July 24, 2015
by Ariel Adams
Eberhard & Co. is one of the Swiss watch brands that we don’t cover too often on aBlogtoWatch, but that isn’t because they don’t make nice watches – and the still new Eberhard & Co. Contograf is one of my favorites. If you’ve been aware of Eberhard & Co. previously, it is probably for their chronograph watches that have four small subdials all in a row. While I love the uniqueness that comes with a brand’s signature products, I am going to be honest that I like this much more familiar looking vintage re-issue watch that Eberhard & Co. based on a model from the 1960s.
Despite my assertion that the Eberhard & Co. Contograf has a familiar vintage sports watch look, it does have a lot of unique elements to it that help it stand out from the crowd. So in addition to the timeless look of the legible sports watch dial, you first have an excellent quality case and bracelet. These are things you can really only understand after holding it in your hand and wearing it for yourself. For the Eberhard & Co. Contograf collection, the brand really focuses on a lot of detailing and quality construction for the steel. The case is solid and has very nice rounded edges. The same goes for the bracelet. All the pieces are milled and polished, and for the price, I think there is a wonderful weight and sense of substance from the watch.
Meeting with Eberhard & Co. at Baselworld 2015 was an interesting experience, to say the least. Their familiarity with digital media is… well, highly limited. While the company is Swiss, it is run by Italians and has that distinct sense of Italian energy but also disorganization. I had to make it quite clear to them that I was interested in seeing the Eberhard & Co. Contograf, and that I understood it was from 2014. aBlogtoWatch originally wrote about the Eberhard & Co Contograf watch here.
In addition to the existing black or white dialed versions of the Eberhard & Co. Contograf, for 2015, Eberhard & Co. released the “Contograf Special Edition.” What is special about it? The answer is camouflage. OK, I know what you are thinking – isn’t adding camouflage to pretty much any design just a cheap 10-years-ago trick of attempting to make it look cool? Perhaps, but it still works on a vintage-styled watch like this. The Eberhard & Co. Contograf Special Edition Camouflage actually comes in two versions, one with a green ceramic bezel and another with a black ceramic bezel. The green ceramic bezel version of the Eberhard & Co. Contograf Special Edition is perhaps one of the more unique “easy-to-love” diver-style chronograph watches around. It comes on an olive green NATO-style strap and has a great character to it.
One pretty big downside to the Eberhard & Co. Contograf collection is the water resistance. For a diver’s style watch, the company wants you to put up with only 50 meters of water resistance. That more or less means light swimming, if that. I am not saying that I recommend against it, but Eberhard & Co. should have really given this watch 100 meters of water resistance. As far as I understand it, all that means are some better gaskets or seals around the chronograph pushers. The crown is screw-down, as it is – and so is the caseback.
The brand remained true to the original Eberhard & Co. Contograf watches from the 1960s, with an elegant yet sports dial which benefits both from symmetry and those cool dauphine-style hands. I love dauphine hands and really think the watch world could use more of them. A very odd design feature is located in the 30-minute chronograph subdial. In there, you’ll find three large markers at the 3, 6, and 9 minute markers. What are they? Well, according to Eberhard & Co., they are a vestige from the original Eberhard & Co. Contograf and were intended to help people time phone calls.
Why time phone calls? Well, apparently, people who wore 1960s-era Eberhard & Co.Contograf watches were the type to make a lot of long distance calls, but because Eberhard & Co. is the watch maker of prudent people, they nevertheless needed to monitor the duration of those calls. Do you remember when long distance land line calls were insanely expensive? I do… and so do the people at Eberhard & Co.
While the dial of the Eberhard & Co. Contograf isn’t particularly original, it is satisfying. Detailing is cool; I like the red date font text color, and there is a good level of contrast, which makes legibility very strong. The thick, nicely polished steel and a ceramic bezel make for a good frame for the face as well. Over the dial is a domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal. On the wrist, the Eberhard & Co. Contograf is a decent 42mm wide, and 14.7mm thick, with 21mm-wide spaced lugs. That is a very good median size that will look good on many people’s wrists.
Inside the watch is the Eberhard & Co. caliber 8147 movement which is a base Swiss ETA 7750 automatic chronograph. Nothing special or particularly unique, but Eberhard & Co. isn’t focusing the Contograf to be the type of watch to impress people with its movement.
Eberhard & Co. does make the Contograf available with the NATO strap and other leather strap options, but I think anyone would be utterly silly in not getting the special patented “Declic” steel metal bracelet. It is difficult to describe exactly what makes the bracelet so nice. It really goes back to the tactile and wearing experience. The heavy steel bracelet has no sharp edges and the deployant clasp – while a bit on the odd side – is unique and helps the bracelet sit quite flush to your wrist. You do, however, have to put up with the small lever which is part of the unlocking system which sits to the side of the bracelet when closed. This isn’t the first Eberhard & Co. watch to feature this deployant system, either.
A unique treat that makes the Eberhard & Co. Contograf chronograph watches special is their familiar look with uncommon detailing, from a known brand that most people don’t really know. It’s like the niche luxury sports watch that doesn’t look niche. For those who have also worn or owned one, I am curious to hear your thoughts. Prices for the Eberhard & Co. Contograf watches are 5,460 Swiss Francs for the standard Contograf on a strap and 6,200 Swiss Francs on the bracelet. The Eberhard & Co. Contograf Special Edition on a strap is priced at 5,570 Swiss Francs and 6,310 Swiss Francs on a bracelet. eberhard-co-watches.ch