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By-Tor

Review of EBEL 1911 BTR Chronograph

36 posts in this topic

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I wanted this watch since it was released. I actually ordered one, but then the replica of Discovery Chronograph surfaced. My review apparently pushed many people to purchase the watch. I was both delighted and surprised of the success of that article (and watch) as Ebel's brand recognition wasn't very good. I receive questions via PM virtually every week from members who want to buy the Discovery because of my review. Both from new and old members. Somehow, answering them gives me much more pleasure than replying to all those endless Submariner/PO questions.

BTR case is a bit thicker and 2mm wider, 45mm. However, the actual wearing size isn't dramatically larger. Ebels wear very "compact" due to that special lug shape, which makes the watch head look smaller. The double-AR on BTR is amazingly strong. Strongest I've seen on any rep yet. The blue "hue" is very apparent, even in the studio pics with heavy exposure.

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First, I highly recommend reading Takashi's excellent Ebel BTR review here. As the article says, the brand had some occasional stepbacks in their history, but the flagship model 1911 chronograph has always been impressive. It used to have the Zenith El Primero movement, and later in 1995 Ebel changed to their own inhouse movement called "Modulor". You can clearly see the difference in the following photo. The first one from the left (old 1911 "Miami Vice Don Johnson" chronograph) sports the El Primero, and has wider spacing. The two newer versions (in the pics 2 and 3) use the Modulor.

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We already know that accuracy wise the BTR replication isn't in the same level with Discovery. The subdial spacing is off because (unlike the cheaper Discovery which uses ETA 7750), BTR uses a very high end inhouse movement called 137. It's based on Nouvelle Lemania components and the Calibre 137 has been developed together with Breguet. Both brands use this exact same movement but as far as I've understood, the ownership and the name belongs to Ebel.

Both the watch (BTR chronograph) and the movement have been praised in the watch magazines, online and print, for very high quality.

Simply hearing the name "Breguet" should tell every watch enthusiast that we're talking about something more sophisticated than the low ETA 7750 that all cheap "redneck" luxury watches use. This fact alone makes BTR replication fall outside the "super rep" category. Our only replica chronograph movement, A7750 was never able to replicate (visually) anything else than ETA 7750-based watches. When you use a Tricompax layout of the A7550, the subregisters aren't close enough to eachother.

But the factories have already put out a new modified A7750 with tighter spacing, and it's suspected that there will be an update for this watch (that uses the correct, tighter subdial spacing). If that's a major issue for you, I suggest you wait for that update. However, the modification is brand new and we don't know (yet) how reliable and good it is. Fortunately Francisco promised to make a breakdown of this movement soon.

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Another flaw that gave the BTR rep bit of a "black eye" was the meeting point of the '3 and '6 subregisters. However, the replica mimics the appearance of BTR Ti model (see the photo on the left below), where the subdial circles don't "cross". But the biggest disappointment for many was the non-accurate replication of the amazing BTR rotor (see the photo on the right below). That's the only upgrade I'm considering (buying the spare part), if the new upcoming replica model has the amazing rotor.

A funny coincidence: The left photo belongs to Bricktop (an old RWG1 veteran) who's photo I borrowed. He posted his gen Ti to a watch forum, and I found it through Google. Greetings Bricky! (if you ever come across this article).

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So, the replication is flawed, and not up par with the Discovery and other super reps. Why did I get it?

First you have to think what this hobby means to you. Is it all about deceiving people, being anal about small details... or is it just general "watch love"? I can honestly pick up the latter. Nobody has ever asked if my watches are genuine or not... even Rolexes. And I'd really love to meet someone in this lifetime who even recognizes this watch model... let alone someone who owns a genuine BTR. Some people are anal about the flaws because that kind of moment is potentially "scary" to them. To me, that would be simply hilarious. In reality, it's more likely that I meet a three legged man before that.

Second: I got this watch through a member trade. Rolex GMT IIc never managed to capture my heart. To be honest with you: As good rep as it was, somehow it lacked the real Rolex "spirit". I can already say that I've got more enjoyment out of this watch already than I ever got from my GMT IIc. Accurate or not, this is hell of a good looking watch, and basically that's all I care about.

I actually wanted this with a bracelet, but now that I finally have a watch with a strap I'm quite surprised how much I like it. Maybe it's just this specific watch though... strap really looks good with it, and those yellow stripes on it match the hands perfectly. Because I'm a "strap newbie" I think I'm not qualified to say whether the strap is good or not. I doubt it can match the gen but it feels good to me.

