130 years: a milestone that Eberhard & co. has reached without ever interrupting their work, even in the most difficult years. While two world wars and relentless social and market upheaval has proven too much for many other historic firms, in the case of Eberhard & Co. that simply hasn’t happened, thanks to successive generations of men and women who have been able to face every obstacle with determination and have known how to take advantage, in the long term, of every opportunity.
For Eberhard & Co. the reasons to celebrate in 2017 were many: the anniversary of their founding in 1887, the huge acclaim for the collections dedicated to the event, the success of the ambitious project of providing the mythical Chrono 4 with a transparent sapphire bridge showcasing its patented internals, the device that makes it unique. Nonetheless, there remains one more project, which today is set to mark the end of this amazingly successful year: This time it’s a book, telling the entire story of the Maison, the people who built it and those who made it into one of the most popular and highly coveted watch brands. As a volume it is both a tribute and an opportunity to retrace and celebrate an extraordinary epic of entrepreneurship, family and industry, exploring three adventurous plots closely intertwined with the “great history” of the 20th century.
The events relating to the foundation of the Maison, created by Georges-Lucien Eberhard in 1887 in the picturesque Swiss town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, embrace the modernity of a bold commercial and marketing strategy, combining worldwide distribution and the production of high-quality specimens for major stores all around the planet. Page after page, we see the evolution of the brand in an extraordinary gallery of mechanical wonders, from the earliest pocket models to the revolutionary chronographs, and on to the most up-to-date models for both men and women.
At the centre of the story are three “exemplary histories” of exceptional men: a sailor, an airman, and a race car driver, whose fates become intertwined with those of a watch from the brand. These are Mario Rossetto, commander of the Finzi submarine during the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II, Publio Magini, pilot and navigator of the incredible Rome-Tokyo flight of 1942, and Tazio Nuvolari, one of the greatest legends of motor racing.
The narrative of the Maison’s production, innovations, patents and the newer models is structured around four generations of audacious entrepreneurs, against a backdrop which includes the Belle Époque, the Great War and the depression of the 1920s, which did not spare Switzerland, which only apparently managed to escape the destinies of Europe.
All this is recounted by the skilful pen of Giosuè Boetto Cohen, a writer and journalist with the Corriere della Sera who has become very well known to the audience of RAI TV channels as the author and director of highly informative cultural programmes.
This unique and charming work, published by Rizzoli in English and Italian, will be on sale in bookshops to the delight of enthusiasts and collectors, but also of all those who love the real stories at the heart of History.