Looking back in history, ramparts would provide protection to those residing within the confines of a city or castle. Indeed, there have been many noblemen who have been grateful for the protection afforded by substantial castellated walls.
The battlements of medieval castles appeared to majestically interface with the clouds above whilst keeping the inhabitants safe. Their strength has stood the test of time, with many historical structures attracting tourists who choose to admire their august appearance.
Eberhard & Co. have chosen to mark a significant landmark in their history with a column-wheel chronograph, typically found on several of the finest chronograph movements. In 2012, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary and chose to mark the occasion by producing a wristwatch equipped with this elevated stop- watch mechanism.
Column-wheel chronographs are often more costly to produce. The castellated form, necessitates much work to create the clearly defined teeth that interface with the chronograph components. Moreover, this peerless approach prevents any damage caused by pressing reset whilst the the stop watch function is operational.
Eberhard are no strangers to creating chronographs. They produced their very first pocket chronograph in 1887, subsequently followed by a wrist worn chronograph in 1919. The Extra-fort Roue á Colonnes caliber E/J 8150 has been developed in 2003 by the present “La Joux Perret” maison (then called Jaquet SA) in collaboration with Eberhard & Co., which, for this reason and by specific agreement, was the first brand to which the movement was supplied. Whilst it appears to be traditional, compared with the utterly innovative Eberhard Chrono 4 patented module, it actually houses much modern-day know how, drawing on the expertise gained over the last 126 years.
The model is available with a silver or black dial in stainless steel or 18-carat pink gold. It is the silver dial, 18-carat pink gold version that I find particularly appealing.
The hour and minutes are expressed with large, gorgeously rich, Dauphine shaped hands. They are larger than the hands usually seen on watches, yet do not over-clutter the dial, but rather enhance legibility with their beautiful lines.
Faceted gold hour markers feature on the dial, save for “1”, “2” and “5” which are marked with stylish Arabic numerals avec serifs. They have a traditional, retro appearance and distinguish this model from other Extra-Fort models, marking the aforementioned anniversary.
At 3 o’clock a 30-minute chronograph counter features. The centre is snailed and the perimeter is framed with a circlet comprised of black squares. The golden hand reinforces the luxurious persona of the timepiece.
A 12-hour chronograph counter resides at 6 o’clock and a subsidiary seconds display is located at 9 o’clock.
The three subdials share the same design details and afford balance with pleasing aesthetics. The legibility is exceptionally impressive.
Below noon, a large date display is shown via two apertures, framed in gold.
A tachymeter scale is presented on the perimeter of the dial, employing white text on a black background. It provides wonderful contrast and adds more interest, proffering ease of interpretation.
The case diameter is 41 mm, proving suitable for the majority of wrist sizes. The 18-carat pink gold case is highly polished and looks resplendent without appearing excessive.
Rectangular shaped chronograph push pieces provide an alluring alternative to the typical round pushers seen on many chronograph watches and the crown is marked with the brand’s logo on its vertical flank.
The caseback is secured with six retaining screws and features a sapphire glass. The model details are depicted on the caseback in blue text and the unique limited edition number is engraved but without any colour being applied.
This watch contains a self-winding movement, evidenced with an open-worked rotor. It features perlage on some sections of its form and a sunray motif is depicted on the remainder. The rotor is labelled, “125ème Anniversaire”, “1887”, “2012” and marked with the brand’s logo, all in blue.
Côtes de Genève features on bridges and perlage is visible on the mainplate. The blued screws contrast with the rhodiumed components and pay due reverence to watchmaking tradition. A blued finish is repeated on the column-wheel and looks spectacular with a blued screw at its centre.
The Eberhard Extra-fort Roue á Colonnes Grande Date 125ème Anniversaire contains a virtuous movement, especially considering the accessible pricing for which the brand is known.
Eberhard have a proud history of creating chronographs. Over the years they have become famous for their uniquely designed chronographs with four subdials displayed in line. However, in this instance they have respectfully paid due reverence to traditional aesthetics with this retro looking chronograph.
The Swiss maison has chosen to create a future piece of history with a robust chronograph featuring the crenellated shape of a column-wheel. Indeed, it could be argued that Eberhard have sought inspiration from the ramparts of bygone times, using castellations to protect the noble inhabitants of the watch case from unwelcome forces.
Want to know more about Eberhard & Co watches? Click here for their official website.