BUILT ON TRADITION, DRIVEN BY INNOVATION, INSPIRED BY EMOTIONS
The name Eterna is synonymous with timepieces of the highest quality, with Swiss watchmaking Tradition, and with an outstanding Spirit of innovation. The passionate desire to master horological challenges as well as to constantly improve existing Features has been driving Eterna since 1856. It is therefore no surprise that the Workshops in Grenchen have time and time again enriched and revolutionized the art of watchmaking. Today, Eterna is still characterised by this ingenious creativity. The current collections reflect the brand's respect for tradition, alongside Eterna's commitment to pioneering new designs and movement technologies.
Borders? I have never seen one.
But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.
In 1937, a newly married Thor Heyerdahl decided to extend his honeymoon on the Marquesas Islands, ideally located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The geography and zoology he had studied at the University of Oslo gradually led the young Norwegian to formulate a daring hypothesis. He came to suspect that the prevailing winds and maritime currents could have made possible the human colonisation of Polynesia by people from South America rather than from the continent of Asia. Furthermore, the name of an Inca sun-god, Kon-Tiki, seemed to appear in Polynesian religious myths.
Ten years later, Thor Heyerdahl found himself in Callao, on Peru’s Pacific coast, overseeing the construction of a balsawood raft similar to those known to have existed before the Spanish conquest. The budding explorer named it Kon-Tiki in salute to the Inca sun-god.
After rounding up sufficient financial backing, he and five other Scandinavians with varying scientific interests sailed from Callao on April 28 1947, with minimal supplies and a radio set. The six men relied on Pacific winds and currents to propel them all the way to Polynesia. Strapped to his wrist, each Kon-Tiki crew member carried an Eterna timepiece, the contribution of one of the few watch manufacturers of the day to have truly mastered watchcase watertightness.
After 101 adventurous days and nights, covering some 8,000 kilometres (4,320 nautical or 4,971 land miles), the voyage ended somewhat abruptly on the coral reefs of the Raroia atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago. The crew was fine, the raft a bit the worse for wear. The Eterna watches, for their part, were running as smoothly as ever, unaffected by water, moisture, salt corrosion and temperature variations. Back in Granges, Switzerland, Eterna’s technical teams drew the appropriate conclusions. From a legendary figure and name, Kon-Tiki would now become an exceptional horological dynasty.
Since 1948, Eterna’s added value to time
From 1948 on, Swiss-made self-winding movements benefited from a major technical advance devised and implemented by Eterna: ball-bearing assisted rotational movement. Swiss wristwatches fitted with this revolutionary innovation soon enjoyed worldwide success, solidly consolidating Eterna’s reputation internationally. Today’s revival of the “1948” in a dimensionally updated version and a choice of two dial styles preserves the technical inventiveness and overall excellence of the original. A contemporary classic in its own right, its shapely contours and typically incurved case lugs are back essentially unchanged
1948 - the year of a pivotal invention
Eterna’s epochal 1948 development proved a major step forward for self-winding technology, with a ball-bearing greatly easing the oscillating weight or winding rotor’s rotation around the pivot axis. Reducing wear and tear on vital parts, Eterna’s development extended the watch’s working time, hence its useful life – a smart way to increase its value. Eterna knew it had a winner and made the most of it. Management lost no time turning the five spheres of the now-famous bearing into its now-celebrated corporate symbol.
The “1948”, acclaimed the world over
In a matter of months, the watch’s reputation, quickly followed by the watch itself, established itself all over the world. Runaway sales of the model delighted then surprised Eterna, the company finding itself with a worldwide best-seller. For years to come, the “1948” would find discerning customers everywhere. Its popularity set new records.
Milestones in Eterna's history
Eterna has since 1856 manufactured high-quality mechanical timepieces born of traditional craftsmanship. Over its more than 150 years of existence, numerous major developments have emerged from the company’s workshops.
On November 7, 1856, Josef Girard, a physician, and Urs Schild, a schoolteacher, founded a movement-blank workshop “Dr. Girard & Schild”, renamed “Eterna” some decades later.
