Eberhard & Co. watches: history, innovations and models

Eberhard & Co. watches: history, innovations and models

Eberhard & Co. is one of the few, if not the only notable Swiss watch brand not owned by a Swiss luxury group. Founded in 1887 in La Chaux de Fonds by Georges Eberhard under the name of "Manufacture d'Horlogerie Eberhard & Co.," it is today among the most successful independent brands, capable of maintaining an enduring position among independent Swiss mechanical watch manufacturers. The Monti family now owns the brand, under the leadership of Barbara, the CEO who took the reins of the company once acquired, it was 1969, by his father Palmiro Monti, one of the most visionary entrepreneurs in the business.

maison-de-l-aigle-musee-eberhard-and-coWe list below some of the brand's milestones. In November 2018, Eberhard & Co. officially moved back to its historic location in La Chaux de Fonds. The brand boasts several innovative timepieces, many of which are in the brand's museum.

maison-de-l-aigle-museum-eberhard-and-co-watchesAlso, Eberhard & Co. has a large production of chronographs, including split-seconds chronographs, which is second to none along with a large following of enthusiasts. A great legacy that the current management aims at helping the company turn, in my opinion, into a vertically integrated manufacturing anytime soon.

1894: Eberhard & Co. reference 388477.

The brand unveils the Lépine pocket watch showcasing a 58mm large case; the reference 388477 came equipped with an alarm that can be activated via a key.

1894-lepine
The watch also features an innovative time-setting mechanism, and a double case-back.

1919: Eberhard & Co. reference 196402.

Eberhard & Co. introduces its first wrist chronograph, namely a single push-piece chronograph. It comes equipped with a column-wheel system.

eberhard-and-co-1919-single-push-piece-chronograph-ref-196402The case is in 18-carat yellow gold coupled with a hesalite glass. It has a 40,50mm wide case, Breguet styled hands, and double telemetric scale: one along the chapter ring, the second in the center. It is Eberhard & Co. reference 196402

1920: Eberhard & Co. reference 308540.

The Eberhard & Co. reference 308540 is a manually wound timepiece with jumping hours and minutes and a single push-piece chronograph. According to the official website, it dates back to 1905, but a more recent document from the brand's museum, reports the year 1920.

eberhard-and-co-1920-cronografo-ore-minuti-saltanti-1920-308540What dates back to 1906 instead is the patented system for the jumping hours and minutes. Again, it comes with a column-wheel mechanism, tachymetric and telemetric scales, and offers a 1/5 second time elapsed reading. 

1921: Eberhard & Co. reference 327057.

In 1921 Eberhard & Co. presented the reference 327057, featuring a double 28mm diameter case, crafted in 925 silver.

eberhard-and-co-1921-chronometer-patrouille-ref-327057Named the "Patrouille," it comes with the "calotte patrouille" that helps protect the movement from dust and humidity. The system was patented in the same year.

1939: Eberhard & Co. Rattrapante Chronograph reference 1000129.

Here is the wonderful reference 1000129, the first-ever double chronograph released by the brand. Featuring a 40mm large case, the Eberhard & Co. Rattrapante Chronograph has the standard Chronograph buttons located at two and four o'clock, while the split-second additional one is coaxial with the winding crown.

eberhard-and-co-1939-double-chronograph-bicompax-ref-1000129Today, Eberhard & Co. is among the largest producers of split-second chronographs, that belong to the Tazio Nuvolari line up, mainly.

1940: Eberhard & Co. Extra-Fort.

This year marks the debut of the first-ever Extra-Fort with sliding push-button. This new collection introduces one of the most popular, top-selling, and highly sought-after Eberhard & Co.'s chronographs, featuring a bi-compax, or three-counter layout and crafted either in steel or gold.

1942: the Magini system.

