Husband and wife team, Eugene Blum and Alice Levy joined the initials of their names together (Eugène Blum Et Lévy) to form the brand name Ebel in 1911. The La Chaux de Fonds based company was taken over by the couple’s son, Charles in 1932, where he began to focus on branching out overseas before Blum’s grandson Pierre Alain later took over. It was at this point, in 1932 that Ebel began creating wristwatches for Cartier. It later became part of the LVMH Group and then Movado Group by the end of 2003.
Back in 1939 Ebel developed and supplied watches to the British Royal Air Force during the Second World War. These timepieces aided pilots with a reliable and legible timekeeping tool to carry out their air missions throughout Europe. While these functional timepieces provided the backbone to Ebel’s tool watch creating techniques, the brand was also dedicating its time towards developing desirable wristwatches for its female audience. As a result, the Luna Etoille jewellery watch, featuring a Sapphire and diamond bezel was awarded the Swiss Premier Prix award in 1964.
Over the decades Ebel has set itself apart from its competition within the Swiss watch industry. Having created its very own distinct style in the form of the popular Wave model and the Beluga, the brand has been supported by professional sportsmen and celebrities such as Andre Agassi, Claudia Schiffer and Boris Becker. The watchmaker set up its first London flagship store in 1987, followed by many more major world cities shortly after.
Ebel is best known for its manufacture of elegant ladies wristwatches, as well as sporty men’s chronographs. Other popular collections include the Beluga, the E Type and the 1911 Lady, as well as the Discovery, the Sportwave and the Classic wave models. Having experienced a quiet period during the early 2000s, Ebel received a new lease of life over the last decade and a half. Larger cases and wider bezels occupied the 1911 BTR collection to keep up with the increase in popularity of the larger sized wristwatch. In house calibres were also created, such as the 137/139 movements equipped to the heart of the brand’s automatic chronographs, and the 240 for the GMT models. As a result, Ebel now tests all their hand assembled and handcrafted movements in house at the company’s Swiss Ebel Studios.
In particular, the Sport Classic watch collection by Ebel has proven itself a home run. It reached instant global success when in 1983 it captured collectors’ attention with its hexagonal shaped case with rounded corners. Equipped with the distinctive Ebel Wave bracelet developed under Blum’s direction back in 1977, it combined both an elegant and sporty character in one. Soon to follow would be the Beluga which launched just two years later. Its graceful, opulent design enabled women to express a sense of femininity without the need for lots of jewellery adornments. Optimised for comfort and with a distinct beauty, the Ebel Beluga, with its highly polished lines and flowing contours became a success on an international level.
Today Ebel continues on its journey of innovation and ingenuity, creating timepieces like the Brasilia, with a softened rectangular shaped case and the Onde watch, a sensual timepiece inspired by the rolling patterns created by a pebble as it falls into the water.