If you’re new to watch collecting, you most likely haven’t heard of this brand. However, if you’re a watch enthusiast and an experienced collector, Ebel watches are surely on your radar. Especially, if you’re into collecting high-quality Swiss watches, Ebel surely gets the recognition it so deserves from people like you. As Ebel thrives through almost a century and a decade of Swiss watchmaking excellence, we look back to its roots. Let’s dive into the history of Ebel and learn how this Swiss brand went from a forgotten classic to a timeless favourite.
Ebel, The Brand
Ebel falls on the affordable luxury category of watches. This Swiss brand applies traditional design on their timepieces without sacrificing luxury. Despite the classic look of their watches, Ebel doesn’t have a hard time having a loyal clientele. In fact, this trait keeps the brand a top choice among collectors. For people who have a knack for collecting traditionally-designed watches, Ebel perfectly embodies this for you. The refined beauty of each timepiece from the brand’s collections keeps it luxury-appropriate as well as a great day-to-day choice of timepiece.
The brand’s name is actually an acronym for the words “Eugene Blum Et Levy.” Therefore, Ebel. Eugene Blum and Alice Levy, husband and wife, founded the brand in 1911. Since then, the company has been producing high-quality timepieces. More than a hundred years later, Ebel continues to prove its luxurious status without having to be as expensive as brands such as Omega and Rolex. It is, however, on par with other luxury brands such as TAG Heuer and Longines when it comes to quality. The great thing about the brand is the fact that Ebel watches don’t fall on the pricey category.
Ebel comfortably goes on with a loyal following. So, despite the brand not being widely available, people gravitate toward it. The brand proves to be an easy and quality choice that most people prefer as their daily choice for a reliable watch.
History of Ebel Watches
For more than a hundred years, Ebel has only been offering quality timepieces. Its history goes a long way from the foundation of the brand by husband and wife to generations of leaders. Its beginnings go straight back to 1911 in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
Foundation and Expansion
Eugene Blum and Alice Levy-Blum opened up a workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. This town is one of the most prominent names in the Swiss watchmaking industry. This town in the Canton of Neuchâtel in the Swiss Jura housed some of the most prominent brands in the industry today. Aside from Ebel, it’s also the hometown of brands like Breitling, Girard-Perregaux, Omega, and Tissot.
For years, Ebel functioned as a local brand, managed by Eugene and Alice themselves. However, in 1932, as market demands, the brand expanded internationally. Under the management of their son, Charles, the brand took on the global market to introduce Ebel to the rest of the world.
New Generation Leader
Since the beginning, Ebel embraced innovation while observing tradition. In fact, the brand is the first watch company to use the “Western Electric” Precision system. After that, Ebel took on greater responsibilities as any other watch brands did at the time. In 1939, the brand began manufacturing timepieces for the British Royal Airforce.
Also under Charles Blum’s management, the company went on a strong partnership with the brand Cartier. Ebel oversaw the production for Cartier watches that gave them a significant boost in publicity. This caused the brand to earn a positive reputation around the 1970s and 1980s. At the time, the brand upheld its slogan, “Architect of the times”.
After the rise in the brand’s rep, Ebel’s iconic ‘Sports Classique’ line launched with much anticipation and great success. Then, in 1982, the company introduced the Chronograph Sport-Automatik. This was followed by a perpetual calendar chronograph. The success of these timepieces triggered the creation of other collections that, to this day, remain an integral part of the brand’s identity. Collections such as the Voyager, Beluga Lichine, and Sportwave followed suit with imminent success. Fast forward to 2001, Ebel launched Classic Wave, a remake of the brand’s 1911 timepiece. And in 2002, Ebel took inspiration form the Southern Seas in producing a line of timepieces incorporated with jewels.
Changes in Management
As Ebel saw a new era in the watchmaking industry and as modernity took over Swiss brands, it also faced changes in management that pushed the brand further into development. Investcorp, the brand’s primary shareholder at the time, took over leadership in the company in 1994. Immediately after that, Investcorp sold Ebel over to LVMH and for a while, the brand functioned under the group.
After almost a decade, the Movado Group adopted Ebel and incorporated it. The company, yet again, faced changes, especially, production-wise. Under the Movado Group, Ebel had to increase the production of their timepieces. Despite this, however, their watches are still not mass-produced, per se. They still have a controlled number of timepieces produced yearly that makes them not as prominent in stores.
La Maison Ebel
Ebel’s affiliation with architecture was cemented as they acquired the famous Villa Turque in 1986. Coinciding with the brand’s 75th anniversary, the villa now holds a great part of Ebel’s heritage. The villa, designed and built by Charles Edouard Jeanneret, perfectly captures the inspiration of all Ebel watches. The brand’s identity will forever be attached to the villa.
Ebel Watch Collections
Ebel kept their selection of timepieces precise and completely refined. This puts the brand in the luxurious status together with its efforts in raising its standards. The brand’s traditional designs reflect on its timepieces with great care that, to this day, it remains a timeless choice of watch among enthusiasts.
1. Ebel Sport Classic
The Ebel Sport Classic serves as the brand’s flagship collection. Upon its launch in the 1970s, the Sport Classic became an instant hit. Marrying the craftsmanship of the era as well as its simple beauty, the design signature of Ebel rests on this collection. It brings classic designs to the new generation of watch aficionados.