The name Eterna appeared on a watch dial for the first time.
At the 1904 Swiss National Exhibition in Bern, Eterna introduced the first wristwatch fitted with an alarm mechanism, a technical breakthrough which the company had patented in 1908.
Eterna added to its reputation with the series production of the smallest baguette movement, demonstrating yet again that fashion and technical progress go hand in hand.
Norwegian researcher and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated that Polynesia could have been colonised by native Peruvians by sailing across the Pacific in a balsawood raft by the name of Kon-Tiki. He and his crew all wore Eterna wristwatches.
The Eterna-Matic entered automatic movement history with its movement’s oscillating weight mounted on ball bearings to attenuate friction and dampen the effects of shocks, jarring and blows on the rate of the watch. Exclusive to Eterna, this system remains a worldwide reference while the five spheres have become the Eterna logo.
The first series production of the Eterna-Matic KonTiki design gave Eterna an entry into the world of sports watches.
At the behest of Porsche Design, Eterna designed and built its 6036 mechanical movement for the P’6910 Indicator. Comprising some 800 components, it displays elapsed time spans digitally and features four barrels, making it one of the most complex designs of its generation.
Eterna scores a hit with the smallest serially produced baguette movement for women's wristwatches. The company splits into two joint-stock companies in 1932: “ETA AG"" becomes a maker of movements and Eterna AG manufactures precision watches. In addition, Eterna begins making wrist chronographs and the new square wristwatches with a sweep second.
Birth of the ball-bearing mounted rotor system that reduces friction in 1948. The Eterna-Matic is destined to enter watchmaking history. The ball-bearing-mounted rotor becomes a standard for automatic movements. The striking Eterna logo made up of five little spheres is placed on the dial.
Back in 1947, the Norwegian archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and five other scientists set out from the Peruvian coast into the Pacific Ocean on a simple raft made of balsa wood, on their wrists the researchers wore specially made Eterna watches.
A prosperous decade for Eterna! For the company's 100th anniversary, it releases the extra-thin ""Centenaire"" automatic. ""Golden Heart"" is the crowning glory in the ladies' watches segment. The world's smallest automatic movement with a massive gold rotor is worn by actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot. Also, Eterna develops the ""Kon Tiki 20"", a tribute to the expedition of the norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947.
The ""Eterna-Matic 3000 Dato"" is 1962 the thinnest men's watch with an automatic movement and a date window. The movement height is 3.6 mm. The ""Sahida"" automatic has a height of 4 mm and is a great success with women.
The electronic decade. First, Eterna launches the ""Eterna Sonic"", its first electronic wristwatch with a tuning fork resonator and in 1974 the first Eterna with a quartz movement and analogue display. With the ""Estrellita Quartz,"" Eterna set another record in 1979: the smallest water-resistant watch ever made. It's movement weighed a mere 1.06 grams.
The ""Museum"" line breaks the thinness record in all categories. The quartz wristwatch including the case has a height of only 0.98 mm. On 8 May, Eterna receives the ""Grand Prix Triomphe de l'Excellence Européenne"" for its significant achievements with regards to Europe’s image.
1998 Eterna releases its first Porsche Design collection.
Eterna puts itself back into the elite circle of genuine manufactures and creates in 2004 the Calibre 6036, the next year follows the ultra-thin manufacture automatic 3030, in 2007 the Calibre 6037 and a half-century after the Eterna-Matic, the ""Spherodrive"" once again highlights the significance of tiny ball-bearings in mechanical watchmaking in 2009.
Presentation of the ""Madison Eight Days"" with the state-of-the-art Calibre 3510. This manually wound movement features the revolutionary ""Spherodrive"" system for bearing the spring barrel plus an impressive power reserve of over eight days.
Eterna launches the watch Adventic, the first time-piece to incorporate the new Eterna proprietary calibre 3843, itself energized by an Eterna-Spherodrive mechanism.
The calibre 39 is not only an industrial calibre, but also represents a family of calibres .