May 23, 2016
by Ariel Adams
The tonneau-style case has contrast-polished-and-brushed surfaces and is topped with a rotating diver-style bezel. Designed with the 1970s-era Eterna Super KonTiki watch in mind, the bezel insert has a good look and is produced from aluminum. The bezel itself (in steel) rotates solidly with assuring clicks. Eterna puts itself a bit in the past using an aluminum versus ceramic bezel, which make the Eterna Super KonTiki feel that much more retro. I’m not against the aluminum bezel insert, but it is hard not to want one in ceramic knowing the latter material has much greater scratch resistance.
Going back to the movement, the Swiss Sellita SW200-1 is a functional equivalent to the ETA 2824-2. Self-winding, the movement has 38 hours of power reserve operating at a frequency of 4Hz (28,800bph). On the back of the Eterna Super KonTiki, the screw-down caseback has two types of engraving. First are the very nicely done deeper engravings which are of the Eterna brand name and the Kon-Tiki ship that Thor Heyerdahl sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1947. Around those engravings are more simple laser-cut engravings which aren’t as impressive-looking, but get job done.
For now, there are three versions of the 1273.41 family of Eterna Super KonTiki Date watches and each comes on a different strap as well as having a different color scheme on the dial. On a rubber strap and looking the most modern is the reference 12220.127.116.112 with the black and red-accented dial. With a more specific vintage-flair is the reference 1218.104.22.1683 that has yellow-cream lume color (and matching markers on the bezel) that is paired to a brown calfskin leather strap. This reviewed Eterna Super KonTiki Date is the reference 1222.214.171.1248 that most looks like its historic analogs with a black and white dial that is given color only in the yellow/gold 60 minute marker on the bezel (sadly, the bezel has no luminant on it). Attached to this latter model is a quite decent mesh metal “Milanese” steel bracelet.
I am not always a fan of mesh metal bracelets, but they can work very well when matched to the right case and when they operate properly. Some mesh metal bracelets have links to take out, or even need to be physically cut to size. Thankfully, Eterna uses a bracelet with an easy-to-adjust deployant clasp that slides along the bracelet and can be locked into place allowing for a perfectly precise fit and that has the excess bracelet being tucked under the strap so it looks clean when worn. This is about the best you can expect in a bracelet like this – which has a very solid and comfortable fit. Eterna did what they needed to do in order to make sure the mesh metal bracelet experience on the Eterna Super KonTiki is as good as possible.
Given that the sporty/dive watch category is so competitive, it is difficult to suggest this particular timepiece over so many others that vary in small ways less about functionality and more about personal taste and subjective comfort. With that said, Eterna has its own nice dive watch heritage that it is nicely keeping alive, and when it comes to purpose, style, and value, there is a lot to enjoy here. Prices for the Eterna Super KonTiki Date watch are $1,800 on rubber, $1,900 on leather, and $2,000 for this 12126.96.36.1998 version on the mesh metal bracelet. eterna.com
>Model: Super KonTiki Date reference 12188.8.131.528
>Price: $2,000 USD as tested
>Size: 45mm wide, 12.6mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for a historically-relevant Swiss diver without a premium price and some distinctive style.
>Best characteristic of watch: Solid build and durable feel on the wrist with overall good assortment of design features and materials. Good quality mesh metal bracelet.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Dial design will not please all fans even though it works well. Aluminum bezel insert feels “last-generation.”