Which 52Mondayz watch to chose was a difficult one this week. Last week, together with the rest of the Fratello Watches team, I picked up my Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday. However already being in Biel I took the opportunity to visit Eterna in Grenchen, who had my Kon-Tiki Bronze Manufacture limited edition ready as well.
As I expect that we’re covering something Speedy tomorrow, I decided to bring out my Eterna for this week’s 52Mondayz installment.
Eterna produced this limited edition of the KonTiki divers watch to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s legendary KonTiki expedition. As you could read in Michael Stockton’s article last March, five of us ordered the Eterna during this years Baselworld. Quite commonly in the watch world, it took some time to have the first watches ready for delivery. Two weeks ago we got the message that the first ones, of a limited edition run of only 300 pieces, were ready for despatch.
For the very first time for Eterna, they made a watch out of bronze. The use of bronze has a long nautical history. For centuries, ships have relied on this metal alloy for its strength and resistance to corrosion. Bronze is able to resist corrosion thanks to its ability to create a greenish/brown copper oxide layer that in fact protects it. On a watch, this layer develops differently for each and every wearer, making every watch different and thus very personal.
The dial of the Eterna KonTiki Bronze has a highly recognizable design. Big triangular luminescent hour markers contrast strongly against an anthracite dial. The dial has a sort of granite-patterned finish. Not often seen but which, in combination with the large triangular cardinal markers, provides excellent legibility. Readability is enhanced even further by the lack of a date window. One of the reasons I fell quite quickly for this watch.
As expected from a divers watch, a unidirectional rotating bezel surrounds the dial. The bezel inlay material is ceramic, while the numerals are Super-LumiNova filled. Less expected is the no-decompression limits scale, instead of the commonly used minutes. This no-decompression limits scale provides divers with a useful backup to their diving computers. It indicates the amount of time a diver can spend at a particular depth, without the need of a decompression stop when surfacing. Let me explain this simple. At the start of a dive, one aligns the arrow on the bezel with the minute hand of the watch. Then, when the minute hand reaches the figure on the bezel which indicates the (maximum) depth of that dive, the diver has to start his descent to the surface.
Further with the heart of the watch, the all-new in-house Eterna caliber 3902A. Eterna, known for the invention of a rotor with a ball bearing, in 2006 patented another ball bearing. This time a ball bearing facilitating the rotation of the movement’s barrel using ceramic balls on three concentric rings. This invention, called the Spherodrive, has been incorporated into caliber 39xx. An automatic in-house movement series that is not only the engine inside the Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture, but is also the base movement for over 88 different Eterna movement references today. By the way, currently only this KonTiki Bronze Manufacture Limited Edition houses this in-house movement. Other regular stainless steel KonTiki divers models sport a Sellita movement, providing a date for these watches as well.
A sapphire glass back might be a bit unusual for a divers watch. However, in this case, I’m glad the KonTiki Bronze Manufacture Limited Edition has one. The in-house Eterna movement is not often seen and interesting to look at. In this light, the regular KonTiki Divers with Sellita movement sport a nicely engraved steel case back.
So far the technical and exact observations of the watch. On a personal note, I love the way it wears quite comfortable. At first, I couldn’t believe the diameter is 44mm. Really I took out a caliper to measure it myself. The outside diameter of the bezel is 43mm, and the casing peeping slightly from underneath it measures 44mm (without the crown) indeed. Short lugs, which more or less organically fit down on the wrist, will provide a good and comfortable fit I guess.
Then I love the (22 to 18mm) brown leather strap. It’s made from a very soft vintage looking, waxy kind of leather. Another unusual choice for a divers watch probably. However, it looks so good with the bronze casing and anthracite dial that again I’m not complaining.
But what I like the absolute most about the watch is its surprising appearance from time to time. The bronze is such a nice looking material and shows very different under changing light conditions. Still new of course, and I can’t wait to see my watch aging as no other watch will. And the appearance of the dial is equally special. The rough anthracite surface competes often with the polished bronze surrounded index markers.
The Eterna KonTiki Bronze Manufacture was sold for CHF 2.890,= (including 8% Swiss VAT). Was – and that’s the only negative point I will mention in this write-up – because all 300 pieces were sold out already during the Baselworld fair. More information on Eterna and its watches can be found here: www.eterna.com
Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more