Eberhand “Travesetolo”

Archives September 24, 2002 admin

Eberhard Travesetolo

Posted by Michael Friedberg

After receiving my Eberhard Travesetolo, I reviewed in detail the watch for Hans Zbinden. He suggested that I post the review for the benefit of interested Forumers, so here is an edited version.

To begin with, it is not an expensive watch for a quality, steel cased, manual movement model. I do not believe that there are many models to which it can be compared, and perhaps the best feature it is that the Traversetolo is a relative bargain. While made in Switzerland, it is difficult to find there, virtually non-existent in Zurich, although not uncommon in Italy. There are two dealers in the U.S., Kenjo in New York and a store in Carmel, California. The U.S. list price is $1200 and the watch is about 30% less in Europe.

It comes in a collectors’ wooden box, fully hinged and ‘branded’ on the top, although a paper insert inside the lid cheapens it slightly. Papers are ordinary and no instructions are included, nor probably needed. The warranty is in French, followed by Italian, German and then English, probably reflecting their markets.

The stainless case is extremely well finished and possibly the best part of the watch (other than the style, which obviously is a matter of taste, and the movement). Stainless work is highly polished and perfect, and the back is a ‘pressure’ one held in place by 8 miniature screws. Very nice and unusual in this price range. The back is engraved like some Omegas and nicer than the engravings on the back of IWC models.. In intaglio it states the make, model and water resistance (5 ATM). There is a model number and then I was surprised- an engraved individual number in a polished little rectangle. The crown is oversized and easy to wind. The crown has a raised “E” on top.

The face takes just a little getting used to, although it is very readable. It is so large, at 43 mm, that the watch looks a little like a ‘novelty’ watch. I wonder if the white faced model, with thinner numbers, would “tone down” the look and replicate more of a Portugieser style than the 1930s aviator style of the black face. The white faced model looks more like a railroad watch, however, than the aviator-look of the black one.

The dial work is very good; it looks like careful silk-screening although under extraordinarily close inspection a few of the numerals aren’t perfectly formed. The large numbers and the hands glow in the dark; there’s not just tritium dots-so the watch is very readable at night. The crystal allows some reflection and is flat, not domed; I wonder if it’s sapphire. By the way, the ‘decoration’ on the dial (the words ‘Tradition and Mechanical’ in French, I believe) appear very small and fortunately are hardly noticeable.

With the black face and with the band (a tan leather, with a slightly orange cast like Breitlings) the watch looks very sporty; easy to wear with jeans but it may be tough to carry off with a suit. The band itself is very nice; double stitched with a raised center section; the band is signed and the buckle is engraved. One minor design flaw is that the band appears to be a standard size. Since the watch itself is so large, the band is longer than normal (that is, the total length of the band plus the watch is longer than normal). This makes the fit a little loose on a smaller wrist & SHY; I have to fasten it at the last hole. However, the watch is very comfortable, especially for its size.

The movement itself seems like the pocket watch movement that it is. I believe it is a ‘new old stock’ Perseux movement from the 1950’s, now sold by ETA. There is a ‘heavy but smooth’ feeling when winding the crown that is absent from most wristwatches. One minor problem is that there is no hacking feature. Pulling out the crown allows the hour and minute hands to be adjusted, but not the seconds hand, which keeps moving in the subdial. I don’t know the beats per hour, but I would guess at 18,000 from the sound of the movement.

I haven’t checked timing accuracy against an atomic clock, but my impression is that the watch is fast by about 20 seconds a day. Perhaps its worst feature, but for a manual model meant for weekend use, tolerable. (Someone once said that if I wanted accuracy I should go to the corner drugstore to buy a quartz watch).

The bottom-line is that the Eberhard Traversetolo, in my opinion, is a real steal at its price. The case finishing, especially the back, is easily comparable to, or exceeds, steel watches at a much higher price point. If one likes large, military style watches for casual wear, the Traversetolo has almost no competition; excluding the Orfina that Hans recently mentioned, perhaps Oris, and watches with chrono features or other complications. But the Traversetolo is really a different watch; for those who want a manual model, without date (for authenticity perhaps) and like the idea of a pocket watch movement. My initial impression is that this watch, and the brand generally if this is representative, should be highly recommended.