ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions
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  1. #1
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    ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    So, while not new to 50s/60s vintage I am new to Etrerna as I own none. I had a few buddies on the Omega forum who were nuts over Eterna and I do know what they are known for most- the 5 bearing rotor and automatic innovations. That said I would like to know if I got myself into a pickle, or lucked into a decent gamble, or, just did so-so. And yes-I understand I took a big chance w/o movement pics and would always advise a beginner to shy away from any eBay vintage with no movement pics but I am fairly certain watch is untouched for years.

    I normally research first-then bid- but in this case it was just a hunch late at night and -in particular-the really good looking dial with the exceptionally interesting 12-6-9 and subsidiary index markers plus the inexperience of the seller made me want to take the gamble. But the index markers? never saw any quite like this before.

    SO to start....I was REALLY searching for a nice 50s triple date to replace a nice Zodiac tripleD I sold a while back. Somehow-an Eterna Centenarie '56 came up for $200BIN and I was intrigued. Then, searching for more Centenaries for comparison and info- this Kontiki popped up. I know the Kontiki dive watch from its reputation as a military (IDF) diver and expected even a plain SS Kontiki would be fairly pricey by virtue of its connection to the bezel/diver. Plus-the beefy case and chunky markers pulled me in, reminds me of a 60s DJ.

    So while normally I am one of the one's here always saying: do the research BEFORE you buy-in this case it was late at night and I just impulsively took a gamble. But in order to determine the sellers 'reserve' I used an old bay trick which I guess came back to bite me on the butt. I had to bid higher then I would have and couldn't retract due to an
    'internal error'. So my $320 was going to stand even though I would have only bid $275 tops. I was surprised when I won it though because by this afternoon-research showed me that sellers ask pretty high for these though I am not sure they are worth much more north of $500.

    So my 3 questions to Eterna experts is:

    1) I am not so worried about condition as I can pretty much see this is in the appropriate condition for its age and expect a c/s is in order. But are there any red flags I am missing due to lack of expertise with the brand? I know the pics are sub-par but hoping my experience can spot a winner thru the fuzz. I'm pretty sure the dial is orig. I can see the casebook medallion in place and figure its in average condition. And the bracelet I believe is original to watch as well. I have to admit-I've always been intrigued by those 5 dots on the dial, crown ( and of course-in all the ETA movements that use them in their rotors). So, do I own a nice piece of Horological history here-or is it just a run-of-the-mill 3-handed beauty? [honesty appreciated]

    2) where does Eterna fit into the hierarchy of mass-produced luxury watches in the 50s/60s? Is it, e.g. lower then Omega but on par with Movado or Boluva? Equal to Longines? I have no clue where the market for Eterna watches was in the 50s 60s. I only know about their innovation of the rotor.

    3) How desirable is this particular Kontiki to an Eterna fanatic? If I wanted I could easily get out of this sale as there is an eager second place bidder who would love it if I bailed and gave the watch to him. But would I be crazy to even consider this? If my hunch is correct and it just needs a c/s do I have a winner here? I am pretty sure its NOT one of the more collectable kontiki dials -like the ones with the triangular index markers or of course the actual divers. Are all kontiki's 'collectable'?

    Any opinions and info-thanks and the link:


    Eterna Matic Vintage Kontiki Watch Automatic | eBay
    Last edited by DaBaeker; February 17th, 2015 at 04:19.
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

  2. #2
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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    Nice looking watch. I can't claim Kontiki expertise, but what I do know suggests that this is a good buy. The bracelet is a Gay Frčres, which alone is worth money, very desirable and much sought after.

    In my own opinion, Eterna is one of the most undervalued brands out there. They made a lot of great looking models, and their movements are classics. Even though I have a few Omegas, Movados and Bulovas, I myself would place Eterna ahead of them all. They seem to have had no skill at marketing, though, and so Omega is much more highly traded and for higher prices, in general. A huge generalisation!

