Table of Contents
Swiss watch manufacturer
Three generations of successful watch entrepreneurs
In 1911 Eugène Blum founds, together with Alice Blum, née Lévy, an etablissage workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds. By combining the first letters of both names — Eugène Blum Et Lévy — the artificial name “Ebel” is created. In 1929 Charles, the son of the founder, joined the company and gradually took over the management of the company between 1932 and 1959. He is building a sales network of the company and further expands it into many foreign countries.
Under the direction of Blum's grandson Pierre-Alain the company takes a significant upturn since the beginning of the 1970s. Starting in 1972 Ebel begins producing wristwatches for Cartier. In 1977, Ebel launched the “Sport Classique”, designed by Edy Schoepfer, which caught the imagination of the buying public, as did the company's new slogan, “The Architects of Time.”
In the 1980s, Ebel is a leading brand, achieving over 150 million francs of annual turnover and buying Villa Turque in La Chaux-de-Fonds. Ebel is a key user of chronograph movements, ordering all the Zenith El Primero movements available and instigating a re-start of production.
Pierre-Alain Blum diversifies to far in the 1990s and the banks lost faith. His holding company, Sogespa, was unable to take on more credit and he was forced to sell. Sandro Arabian took over the newly-independent Ebel until Investcorp buys it in 1994. They re-sold the company, along with Chaumet, to LVMH in 1999.
After a short time at LVMH alongside TAG Heuer and former partner Zenith, Ebel is sold again to the American Movado Group in 2003.
Sponsorship and testimonial campaigns - modern marketing
The brand belongs to those who as first practice the marketing principle of testimonial advertising, which is most common today, intensively and with great success. Well-known names with which is advertised are Boris Becker, Andre Agassi and Claudia Schiffer. With the slogan “Architects of Time” the brand won a great reputation in the 70s and 80s. Fitting to this motto is also the investment in the restoration of old buildings, as in a building with historic brick facade in downtown Manhattan, which serves as the seat of Ebel USA, or with the acquisition of Le Corbusier's Villa Turca in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the birthplace of the famous architect. After a formal opening this is used as a public relations center of the company.
Another addition to the testimonial advertising is the now increasingly common marketing approach is the strategic opening of own brand boutiques in best city areas (called flagship stores). Here, too, Ebel is one of the pioneers 1987 the first such presence is opened in London. In a short time more follow in the major cities in the world. Here not only watches are sold, but in the style of Must de Cartier also accessories such as jewelry, glasses or pens.
Ebel 1911 BTR Automatic Chronograph
Models known for style and elegance
Besides the sports chronographs for men Ebel is particularly known for its delicate, feminine women's models. To be mentioned as popular historical and current models of the Ebel watch collection are
1911 Chronograph, 1911 Lady, Classic Wave, Beluga, E-Type, Discovery and Sportwave.
Start to rise again
After it became quiet about the brand in the early 2000s, now one undertakes a fresh start with new leaders and new models in order to able to return to the times of success. With the collection 1911 BTR (Back to the Roots) one takes a return to the classic Ebel models in a slightly different, modernized design larger case (44.5 mm) and wider bezel. An important focus are the in-house Calibre 137/139 (automatic chronograph), 240 (automatic GMT) and 288 (automatic chronograph perpetual calendar), which emphasize the increased focus on quality watch mechanics. All models of the series 1911 BTR are driven by in-house mechanical calibre, which were developed, assembled and tested in the Swiss Ebel studios. Each of these watches has a COSC certification as a chronometer.
More current model series are the series Ebel Classic Hexagon with the model Classic Hexagon and the updated series 1911 Discovery.
Ebel 1911 Tekton FC Arsenal
Spectacular chronographs as trendsetters
The reactions of the audience witness now that Ebel is on the way to revive the ancient splendor. With the spectacular series of chronographs 1911 Tekton the chosen path is now consistently pursued. In 2007/2008 exciting new partnerships concluded for five years with the renowned football clubs Arsenal and Bayern Munich stirred great attention. Not least because Ebel, with specially designed and avantgardist limited editions that provide specific functionality for measuring times at football matches, arouses the interest of watch collectors. Because in their own way, these watches are real new creations, also with regard to the movement constructions, and they stand out refreshingly from the familiar patterns of time measurement.
Ebel - The Architects of Time
113, Rue de la Paix
CH-2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds
Tel. +41 32 9 123 123
Fax +41 32 9 123 124
- Spiel, Satz and Sieg — article in manager magazin 5/1988 or Spiegel Spezial by Walter Hillebrand
- Die Stehauf watch aus La Chaux-de-Fonds — article in the magazine Bilanz 01/2006 by Pierre-André Schmitt