July 5, 2008
by Ariel Adams
Good ol’ Eterna. I am so happy they are soon to be officially distributed in the US once again. Eterna is not well known, and that is a shame. The company actually started ETA, which makes most of the movements in all Swiss watches. ETA was later sold to the Swatch Group. Eterna also makes all the Porsche Design watches. In my opinion, it is one of the most underrated and unacknowledged brands out there. If their marketing department is paying any attention, that ought to change soon when they re-enter the US market.
The first watch to be sold along with their KonTiki Anniversary model, is the “Eterna KonTiki Diver.” This watch is actually a few years overdue, having been announced a while ago. For me, this is the best combination of features and elements one could ask for in a modern looking technical dive watch. It is an accurate chronometer, it is easy to read, has a power reserve, and has a nice sophisticated look that does not make you look like you drive a large truck everywhere. The KonTiki Diver is simply a dedicated tool with an obvious element of style, but no outward aggressiveness like many other large watches.
The really unique aspect of the watch is the skeletonized external case that the make watch rests in, and can flip out. There are three main reasons for this. First is to help protect the inner case from shock and damage. Second is to allow for an easy way to winding the watch while it is on your wrist (and while underwater, as the large crown does not need to be screwed down). Third is to act as a lock to prevent the bi-directional bezel from rotating unintentionally. The external bezel actually rotating the internal bezel, which is really cool. However, to ensure reliability, the external bezel can only be turned when you flip out the inner case. Otherwise the bezel is locked in position. To release the internal case, you need to press two buttons on the sides of the external case.
The rubber strap has a really nice steel deployment with diving extension. The strap also helps reduce overall weight. Parts of the watch case are PVD titanium, which is really nice as well. Inside, the watch has a well-to-do ETA 2897. It is resistant to 1000 meters, so and certainly looks it. Due to the complexity of the case, it is about 46mm wide and relatively thick. Personally I love large watches like, but I don’t think this watch will look totally appropriate in formal settings as it looks like you are a spy. Which may be good 🙂
Despite the very modern appearance of this watch, a lot of of the face styling is based in Eterna history. You’ll notice the many triangles in the face of the watch that go back to the original KonTiki. These make for excellent places to put Super Luminova. The hands as well are based on legibility, but like other Eterna KonTiki watches are broad like swords. The numbering style as well is in traditional Eterna motif. On the back of the case you’ll find a nice little engraved emblem. Eterna loves doing this with most of their models, in an attempt to give them each a reference point in the history of the company.
I’d say the only real downside of this watch is the price. The retail is about $10,000. Very steep and up there in Rolex Sea Dweller and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms territory. I’d expect a street price of $6,000 – $8,000 at first, but we shall see. Eterna made the right decision to make its way back to the US. Official presence here is sure to expand their line of offerings, which have always been of superb quality and taste. A real connoisseurs’ choice of watch, even among watch connoisseurs.
See Eterna watches on eBay here.See Eterna watches on Amazon here. [phpbay]eterna kontiki, num, “14324”, “”[/phpbay]