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Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna, Swiss watch manufactures since 1856, have in recent years followed an industry wide trend by complimenting their modern collection with “heritage reissue” pieces, which combine current watchmaking technology with historic design concepts. At Baselworld 2017, Eterna unveiled their new KonTiki Manufacture Bronze in a limited edition as well as a new, non-limited stainless steel KonTiki, which they call the Eterna KonTiki Gent. Eterna indicate that both pieces were designed in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 KonTiki expedition in which he and a few pals set sail on a homemade raft from South America to prove the possibility of primitive people engaging in transoceanic migration. Thor’s impressive nautical efforts aside, aBlogtoWatch went hands on with Eterna’s stainless steel KonTiki Gent and found out the new piece has a lot going for it and makes an interesting case for the careful modernization of vintage designs.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

All images by Ariel Adams

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

One of the more striking features of the KonTiki Gent is the textured dial. When we first went hands-on with the KonTiki Manufacture Bronze LE, Ariel noted the “granite textured” dark grey dial. With that in mind, I was pleased to find Eterna have carried this design element into their more pedestrian KonTiki lineup in both the blue and black dialed versions with the other model sporting a glossy white dial with contrasting, seldom seen black-lumed hour markers and hands. In all three, the hour markers are Eterna’s signature triangular-ish shape, with especially large triangular indices at noon, three, six, and nine o’clock with the twelve o’clock marker topped with Eterna’s five ball-bearing signature. Dial text is also fairly subdued, with only “Eterna Automatic” and “KonTiki Diver 200m” at twelve and six o’clock respectively.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Straightforward sword hands compliment the triangular dial elements and are, along with the hour markers, liberally coated with Super-LumiNova. One thing this design does particularly well is the placement of the date window. It’s easy to miss the mark when placing a date window anywhere other than the traditional three or six o’clock positions but on the Eterna KonTiki Gent, the date window’s four o’clock position perfectly compliments the rest of the dial’s well-planned elements. This dial design does a couple of things at the same time. For one, it faithfully reproduces certain elements from KonTiki watches of yesteryear to cement the piece in the heritage realm. However, by playing around with texture, dimension, and color, the dial on the KonTiki Gent hangs right in there with the modern watch world.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Differentiating itself again from its bronze relative, the Eterna KonTiki Gent’s case is stainless steel and 44mm in width and 12.2mm thick compared to the bronze version’s heftier 14.5mm thickness. Case finishing on the Gent is somewhat standard, with brushed and polished surfaces adding interest to the otherwise fairly predictable case shape. The bezel is, at least in shape, everything a tool diver’s watch should be. Thick and rimmed with deeply machined teeth, the bezel sports a ceramic inlay insert with US Navy no decompression figures represented in meters of depth, an odd move considering their limited utility in a world of almost universal dive computer use.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Although this bezel looks interesting, the use of a standard diver’s elapsed time bezel would have at least helped with the random, mostly topside timekeeping tasks the majority of these (and indeed most diver’s watches) end up timing these days. Doxa, for example, who have long used an easily understood no decompression scale on their bezels, also include an elapsed time scale for general or diving use.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

With all that being said, a ceramic insert on a Swiss watch at this price point is still something to be lauded and the bezel as a whole is visually well executed. An oversized crown, also engraved with the five ball bearing motif, sits without crown guards at the traditional three o’clock position. An anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal provides for easy viewing of the dial and the movement is safe underneath an excellent, deeply engraved caseback which is emblazoned with an image of the KonTiki, Thor Heyerdahl’s homemade sailing vessel. This is another big difference from the Bronze version which, had the exhibition caseback.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

As you might expect for a Swiss watch in this price range, the KonTiki Gent is equipped with the near-ubiquitous SW200 from Sellita. This automatic, 25 jewel, 42 hour power reserve, 28,800bph caliber is essentially the exact same thing as the other most often seen Swiss automatic, the ETA 2824. While this is for all intents and purposes a highly capable, accurate, and dependable movement, it isn’t anything that’ll cause heart murmurs among watch nerds, especially when the limited edition bronze version of this watch comes with a manufacture caliber, albeit for about one thousand more of your hard-earned dollars.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

