Eterna: Tradition and Innovation Since 1856
Eterna watches stand out with their unique designs and superb Swiss quality. They also offer fantastic value for money. The Kontiki Bronze Manufacture is a true highlight and boasts an in-house caliber.
A Pioneer of Swiss Watchmaking
From the world's flattest automatic watch to wearable alarm clocks, Eterna has spent over 160 years releasing one innovation after another. Urs Schild, a teacher, and Dr. Joseph Girard founded the company in Grenchen, Switzerland in 1856.
After nine turbulent decades, Eterna finally made their big breakthrough with the release of the Kontiki in 1947. This model joined Norwegian researcher Thor Heyerdahl on his raft, the Kon-Tiki, as he made his transpacific journey from Peru to the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. The Kontiki collection remains popular to this day and is the cornerstone of Eterna's entire catalog. The 1973 Super Kontiki and Kontiki Four Hands models are especially highly coveted. If you prefer watches with more elegant designs, you should turn to the Heritage and Eternity collections.
Fans of vintage watches will also find plenty of options from Eterna. Collectors are particularly fond of Kontiki diving watches from the 1960s and are sometimes willing to pay significant prices to get one. Rare military editions like the Super Kontiki Diver Commando can even reach the five-figure range in good condition.
Eterna sources most of their movements from a number of manufacturers. Depending on the collection, you'll find calibers from ETA, Sellita, or Soprod. Select models boast the in-house caliber 39, including the limited edition Kontiki Bronze and the Super Kontiki Chronograph.
Reasons to Buy an Eterna Watch
- Founded in 1856
- Outstanding value for money
- In-house calibers and proven Swiss movements
- Kontiki: A world-famous expedition watch made famous by Thor Heyerdahl
Prices at a Glance: Eterna Watches
|Super Kontiki Chronograph, ref. 77126.96.36.1998||3,800 USD||Blue dial and bezel, two subdials, date at 8 o'clock, 44 mm|
|Kontiki Bronze Diver 44, ref. 12188.8.131.520||2,700 USD||Bronze case, green dial and bezel, 42 mm|
|Heritage 1948 Moonphase, ref. 2958.41||2,600 USD||Chronograph, moon phase display, day and month display|
|Kontiki Chronograph, ref. 1240.41.63.1184||2,000 USD||Chronograph, white dial, date at 5 o'clock, 42 mm|
|Porsche Design by Eterna, ref. 6625.41||1,900 USD||Chronograph, day, date|
|Super Kontiki 1973 Edition, ref. 19184.108.40.2060||1,900 USD||Limited-edition remake of a model from 1973|
|Lady Kontiki Diver, ref. 12220.127.116.114||1,900 USD||Special edition, two-tone, white dial, date at 5 o'clock, 38 mm|
|Kontiki Diver, ref. 1218.104.22.1683||1,700 USD||Date at 8 o'clock, 44 mm|
|Kontiki Four Hands, ref. 1592.41.41.0217||1,600 USD||Pointer date; green triangle indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12; 42 mm|
|Super Kontiki, ref. 1222.214.171.1243||1,100 USD||Orange diving scale and indices, date at 6 o'clock, 45 mm|
How much does an Eterna Kontiki cost?
The Eterna Kontiki collection contains a wide range of three-hand watches and chronographs. One of the most famous models is the Kontiki Four Hands, which is available with a black or silver dial. The ref. 1592.41.11.0217 features a black dial and a three-piece link stainless steel bracelet. Its case measures 42 mm in diameter and is water-resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). While it is robust enough to go diving, this timepiece isn't a true diving watch since it lacks a diving bezel.
The Kontiki Four Hands gets its power from the ETA caliber 2836-2 with a 38-hour power reserve. What makes this movement truly special is its central pointer date feature. The hour, minute, and second hands also maintain their central position. Applied bar indices with luminous tips mark the hours. SuperLuminova also fills the hands, enabling the wearer to tell the time, even in the dark.
Large triangle indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock draw all eyes to the dial. These markers also glow in the dark and feature the Arabic numerals 15, 30, 45, and 60, respectively. The version with a silver dial has white hands and indices, while the black edition's hands and indices are green.
If you'd like to call one of these models your own, be sure to have around 1,600 USD on hand. Pre-owned pieces demand similar prices.
Features of the Kontiki Four Hands
- Date display via a fourth hand
- 42 mm in diameter
- ETA caliber 2836-2
- Water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft)
Limited Edition: 1973 Super Kontiki
In 2010, Eterna paid tribute to the original Super Kontiki from 1973 with a limited-edition remake – the ref. 19126.96.36.1990. This model has a 44-mm cushion-shaped case and is water-resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft). Its dial and diving bezel are black. The twelve dial indices are all coated with SuperLuminova, as are the hour, minute, and second hands. The ETA caliber 2824-2 powers this timepiece and lends it its 38-hour power reserve.
Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki raft adorns the case back, as well as the watch's production number. Eterna mounts this model on a Milanese stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp. You can purchase a never-worn version on Chrono24 for about 1,900 USD. Used watches cost quite a bit less at around 1,400 USD.
Super Kontiki Flyback Chronograph
If you're on the market for a diving watch with a chronograph, you should take a closer look at the Super Kontiki Flyback Chronograph. The ref. 77188.8.131.528 has a 45-mm cushion-shaped case in stainless steel. Its dial is black and features luminous triangle indices. The Eterna in-house caliber 3916A ticks away inside the case and provides this timepiece with a flyback function. There are three central hands for the hours, minutes, and chronograph seconds. The dial has two subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock. You'll also find a date display at 6. Thanks to its 60-hour power reserve, you can set this watch aside over the weekend and it will still be ticking come Monday.