    As to Movado and Bulova, well, they're both very different. Movado had a golden period, but seem to have lost their way once they came out with the Museum watch, and this iconic but endlessly repeated design seems to have devalued the brand overall for collectors – although values of specific 40s 50s and 60s models seem solid. And Bulova is a great company, classic mass-produced US movements which remind me of the Model T – solid, reliable, easy to fix but not particularly elegant. I'm going to get punched out for these comments, I guess, but for my money Eterna was/is a great brand; it really baffles me how cheap they go for. And in horological terms, I'd say that Eterna were very important in the development of automatic movements.

    I just don't know enough about the trading values of Kontikis to have an opinion as to whether you got a good deal or not. But the inclusion of the GF bracelet suggests so.

  3. #3
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    thanks. learned something new on wis again. now i know about the G.F. bracelet. and yes-its hard to place Eterna into the hierarchy of Swiss brands circa 50s/60s. Point taken about marketing but it would seem like they did hit a home run with the Kontiki link-up. Though even the Kontiki seems to have been overtaken by the SM300 and other 'iconic divers.

    As for where it fits now in vintage collecting? I agree that it is probably one of THE most undervalued brands. But that, in my experience, will quickly change as more and more pieces are bought up and collectors start to educate themselves about the 'other' lesser known brands.
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    I agree, but I think that as noted elsewhere in the Forum, brands (and Eterna is terrible at this) that don't appreciate and support their own heritage fail to understand that what they are selling today: modern watches with links to their own past. No one needs a watch today, we all have phones, tablets, laptops with accurate timekeeping on them. A watch is an emotional purchase, not a logical one. So feeding our emotions is what brands need to do.

    If you look at Omega and how well they support research and appreciation of their past, it's easy to see why and how the enthusiast community lead the middle ground consumer, create a brand of dimension and depth. Their database is simply amazing and we love them for it.

    Eterna is confused and confusing. Too many owners, each leaving fragments of their own 'culture' behind. As a result, they are virtually unknown in the general marketplace. A pity to see that heritage pissed away. For that reason alone, I think that they will always trade for less than a shouty brand. On the plus side, though, Omega and Swatch are now kicking their greed into overdrive by discontinuing parts sales to independents. What I think I'm seeing is a major bump in prices for lesser known brands since their announcement. I understand it - they just weren't making enough money overcharging for service. I get it.

    A good time to turn to lesser traded brands, I think.
    Last edited by Habitant; February 18th, 2015 at 08:00.
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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    yes. imager with a lot of that. and for that reason i decided to proceed with this sale that I could easily have gotten out of. (my biggest risk being the lack of movement pics. but seller has confirmed its been basically untouched for many years)

    I have been looking around and it looks to me like other 50s Eterna models such as the Centenaries are available for very reasonable prices. And I even found a Centenaries Chronometer that looks raw but completely intact for <$400 but I will stick with the Kontiki for now as it seems to be the one model that Eterna made its mark with. It would be nice for Eterna collectors as well as the brand if they somehow made watch collectors more aware of the origins of the ubiquitous ball bearing rotor seen in so many millions of mid-to high grade luxury watches.
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
    I agree, but I think that as noted elsewhere in the Forum,

    A good time to turn to lesser traded brands, I think.
    And again...thanks for that little bit of info on Gay Frerers bracelets. I feel like a noob as I never really heard of the brand before despite my knowing about JB and other after market desirable bracelets. I also am a bit shocked vintage gf bracelets are selling for almost the price of the watch. I never would have asked if a got a decent deal as it seems like even if the watch is a dog-the bracelet will work out. I should stress to any new collectors here my hunch was based on years of scouring pics of old vintage watches. I also have a good feel for when a seller is inexperienced and is not promoting what they have properly. Had they shown a movement pic and highlighted the GF brace;et I am sure more bidders would have pushed the price up to maybe double. Anyway-I'll leave it here for now and I'll post a thread when the watch arrives in hopefully-the untouched, sitting-in-drawer-for 40yrs condition seller claims it is in . And maybe I'll be smitten and start up some new love for Eterna as a new niche area in my collection.
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    Re: ETERNA collectors...a few Kontiki questions

    As to Gay Frčres, one of the reason they are so expensive is that Gay are actually jewellers, so the bracelets were quite high quality. They've now moved more into high end jewellery, still going.

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