The new version of the elegant Ebel X-1 (ref. 1216156) comes in the same glossy black ceramic body as previous iterations, but now features whole 71 diamonds adorning its bezel, the setting crown, and, of course, the signature galvanic black dial. Almost twice as expensive as the version that is not decorated with precious stones, the new X1 is worth every extra penny that the Swiss-based brand asks for it.
Since Chanel has introduced its “iconic” J12 series more than a decade ago, almost any serious watchmaking brand introduced its own collection of watches with ceramic bodies. While some managed to create their own design, others (like, say, TAG Heuer with its gorgeous Formula 1 Lady Steel & Ceramic Pavee) simply decided to play the “me too” game.
Regrettably, the Ebel X-1 is one of the latter breed. Although all parts are radically different from the aforementioned J12 (in fact, the flowing curves and elegantly shaped planes of the body are more in line with Ebel’s own Classic collection), the watch itself certainly looks like it was inspired by Chanel’s famous gadget.
Well, that’s not a bad thing since there are lots of people who want a similarly styled watch, but with a different logo on it.
Designed with ladies in mind, the new watch is adorned with lots of diamonds. While fifteen tiny stones decorate the timekeeper’s small setting crown, eight more diamonds adorn the matt black face making the bold Arabic numerals at 4, 8, and 12 o’clock look not too large, after all.
Its stainless steel unidirectional rotating bezel is, too, covered with four dozens of diamonds that total at about 0.624 carats.
Since the part lacks any markings, the use of a rotating bezel looks somewhat, um, strange, but is nevertheless explainable. You see, the original Ebel X-1, which is still on sale at the company’s website, was styled as a diver (probably mimicking a more expensive Chanel H0682 J12 model), so the Swiss watchmaker probably decided to cut some corners and simply took the same bezel and studded it with 48 precious stones.
Although the watch is expensive, it is powered by the same cheap ETA 955.412 quartz movement as before. The mechanism belongs to their Normflatline collection of what they prefer to call “mid-range brass quartz movements” and offers pretty basic functionality that includes a battery end-of-life indicator, date corrector, and a simple three-hands layout with the rudimentary calendar. The only thing that makes it stand out is the power reserve: depending on the type of battery you use, the watch may go for as long as 108 months (whole nine years!) without the need to change the cell.
Well, being more a fashion item rather than an object of “Haute Horlogerie”, the X-1 will probably only profit from such a choice: a quartz movement doesn’t require so much attention to itself, and replacing it in case of a problem will never be an issue for its owner.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Ebel X-1 (ref. 1216156) specification
Price: $6500 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Caliber ETA 955.412, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 7
Power reserve: 78 or 108 months (40 mAh or 55 mAh battery respectively)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel & Black Ceramics
Bezel: Stainless steel with 48 diamonds
Crown: Steel with 15 diamonds
Size: 34.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, applied, luminous (Superluminova)
Hour markers: Diamonds
Hands: Rhodium-plated, luminous (SuperLuminova)
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Polished black ceramics with polished stainless steel inserts, branded folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides
Back: Solid, engraved