Eberhard & Co.: The Eagle Returns To La Chaux-de-Fonds
Few watch companies have more than 130 years of uninterrupted history. Eberhard & Co. is one of them. Founded in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1887, it moved to Bienne in 1969. The factory is now back in its hometown and recently inaugurated a museum retracing its rich heritage.
On Thursday, June 27, the watchmaking community gathered at the center of La Chaux-de-Fonds for the announcement of the return to the family home of Eberhard
A family party
The atmosphere was warm and moving with members of the original Eberhard family who rediscovered their "Eagle House" built in 1906. In 2009, the building was listed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO and this occasion was also a chance to celebrate the anniversary.
Barbara Monti, the current CEO of the manufacture, herself descendant of the Monti family, which is the second family that took over in the 1970s, was also there for the inauguration. A whole audience of journalists and local politicians joined the party, including many people from La Chaux-de-Fonds, young and old. Everyone came to witness the return of this great family watchmaking company to the region. A real big family celebration.
We have spent decades bringing together under this roof the iconic collection of timepieces, pocket watches, first wrist chronographs, women's watches that we present with pride here. It expresses the fundamental values of Eberhard & Co.
A museum full of a rich heritage
What better way to reconnect with one's roots than to reconnect with one's past? This is the very idea of the museum of Eberhard & Co., as Mario Peserico, general manager of the brand, said to Watchonista, "We have spent decades bringing together under this roof the iconic collection of timepieces, pocket watches, first wrist chronographs, women's watches that we present with pride here. It expresses the fundamental values of Eberhard & Co. Research that is both technical and aesthetic, supported by the strength and freedom of a family business."
The models presented tell more than 130 years of history. A “savonette” clock chronograph from the early 20th century; a monopusher chronograph bracelet from 1919 with an enamel dial and central telemeter red spiral; an avant-garde 1920 chronograph with jumping hours and minutes; elegant women's watches, Hyperbole or Désirée; the famous 8 days of 1997; emblematic Extra-strong, vintage AND new Scafografs, and the Tazio Nuvolari limited editions. A real highlight of creation and know-how of the family business presented in the family home.
All models, or almost all, are available to discover on site or at the museum, there is also plenty of archives, many period adverts and prestigious patents, witnesses of the glorious past and the recognized chronometric feats of the brand in true Eberhard style.
Those who missed the first visit of opportunity can rest assured, they quickly catch up. The new Eberhard & Co. museum will be part of the "open manufacture" circuit as part of the 9th "Horloger Heritage Biennale" scheduled for next November.
Quality and transparency
On this happy occasion, Eberhard & Co. took the opportunity to integrate its new EB140 caliber, introduced at the beginning of this year, in the continuity of its history. But, is it a manufacture movement? The always elegant general manager says in full transparency, "In a world of watchmaking where everyone prides themselves on" in-house "production, we have no problem to state clearly what we do. We have developed our movement on a Sellita ebauche that we have extensively customized. We brought our characteristic care for traditional decorations. We are a niche brand. To maintain our position, to partner with a renowned movement supplier is the best approach to ensure reliability and preserve our prices. What matters most is our identifiable design, ultimate quality, and transparency."
The new hand-wound movement is indeed beautifully finished with circular ribs on the bridges, blued screws and gold engravings.
The rise of the Eagle
The highlight of the show was the unveiling of the new eagle, missing from the roof of the house for years. The Eberhard branded drape finally removed, the imposing statue took off, towed in the air by a helicopter. At the price of meticulous and perilous work, she finally found her perch of yesteryear under the growing crowd. The Eagle is finally back!
The big Eberhard family was moved. Not just the members of the brand. All Chaux-de-Fonniers were unanimous, "It's good that the Eagle is back!"
It is now apparent that they all spoke of Eberhard & Co of which the eagle is just as synonymous as this famous family brand.
(Photography by Pierre Vogel)