WatchUSeek Watch Forums banner

1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I think I need help.

Obviously, I've enjoyed collecting Ebel watches. Obviously, I've gotten ridiculously good deals on them to feed that enjoyment. Obviously, I would not have bought nearly as many if they hadn't been throwing them at me at 25 cents on the dollar (or less). But all of that has led me to become a true fan. It's not that I don't recognize the flaws, or the (vast) mistakes that Ebel has made as a company, though many of those were not their own fault.

One of the most compelling stories in the last half-century of the watch world was how Charles Vermot squirreled away the tooling, parts, and already produced ebauches for the Zenith caliber 3019 PHC--the El Primero--in direct defiance of the orders of their Zenith Radio Corporation overlords. And everyone knows the El Primero's famed blew up when Rolex started using them in 1988 for the first automatic Daytona. Most Zenith aficionados know that Zenith halted production of the EP in the middle 70's, in response to their new owner's insistence on making only electronic watches.

Pierre-Alain Blum, the grandson of Ebel's founder and the man in charge from 1971 until 1995, was the guy that pushed Zenith, now freed from the Zenith Radio Corp ownership (it's a coincidence that both companies were name "Zenith"), to discover Vermot's deed and start selling the El Primero movement again. Blum had predicted the resurgence of mechanical watch popularity soon after he had brought out his very successful Sport Classic collection, with the wave bracelet, in 1978. But Ebel, as an etablisseur, didn't have a movement manufacture and needed to shop for the right movement to use. Nobody knows what led Blum to seek out Zenith rather than buying 7750's from Valjoux/ETA, which was in financial straits at the time--several years before the ASUAG/SMH merger under Hayek. Zenith was nearby, and newly independent, as was Ebel, and perhaps that was the reason. In any case, Blum started buying movements from Zenith, and in 1982 came out with the Chronosport, aka Sport Classic Chronograph. This watch had the wave bracelet common to the Sport Classic line. In 1986, Blum celebrated the 75th anniversary of Ebel by bringing out the 1911 collection, and I think it was that time when they added the more conventional linked bracelet for that series. There are examples of 1911 Chronographs with El Primeros marked caliber 40.0, which was a transitional marking that occurred during 1986 only. There are examples of El Primero-equipped Ebel Sport Classic Chronographs with the wave bracelet that were marked 3019PHC on the movement, and it's possible these were the old stock of ebauches that Vermot had hidden. Later, the movements were marked caliber 400, as El Primeros are marked today. I don't know yet if this one is a 40.0, or a 400, but with the linked bracelet, it's unlikely to be a 3019PHC. We shall see when it arrives.

Ebel called all the El Primero movements they used Caliber 134 (the perpetual calendar version that later became the 410 was an Ebel 136). When Rolex started using EP's (as their cal. 4030) in 1988, Zenith reportedly had trouble keeping up with demand. Many other companies were also using those movements, simply because they were the best high-grade chronograph movement that was available as an ebauche to mid-range companies at that time. But Blum was concerned Zenith would not be able to meet demand (and likely Zenith was increasing their prices), and he started the development of his own movement, the caliber 137, which first appeared in watches in 1995. Roland Ranfft believes that the Zenith movements were used for several more years in some watches to use up remaining stock. So, this one must date from 1986 (when the new bracelet design came out) and the late 90's when they ran out of the Caliber 134.

I already have Ebels with the 137 and its sibling, the 139, but an Ebel with an El Primero was always high on the wish list. But many that I've seen had too many problems, or two uncertain a history, or too high a price.

Here it is:

VEB01836.png

Ebel 1134901. I have a two-tone dress watch in a similar case now, and I love it for being just different than most of what else is out there. This one is on a bracelet. Dimensions are 40mm case (nominal--these cases are hard to measure), 12mm thick. I like thin watches and this one is quite so for a chronograph.

I bought this watch from (gasp!) Tourneau, in their online certified pre-owned store. It was on sale at a very decent price (and VERY decent for any vintage El Primero-equipped watch), with the claim of recent overhaul and a two-year warranty. It's good to know part numbers, because they failed to mention the Zenith movement in their description. But the reference number tells all 1-steel case with gold bezel, 134-Zenith El Primero, 901-40mm chronograph case.

Yes, Geoff, another bloody Ebel.

Rick "now in wait mode" Denney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
591 Posts
My envy is a credit to your good taste and discerning eye. I remember seeing a similar watch on a sales forum, but couldn't risk divorce by buying it.

Congratulations!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,086 Posts
Saw thread title, without looking immediately knew the author :)

Congratulations Rick! I know you've been looking for an EP-powered Ebel for awhile. A perfect marriage of two of your favorite brands.

Just a very minor edit: the cal 410 is a triple (or full) calendar, not a perpetual one.

Anyway, congrats on a great acquisition! You're off to quite the start in 2014.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,883 Posts
Very nice! BTW what was your first Ebel?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rdenney

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,061 Posts
Wow and congratulations Rick! You've got an enviable Ebel collection already, and this is going to be a great addition.

