The Cobra Totem

The Totem Cobra Buckle – On a layover in Rome returning from Ukraine I stopped into the workshop of Jesús Serrato. I’d commissioned a watch strap from him years ago & wanted to meet the man behind the work. Tucked away In a courtyard Jesús was preparing to instruct at the Accademia Delle Arti Orafe. He worked his lathe behind a imposing set of microscopes with the deft maneuvers of his hand projected above on a massive screen. Transfixed by the alchemy I nearly missed my flight.
I had only 3 hours to spend by Jesús’s bench but I couldn’t leave without commissioning something. I looked down at my Damn Cowboy Belt. The original prototype had been on my hip the first 3 months of the invasion. Then Afghanistan again, Ukraine, Isreal…I’d swapped the buckle onto a new belt when we made our first batch of them. I’d designed the buckle to be easy to replace, & cut it lose quickly, handing it over to Jesús.
Much like my custom NATO watchband buckle, Salva from L’arten Nascosta guided my design process when it came to deciding on what to engrave. Like my NATO buckle we included a little bit of home: the hills of Malibu, & those of Afghanistan. The all seeing eye was a natural choice for an Observer, & I asked to add a north seeking arrow, the old map symbol for a Recon team in the field. Both Salva & Jesus weighed in & advised to add rays of light: the empirical knowledge gleamed from travel, & the beauty of observing the world. Finally, we opted for deep engraving to take advantage of the Austrialpin’s thickness, & to add contrasting gold, silver & copper inlays.
While I was originally against Inlays, Salva made an excellent point, the Damn Cowboy belt contains all these colors (gold button release, silver conchos, & copper colored leather) so this both enhances & harmonizes the overall design. The dash of silver in the eye & rays of light catch the light like a blued rifle on a cold morning, you wont regret it.
You can now commission your own Totem Cobra Buckle, & I do mean YOUR own. Your initials, your values, heraldry & dreams. You’re free of course to use any Observer elements you like too, but make sure you enjoy the full process of patronage, it’s a rare experience & one that I adore L’arten Nascosta for championing.
Stay sharp,
Robert