Modernist, harmoniously proportioned, utilitarian and elegant, Ebel shares a vocabulary with architecture that speaks to its core values, design approach and even its marketing tag line: “Architects of Time”.
Founded in 1911 by Eugène Blum and Alice Lévy, Ebel is an acronym of “Eugène Blum Et Lévy” and the “kissing E” logo is a symbol of their love.
The brand has a long-standing association with architecture and the arts, most notably through one of their contemporaries Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier, who was one of the most influential architects of our time. This pioneer of modern architecture built one of his early masterpieces, Villa Turque in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, in 1916. The villa was acquired by Ebel in 1986 and continues to be a source of inspiration for the brand. Suitably, Ebel worked with the Le Corbusier Foundation to incorporate Le Corbusier’s dynamic, primary coloured abstract painting Othello in a new advertising campaign for its iconic Sport Classic collection.
From my time with the team, who I met over a show-and-tell lunch in Basel last month, it is clear Ebel is more focused this year, “relaunching and repositioning” itself with product that reflects the most iconic of Ebel’s collections, updated for our contemporary lifestyles. For men, this includes a gorgeous bronze version of the Discovery diver, a Sport Classic automatic chronograph, and my favorite, a 40mm sandblasted titanium update of the Sport Classic, which launched in 1977.
The original Sport Classic was among the first in the sports-chic category that emerged at that time and would later adorn the wrists of champs such as Boris Becker in the 1980s. And, if you’ve been researching ’80s style seriously, you’ll have spotted the yellow-gold wave bracelet of a Sport Classic chronograph on Don Johnson’s wrist in the TV series Miami Vice.
Combining simplified, elementary geometry and technical precision, the softly contoured hexagonal case of the Sport Classic, with its signature integrated wave bracelet, is an elegant expression of fluidity and motion. This time-and-date piece, with its functional bezel screws, is luxury pared back to its bare essentials. The limited edition of 200 in titanium with black rubber bezel has an anthracite galvanic dial with the option of Roman numerals or baton markers and differentiating skeleton hour and minute hands. All Sport Classic timepieces are designed to feel like a second skin, making them comfortable, super lightweight and practical daily wearers. With water resistance to an adequate 50m, they’re also ready to sweat or take a little plunge.
Ebel’s focus is on timeless design and, although in the past the company made proprietary movements such as the Calibre 134 and Calibre 137 chronograph, it has now chosen to use the robust ETA 2824-2 automatic movement and ETA 2894-2 in its products, having sold its manufacture to Ulysse Nardin in 2012.
Also available is a range of stainless steel and two-tone options, in 18K yellow or rose gold, in 24mm, 29mm and 40mm cases for ladies and gents. Bezels are held in place with matching steel or gold functional screws and there is a variety of dial finishes, including gorgeous green galvanic and diamond-studded markers.
Ebel Sport Classic 40mm Titanium Limited Edition, POA, Architects of Time 011-669-0790.