Eberhard & Co. The life and times of the Extra-fort
Eberhard & Co. created the Extra-fort in the 1940s. Today, it has become one of the independent watchmaker’s most iconic collections. Let’s take a look at some of the current models.
Next year, independent watchmaker Eberhard & Co. will celebrate its 130th year of uninterrupted activity. The company was founded in 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds by Georges Eberhard. Driven from the outset by a passion for precision, the company quickly began to specialise in technical watches. 1919 saw the arrival of the most advanced wrist chronograph of its time. In 1935, the manufacture created a completely new chronograph, with push-buttons to govern the start and stop functions, without reset. 1939 marked the introduction of the split-seconds chronograph, allowing two separate timing sessions to be recorded. Towards the end of the 1940s, this was followed by the Extra-fort chronograph, which had a sliding push-button to measure intermediate times, something never seen before. In the 1960s, the company developed a way of simultaneously setting the date, and in 1997 the eight-day power reserve was born.
The Extra-fort watch, launched in the late 1940s, takes its name from its robust case. It is considered the precursor of all the contemporary chronographs created by Eberhard & Co. for the “sporty chic” market. Since its introduction, the Extra-fort has become one of the company’s most iconic models, with successive commemorative reissues and reinterpretations benefiting from significant technical upgrades.
The first automatic Extra-fort was introduced in 2001. In 2015, this three-handed watch gained a dial with elegant vertical stripes, available in black, grey and silver. The striping is interrupted by a smooth “azuré” band, against which the applied metallic Roman numerals and indices stand out. The black minute track around the periphery of the dial is punctuated with Arabic numerals in blue, silver or white, depending on the colour of the dial. The date appears in a metal-framed window at 6 o’clock. The watch is fitted with a black or brown alligator strap, or a Chalin steel bracelet.
Extra-fort Roue à Colonnes Grande Date
2004 saw the launch of the Extra-fort Roue à Colonnes Grande Date, a watch that combines aesthetic sensitivity with mechanical refinement in a perfect fusion of tradition and innovation. A column wheel prevents accidental resetting when the chronograph is operational, a definite plus for sports lovers. In 2012, a 500-piece limited edition was produced to commemorate Eberhard & Co.’s 125th anniversary. This 41 mm Extra-fort model in steel comes with a black or silvered dial with matching subdials, and the figures 1, 2 and 5 in Arabic numerals to highlight the anniversary. The transparent sapphire caseback reveals the exquisite movement with its column wheel and skeletonised rotor.
Extra-fort Grande Taille
Eberhard & Co. first unveiled this modern classic in 2011. The Extra-fort Grande Taille has been updated for 2016 with four new versions, sporting particularly elegant dials. This Extra-fort Grande Taille – which in fact has an eminently reasonable case size of 41 mm – comes in steel, with a screw-down crown and rectangular pushers. The watch is driven by the automatic ETA 7750 calibre, renowned for its reliability.
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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