Monochrome Watches
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EBEL Is Bringing Back Its Emblematic 1911 With The New 1911 Marine Watch

First launched in 1986, the EBEL 1911 now makes a grand return to the company's portfolio.

| By Xavier Markl | 3 min read |

Originally launched in 1986 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the brand, the EBEL 1911 has long been a flagship model of the brand. After re-launching its Sports Classic collection in 2017 (with its signature wave-shaped bracelet), the brand now brings back the emblematic 1911, with several quartz-powered ladies’ and gents’ watches and an aquatic take on the model featuring a mechanical movement. Here’s our first experience with the new EBEL 1911 Marine.

EBEL was founded in 1911 in La Chaux-de-Fonds – the company was named after the initials of the founder and his wife, Eugene Blum Et Alice Levy. The brand was remarkably successful in the 1970s and 1980s, in particular under the management of the charismatic Pierre Alain Blum. With its chic quartz watches, the company was thriving while the industry was hit by the quartz crisis. These could be spotted on the wrists of celebrities such as Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Claudia Schiffer or Don Johnson in Miami Vice. EBEL was also manufacturing Cartier watches under licence since the 1970s. A friend of Alain Dominique Perrin, Pierre Alain Blum even ended up creating a joint venture (majority-owned by EBEL) to produce Cartier watches, movements and parts But because of unfortunate investments in other industries, Pierre-Alain Blum was forced to sell EBEL to Investcorp in 1994, who in turn sold it to LVMH in 1999. And in 2003, the Movado group bought EBEL from LVMH.

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Since 2016, the brand has been managed by Flavio Pellegrini and has returned to growth with a production of about 25,000 pieces. After relaunching its Sports Classic collection (with its signature wave-shaped bracelet) in 2017, the brand now brings back another iconic model, the 1911, with different quartz-powered ladies’ and gents’ watches and the automatic 1911 Marine. The new 1911 models retain their hexagonal case with 5 exposed bezel screws and their characteristic 5-link bracelet. While the design language did not change much, the lines have been streamlined and modernized with subtle touches.

Taking a look more specifically at the 1911 Marine, as the name suggests, the model is a marine-inspired iteration of the design. Its 42mm case stands out with its contrasting unidirectional bezel (with aluminium insert) to monitor dive times. This brings a sportier touch to the collection (reminiscent of the BTR or Discovery 1911). The crown screws down and the water resistance is rated 20 ATM / 200m. The dial comes in galvanic blue or black with alternating applied stick-like indexes and Arabic numerals. The sword-shaped hands are skeletonized and their tip is filled with white Superluminova.

The case back is secured by 4 screws and the automatic movement is on display behind a sapphire crystal. Powering the EBEL 1911 Marine is a Sellita SW300, a clone of the ETA2892. As such, it is a precise, tried-and-tested movement running at 4Hz and with 42 hours of power reserve. There are quick date correction and hacking mechanisms for precise/functional setting operations.

The watch comes on the collection’s signature 5-link bracelet with beautiful alternating brushed and polished finishes. Snuggly integrated into the case, it is secured to the wrist by a folding clasp. There is also a spare grey/black fabric strap made from upcycled ocean plastic fitted with a pin buckle. Next to that, EBEL also offers a two-tone version. The EBEL 1911 Marine will be available as of December 2022. The price is set at CHF 2,600 for the steel versions. The price for the ladies’ model starts at CHF 2,100.

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7 responses

  1. Honestly, the individuals who came up with this watch understand nothing about what Ebel stands for and what the brand can embody. They are destroying what remains of it by bringing in microwave reheated hopeless references to an heritage they can’t grasp nor comprehend. The lack of competency is appalling.

  2. A rather harsh statement, but not out of line. Ebel deserves management that understands the style concept behind the brand. The Movado Group is not the answer,

  3. Not nearly as stylish as the original. The dial is much to busy and the rotating bezel looks like an afterthought and ruins the clean lines.

  4. I owned an early mid 2000’s Ebel 1911 Automatic Chronometer ( 3 hands) with the ETA 2892-A2 movement. Biggest problem was that it had a specific rear rubber gasket only available either at Movado group replaced through them during service, or authorized service dealer. Absolutely ridiculous that Ebel made such an unnecessary, & expensive gasket, so that they monopolize the servicing. Had I known this, I certainly would not have bought the watch. Needless to say, I sold the watch at a small fraction of the price paid for the watch ( extremely low re-sale value in 2nd hand market ).
    I agree with the other replies on Ebel. The latest model reviewed reflects a shadow of what once was a maker of fairly nicely designed watches. I think the market for these mid tier semi Luxury swiss brands has shrunken like the water levels now of major rivers across the world.
    Stay away from this brand: 2 BIG thumbs DOWN!!!!

  5. Coming from someone who has no understanding of the brand, other than they used to make chronographs with the El Primero movement, I quite like this unusual diver look. It still looks like a Ebel to me (with their distinctly recognizable case shape). Looks alone I think if they replaced the 12 with the Ebel logo (like they do in their Discovery models), dropped the “1911” and the red underline, AND had a panorama date (to balance against the giant 3 6 12 indices), I would really pull the trigger without hesitation. Again, that would be me judging solely on the design and not tying their history to it (would love to learn more if anyone wishes to share).

  6. Unfortunately, Ebel is only a shadow of what it once was. So priced way too high for what it has to offer today.

  7. Personally, I find it completely unacceptable to use countersunk head slotted screws to secure the cover. At the very least, they could have used Torx screws, or something similar, to make tightening easier and to avoid damaging the slot of the countersunk head slotted screw, which happens all the time. Also a synchronous tightening is more difficult with screws than with the screwed cover like most diving watches…

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