Finally I got this watch! I have become very selective with my new purchases lately, and this is my first replica acquisition in 10 months!
I've been searching for a good rep of Ebel 1911 Chronograph since I came to this community, and I actually bought one from Richard Lawton in May, 2005.
That watch has been documented, just like almost all the replicas I have owned. See the article HERE. I also purchased a BTR/fantasy replica from Narikaa a year ago.
Both of those were rather nice cheaper quartz reps, but eventually they simply didn't cut it for me, and my search for a good Ebel rep was doomed to continue. Finally, in the spring of 2008 they replicated the BTR with 7750 movement, which was great news.
Why Discovery Chrono is the better choice?
BTR is the "flagship" range of the Ebel chronographs. They use various inhouse movements and even very expensive complications. A BTR tourbillon is also rumored. All of these models come with tight subdial spacings and decorated movements with open, transparent casebacks.
Here's the official jargon:
"The entire development and construction of Caliber 137 was done 100% by Ebel and five years were needed to finalize the development and proceed to production of Caliber 137 which was launched for the very first time in 1995 and housed within the 1911 line under the name Modulor: The 1911 Chronograph was born. It is worth mentioning that Ebel integrated a very important and innovative function in this movement: the bidirectional winding of the movement (nicknamed “magic clicks”)"
Naturally our only automatic replica chrono movement, the lowly A7750, can't mimic such movements (and their subdial spacings). The gen BTR was a "hot topic" in the RWG when it came out, and it was one of the most anticipated reps. However, when the rep came out, the very characteristic '9 and '6 subdial "meeting point" looked wrong, and that very cool "V" rotor wasn't replicated at all. Those two flaws were disappointing to many, and the (otherwise nice) rep never became a huge success story.
Even with those problems, the BTR replica is still extremely impressive and good looking watch, imho. I actually ordered one already (from Eurotimez), but at the very same day they released the Discovery Chrono.
Discovery is the starting model of Ebel Chronographs. It falls into the popular $2K price category where it faces a tough competition in TAG, Breitling and Omega. Just like many of its competitors, gen Discovery utilizes the ETA 7750 movement, which makes the subdial spacing on the rep automatically correct. And unlike the BTR, Discovery has a closed caseback. While open casebacks are nice, the factories can rarely decorate the movements accurately.
The gen comes with various dial/bezel variations, and the two "main models", black and white (Panda) have been copied by the factories.
It's often bit of a struggle to decide between the different dial variations. Usually the white versions aren't that popular among the members, but Discovery seems to be an exception. The "Panda" dial is simply stunning and it was pretty much the only option for me. White dial watches can sometimes be a bit "understated", especially if they have silver hands. Good examples of this style are the stainless steel "2001 Daytona", and the older model of the white 1911 Chronograph (that I reviewed).
The dark subdials and hand tips (besides the white '9 hand) create very nice contrast, and the dial is highly accurate. Print quality and double-AR are impressive as well. Ebels don't have much luminous areas on the dials at all, not gens or reps. Only the hands glow.
Reps have become so accurate that finding any flaws from them has become bit of a challenge. The factory photos show that the endlinks are more "flush" with the case on the gen, but this real-life gen picture shows that the endlinks are exactly similar. The only flaws are the pushers, which are more protruded on the rep, and the crown, which should screw in a bit deeper.
It's obvious that the factory really had the gen in their hands when they produced the rep. The A7750 datewheel rarely looks perfect on the reps, but that has never bothered me. Of course the hardcore accuracy freaks might want to swap it. Maybe I'm seeing things, but the wheels look better aligned than ever... or perhaps the white dial lessens the visual effect.
The bracelet and clasp:
One of the main attractions of all Ebels (to me) is the "hidden clasp". It's very neat system and a nice innovation. The bracelet itself reminds me of the Omega Speedmaster. It's made of brushed stainless steel and has those typical small polished "stripes". Very good quality "rounded" bracelet, which countours with the wrist perfectly. But unlike some unique looking Ebel bracelets in the past, design wise this is nothing extraordinary. But then again, I guess a bit more conservative approach was exactly what Ebel needed. Capice said in his pictorial that the bracelet isn't very large and I was a bit worried about this. But fortunately it barely fit onto my '8 wrist comfortably (I like to wear my watches tight).
While Ebel is well respected among the watch people, it has very little brand recognition outside the WIS circles.
Don't we want our watches to "impress" general people too?
Well, I can assure you that Ebel Discovery chronograph is highly impressive watch. It has a strong double antireflective coating, an impressive (but not unbalanced) wrist precence, a quality bracelet and outstanding design. The white dial is captivating, and the watch looks both "modern" and "conservative" at the same time.
Dealers' pages advertise this as 44.5mm, but I have no idea why they're using this diameter (or how they have measured it), because it's definitely wrong, I measured the lug-to-lug diameter as 43mm (same as gen), and it even wears significantly smaller than that. It feels just like a 40-41mm watch, because the actual watch head and dial surface are small.
Ebel, as a brand, was a bit "lost" for years. And while the 1911 Chronograph line has always been attractive, some of their past designs have been less than inspiring. The previous Discovery line is a good example of this. But it seems that Ebel has finally nailed it with their new design team, and they have seemingly polished their overall image and brand prestige with the recent releases. The inhouse movements through the whole BTR line is probably not the smallest factor.
Discovery might be too "plain" for people who seek "extreme looks", but it's definitely "singing" to me. The (now highly popular) Breitling Skyland was my "other" option, but since I already have the SFSO, I wanted to have some variation into my moderately sized rep collection. I also wanted a white dial watch, and white Breitlings simply don't do anything for me. So this white Discovery fills the gap perfectly.
In my opinion, the "Panda" Discovery chronograph is a stunner, and simply one of the most attractive watches I've seen. It has some characteristics of two of my favorite chronographs, white Daytona and Broad Arrow Speedmaster, but has more impressive wrist presence. But unlike many new "jumbo" watches, I'm sure this would look good on moderately sized wrists as well. This is amazingly "balanced" watch.
The term "Super Rep" is often used lightly, but if the Discovery Chrono doesn't fall into that category, then nothing will. It's probably the most accurate and stunningly finished replica watch I have seen, at least in the same category with the SFSO.
Like I said, this is my first new replica purchase in 10 months, and when I was wrapping off the plastic from this watch this morning, my first reactions were "You gotta be kidding me!" and "Where have you been hiding all my life?" The "Panda" Discovery is simply awesome. The accuracy was excepted, but I was still positively surprised how small and balanced it wears, and how lovely it looks on the wrist.
Thanks to Eurotimez for this beautiful Ebel. Great watch from a great dealer. Thanks to members for the interest and support! There is more to come!
EBEL OFFICIAL PROMO MOVIE CLIP OF THE DISCOVERY CHRONOGRAPH!