Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At Baselworld 2017, Eterna debuted a new limited-edition version of an also new collection of KonTiki dive watches for the 70th anniversary of the famed ocean adventure of Thor Heyerdahl on the craft called the KonTiki. The limited-edition Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze (debuted here) might be similar at a glance to the non-limited new KonTiki Diver Gent, but it is different in just about all respects. It has a distinct dial, strap, case, and even movement. Moreover, it is Eterna’s first dive watch in bronze, a popular metal these days in watches, and particularly well-suited to dive watches given the natural corrosion-resistance properties of the ancient metal alloy.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze (reference 1291.78.49.1422) watch was a hit of the Baselworld 2017 show for those who discovered this lovely timepiece. It earned a spot on our list of the top 10 watches of Baselworld 2017 for its combination of aesthetics, materials, and sheer wearability. Eterna has played around with KonTiki watch designs over the years, with the most recent ones very much looking like the vintage models, but in modern form. What I like about the Eterna KonTiki is that it has a timeless appeal to it which hearkens back to “simpler times,” but it also has character. There are a lot of modern dive watches which aren’t elegant enough for more formal attire, and there are plenty of vintage-style dive watches that lack a coherent personality. For my tastes, the KonTiki is the right blend of character and timeless style. I have plenty of modern-looking dive watches that I like, and the KonTiki is among the vintage styles that I earnestly appreciate.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

At 44mm wide, the bronze case (steel caseback) is water resistant to 200 meters. I should note that it has an exhibition caseback which allows for a view of the movement – something important in a watch with “Manufacture” in the title, implying that the movement is made in-house. At 14.5mm thick, there is a nice substantial feel to the Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze, and given the thickness of the movement, this watch is actually thicker than the also new-for-2017 steel-cased Eterna KonTiki Diver Gent. The latter is thinner at 12.2mm thick, meaning that the KonTiki Manufacture Bronze model is 2.3mm thicker. Both are water resistant to 200 meters.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The added size of the Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze seems to go with the overall bold theme of the watch. Over the dial is a domed sapphire crystal which offers a view into the deep dial which with the large, applied hour markers makes for a nice view. Especially against the textured dark gray face (that Eterna calls “granite-patterned”). I really can’t say enough how much I appreciate it when brands think to make watch dials interesting in this way. On a watch like the Eterna KonTiki we have three-dimensionality, multiple materials, several colors, and various textures. All without any of them looking out of place. Furthermore, the dial design doesn’t remind you of anything else out there.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Bronze is a trendy case material, and in some sense I am getting sick of all the “me too” bronze watches that we see on the market. I have a few bronze watches myself and enjoy them, but I think it is really best suited for the right watch design. No one needs a large collection of bronze pieces amongst their watches. I think Eterna’s KonTiki Manufacture in bronze is one of the better ones, but I say all this to warn people about possible oversaturation of this trend. Bronze is mostly valued because of its look, slight similarity to gold, and the fact that it lends itself well to a bit of an “aged modern vintage” look.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Around the dial is a grippy, prominent rotating diver’s bezel that again pulls inspiration from a historic Eterna KonTiki watch. Rather than having a standard 60-minute counter scale on the bezel, the watch features a “No Decompression Limits” scale on the rotating bezel. This is meant to indicate the maximum amount of time that can be spent at certain depths before the need to decompress. I’ll admit that I haven’t closely studied how the bezel works. I believe it works in tandem with rotating it and the dial markers, but I haven’t been briefed on this feature. Eterna reminds us that it is a “handy backup to a modern diving computer,” which I think I can agree with.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The bezel material itself is matte dark gray ceramic. I like the fact that there are no fully black tones on the watch, which helps give it personality. The numerals on the bezel are cut into the ceramic bezel and then filled in with luminant paint.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Inside the watch is the Eterna “manufacture” caliber 3902A automatic movement. The movement is visible through the rear of the case via the sapphire crystal display window, and it operates at 4Hz (28,800bph) with a nice 65 hours of power reserve. Watch nerds will love that Eterna chose not to include a date complication on the dial, offering a nice, clean, symmetrical look. I think they made the right decision there – especially as the limited-edition nature of this watch will have it be appealing to mostly enthusiasts. The movement decoration isn’t bad either.

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze Dive Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Before I can love the style of a dive watch, I must first love its legibility and comfort – both of which garner praise in the Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze. It’s a handsome, classically-themed dive watch in a modern skin with a trendy look. Even the strap is meant to be fashionable, with its aged-looking brown leather style (on a matching bronze buckle). Eterna nevertheless reminds us that it too has been specially treated in order to be water resistant – to ensure that this is a real diving watch. I am not sure if Eterna includes an additional strap, but a rubber strap (for more serious in-water use) might be nice to get as an accessory for this piece. Last, while this is not a budget watch, the price seems fair (just to add, it costs about $1,000 more than the non-limited steel version that has a Sellita SW200 movement in it). This particular Eterna KonTiki Manufacture Bronze watch will be available as a limited edition of 300 pieces – with a price of $2,950. eterna.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (32)
  • Interesting (22)
  • I love it! (12)
  • Thumbs up (8)
  • Classy (4)
  • MEddie90

    An attractive watch and reasonably positioned in the current market. I love the bold styling and textured dial, they really help set it apart from the numerous sub “homage” watches and the in-house movement has some decent specs.

    Not sure I like the decompression scale, less handy in everyday use but in terms of diving it may be exceptionally helpful. I think a solid case back would be a better option also, the movement isn’t ugly by any means a closed back would help the watch feel more like a tool watch and shave a mm or two off the thickness.

    If i’m in the market for a dive watch i’ll keep Eterna in mind (great brand history, styling and movements) but there is a lot of competition in the 1k – 3k diver segment. I’d struggle to pick this or any of their other offerings over an Oris Aquis, Oris 65, Zodiac Seawolf 53, Squale etc. Best of luck to them.

    • goju1

      I think Eterna is up there with those other brands you mention and as you say “Best of luck to them”.
      The NDL bezel indicates that this is a watch specifically for divers. The brain of humans can get fuzzled underwater (CO2 toxicity, Narcosis, Hypothermia…) and a watch that is easily set (just read the number from your favourite dive table) and is easily read (discerned) as the minute hand approaches the zero marker, reduces the likelihood of (potentially nasty) mistakes.

  • Word Merchant

    Nice. I still prefer the Tudor but it’s hard to argue with the price. Time for a bronze watch group review, I think.

    • Word Merchant

      I am psychic. Next article: Tudor bronze!

  • BrJean

    Pretty watch: nice dial texture; unusual bezel; fair price. And I’m completely fine with bronze.

  • Yan Fin

    “The movement decoration isn’t bad either.”… I would disagree, it’s pretty ugly. Why not just solid caseback?

    • Jonathan Smith

      I quite like it actually, got some sort of an industrial feel to it

    • mtnsicl

      It’s better than a solid caseback, but it’s nothing special.

  • Shinytoys

    Eterna =Excellence

  • Brent P.

    A handsome watch that should definitely be on the short list for anyone considering a bronze purchase.

  • I like it. Think I will go take a look at one. The no-deco scale is a unique touch, but is going to make it more difficult to use it for outdoor grilling.

    • You can only grill 40 feet underwater for 15 minutes before you need to decompress (and please flip the meat before that). 😉

      • Will that give me a really rare burger? I’m very particular about the temperature of my meat.

  • Ooh, Bronze Day here at ABTW, on the day I chose to wear my Halios Tropik B.

    You and me, Ariel, we’re in sync.

  • Sam Soul

    Too large. But I like it more than the Tudor from the next report…

  • mtnsicl

    This is a very beautiful watch. I really like the 3 dimensional, textured dial and the see through caseback. I think the printing on the dial looks awfully bad, especially at this price. This watch must look stunning in person.

  • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

    I am on day 7 of my KonTiki challenge. On April 28 it was 70 years ago that Thor Heyerdahl and his crew left the mainland of Peru. I set out to only wear Eterna Kontiki watches from that day, and for 101 days forward. 101 days was the time it took for the Kon-Tiki to reach Raroia in French Polynesia in 1947.
    Here is day one: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b074238d15dfb9c8579a59e89115e8e3d6311a8a759c4e9e82279ca452f9199f.jpg

    • Berndt Norten

      The sacrifice, the dedication!?

      • Johnny Tank (Forever Autumn)

        On this occasion I will take one for the team, lol.

  • ??????

    I like everything, except for the proportions. The hands look so tiny compared to.. everything else.

    • TrevorXM

      Agreed. Hands are too small. Otherwise a cool watch. Why did they make them so small that they are overwhelmed by the massive markers? Really, just a little thicker and this watch really would have come together design-wise.

      • ??????

        Absolute. If they could have made them just a little bit beefier – this watch would have rocked!

  • R Khalifa

    Given that like 1 in 10,000 people actually will even know how the decompression table works, much less have the opportunity to put it in use, I wish they’d stuck to an actual timing bezel. Or a 12-hour bezel. I get that it gives it character but the uselessness of it is frustrating.

    • goju1

      Not true – it’s watch for divers not egg timers. By the way, do you really think that many people even know what a dive table is? A divers watch is not a stop-watch. You don’t count how long, you count down to zero (like a rocket launch). Zero is the time when you must have left the bottom, otherwise the expanding nitrogen in your body will destroy you!

  • Timestandsstill

    Great looking watch, well balanced with a lot of character and distinct personality….. also fairly priced for what it is. Depth, texture and contrast of the dial is a solid hit.

  • Damian Antal

    Great looking piece. That dial is quite nice. Gives the watch a distinct look.

  • Lincolnshire Poacher

    My dad had both Kon Tiki and Aku Aku in the bookcase when I was a kid. I must of read them 3 times each by the time I was 15. All that daring-do and 70 foot seas, I loved it. It was like Rider Haggard but not as hopelessly colonial and misogynistic. Plus it was true.
    I quite like the steel version of the Kon Tiki, but like Ariel says, I’ve hit peak bronze. I was quite keen on a bronze watch for a while, but now I’ve just gone off the idea. Patina isn’t a substitute for bevelled and brushed stainless steel, with polished highlights.

    • Omegaboy

      Did we have the same dad?

  • Garrett Hu

    Where is the guy that would complain it’s too expensive? There is always that person in every article I have read….

    I get a kick out of it to read about what people value and what they see as a comparable watch.

  • Richard Baptist

    I like this watch and think its a good value especially for the movement in the watch. I love the dial and I don’t think the hands are too short. great product, I can’t find anything to complain about this watch

  • Mischa

    Lovely watch, and very decently priced. Having a display back makes perfect sense. Are the hour markers and the bezel lumed? That must make for some night show.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      If it`s a real diver there must be lume. It must be legible from 30cm in complete darkness.

  • SuperStrapper

    If it weren’t for the printed verbiage the dial would be pretty awesome. But with that texture fine stuff shouldn’t be printed on it. Because it looks like shit.

  • benjameshodges

    Nice article, but all the pictures are from an ant’s perspective. Less close-ups would be nice.

  • dennis

    Nice watch but the nd on the bezel is useless, as a diver you should know your
    nd time by heart, plan your dive, dive your pan.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Don`t like bronze, but it`s a nice watch reasonably priced for an inhouse movement. The movement is not the best looking, I think it`s because of it`s modular design. But nothing beats the Super Kontiki.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s bronze, which I don’t like, and the leather looks like it was recycled from a Victorian-era jock-strap, but that aside this is a great-looking watch with a variety of textures and distinguishing features that prevent it from being just another diver. The asphalt textured dial looks cool, as does the bezel that has something a little different on it, and in a clean, modern typeface. The movement isn’t much to look at but perhaps this is forgivable considering the distinctly utilitarian intentions of the watch. The only thing that seems off to me (apart from the above already mentioned) is the mixture of triangular and trapezoidal hour markers. The angles they make with each other are a bit wonky-looking; I would have preferred all of them to be triangles.

  • goju1

    Nice take on a Diver’s Watch. The No Decompression Limits are on the bezel and this means the diver just looks up his NDL for the depth he has planned (with whatever tables he thinks are the best) and then rotates the bezel to line up with the minute hand for the NDL of his/her dive depth. NDLs are ‘Bottom Times’, which are defined to be time from leaving the surface to the time of DIRECT ascent. The diver leaves the bottom no later than when the minute hand is on 0 (wrt the bezel). Simple and great innovation. A system which is less prone to error than the traditional 60 minute bezel because many divers like to count down to zero for their bottom time and if that is their practice then they have to perform a calculation. The bezel on this watch obviates the need for the diver to perform a calculation.

  • Dan Finch

    They are clearly going after the Tudor Bronze with this one! Why not, The Kon Tiki also has a lot of history. And this one is $1000 less and is a small limited edition. Also has an in house movement like the Tudor, but this one is visible. The Eterna movement is of a higher grade of finishing, where the Tudor looks very utilitarian. The Kon Tiki is non-Alum bronze and supposedly less prone to tarnishing. And it has a ceramic bezel! Overall, I think I the Kon Tiki has a more interesting design, and is the more unique choice. I’d pick it over the Tudor…