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Eza Watches: A Question of Attribution

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It seems to be received wisdom, reinforced by reviews of the recent reincarnation of Eza watches, that the history of the original Eza watch brand is part of the Hermann Becker story - a company started in 1921 by Hermann Becker in Pforzheim, Germany. The twist is that one important reference indicates that this information might be incorrect; that the Eza watch brand belonged to another Pforzheim watch company, Ziemer & Co, which was founded just six years after the Becker concern.

If we are to believe the general run of opinion then we can summarise the story of Eza watches as follows: 

In 1921, Hermann Becker, a German watchmaker, established a small case manufacturing facility in Pforzheim, and over the years the firm diversified into the production of dials (by the late 1950s) and watch movements (made from 1955). At first, the movements were hand-wind, but automatic movements were produced from 1958. The last automatic Hermann Becker caliber was the 25J HB313 - with an old and new version produced over its production run.

 

 

 

A gold plated Eza wristwatch from about 1960 with 34 mm case (excl. crown) and powered by a hand-wind 17J movement (pics from assets.catawiki.nl):

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The first Eza watch collection was introduced by the Becker company in the 1960s, and in the 1960s and 70s, the brand apparently produced a line of “funky” dress watches. Unfortunately, Hermann Becker KG was hit by the Quartz Crisis and filed for bankruptcy; thus, the Eza name disappeared until it was revived almost half a century later.

The recent revival of the Eza name in 2016 does not have any concrete linkage to the original brand, but because the new Eza company produces respectable watches in vintage style - so far majoring on dive watches including a take on an Eza dive watch design from1972 - it is worth mentioning here. The firm is based in Rotterdam in the Netherlands and was founded by two friends, Diederick van Golen and Adriaan Trampe, with Adriaan having  studied watchmaking at Vakschool Schoonhaven, the same school distinguished contemporary Dutch watchmaker Bart Grönefeld attended. Apparently, the duo assemble their watches from parts sourced abroad.

 

 

 

A 1970s Eza wristwatch with a stainless steel 35mm (excl. crown) case and screw-on caseback; water resistant to 4 ATM and powered by a 25J HB313 automatic movement:

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Having now provided the version of the Eza story propounded in the review literature pertaining to the new Eza watch company, we need to further introduce the “elephant in the room” that links Eza with Ziemer & Co. We find this reference in the Mikrolisk directory under “Eza” and it comprises the script trademark, “Eza,” and links it to Uhrenfabrik Ziemer & Co., wristwatches, Pforzheim, Germany. Unfortunately, there is no (registration) date given for this mark.

The Ziemer watch company was founded by Wilhelm Ziemer in Pforzheim, Germany, in September 1927, and was apparently manufacturing wristwatches from the beginning. In 1963, the leadership of the firm passed to Robert Ziemer, son of Wilhelm, and the firm remained in family hands until, in 1985, it was taken over by long-time employee Günther Schäfer. In 1987, the company was legally changed to Ziemer GmbH, and two years later the brand name, Claude Pascal, was launched and registered. Indeed, the Claude Pascal name has been the sole brand of the Ziemer company since 1989. 2002 saw the management of Ziemer GmbH pass to Schäfer’s son-in-law, Peter Gießler after many years of co-operation between the two men. Finally, in 2011, the firm relocated from Pforzheim to larger premises in Niefern. According to the current Claude pascal website, Peter Gießler is still  the executive director of the company.

 

 

 

Eza stainless steel dive/dive-style watch with cushion-shaped case, rotating bezel, and heavily lumed hands, probably later 1960s and powered by a 25J automatic HB312 movement (pics from uhrforum.de):

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I have been unable to find supporting evidential material concerning Ziemer watch brands in the period prior to 1989 including “Eza” other than the isolated Mikrolisk reference, and we can’t assume that Mikrolisk is infallible. The assumed link between Eza and Hermann Becker is the current favourite theory but the evidence supporting this link in available literature is also scant. Given that the Eza brand name has been resurrected, and applied to watches worthy of consideration, it surely behoves us to examine the question of brand name attribution. Was the original Eza watch brand related to Hermann Becker,  Ziemer & Co, or perhaps both or another company altogether? Hopefully, someone out there will have a definitive answer - it just isn’t me… for the time being at least.

 

Stop Press: It has come to my attention that some Eza branded watches were powered by Voumard movements; sometimes these are labelled as, "Voumard by Eza" watches. The first watch pictured in this topic where the movement isn't specified, it transpires that at least some of this Eza model of wristwatch were powered by the Voumard caliber 1050 movement.

 


 

 

 


 

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