An area where Eterna have done more than you’d imagine with a watch around the $2,000 mark is with the straps and bracelets. The KonTiki Gent will come with either a stainless steel bracelet with a totally over-engineered and very cool deployant clasp or on a color matched natural rubber strap, which makes use of the same clasp. The only holdup I have regarding the bracelet is the use of polished center links which lend the watch a more boardroom appearance but do take away from the tool watch concept. Polished center links also attract scratches faster than a sisal wrapped post at a Petsmart. Given the extreme length of the deployment clasp, I also can’t help but wonder whether this clasp will give the very small-wristed some challenges.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Viewed in concert, Eterna have once again created a solid value proposition with the KonTiki Gent. Though the movement is a decidedly off the shelf Sellita, the rest of the watch makes up for it with an appealing design that neatly integrates a lot of Eterna’s design DNA. My only other holdup is the decision to use the no decompression limits on the bezel as opposed to a traditional elapsed time scale. However, the no decompression bezel is something signature for Eterna divers and if we’re being honest, very few people will take this thing diving anyway.

Eterna KonTiki Gent Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

For me, this Eterna is built in the vane of the also excellent Tudor Black Bay, given the design concept of building a totally modern watch with a series of well-loved elements from several of the brand’s historic pieces. The Eterna KonTiki Gent Divers should be available soon priced at just around $2,000.

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  • Pete Pete

    not terrible, but not good either. something went wrong here, they just look really cheap
    especially the dials.


    Another dive watch review without a lume shot…!

  • Artem Pervenyonok

    A bezel with a traditional elapsed time scale – and I’m buying this. Otherwise I see no reason getting it, there’s no value in current setup for me…

  • BrJean

    I can call myself a fan of KonTiki line so I don’t even want to nitpick about these watches. White-dial version is my favorite one. Deployment clasp looks super cool and reliable. Bezel makes it distinctive in a sea of diving watches.

    • Shinytoys


  • Mikita

    On the one hand, I am impressed: the watch radiates quality, even in the tiny details like the engraving on the buckle, numerals on the bezel, dots in the Eterna logo, etc., which is kinda rarely seen in ~$2k watches today, more likely at $3k+. Brushing lools well done, the buckle is top notch, so is the dial.

    But, something is just wrong from the perspective of a simple geometrical comfort for the eyes. The hands look so tiny compared to the beefy case with the massive bezel, while the bezel itself looks kinda too brutal for the watch. I think, Oris does better job in creating comfortably looking well designed pieces in ~$2k range than Eterna, yet I appreciate the value proposition here.

    • I agree, the triangular hour markers are overbearing. And the bezel is not very useful, even for divers. Revise the applied hour makers and print a normal elapsed time bezel and it would be just fine. Price is not outstanding, but all things considered is not crazy either.

      • Mikita

        I feel like they wanted to make it look striking and different, but overplayed with the bezel 🙂

      • egznyc

        A normal bezel would make this far more practical. The watch overall looks great to me, though a bit pricier than I’d like. My main gripe in addition to the bezel is the date window. At 6:00 it would’ve looked better – and given the size of the case it might fit just above a slightly smaller lumed marker.

        But I actually like the weird large markers. Maybe more prominent hands would help though.

  • Tea Hound

    Not a fan, and that blue plastic strap is just plain nasty. Still, better than the Tag ‘Monaco’ we just had.

  • A_watches

    me likey

  • Phil

    The plastic strap looks rough because you can see the mould seams.
    Apart from that it looks nice.
    Stick a normal bezel on and it would be a winner!

  • Yan Fin

    Interesting color schemes, but date window is still wrong. I generally dislike bronze, but in Kon Tiki case the Bronze version wins hands down. And street price is about $2600 currently.

  • SuperStrapper

    I think there is fine value here. The watch is striking in appearance and while I prefer the bronze variant these are nice and do really well inbth bracelet. I’m torn on the bezel as ibenjoy howbunique it looks but don’t prefer how useless it really is in terms utility. Wouldn’t change a buying decision.

