The recently introduced 1911 Tekton Real Madrid (ref. 1215947) is Ebel’s first chronograph that features a not-so-common bezel-less design. Unlike the vast majority of mechanical timepieces in this price range, the special edition model that is designed to honor the Spanish football club Real Madrid has no bezel at all, sporting in its stead a flat sapphire crystal, which is anchored to the case with six polished screws over an aluminum ring and gasket.
I had a bezel-less watch back in the 1980s when I was a kid, but that was a not particularly expensive electronic timekeeper made in Hong Kong. The gadget looked cool, but the plastic “crystal” that was fixed to the body with four screws gave its first crack in about half a year after I purchased it.
What a sad story.
Ebel, however, was so impressed with the design idea that now the company plans to use a similar construct in several other upcoming models.
And justly so: despite the lack of bezel, the new Ebel 1911 Tekton Real Madrid chronograph sports an impressive water resistance of 200 meters, beating a great lot of so-called diving watches featuring more traditional, even “rugged” design.
For example, the last year’s Zodiac ZMX 03 chronograph diver will take a leak below the 110 meters mark and the gorgeous IWC Aquatimer Deep Two is rated at 120 meters, and even the ultra-luxury Ulysse Nardin Maxi Marine Diver Titanium chronometer is on par with the watch in question.
The price of such an impressive water-tightness is the size of the hexagonal case. Even by today’s standards, the diameter of 48.5mm brings the 1911 Tekton to the category of mechanical wrist monsters. Thankfully, the body is made of feather-light titanium, so the watch will not be a burden.
The time machine is powered by Ebel’s new self-winding Caliber 245. Based on the earlier Caliber 137, it is developed and assembled solely in-house.
Featuring a chronograph complication with a 45 min counter, the caliber is reserved for their football-themed series of limited editions (we have already seen it in the Tektons built for Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal FC, Bayern Munich FC, and Glasgow Rangers fans.)
The COSC-certified mechanism is said to be developed and assembled solely by Ebel, for good or for bad.
On a side note, I think it would be right for the brand’s PR department to also say that the Cal. 137 that this new mechanism is based on, was developed (and initially even built on their premises) in the early 1990s by the well-known Lemania manufacture that was at the time owned by the same holding company as Ebel. More than that, the Cal. 137 itself was based on an even earlier Lemania caliber 1340 that also served as a base movement for the gorgeous Caliber UN-32 that -among others- powered the iconic Ulysse Nardin Black Toro Perpetual Calendar + GMT.
From where I stand, the fact that this information was omitted did the watch a disservice since (let’s be honest here) there are not so many people who’d want to invest up to $10,000 (yes, this is the recommended minimum price although I am sure that there will be impressive discounts when it finally goes on sale) into a watch powered by a totally in-house mechanism made by a second-tier brand. However, knowing that the new design is based on a solid foundation laid by one of the most prominent brands of the pre-Quartz Crisis era, would, in my opinion, bring a lot more potential clients.
The 1911 Tekton production run is limited to 500 units. It will go on sale later this year.
See also: Breitling for Bentley GMT Chronograph
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Ebel 1911 Tekton Real Madrid (ref. 1215947) specification
Price: $10,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber 245, automatic, in-house, Swiss Made
Complications: 45 min chronograph, date
Power reserve: 38 hours
Size: 48.50 mm
Case height: 14.70 mm
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Slate grey alligator strap
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated