Eberhard & Co Extra-Fort Grand Taille - Bigger (41mm) and even more refined
“Never change a winning horse” say the English, but, according to Eberhard & Co, the horse can still grow! The Extra-Fort, the flagship of the Swiss maison that was founded in La Chaux de Fonds in 1887 has remained almost the same since the end of the 40s when the collection was first presented to the public. In 1947 an extremely beautiful three-counter-timepiece was released and its launch marked the birth of this particular collection that underwent no major changes until today (it is nowadays a two-counter-chrono) when new contents and a new case-size were unveiled. Thanks to its new Extra-Fort Grande Taille, Eberhard & Co adds 2mm to the diameter of this two-counter-chronograph whose case ballooned from the original 39mm-size to a new 41mm-size and it also saw the addition of four new dial versions; silver with silver counters, blue with silver counters, gray with gray counters, and silver with black counters. All of the above dials feature “frappé” decorations.
For the very first time, the new size of the case makes the Extra-Fort fit for the maximum size that market standards require a sporty and classic timepiece to have, it also welcomes a new first on the Extra-Fort; both the baton indices and the Arabic numerals have been partially replaced by a mixture of baton indices and applied Roman numerals. Ideally, this particular choice makes the Eberhard & Co Extra-Fort Grand Taille much closer to an Extra-Fort Chrono Rattrapante by making it one mm bigger in size. On another note, I hope that the timepiece I have just quoted above will grow by a couple of millimeters also since it actually represents one of the only few beautiful rattrapante chronograph proposals that are currently available on the market in a time when the interest for double-chronographs keeps growing. The distance between the lugs hasn’t changed and it has maintained Eberhard & Co’s 20mm-size, another pillar of classic watch-making.
The Eberhard & Co Extra-Fort Grand Taille is now more refined and if the goal of the brand was to make this timepiece more authoritative among mid-range/high-range automatic chronographs, we can definitely say that the manufacturer has reached its target. The decoration work on the dial might seem a bit overcrowded at times on a surface that was originally conceived as a three-counter-dial and that is today an extremely de-cluttered and immediately recognizable two-counter-dial, but features a more appealing and rich look. By releasing its dial’s blue version with silver counters and silver with black counters, it proceeded with the creation of a “panda” dial that is as fascinating as the one that the manufacturer re-launched when it released its Contograf re-edition. The Eberhard & Co Extra-Fort Grand Taille is available both with a leather alligator strap or with a stainless steel “Chalin” bracelet that features a De-Clic locking system, one of the brand’s patents.
Everything else has stayed the same: the rectangular chronograph-buttons, the tachymetric scale located on the inner rehaut that can perform measurements up to 700km/h, the central seconds hand that is extremely slender, the case-back sealed through six screws. The stainless steel bracelet version retails at 3,990 euro while the leather strap version retails at 3,470 euro, the Eberhard & Co Extra-Fort Grand Taille maintains the same 7750 caliber originally crafted and customized by ETA-Valjoux for the manufacturer. My dream, however, is that the Swiss maison will one day launch its very own (manual wind) caliber, something on the lines of those calibers that used to equip the first Extra-Fort timepieces and that, without a doubt, would give this fascinating brand an even stronger position in the world of the best watch manufacturers.
(Photo credit: Horbiter's proprietary photo-shooting by Entropik)
Matteo Bulla @Horbiter