    My favourite part is the dial. I’m a big fan of a fine textured finishing like this, but often what it will do it make printed elements hard to pull off. The nice finishing on the bold applied elements is a lovely contrast, and then forbth E printed elements they are bold and clear looking. As close and inspection can do with these pictures shows that they might be printed on a small clear film that is then applied to the dial?

    It is really nice attention to detail either way, and the effect is what youbwould want for a design element like this.

    Certainly opt for the watch on bracelet if you opt for this watch. Not only does it look to be very well made, it is a much better match. And while thebstrap might be natural rubber, the casting is not that greatband shows a lot of flash. Thebrubber should just be included with every watch that already comes on the bracelet.

    • Yan Fin

      The applied film(? ) with text is clearly visible on the blue dial. Good eye! I can’t see it on grey, and it’s not a case for bronze model.

    • dennis

      Agree, but if you are an avid diver, such as i am, i only dive with a rubber strap on
      my dive watches, bracelets are for desk divers only.

      • SuperStrapper

        And desk divers make up 99% of the dive watch buying market.

  • The white dial version is the winner here – it’s unique enough to include in a collection that is most likely already populated by a surfeit of black and blue dialed divers, and it nails the price point perfectly (especially when you consider they’ve already popped up on FleaBay, brand new, for $1700). I have an Eterna Worldtimer, and it’s one of the most surprisingly well-made pieces in the watch box. 42mm would have been closer to a more manageable size, but I’d love to get a chance to see this in the metal.

    • Larry Holmack

      You forgot the seller is offering to finance it for $71 a month for 24 months.

  • wallymann

    would not those hands be more aptly described as dauphine (with lume) as opposed to sword?

    • IG

      They would.

    • Yeah, I noticed this slight error in the post also.

    • Timestandsstill

      One of the first things I noticed also. And it’s not every day that you see dauphine hands on a dive watch. Also I don’t think the terms deployment and deployant are interchangeable. I think deployant is the correct term although they are both used in the article

  • Andre Braz

    The white dial is really awsome. Good price, affordable…

  • egznyc

    Not bad all in all though the date window doesn’t do it any justice. In fact, for the unusual white dial with dark lume markers version – which is really nice – a dark date wheel background might’ve worked better (I almost never say this).

    Still, the LE bronze model is easily my favorite, even on a strap (the non-LE versions have super-nice bracelets though).

    Where are the lume shots?

  • OmniWrench

    The picture of the clasp really drives home why wrist-shots are so vital.

    I think I could get away with the size, but is a clasp that large comfortable after a few hours?

  • Shinytoys

    Beautifully finished piece from the most underrated company on the market. I prefer to see Eterna motors in their offerings, but I imagine using the Sellita 200 series was one of economics. The Sellita is a strong movement in its own right, but I prefer the complete package.

    • Mikita

      Funny, but SW200 wouldn’t exist without Eterna, as consequence that ETA2824 wouldn’t neither.


    Size too big, crappy strap, pizza lookalike markers, useless bezel….pass

  • Whoa, hold on. The white dial is fully lumed? That’s a game changer.

    • TrevorXM

      Isn’t that cool? That must look supercool in the dark with all those shapes. But, this being ABTW, we have to look elsewhere find the most interesting things to look at with this watch.

      • Some of the photography on this site is outstanding, but there’s nary a lume photo. Come on, Ariel, lume photos are the money shots of watch porn!

  • Pete L

    Kinda nice. Favourite being the textured blue dial version. Interesting decompression bezel markings pretty cool actually considering how few would be used for any diving of any sort, ever.

  • TrevorXM

    Like others have said: Eterna, give us a version with a normal, usable bezel (like most people, I use a diver watch for timing everyday events and it is an extremely useful feature — this bezel sabotages that in the name of being a poseur) and you have a big winner here. And offer a special edition with your own new movement, too! People want that! You’re so close to creating a great one. I’ll take mine with that fantastic white full lume dial on that bracelet!

