Eberhard & Co Five Eberhard & Co. watches to look out for at auction
Expert Geoffroy Ader helps us to pick out potential auction stars from Eberhard & Co.
Few watch brands are lucky enough to benefit from the knock-on effects of such stratospheric prices at auction, but in the case of Eberhard & Co. there are a number of other factors that make its watches appealing to collectors, with several examples showing that the right type of watch can also fetch respectable prices at auction. One of these is that Eberhard & Co. can look back on 130 years of uninterrupted production, which is something that relatively few brands outside the big names in high-end watchmaking can boast. Furthermore, throughout the brand’s history its timepieces have been produced and sold in relatively small quantities, making them rare. Here are five of the rarest that are sure winners at auction.
Ring watch, 1920s
So rare that the most information available is the photo on this page. Geoffroy Ader admits that in his 20-plus years of experience he has never even seen one at auction.
One of the most recent examples of an early Eberhard & Co. chronograph was sold at the Phillips “Start-Stop-Reset” thematic sale in Geneva in 2016. The 40mm model with a stainless-steel case and enamel dial was in excellent condition and sold for 16,250 Swiss francs – well above the higher end of its estimate.
Split-seconds chronographs, 1940s
One field in which Eberhard & Co. has been historically strong is split-seconds chronographs, where the brand can look back on historical models that date back to the 1940s. Two such models from 1939 sold at Christie’s in Geneva in 2014 for 40,000 Swiss francs. It is interesting to note that both models sold for the same price, even though one was in gold and the other in stainless steel. At the Phillips “Start-Stop-Reset” sale in 2016, an Eberhard & Co. split-seconds chronograph in stainless steel from 1939 sold for 45,000 Swiss francs. As Geoffroy Ader points out, steel can sometimes even be worth much more than gold at auction.
Split-seconds chronographs were originally developed to help pilots who needed the split-seconds function to navigate precisely between waypoints in the early days of aviation. Such precision became vital during the war years. So when the use of this function can be combined with two things that get collectors salivating – rarity and provenance – then the omens at auction are good. The perfect example of this was the so-called “Sistema Magini” split-seconds pocket chronograph. It takes its name from the pilot Publio Magini to whom it was issued for a return flight from Rome to Tokyo in 1942. It sold for €56,000 in 2012 at Meeting Art.
This is a case of a star model having a lasting impact on the brand, to the extent that the Extra-Fort is almost bigger than the brand Eberhard & Co. itself. The importance of having such a model that stands out among vintage watches, rather than just being a star brand that trades more on its image at auction, can also be an asset. At the moment, these models, though rare, are still relatively affordable when they come up at auction.
According to Geoffroy Ader, more and more collectors have been looking for sportier watches at auction over the past couple of years. Eberhard & Co. has a pedigree in this field with its Contograf and Scafograf models. Unfortunately, the former is very rare at auction, while the latter sells well in the right condition. At the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Three in 2016, a rare Scafograf from 1959 sold for 28,750 Swiss francs – over double the upper estimate.
Two other factors make Eberhard & Co. watches an appealing proposition for collectors. Firstly, the brand offers extracts from the archives for vintage pieces, providing that all-important confirmation and peace of mind for potential buyers. Secondly, the brand has a number of authentic testimonials from its customers dating back to the 1940s, which reinforces its historical legitimacy. This will be underscored even further with the launch of a new book dedicated to the 130 years of Eberhard & Co. next month.
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Since 1887, Eberhard & Co. has been synonymous with passion, innovation and attention to detail and design. These values have defined the Maison ever since it was founded.Find out more >
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