[originally posted: July 6, 2005]
Ebel is an old, traditional Swiss manufacturer which makes many desirable models, such as Tarawa (Neil owns a beautiful genuine), Sports Classics and 1911 Chronograph. The model number 1911 refers to the year when the company was originally found.
Ebel isn't very well known manufacturer among the masses, but Madonna has publicly praised the brand and the company has recently hired some famous names (like Claudia Schiffer) for promotion purposes. But perhaps the most notable appearance of a Ebel watch was in Miami Vice TV series in the 80'S.
The two-tone version of the 1911 Chronograph was used throughout the series (save the 1st season) by Don Johnson. Unfortunately this amazingly beautiful TT chronograph hasn't been repped (and probably never will).
The older model genuines have Zenith El Primero movement inside, but the new versions are powered with ETA Valjoux 7750, and they retail at around $5000. My rep is quartz-powered and only the small subdial at 6'o'clock is ticking when the chrono isn't running. Stopwatch works perfectly (without the sweep of course).
The bracelet is excellent quality. It has brushed finish and polished "stipes", a'la Omega Speedmaster. It also has a neat "hidden clasp" which means the it's completely invisible when closed. This kind of clasp has been Ebel's "trademark" for a long time.
Hands and hour & minute markers are luminous. The lume is very typical replica watch lume (it's ok but unfortunately not very strong). Another a bit annoying detail is the lack of quick-set date function. As you can see the subregisters aren't working like the genuine. i.e the 3'o'clock and 6'o'clock subdials should be pointing at 12 when the chrono is resetted. In the rep 6'o'clock subdial is a seconds hand (should be the 9'o'clock) and 3'o'clock subdial is just a small 24h hand.
The caseback looks like this:
To be honest, I can't tell how accurate or inaccurate it is (the markings and all). It looks very cool though. I know that the new versions of the 1911 come with transparent glass caseback but then again the older models didn't.
I'm first one to admit that there are many nicer variations in the 1911 Chronograph line than the white version (which might look a bit pale for some people's tastes). However this is the only 1911 replica available that has working chronographs and I kinda like its simplistic, pure appearance. It gets regular wrist time once a week or so, and I like to have one quartz-powered always-ready-to-go watch in my collections. And of course it's super-accurate compared to automatics.
Perhaps it looks "less pale" when put next to Mercedes E270 CDi key.
Summa summarum: Very nice watch, not extremely accurate compared to the genuine but the overall quality is surprisingly good (considered I only paid 90 Euros for the watch). It came from Richard Lawton's collections and it was in "as new" condition. We know that Richard has hundreds of watches so I guess he never has time to wear them all.
I really hope we'll see more quality replica variations of the 1911 (and even Tarawa) in the future. I have become quite a fan of the brand.