc Vila designed the chronograph subdials nicely, the date indicator discs would have benefitted from matching the black and blue theme of the timepiece.

$28,000  |  Limited to just 88 pieces and available only in the U.S.