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All in all: Live a little. Enjoy your watches... gens and reps (super or not). That's what this hobby is about.

Thanks for reading this quick writeup. Thanks to *** Pane *** for a flawless watch & trade.

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Bonus: Here's the official BTR promotional video by Ebel.

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Sweet write up and pictures as always! ^_^

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congrats on ur new baby BT!

flawless or not, its a beauty

thx for the quick review

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Thanks, all.

PS: 1024 x 768 wallpaper sized photos are

here and here.

(double click for full size)

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Tops as always. Another awesome Ebel contribution!!

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That must have been fun to write, socio. Can't imagine that having- fun- typing face of yours.

Thanks for the info, probably I would have never checked on Ebel's history by my own these days... so thanks again, it's good to be told by a friend.

:)

cheers!

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Thanks Toad and Chino.

Whether the watch is good looking or not... it's always highly subjective. But BTR is among the very few watches that virtually everyone considers attractive. How can you NOT like the looks?

If I buy yet another gen, BTR is very high on my list.

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Fantastic write up. I had my eye on the red version some months ago, but no $ no fun.

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-Ronin

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I love it...beautiful watch! Do you have any movement shots? If they ever improve the rotor and spacing...I'll pick one up in half a heartbeat! I think the gen dial is perfectly balanced with the tri-compax...a truly lovely watch for sure!

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Just to update the review:

I bought a bracelet for my BTR and this really "finishes" this watch. Inaccurate spacing or not, this watch has a stunning wrist presence.

The "rounded" bracelet feels substantial and looks amazing. Very high quality!!!

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Just took another look at this one. That BTR is excellent!!

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Another excellent review, By-Tor - you put temptation in my path! lol

Lovely watch and definitely once I have put on my wish list for when I have some spare cash :)

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Yup....bracelet makes the watch. Very nice! Thanks for sharing.

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A funny coincidence: The left photo belongs to Bricktop (an old RWG1 veteran) who's photo I borrowed. He posted his gen Ti to a watch forum, and I found it through Google. Greetings Bricky! (if you ever come across this article).

You're welcome :)

Thanks for the credit!

Cheers,

Bricky

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Love mine. I got the bracelet as well and agree that it completes the watch. Versatile watch because I love it on the strap too thumbsupsmileyanim.gif

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I agree D.

I wonder if anyone has ever purchased the white rep version of the BTR? I would love to see some pictures. I just recently found a gen for sale on Ebay.

Yes it's extremely understated and modest dial but that's what makes it appealing. I'd love to have one "pure white" watch in my collection. Here's gen pictures... damn it's beautiful.

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Bytor, you need one of these back in your collection :)

Are you waiting for a closer sub-dial spacing rep to be released or are you hoping to grab a great deal on a gen ;)

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Super :thumbsupsmileyanim: ..and I want to see more pictures of it

HAPPY TIMEKEEPING

GUNNAR :)

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Bytor, you need one of these back in your collection :)

Are you waiting for a closer sub-dial spacing rep to be released or are you hoping to grab a great deal on a gen ;)

Yeah... closer subdial version is number one on my list. I wish they'd make it, and release the rep with genuine-like rotor. Can't think of a nicer watch, really.

PS: I almost bought the gen a few months ago, but lost the Ebay auction in the dying minutes. I prefer the yellow version with a bracelet.

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Speaking of the devil.... ur old Ebel is on sale right now!

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I bought the yellow one and absolutely love it. The wristband broke off at the case itself and it is not a standard wristband type (as far as I can tell). Any idea where to get a replacement?

Cheers

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Hi,

I strongly recommend the bracelet. It's superb quality. Precious Time can get the spares. :good:

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It sure looks convincing in your pics.

I have 20 watches (mostly reps), not one with bracelet. Just never really felt right to me. Any help with a regular strap?

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I believe those spare straps can be bought separately too. Just ask any dealer on the board... I'm sure they can source you one.

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Hi Tor,

please have a look at your former watch,

once again thank you for selling it to me.

please have a look at the datewheel, it is no longer a sunken Datewheel,

I will post some Pictures about the Process later (as soon as I figure out how to post Pictures in a proper way :-))

Regards,

Joerg

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