Some watch brands leave their mark on the world. The Waltham Watch Company introduced assembly line mass production to America, kicking our industrial revolution into high gear. The Ball Watch Company standardized time and made railway travel safe. Eberhard & Co. doesn’t have that kind of claim to fame but the Eberhard Scafograf 300 sure left its mark on me . . .
A couple of hours after wearing the Eberhard Scafograf 300 on a rubber strap – at my normal level of constriction – the Swiss watch began to feel a bit uncomfortable. Unfastening the Scafograf I discovered I’d been branded.
The Scafograf’s rubber strap had dug into my flesh and imprinted about a dozen indents in the shape of the company’s logo. Not wanting to do anything rash, I loosened the strap and persevered. The result was better, but still clearly visible.
I emailed my war wounds photo to Eberhard PR, asking them to replace The Rubber Strap from Hell with a Scafograf 300 on a steel bracelet. And so they did.
That still leaves a mystery: how could a Swiss watch company not know they’d created a $3300 torture device? Why would they send it to a reviewer?
Laurel resting perhaps? Launched in 2016, the Eberhard Scafograf 300 (on steel) won the Sports Watch category of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève.
Although the Scafograf qualifies as a “sporty” dive watch, the Revival category would have been a better fit.
Eberhard calls the Scafograf 300 a “reinterpretation” of their 1964 model. As the above video shows, the new timepiece is a dead ringer for its predecessor, right down to the double-dash lumed hour hand and the bezel’s bold typography.
That said, eagle-eyed watch nerds will notice a few changes . . .
Eberhard dropped the word “automatic” to the bottom of the dial and de-serifed the font, made all the applied indices the same size, changed the date window frame from white to steel, swapped the steel bezel for ceramic circumnavigation and added an optional splash of color (blue or yellow second hand with matching dial text).
The result is less boring than the original. The ceramic bezel has a wonderfully silky sheen, the steel bits glint glamorously, the blue second hand pops and the lume looms large.
It’s also more boring than the original. The same-sized indices ding legibility and kill visual interest, and the deleted italic text under the logo leaves the Eberhard name lost in space.
The main problem with the new old Scafograf’s design? Size.
Eberhard upsized the ’64 Scafograf’s case by a scant .5mm (to 43mm). It’s too big for a plain Jane tool watch – never mind one attached to a 21mm wide bracelet.
A side-by-side comparison with the 39mm Yema Navygraf Heritage (with 19mm lugs) demonstrates the inherent appeal of perfect proportionality. Score one for the French.
Where the Eberhard kicks le Navygraf’s ass: the steel bracelet. Eberhard’s is a high polish, high quality piece with easily removed links and a fancy schmancy “Déclic” clasp.
Releasing the Scafograf’s lever-secured clasp has a steep learning curve – you have to yank it hard just so. But it’s totally secure and beautifully built. As is the 120-click coin-edged bezel.
Like the Navygraf, the Scafograf 300 is a proper dive watch. We know this because it’s rated to 300m and boasts a helium escape valve – a device that vents helium atoms that worm their way into a watch case during an extended deep dive, so they don’t expand and pop off the crystal during decompression.
Given that roughly zero percent of dive watch owners run that risk, it’s odd that the Scafograf opted for a Rolex Sea Dweller-like integrated HEV valve. Where’s the flex in that?
The same place where flexers go to brag about owning a watch powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement.
calibercorner.com calls the Swiss engine “one of the most well-known and most recognized movements in the watch industry.” For good reason. The Eberhard Scafograf’s top grade 2824-2 may not deliver stunning accuracy – between +/-4 to +/- 15 seconds per day – but it’s a time-tested tool watch titan, a hardy-as-hell hackable workhorse.
The movement choice is in keeping with the Scafograf brick shithouse gestalt. We’re talking about a dive watch with a screw down steel caseback -engraved with a portrait of Patrick Starfish – that weighs-in at 6.5 ounces on steel.
Given my first impressions, I think we can completely discount the rubber strapped version. Dealers do.
Same goes for the steel-on-steel Eberhard Scafograf 300. Chrono24.com has an unworn example for $2416. This for a timepiece that retails for $3800.
The Scafograf makes sense at the German dealer’s price. At $3800 not so much.
A Tudor Black Bay 58 with an in-house movement runs $3700. A Longines Hydroquest – on inferior steel with a ceramic bezel and 300m water resistance – starts at $1600. Neither diver has a helium escape valve, so there is that.
Eberhard is an old Germanic word for “the strength or courage of a boar.” That just about sums up the Eberhard Scafograf 300. It’s an extremely strong watch, you have to have courage to choose it over its rivals and it’s boring.
Model: Eberhard Scafograf 300
Price: $3300 on the rubber strap, $3800 on a steel bracelet
Case: Stainless steel, brushed and polished 21mm lugs, indented helium escape valve at the 9 o’clock
Dial: “Galbé” black dial with luminescent applied indices, date at 3 o’clock
Hands: Hour, minute second
Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Strap: Rubber/Steel with Déclic clasp
Movement: top grade ETA 2824-2
Power reserve: 38 hours
Weight: Steel bracelet 6.5 ounces, rubber strap 4.1 ounces
Water resistance: 300m
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * *
Clean and tidy but too big for its own good and a bit dull – even with the welcome colored second hand.
Legibility * * * * *
Easily done. Fantastic lume.
Comfort */ * * * * *
It’s a heavy old thing, as you’d expect. The rubber strap is an unmitigated disaster (I’d give it negative stars if I could). The steel bracelet is luxurious, although the funky clasp needs practice.
Overall * *
An extremely well built and reliable dive watch that’s over-priced against the competition and not terribly exciting.