The Eberhard & Co. Tazio Nuvolari Vanderbilt Cup
Have you ever tried to “follow” a timepiece? You usually “follow” people or goals but it is quite rare to hear of someone trying to “follow” a timepiece, isn’t it? If you run a blog, a magazine or anything that talks about timepieces, you want to make sure that you write about watches that you are also interested in and the Eberhard Tazio Nuvolari Vanderbilt Cup is, from a journalist’s point of view, one of those timepieces that I have constantly “followed” in the last 3 years and that I have wanted to feature on my website at any cost. I reached my goal during Baselworld 2016, although that meant that I had to temporarily put aside the review of some novelties like the Scafograf that I will nevertheless feature on Horbiter® very soon.
Whether you are Italian, French or American, you most likely know Tazio Nuvolari’s story; as Ferdinand Porsche said “he was the best pilot of yesterday, today and tomorrow” and I was lucky enough to learn about his deeds through my dad’s tales and a very beautiful song by Lucio Dalla. In a time when companies are constantly looking for occasions to strike new partnerships, Eberhard can still boast one of the longest and most successful partnership in the history of watch-making. It all started in 1992 when the manufacturer launched a two-counter-chrono that Federico Nolfi, one of my occasional collaborators, bought as soon as it was released to the market.
In those years, the Eberhard Tazio Nuvolari chronos were among the most popular special or limited series timepieces, it was a time when the concept of special series was not as popular as today and its logo featuring a turtle on the dial was some sort of a distinctive sign, at least in Italy. In 2003, the Eberhard Tazio Nuvolari Vanderbilt Cup reached the market eleven years after its predecessor but would you ever say that this timepiece looks thirteen?
If you take a look at some collections from 5 years ago, you will notice that they are old already, but when you take a proper look at the Vanderbilt Cup, you will immediately realize that it is as if time had stopped, it is one of those rare cases when a watch-maker is able to create a style that is to last for years and, sometimes, this happens just by sheer coincidence. The case measures 42mm and I often think that Graham used it as a source of inspiration for their Chronofighter, simply try to get rid of the trigger and take a closer look at the shape of the start&stop buttons located at 2 o’clock.
The high-lustre buffing is perfect and, at first sight, the Eberhard Tazio Nuvolari Vanderbilt Cup doesn’t look like a special model dedicated to Nuvolari since the TN logo is not on view, but it is engraved on the chrono button and on the inner side of the caseback. This can be opened through a button that is located in a perfectly symmetric location to the chrono button if compared to the winding crown where the reset button is coaxially inserted.
The steel-made case is a direct reference to the Replica collection that was launched in the 80s and that was inspired by the chrono watches that were given to the Royal Military Navy in the 30s and that featured a case made of 925-sterling silver, Vermeil (gold plated sterling silver) or 18-carat-gold, enameled dials and chrono calibers with a manual winding and a column-wheel mechanism. It is one of those rare opportunities that you shouldn’t miss, also keeping in mind that the price of these timepieces on the second-hand market is pretty accessible and that you can always count on Eberhard for a good overhaul – unless you are an expert watch collector and you know how to tackle an Excelsior Park 40 caliber yourself -.
The 42mm width is not an extremely interesting detail but rather a purely informative one, or at least it is not as interesting as the case’s thickness and its crafting method that makes the case appear as if it were a single block with no gaps that goes from the bezel all the way to the caseback.
When you open the cover, you can see the 7753-origin-caliber that has been customized according to Eberhard’s specific requirements and, for those of you who are caliber fans, that has probably been replaced by its Sellita-made counterparts. This caliber is probably not as fascinating as the manual caliber of an Eberhard vintage but it is nevertheless one of the most reliable movements available on the market and, unfortunately, not one of the reasons that would drive me to buy the Eberhard Tazio Nuvolari Vanderbilt Cup. I would definitely buy this timepiece for its white dial featuring blue enameled Arabic numbers that perfectly match the case and the leather-made strap with its red edges and its Declic-patented folding clasp.
Another reason that wouldn’t push me to get this timepiece is its heavy retail price that totals 5,250 euro. In the marketing gurus’ lingo this watch is a “hero” of the Eberhard collection, its non-in-house-made-mechanic-components are good but they are completely overshadowed by its perfect style, a unique experience when wrapped around your wrist (what’s your opinion about that?) a great colours matching and a real price that makes it even more appealing.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®