The thin geometric features of the timepiece perfectly capture a flawless aesthetic that’s quintessential to the brand. As a representative of the original Sport Classic model, tapered links and flat surface define the watch’s bracelet, only thinner and sleeker. This makes for comfortable wear throughout the day, doing any activity.
The collection offers three sizes of stainless steel cases — the Ebel Women’s Mini at 24mm, the Ebel Classic Sports Lady at 29mm, and the Ebel Sports Classic Gent at a stunning 40mm. Distinct with its hexagonal shape, it has flat, anti-reflective sapphire crystal protecting the timepiece. The watch comes with either a yellow gold or steel bezel with 18K gold screws holding the gold bezel in place. The watch’s crown comes with the brand’s logo, the kissing Es. To give the timepiece a more modern look, Ebel gave it sans-serif indexes. The Roman numerals give it a touch of elegance to keep it understated yet refined.
The Ebel Sport Classic comes in either Swiss quartz or Swiss automatic movements.
2. Ebel Wave
The Ebel Wave takes elegance on a different level. Launched shortly after the Sport Classic, the Wave had a smoother, sleeker look than its predecessor. When put side by side with the Sport Classic, the Wave wouldn’t show much difference at first glance. However, the Wave doesn’t have the exposed screws as the Sport Classic, keeping the visuals of the timepiece polished. It has the same Hexagonal-shaped case, but its curve proves more defined with the Wave. Given the name of the collection, the wave has a case with a unique monohull and a bracelet with a wave-shaped link. This makes the Wave such a distinct timepiece in itself.
As with other Ebel watches, the Wave comes in either Swiss automatic or Swiss quartz movements. It also comes with a chronograph movement for more demanding time needs. The chronograph movement is in quartz, so despite the extra feature, it remains a more affordable yet reliable choice.
3. Ebel Discovery
The Ebel Discovery collection proves true to its name with a collection of timepieces for adventurers. Compared to other collections from the brand, the Discovery features a sportier look. The collections put together the classic sports watch look without sacrificing elegance. The timepieces come with either stainless steel bezel, gold bezel, or a rotating bezel. Surely, there’s an Ebel Discovery watch for everybody given its range of dial colours and style. The Discovery comes in a variety of dial colours such as black, bronze, pink, green, and mother of pearl.
Given the nature of the collection’s target market, the Ebel Discovery also boasts great water resistance. The basic Discovery timepiece has a depth rating of 100m (330 feet) as with its chronograph version. Meanwhile, an Ebel Discovery dive watch that comes with a rotating bezel features a depth rating of 200m or 660 feet. It also comes with an additional black rubber strap for a more comfortable fit on a wet suit.
4. Ebel Brasilia
The Ebel Brasilia was launched in 2011. Ebel tagged this collection as “the quintessential spirit of the architects of time”. The watch features a sleek design with a rectangular case and geometric details. The alternating polished and satin-brushed steel finish highlights the watch’s architecture. The dial also includes a patterned centre and an elegant Roman numeral hour indexes. However, as the collection is more geared toward women, it also has diamond-set indexes available.
5. Ebel Beluga
Ebel women’s watches surely have a distinct look that perfectly captures the brand’s aesthetic. The Ebel Beluga takes the brand’s classic look and adds flashy details with diamonds. The collection features stainless steel cases that are distinctly big for a women’s watch at 28mm, highlighted by the slim bracelet. It comes in either stainless steel, gold, or combination materials with a sapphire crystal as protection. But what makes this timepiece truly elegant and sparkling is the diamond-framed bezel as well as diamond-set indexes.
Appealing more like a piece of jewellery, this timepiece gives a luxurious look that not only serves its purpose but maybe a good investment as well.
6. Ebel E-Type and X-1
The brand also came out with collections aimed for sports watch enthusiasts: the E-Type and X-1. The Ebel E-Type comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and a rubber strap for optimum rugged wear. It also comes with a depth rating of 100m, perfect for any activity with water contact. The Ebel X-1, on the other hand, features a classic dive watch aesthetic. It appeals to those who like to transition their timepieces from sports activities to everyday activities.
Ebel Watches Pricing
Ebel watches prove more affordable than other luxury watches, that’s why it falls under the affordable luxury category. Sitting alongside Longines, TAG Heuer, and Baume et Mercier in price range, Ebel may go from as reasonably priced as less than $1,000 to as expensive as $25,000. There are certain things to consider with every watch’s pricing and the same thing applies with Ebel. Some of their timepieces come in a more affordable quartz movement, while others come in automatic movements. Watch materials also have a great effect on a watch’s pricing. For instance, watches with gold details are more expensive than stainless steel ones. Ebel also incorporates diamonds on certain watches so it’s not surprising how the price of their watches vary so much.
Are Ebel Watches Any Good?
Ebel watches, in general, are underrated. A lot of brand-conscious collectors have a hard time leaning on this choice given that it’s not as prominent as other watch brands. So, even if it’s on the same price range as TAG Heuer, more people will lean on Heuer for its prominence. But that’s not to say that Ebel is any bad. In fact, it’s one of the most reliable brands available today. Most people who end up with an Ebel watch only have great words for the brand.
Ebel takes great care of its heritage that it embraces its usual design choices. The traditional timepieces, anchored with modern movements, make Ebel such a good choice for a watch that lasts. Given this, a lot of collectors still give Ebel the credit it so deserves.
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