Eterna Granges 1856 Watch

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch Watch Releases

It’s been 160 years since Eterna first opened its doors for business, and to celebrate, the venerable Swiss brand is introducing the Granges 1856 watch – a svelte 3-hander fitted with a unique in-house-produced movement that builds on Eterna’s revolutionary modular Caliber 39. The Eterna Granges 1856 could punctuate a return to form for the brand's long and somewhat tumultuous history which began in the Swiss municipality of Grenchen (or "Granges," in French), as an ébauche manufactory. It features the current world's thinnest movement with a large date indicator (pretty specific, but there you have it).

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch Watch Releases

The Eterna story is one of the oldest in the book of watchmaking, and a look back on its last 160 years reveals a winding history with ups and downs. Here, we have one of horology’s earliest adopters of mass production techniques at scale, and the inventors of the ball bearing-mounted automatic rotor (hence the five spheres in the brand’s logo) – both major watchmaking contributions which significantly improved the efficiency of automatic movements at the time, and the speed at which they could be manufactured.

That mass production knowhow and pioneering innovation would lead Eterna to found ETA – a separate ébauche division which supplied movements for other watch brands (see our Brief History of ETA article here for more). In fact, many of ETA’s most prominent movements seen today were originally of Eterna design, so the in-house produced Caliber 3030 fitted to this Granges 1856 could be seen as the brand finally coming full circle, escaping the Swatch Group consolidation efforts during the quartz crisis, and breaking its own reliance on the movements it once supplied to others.

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch Watch Releases

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch Watch Releases

The Eterna Granges 1856 looks to resurrect the innovation and pioneering spirit that once put Eterna on the map with the world’s thinnest automatic movement in its class fitted to a new release, limited to only 100 pieces in each of the four dial variants: black, blue, champagne, and silver – with the latter two also available with a Roman numeral dial variant.

Now, that claim comes with a small caveat – “in its class” doesn’t refer to the same types of ultra-thin automatic movements in categories dominated by sluggers like Piaget and Jaeger LeCoultre. No, this is the world’s thinnest automatic caliber with a big date complication, measuring a wispy 4.63mm thick – a few tenths of a millimeter thinner than similar options like Blancpain’s Calibre 6950, which was fitted to the discontinued Aqualung Leman Grande Date. Granted, not exactly rarefied air, nor the most competitive segment, but the movement itself is still markedly compelling with its unique lens-shaped profile, paired with a matching curved dial set within the confines of the Eterna Granges 1856's svelte, 42mm x 9.8mm stainless steel case.

Eterna Granges 1856 Watch Watch Releases

Superlatives aside, whether or not the Eterna Granges 1856 is the return to form some have been waiting for remains to be seen. That said, it’s still an exciting progression and an eminently classic watch that bodes well for the future of Eterna, especially after a series of ownership changes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Eterna Granges 1856 will be available exclusively from Eterna’s e-boutique, with prices starting at $4,900 for versions on a leather strap, and $5,100 on the stainless steel bracelet.

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  • Raymond Wilkie

    Nice, but not not 5 grand nice.

  • word-merchant

    Eterna: “horse bolted, barn door closed”.

  • Phoenikz

    Wa’aay beyond over-priced (sadly) … Nomos, Zenith Elite, etc. … Eterna needs fresh leadership – Soon.

  • Lode_Runner

    This watch does not have “an all-new caliber fitted to a new release,” as the article falsely states. The Eterna 3030 was developed in 2006 and released in the Vaughan Big Date.

    Now that you mention it, how, exactly, is this watch meaningfully different from the Eterna Vaughan “Big Date” that the Eterna released almost a decade earlier (and can still be bought on closeouts for about $1400), other than Arabic numerals on the 3/6/9 positions and some new color variations:

    Even the specs here seem identical to the Eterna Vaughan also, the case size, movement, etc., is identical. My guess is that Eterna had some Eterna Vaughan parts around, so they flipped out a new dial and tried to sell these as “limited” release items.

    • Shawn Lavigne

      nice post.

    • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

      Good sleuthing.
      I also like the Blue dial version – but, as you say, it is more than bit over-priced. Espcially when your “Vaughan” information is taken into consideration.

    • Thanks for researching this as a 3030 based watch. I was about to otherwise comment, how in the hell did they get a caliber 39 down to 4.63mm as while there are numerous variations of the 39, they all share the base thickness which is around 5.60 mm.

