BUILT ON TRADITION, DRIVEN BY INNOVATION, INSPIRED BY EMOTIONS
The name Eterna is synonymous with timepieces of the highest quality, with Swiss watchmaking Tradition, and with an outstanding Spirit of innovation. The passionate desire to master horological challenges as well as to constantly improve existing Features has been driving Eterna since 1856. It is therefore no surprise that the Workshops in Grenchen have time and time again enriched and revolutionized the art of watchmaking. Today, Eterna is still characterised by this ingenious creativity. The current collections reflect the brand's respect for tradition, alongside Eterna's commitment to pioneering new designs and movement technologies.
"Borders? I have never seen one.
But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.
" Thor Heyerdahl"
In 1937, a newly married Thor Heyerdahl decided to extend his honeymoon on the Marquesas Islands, ideally located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The geography and zoology he had studied at the University of Oslo gradually led the young Norwegian to formulate a daring hypothesis. He came to suspect that the prevailing winds and maritime currents could have made possible the human colonisation of Polynesia by people from South America rather than from the continent of Asia. Furthermore, the name of an Inca sun-god, Kon-Tiki, seemed to appear in Polynesian religious myths.
Ten years later, Thor Heyerdahl found himself in Callao, on Peru’s Pacific coast, overseeing the construction of a balsawood raft similar to those known to have existed before the Spanish conquest. The budding explorer named it Kon-Tiki in salute to the Inca sun-god.
After rounding up sufficient financial backing, he and five other Scandinavians with varying scientific interests sailed from Callao on April 28 1947, with minimal supplies and a radio set. The six men relied on Pacific winds and currents to propel them all the way to Polynesia.
Strapped to his wrist, each Kon-Tiki crew member carried an Eterna timepiece, the contribution of one of the few watch manufacturers of the day to have truly mastered watchcase watertightness.
After 101 adventurous days and nights, covering some 8,000 kilometres (4,320 nautical or 4,971 land miles), the voyage ended somewhat abruptly on the coral reefs of the Raroia atoll in the Tuamotu archipelago. The crew was fine, the raft a bit the worse for wear. The Eterna watches, for their part, were running as smoothly as ever, unaffected by water, moisture, salt corrosion and temperature variations. Back in Granges, Switzerland, Eterna’s technical teams drew the appropriate conclusions.
From a legendary figure and name, Kon-Tiki would now become an exceptional horological dynasty.
Since 1948, Eterna’s added value to time
From 1948 on, Swiss-made self-winding movements benefited from a major technical advance devised and implemented by Eterna: ball-bearing assisted rotational movement. Swiss wristwatches fitted with this revolutionary innovation soon enjoyed worldwide success, solidly consolidating Eterna’s reputation internationally. Today’s revival of the “1948” in a dimensionally updated version and a choice of two dial styles preserves the technical inventiveness and overall excellence of the original. A contemporary classic in its own right, its shapely contours and typically incurved case lugs are back essentially unchanged
1948 - the year of a pivotal invention
Eterna’s epochal 1948 development proved a major step forward for self-winding technology, with a ball-bearing greatly easing the oscillating weight or winding rotor’s rotation around the pivot axis. Reducing wear and tear on vital parts, Eterna’s development extended the watch’s working time, hence its useful life – a smart way to increase its value.
Eterna knew it had a winner and made the most of it. Management lost no time turning the five spheres of the now-famous bearing into its now-celebrated corporate symbol.
The “1948”, acclaimed the world over
In a matter of months, the watch’s reputation, quickly followed by the watch itself, established itself all over the world. Runaway sales of the model delighted then surprised Eterna, the company finding itself with a worldwide best-seller. For years to come, the “1948” would find discerning customers everywhere. Its popularity set new records.
Milestones in Eterna's history
Eterna has since 1856 manufactured high-quality mechanical timepieces born of traditional craftsmanship. Over its more than 150 years of existence, numerous major developments have emerged from the company’s workshops.