It is the year that marks the debut of the "Magini system," a double chronograph that was the protagonist of the first Rome-Tokyo visual flight. It contributed to the success of Italian military aviation operation, taking its name from the heroic pilot to whom it was first given, Publio Magini. The chronograph was used during Rome to Tokyo, and back, recurring flights held in 1942. At that time, the Italian forces could not communicate with each other via radio because the Anglo-Americans had decrypted their secret codes. Italy, Germany, and Japan decided, therefore, to connect the three countries with a regular air service intended for the exchange of strategic information.

eberhard-co-magini-mod-magThe Italians were the only ones to succeed in this secret mission, thanks to this watch that soon became one of the key tools during navigation. A second version called the "Mag. Mod." that Bolaffi has recently auctioned is pictured here and sold for a record € 156,000. It is the second example of a Magini Chronograph that has ever been found, after the prototype used during the epic military mission, which is owned by a famous collector.

1962: Eberhard & Co. Scafograf 200 reference 11706.

Eberhard & Co. introduces the Scafograf 200 diving watch. Reference 11706 has a 42,50mm large steel case, date window at 3 o'clock, luminescent hands, and hour markers.

eberhard-and-co--scafograf-200-ref-11706Lyre-shaped lugs and crown protectors complete the package. It will then followed in 1964 by Eberhard & Co. Scafograf 300.

1974: Eberhard & Co. Automatic High Frequency reference 26702.

The reference 26702 debuts, and offers a high-frequency automatic wound mechanical movement. Eberhard & Co. Automatic High Frequency has a 39,00mm tall by 35,30mm wide case, a double window for the day and date indication, and hesalite glass.

eberhard-and-co-automatico-alta-frequenza-1974-ref-11706Perhaps, one of the most unusual and unexpected Eberhard & Co. watches ever made.

1986: Eberhard & Co. Chronomaster Frecce Tricolori reference 32003.

In 1986 Eberhard & Co. launched the Chronomaster Frecce Tricolori. The reference 32003 is a chronograph powered by an electromechanical movement with LCD, subsequently made in other variations.

eberhard-and-co-1986-chronomaster-frecce-tricolori-ref-32003Featuring a 33mm large case, it has a matte blue dial, offers a 1/100 second reading on display, and a rotating bezel with a sixty-minute scale.

1992: Eberhard & Co. Tazio Nuvolari.

Eberhard & Co. introduces the Tazio Nuvolari chronograph to celebrate one hundred years since the birth of the Italian racing driver. The Tazio Nuvolari collection is the brand's sports collection par excellence. From 1992 to date, Eberhard & Co. will launch multiple versions of the Tazio Nuvolari chronograph, including one showcasing a hand-engraved gold mechanical movement or a split-second function.

1992: Eberhard & Co. Tazio Nuvolari Géant Rattrapante.

Initially introduced in 1992 as a two-register chronograph, the Tazio Nuvolari Géant Rattrapante reference 31035 is an extremely exclusive product variation, launched in 1996, and crafted in just twelve pieces.

eberhard-co-tazio-nuvolari-geant-rattrapante-31035Featuring an oversized 51mm large case, it offers an uncommon architecture that combines a single push-piece chronograph coaxial to an oversized winding crown, to start, stop and reset the Chrono, and an additional button at two o'clock for the split function activation. The manual winding movement was particularly refined; it was equipped with two column wheels to manage the chronograph functions separately.

2017: Eberhard & Co. Chrono 4 130 Anniversary Limited Edition.

To celebrate its first 130 years, Eberhard & Co. presents the Chrono 4 130 Anniversary Limited Edition. Featuring the brand's 1919 logo, placed horizontally on the dial, the Eberhard & Co. Chrono 4 130 Anniversary Limited Edition is a skeletonized version of the standard Chrono 4.

eberhard-chrono-4-130-limited-editionThe skeletonized dial allows seeing the main plate and gears since the upper bridge is in the shape of a smoked sapphire glass disc, just 3 tenths of an mm thick, on which a rhodium-plated and screwed plate is applied.

Here is a list of the most popular Eberhard & Co. watches' hands-on reviews, on Horbiter®:

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