      • Dan Finch

        This cal. came before the 39, It’s from 2006! With a 300 piece run, it seems like these may just extra stock they are blowing out.
        But I’m puzzled as to what the 3030 really is. They never show the back of the movement on the Eterna site, but here it looks almost exactly like a Selitta SW-300! But why would they go to the effort to essentially duplicate an existing movement with such slight changes? At their low volumes there’s no way they can compete on price. Could it be that Eterna simply assembled these from an Selitta ebaches and just modifies it slighty with the date wheels etc? But who is going to pay $5,000 for a watch that is so similar to ones selling at less than $1000 containing an eta or selitta? Strange…

    • ??????
    • You’re absolutely right about the movement not being new – article was quickly amended. Good lookin’ out.

    • Dan Finch

      Looks suspiciously like they are blowing out the last few old stock 3030 movements under the guise of a “limited edition”! For that money I’d rather have an Eterna with the newer cal 3900….

  • Bill W

    If Eterna is still around in another 160 years then I’ll be very dead.

  • Shawn Lavigne

    it’s an ok watch. hands seem a little anemic. pricey. don’t like that winding crown.

  • funkright

    Love the look, not the price. Thought maybe 2.5k at best on a hot day when I have drank a bit… but sober, not so much 🙁

  • I dig the big date.

  • HectorAsuipe

    I’m rooting for Eterna to keep going. I won’t buy this one for $5k, but they are getting somewhere. Perhaps they are expecting that the pricing scheme that has developed with the grey market is a fair model, in which case discount all their MSRP by 50% right from the start.

  • ??????

    Eternas get solid discounts – so I won’t be surprised to see these later at 50% MSRP or less. All in all – great semi-dress pieces and will lie below Zenith Elite and Girard-Perregaux 1957, but above Longines Flagship.

  • Aditya

    It’s average at best. Un inspired case design, lackluster crown and wonky pricing, even at grey market discounts.

  • speedy

    Rather cool, but would never be my choice at those prices.

    Also, while I can understand the fact that they want to call their watch after their hometown, this is hardly a good choice. Granges is easily among the saddest, ugliest towns in Switzerland… and everyone here associates Granges with ETA.

  • Cuppa Joe

    Am I crazy for getting a strong “Hamilton Jazzmaster” vibe on this?

    One nice thing… the date window is exactly where it should be. Too many watches are released these days with a large case, small movement, and a date window that has migrated too far away from the edge of the dial.

  • Dénes Albert

    There are a number of things to like about this one: well-proportioned and executed case, in-house movement, big date, fine bracelet. But do we really need “automatic” and “since 1856” on the dial? The design is clearly business casual, so I think 40mm should be large enough for the purpose. Double the WR, halve the price and they might just have a competitive offering.

  • Marius

    I know exactly who would pay $5,000 for an Eterna: NOBODY.

  • SuperStrapper

    Price aside, the watch is nice. The large date is well implemented and the dial finish looks great. Put the oxblood strap on the blue dial and you’d have a winner. But for $5k I’d want all 3.

  • Roman

    The watches look too low-cost for that price.

  • I’m a big fan of the brand, and of this model as well, but that price point is pre-owned Rolex Explorer territory. It’s a good thing no one in the history of the world has ever paid close to MSRP for an Eterna.

  • Goodguy678

    I’d get the black dial one for $2000. But $5000? Nope

  • Yojimbo

    good thing they only made a 100 of each because at those prices they’ll be hard pressed to sell them

  • cluedog12

    Nice and no nonsense. Is the watch worth $5000? Is the finishing of the case, movement, dial and hands excellent? How does it compare to other $5000 watches? A hands-on review can answer this question, but I would start in the “no” camp too.

  • Ulysses31

    Attractive designs. The big date is nice. I like Eterna plenty, but at that price it’s a no-go. Too much competition for handsome three-handers at half the cost.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    This is possibly one of the most underrated brand. They have a little bit of a history of missed chances, bad luck and underperforming management but the movement is excellent. The Kontiki is one of the most beautifull watches I`ve ever seen. And these three are a nice dress watches. $5000 is a little bit on the upper end but considering the marvellous in-house movement and the tastefull and timeless design of the watches, there were much worser deals on this blog.

  • Jason Mirabello

    This will be $2500 on the gray market…

  • Dan Finch

    I agree that it seems overpriced. Probably to make up for the lack of volume. I read somewhere that they only sell about 25,000 pieces a year total! And it’s a pity that they are now China-owned. But you’ve got to love the fact that they have upgraded the design of the ETA 2892, which was originally developed back when Eterna owned them. Something that ETA seems to not be able to do under Swatch ownership! Love to see them flood these movements on the open market, and send ETA and Sellita packing!