Once a name that flew far under the radar, Eberhard & Co. has gained momentum with collectors over the past few years on the back of its rich history, dating back to 1887. While modern interest started with their 1960s and 1970s steel sport-watches, the movement has trickled down to a general appreciation for what the brand created. Some of the names are funky— Scafograf, Contograf, Extra Fort— but these are serious watches built with a very serious collector base.
Eberhard is actually still around today and continues to fly just under the radar even to those paying close attention to the watch industry. But they do still make some great watches. In the vintage market, the brand took off just three years ago as collectors looked for the next big thing. The market for vintage Heuer, the in-vogue sector of the watch world for a time, began to dry up and many of those collectors moved towards Eberhard. Rightfully so.
For auction is a model that is classically styled but also unassuming; most everyone would have no idea what makes it so special. If we’re talking about an under the radar watch from a slightly under the radar brand you may be able to guess that what makes this watch special is the movement. If you did, you’d be right. Eberhard’s caliber 1600 is based upon the generic Valjoux 65, a great movement to begin with, but functions very differently.
This is actually a mono-pusher chronograph— start, stop, and reset are all controlled by the pusher at 3 o’clock. The ‘“bottom” pusher is not just there for show but works as a lock. Slide the 5 o’clock pusher and the chrono is locked rendering the “top” pusher useless until its brother is slid back to its original position. If you look close enough at the photo from the side of this watch you will see there is no hole for the bottom pusher to recess into.
Without a doubt, it is an innovation that may seem quirky but is actually extremely useful. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) long favored a single pusher at 5 o’clock in their military use bulk orders to companies like Birks and Rodania because one pusher was just more practical in the field. A pilot could hit the wrong one causing the timing to be thrown off. With the Extra Fort, there were no more accidental bumps of the 3 o’clock pusher. The Eberhard, although never used by the RCAF, would have been perfect for this purpose. Still a single pusher chrono but a wearer could create extra safety against bumps with that 3 o’clock lock.
This example has a case that is preserved in great condition. I hesitate slightly to say the all-important “unpolished” but I could see this wear being created through hard wear and a shirt cuff rather than a jeweler’s wheel.
No serious scratches or gouges are seen on the caseback nor the crystal.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are in good to great condition while appearing to be completely original. Non-lume variants, like this one, are a favorite of ours in vintage chronographs from this period. Without the radioactive material, the dial and hands are most often in better condition than if with lume. That is the case here, the rose gold-tone hands are in great condition.
One flaw to note is the slight discoloration in the metal hour markers, which looks similar to tarnish. This is more noticeable on some markers than others. A strong point of this dial is the completeness on the outer edge of the dial, many examples from this period begin to wash out near the edges thanks to simply age.
The spectacular Eberhard cal 1600 is in good running order, keeping accurate time and all chronograph functions work as they should. The service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manually Wound Cal 1600|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|