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Eberhard & Co.  - Return to the eagle's nest

Eberhard & Co. Return to the eagle's nest

Decades of waiting are over. Eberhard & Co. has returned to La Chaux-de-Fonds, to its old address, that of its historic headquarters. The symbolism is hard to miss, but that’s not all there is to it.

On 3 November last year, after 40 years’ exile in Bienne, Eberhard & Co. moved back to its historic headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds. For the time being, only a few employees are based there – half a dozen at most. But eventually there will be three times that number.

It’s a one-way journey. Not only have the offices in Bienne closed permanently, but in a highly symbolic gesture, the official headquarters have now been officially relocated to La Chaux-de-Fonds. “We’ve gone back to our roots,” states managing director Mario Peserico, clearly happy with the move.

In her father’s footsteps

The building was commissioned by the founding family of the brand in 1906, when the company was just 20 years old. The six stories of the imperially inspired building – a conspicuous status symbol – originally accommodated both the company workshops and the residence of the Eberhard family, as was customary at the time.

Retour au nid de l’Aigle

© Eberhard & Co.

Barbara Monti, the current CEO, remembers spending time there when she was around ten years old. She is the daughter of Palmiro Monti, the manager at the time, who had offices in the Maison de l’Aigle up to the mid-1970s. In fact, it was she who was the driving force behind this return home, after she was contacted initially about co-funding the building’s restoration.

Not just a symbol

But the move is not merely symbolic. By returning to La Chaux-de-Fonds, Eberhard & Co. is moving closer to its historic partners which are based in the area, and in nearby Saint-Imier. The name “Eberhard & Co. – La Chaux-de-Fonds” is also an important designation of origin that the marketing department will be sure to utilise. The very latest calibre released by the company has the name of the town proudly engraved on its ratchet wheel.

Retour au nid de l’Aigle

Mario Peserico, managing director of the brand © Eberhard & Co.

The idea that Eberhard could eventually occupy the entire building, turning it into a workshop or even a manufacture, does not require any great leap of faith, although it’s not currently on the cards. For the time being, the company just has a few offices. This is where assembly and testing, the technical office and some support functions are housed. The other offices in the building are rented by other businesses. Eberhard & Co. has made a symbolic conquest, but there are still other floors to colonise!

Restoring the eagle

Today, the rehabilitation and restoration work continues. One project in particular has special symbolic significance: the restoration of the sculpture that watches over the building, and which gives it its nickname. Everyone knows it as the Maison de l’Aigle or the “Eagle building”. Mario Peserico notes with a smile: “Sometimes we still receive letters addressed to Eberhard & Co., Maison de l’Aigle, La Chaux-de-Fonds – and they reach us!” The majestic raptor is currently undergoing restoration.

 

Museum opening soon

When will it be back? Ideally, by the middle of 2019. “That’s when we will have finished moving in, and completed three new premises nearby,” explains Mario Peserico. But why three new premises, rather than offices? Because eventually, in a few months, they will be the site of the first Eberhard & Co. museum. Currently, many of the company’s historic timepieces are in Lugano, Eberhard & Co’s second address, located to serve its main market, Italy. With the repatriation to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the company is preparing to write a new chapter in its history.

Retour au nid de l’Aigle

Mario Peserico, managing director of the brand © Eberhard & Co.

The brand

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.

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