When it comes to the band, you can choose between a black rubber strap or a Milanese bracelet in polished stainless steel. You can purchase a never-worn watch for around 3,600 USD or save about 340 USD by selecting a pre-owned piece. The Super Kontiki is also available with a blue dial under the reference number 77184.108.40.2068. This edition costs about the same as the black version.
Features of the Super Kontiki Flyback
- 45 mm in diameter
- In-house caliber 3916A
- 60-hour power reserve
- Chronograph with a flyback function
- Water resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft)
Eterna Meets Porsche Design
Since being acquired by Porsche Design in 1995, Eterna has produced several watches under the Porsche Design name. One example is the ref. 6625.11 from the late 1990s. This chronograph was limited to a run of 1,998 pieces. Its 40-mm stainless steel case is coated in black and houses the ETA Valjoux caliber 7750. You can recognize this movement by its central hands for the hours, minutes, and chronograph seconds, as well as the presence of subdials at 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. It also has a day-date display at 3. Finally, tritium line indices are painted directly onto the dial's surface.
The bracelet is also made of black-coated stainless steel and features a security folding clasp. Prices for a well-maintained model sit around 3,900 USD on Chrono24. If you happen to come across a never-worn watch, expect to pay well over 6,700 USD.
Features of the Eterna Porsche Design 6625.11
- Limited run of 1,998 pieces
- Solid black coating
- Tritium indices
- Proven ETA Valjoux caliber 7750
Heritage & Eternity: Classically Elegant
The Heritage and Eternity collections are home to Eterna's classic and elegant timepieces. Each watch is made of stainless steel and measures 40 mm in diameter.
The Heritage ref. 29220.127.116.118 features a light dial with twelve applied Arabic numerals. Its power comes from the caliber SW 300-1, a product of Swiss movement manufacturer Sellita. This automatic movement has a 42-hour power reserve and uses central hour, minute, and second hands to indicate the time. There's also a date display at 3 o'clock. Eterna mounts this timepiece on a black leather strap with your choice of a pin buckle or folding clasp. Mint-condition watches sell for roughly 1,400 USD on Chrono24. Pre-owned versions are still rather rare.
If you prefer teardrop-shaped indices over Arabic numerals, you may enjoy the ref. 2918.104.22.1687. This watch features applied silver indices and only two Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o'clock. Another difference between this model and the 2922.214.171.1248 is its brown alligator leather strap. You can call this watch your own for about 1,400 USD. Once again, pre-owned pieces are rare and finding one often requires regular searches.
Eterna Eternity: Timeless Watch Design
Eternity for Him is a series of three watches. The ref. 2700.41.10.1736 is one such timepiece. Its power comes from the Sellita caliber SW 200-1. This movement has a 38-hour power reserve and hands for the hours, minutes, and seconds. There's also a date display at 3 o'clock. Applied indices mark the hours on the light-colored dial. Eterna pairs this version with a seven-piece stainless bracelet and folding clasp. Prices for a mint-condition watch fall around 790 USD.
While technologically identical, the ref. 2700.43.90.1392 has a different color scheme. It combines a black-coated case with a silver dial and comes on a brown nubuck leather strap with a pin buckle or folding clasp. New watches change hands for roughly 790 USD.
Those who like the Eternity for Him's design but prefer the convenience of a quartz movement should take a closer look at the ref. 2710.41.80.1736. The ETA caliber 955.112 ticks away inside its case. This movement has central hour and minute hands, as well as a date display at 3 o'clock. A polished seven-piece link bracelet in stainless steel completes the look. This version requires an investment of around 510 USD.
The History of Eterna
Dr. Joseph Girard and Urs Schild founded Eterna in 1856. The company initially focused on producing movements for the Swiss watch industry. Dr. Girard stepped down in 1866, leaving Urs Schild to run the business on his own. It would be another ten years before the company released their first complete timepiece in 1876. One of Eterna's most significant innovations followed in 1914 in the form of the world's very first wristwatch with an alarm function.
In 1932, Eterna split into two companies: ETA SA and Eterna. ETA remains the world's largest ébauche movement manufacturer for Swiss watches. On the other hand, Eterna continued developing new timepieces, including the 1947 Kontiki. Thor Heyerdahl had one of these water-resistant sports watches on board when he sailed from Peru to French Polynesia on a raft. Eterna's next worldwide hit came in 1948 with the Eterna-Matic Golden Heart. Fans of this model included Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot.
Eterna set another record in 1962. That year, they presented the Eterna-Matic Dato, which was the world's flattest automatic watch with a date display at the time. Its movement was only 3.6 mm thick. Like many members of the Allgemeine Schweizerische Uhrenindustrie AG (ASUAG, a precursor to the modern Swatch Group), Eterna had to deal with the effects of the quartz crisis, which began in the early 1970s.
German holding company F.A.P. Beteiligungsgesellschaft (a.k.a. Porsche Design) acquired Eterna in 1995. Since then, Eterna has come out with a whole range of different movements, including the caliber 39 series of chronographs. You can find this movement inside the Super Kontiki Chronograph under the name 3916A. The business changed hands again in 2011, this time going to the Chinese Citychamp Watch & Jewellery Group Ltd.