Famous for its perfect fusion of technical excellence and timeless, distinctive design, in 2018 EBEL brings an icon of historic design firmly into the 21st century with the relaunch of its groundbreaking EBEL Sport Classic.
The 1977 launch of the Sport Classic line, with its unmistakable Wave bracelet and fully integrated case, marked the beginning of the sport chic category. The embodiment of EBEL’s ‘beauty marries function’ philosophy, this unique watch defined the brand’s identity and generated lasting fascination with two-toned steel and gold watches.
True to this legacy, and relegating oversized ‘boyfriend’ watches firmly to fashion history, the deliberately downscaled 24mm brushed stainless steel and 18K gold case with its diamond-studded bezel frames a shimmering white mother-of-pearl dial graced with diamond hour-markers.
We talk to EBEL President, Flavio Pellegrini, about how the watch industry is evolving digitally, their presence in the Middle East and plans for the future.
Tell us the story behind Ebel.
The story of EBEL is a romantic story as the brand was founded by husband and wife (Eugene Blum Et Alice Levy). The name is an acronym of the initials of the couple. Eugene was the watchmaker and Alice was in charge of aesthetics and design. This brand was founded in La Chaux-de Fonds, one of the most emblematic cities for the Swiss watch industry
What is the brand DNA?
Brand DNA is linked to the founding philosophy beauty marries function which means when form follow functions. This is one point of difference in the industry and our brand personality is elegant, pure, sensual, luxurious and timeless.
How do you balance functionality and beauty?
It is not an easy exercise indeed! We always have to make sure the design elements in our watches are needed and have a reason to be for the functionality and comfort of the watch.
What are the key features of the Sport Classic line and how has it evolved since 1977 launch?
The EBEL Sport Classic is the best example of perfect harmony between aesthetics and function. The one-piece, flawlessly sculptured hexagonal case, the distinct five visible screws, the perfectly integrated wave-shaped bracelet were conceived and shaped to form a seamlessly integrated whole. This is the signature of this iconic design. The smooth, flexible and tapered bracelet make the bracelet comfortably unique and appealing on the wrist. Whether it’s with the jewelry clasp or EBEL folding clasp, the bracelet’s fine-brushed finishing gives that sporty and at the same time elegant look. EBEL Sport Classic established the sport-chic category in the 70s and its legacy lives on today with the redesigned model we launch a few months ago. The evolution on the latest release have been minimal as we kept the DNA of the watch but used current technology to make it more modern in its look.
How do you feel social media and digital is shaping the industry?
It is the big next challenge for our industry. How do we use social media and digital to tell our story, connect with the new generation and ultimately make our brand desirable. We are very excited about it, and see it more as an opportunity rather than a challenge. In fact, we are creating the Digital Center of Excellence which will help us master this new way to connect with consumers.
To what extent do you think the retail experience is still important?
It is still very important, and we believe in multi-channeling especially in our luxury segment where our rich story can only be entirely told using both channels – offline and online.
What are your plans for the Middle East?
The Middle East has always been an important market for our brand and we continue to consider it as a priority market. I see two main reasons. The first is linked to our luxurious, elegant and timeless products, matching perfectly the tastes of ME customers. Secondly, in EBEL we have a family spirit and culture, and we transmit the same values in the way we collaborate with our partners, we are very lucky to have strong and long-term partners who are part of the EBEL “family” and represent the brand with pride.
What do you think makes a brand successful?
It is a magic mix, composed of different elements, and I believe the most important ones are the uniqueness of the brand story & promise, and a desirable product offer matching the brand story.
How do you see the future of watchmaking change?
I think watchmaking is one of the most traditional industries which evolves very slowly, and I think the digitalization, as mentioned, is the next change and will have a major impact on the industry.
What is a life lesson that you can share with us?
Carpe diem – Seize the day (Roman poet Horace 23BC) as the source of most frustrations and anxiety are the result of living in the future, or in the past. Make the most of the present, the decision lies with you!
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
My family! My wife and my two daughters are a constant source of inspiration. We spend quality time together, especially after my return from long business trips. I like spending time with my daughters and cooking some Italian specialties when I have the possibility.
What are your goals for the future?
Be happy, achieve great results professionally and influence others.