Rod "congratulating Rick on another Ebel conquest" Brylawski
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rdenney

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Very nice! BTW what was your first Ebel?
1911 Chronometer, cal. 120 (ETA 2892), same steel case with gold bezel, but 38mm instead of 40. That smaller case has housed some great movements, too.



Rick "first of many" Denney
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well done Rick. Definitely one of if not the most collectible of Ebels. I hope its condition lives up to your expectations.
A solid gold version of this watch with the wave bracelet would be more collectible, but also out of reach. That's the one Sonny Crockett wore, heh.

And I hope so, too. I know Tourneau's service reputation is spotty, but I've never seen where their certified pre-owned watches were poorly overhauled. Watchbreath may see this and comment--he'd know. But it's certainly a smaller risk than eBay.

Rick "hopeful and confident" Denney
 

·
Moderator Public Forum
Joined
·
10,281 Posts
A solid gold version of this watch with the wave bracelet would be more collectible, but also out of reach. That's the one Sonny Crockett wore, heh.

And I hope so, too. I know Tourneau's service reputation is spotty, but I've never seen where their certified pre-owned watches were poorly overhauled. Watchbreath may see this and comment--he'd know. But it's certainly a smaller risk than eBay.

Rick "hopeful and confident" Denney
Well if you'd bought the YG version on the wave bracelet I'd suggest that you would be obligated to grow a mullet and buy a Ferrari Daytona (or build a fake one like the Miami Vice team did) ;-)

Definitely less risky than ebay. I look forward to the pics!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,501 Posts
I think this may be some sort of nefarious scheme to buy up 10% of the Ebels in North America, flood the market causing prices to crash, and then horde 20% of the Ebels in North America….

Congrats on your superfluous Ebel!

Matt 'Gordon Gecko should have worn a solid gold Ebel' Palmer
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,396 Posts
Discerning choice indeed, congratulations Rick!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rdenney

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,094 Posts
Congrats on a fine choice! Enjoy! Don't forget to post some wrist shots!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rdenney

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,452 Posts
You're a sick sick man... and I love you for it!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rdenney

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Well if you'd bought the YG version on the wave bracelet I'd suggest that you would be obligated to grow a mullet and buy a Ferrari Daytona (or build a fake one like the Miami Vice team did) ;-)

Definitely less risky than ebay. I look forward to the pics!
Me with a mullet is an even worse idea than me driving a fake Ferrari. I don't think I could carry off the Don Johnson look.

miamiviceebel.jpg

Don-Johnson-Ebel.jpg

I'm not a solid-gold kinda guy. In fact, I'm thinking I'll call up Ebel and order a strap even for this watch, brown like the one on my 1911 Chronometer.

Rick "who has, however, already ordered an extra bracelet link" Denney
 
  • Like
Reactions: GlennO

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,579 Posts
Very nice, Rick! Congrats on the purchase, and wear it in good health!

By the way, did Ebel already make you brand ambassador???? :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I think this may be some sort of nefarious scheme to buy up 10% of the Ebels in North America, flood the market causing prices to crash, and then horde 20% of the Ebels in North America….

Congrats on your superfluous Ebel!

Matt 'Gordon Gecko should have worn a solid gold Ebel' Palmer
As many watches as I've bought from the local Movado Company Store, I'm still not their best customer. The Redhead is a better customer than I am, but even she is not their best customer. But maybe those others are going back to Europe or the Middle East and selling them. Considering the size of the market for Ebels, I think Movado is already flooding it causing the prices to crash. Further crashing seems unlikely. But they hold value pretty well considering their obscurity--if you can find a buyer. Every one of the Ebels in the preowned shop at Tourneau is on special sale.

There are few watches that display brand DNA as clearly as do Ebels. Most watches are trying to catch a wave, so to speak, being ridden by Rolex or Cartier. Ebel went their own way. Sure, they embraced quartz, and sure, they made lots of watches for other brands (in the 70's it was Cartier). And some of their watches do borrow styles--the Brasilia is a tank, for example. But the Sport Classic and subsequent 1911 lines have their own look even though they vary quite a bit within those lines. There are lots of watch companies that struggle to achieve that.

This is not the superfluous Ebel, by the way. Others might be, but not this one. If I ever had a chance to shake Pierre-Alain Blum's hand, this is the watch I'd want to be wearing.

Rick "waiting impatiently for the shipping confirmation from Tourneau" Denney

EDIT: All I had to do was write the above. Within five seconds of posting this, the shipping confirmation from Tourneau appeared.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mpalmer

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,251 Posts
While i love what you are getting. This one is brilliant too. Congrats on a brilliant find & a great write-up (which i wouldn't have read if not written by you ;-) ).

1911 Chronometer, cal. 120 (ETA 2892), same steel case with gold bezel, but 38mm instead of 40. That smaller case has housed some great movements, too.

Rick "first of many" Denney
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,271 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Very nice, Rick! Congrats on the purchase, and wear it in good health!

By the way, did Ebel already make you brand ambassador???? :)
I can't even get their Swiss people to answer my emails.

Rick "going there in April but probably not for a visit to Ebel" Denney
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
29,006 Posts
You picked one of their only good looking watches, IMHO. Nice choice.
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
Top