    • Drazen B

      Funky and confusing bezel is pretty much what ‘killed’ this one for me. And to a lesser extent those vampire-teeth cardinal markers.

  • Rob

    Doesn’t there need to be lume on the seconds hand in order to put ‘Diver 200m’ on the dial?

    • SuperStrapper

      An interesting point, but I think ISO 6425 is satisfied here.

      The requirement is not that the seconds hand has lume, but that there is an indication that the watch is running in total darkness. This is easily accomplished with some lume on the seconds hand, but that’s not the rule, not to the letter anyway.

      The hour markings here are huge. As the seconds hand passes over them the dark stripe of the hand should be noticeable. Also, the seconds hand has a broad counterbalance that will pass over both of the widest parts of the hour and minute hands each in a minute, which would be even more visible.

      The white dial variant, being fully lined, would knock that requirement out of the park obviously.

      I don’t assume to be an expert on international standards, but I do assume that the above would satisfy that requirement in ISO 6425.

      • dennis

        The ISO 6425 requires at a glance you can determine the watch is
        properly running, even being submerged

        • SuperStrapper

          That’s what I said?

        • SuperStrapper

          Actually, to be anal: that’s not the very bar in requirement. That requirement reads “The presence of an indication that the watch is running in total darkness”. This obviously refers to being submerged either in darkness or to a depth that light can’t penetrate.

          But regardless my comment above directly regards this requirement and describes how it is satisfied.

      • Drazen B

        SuperStrapper: “As the seconds hand passes over them the dark stripe of the hand should be noticeable. Also, the seconds hand has a broad counterbalance that will pass over both of the widest parts of the hour and minute hands each in a minute, which would be even more visible.”

        That presents a logical alternative but it’s one of those things easier said than experienced in real life. Most divers would struggle with this concept.

        There’s a good reason ISO-certified divers come with the lumed and exaggerated portion of the second hand, even the omnipresent $160 recreational divers like Seiko SKX. Eterna here dropped a ball, they may not admit it and we may be coming up with alternative explanations but the fact stays.

        • SuperStrapper

          Subjective opinion. If I thought Eterna dripped a ball on this watch it wouldn’t be because of that. I have used this method in complete darkness with other (non diver, admittedly) watches and had no difficulty in comprehending that the watch was running.

          I didn’t say it was ideal, just that it fulfils a requirement. Which it does. If serious divers can’t consider this worthy, I fail to see how that could affect sales figures for it even marginally.

          I’m now trying to envision a place for lume on the seconds hand of this watch that will compliment it’s aesthetics.

          • Drazen B

            Sheesh, ok “mr objective”…

          • SuperStrapper

            I said subjective.

  • Larry Holmack

    I really like the blue version and at 44 mm’s….it’s larger than my beater dive watch….and looks a lot nicer too! Price isn’t that crazy….and if you are patient, you’ll probably be able to find them on eBay for a few hundred less….and after a while on the “Deal of the Day” sites.

  • SSgt. J D. Herrington

    I’ll stick with my Luninox or MTM. Thanks anyway. Yours probably attracts sharks anyway.

  • Omegaboy

    Yawn . . .

  • …What do you think?….Not is all over the place..matte dial and bezel. but polished center links?

  • Stephen Leslie

    that is the same clasp that is on the Carl F. Bucherer Scubatec watch….

  • PR

    Omg that bezel drives me insane

  • Ulysses31

    I still love it. The black-lume on white dial is a really interesting look. This thing looks like it is really well built and has more character than something like a Pelagos (an excellent watch in its own right).

  • paysdoufs

    Maybe they should’ve developed and offered in parallel a variant in 41mm and with a 60min bezel. This way they would address both the more audacious and the more conservative buyers (Eterna – are you reading us?)…

    Still, I feel that this remains one of the more iconic new models from Basel 2017. And knowing Eterna, I’m sure that the overall package is good value for money (c.f. the clasp, which no competitor offers in this price range).