ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?
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  1. #1
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    ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    Hi Guys,

    Need some help Id'ing a family heirloom. This Eterna belonged to my grandfather and was passed along to my father who has now given it to me.

    Looking up the serial it looks like its from 1948-1949 and the fact that it says Staybrite on the back leads me to believe it's one of the earlier Eterna-matic watches released.

    I've got a pretty good feeling the strap is aftermarket as I can't find any pictures online of this style of watch with this type of bracelet.

    Any ideas as to what i have? Watch seems to run fine. Thanks in advance!

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    Member busmatt's Avatar
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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    I'm not an Eterna expert but I'd say you've got a very nice heirloom there, the strap is either a Bonklip or a similar style strap and may very well have been on the watch since new. Has it been serviced lately? If not id get it done and wear it with pride.

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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    Thanks Matt.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this watch hasn't been serviced in decades - if at all.

    Here are a couple more pictures of the clasp - there seems to be a logo and marking on there that I can't make out....

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    Apparently my grandfather wore this watch everyday - i'm pleasantly surprised that it's in it's current condition if that was the case!
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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    Definitely an early example, powered by a bumper movement, and they are very nice watches. It is possible that the bracelet is original. I own a couple of very similar versions, including this one:

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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    The bracelet is actually marked 'Mido' - at least this seems pretty clear to me, perhaps my eyes are faltering - so it's certainly not an Eterna bracelet. I believe the smaller, hard-to-read logo is for Gay Frčres, a famous jewellers who made a couple of similar metal bracelets at the time. This is known as a bamboo bracelet, as the links resemble bamboo branches (I guess). In any event, it may well have been the original bracelet your grandfather had fitted when he bought it, it's certainly the correct period for the watch. I have a similar era Eterna with the same bracelet (although mine isn't marked Mido), so I think you can rest easy on the bracelet side of things. They're a bit cult: RARE '51 Vintage Gay Freres Steelinox Bonklip Watch Bracelet Band for Rolex 16mm | eBay

    You really should think about getting the movement cleaned and lubed. The oils which were used when this was last serviced break down and harden, increasing the wear on all the bearings, etc. Especially if this is a bumper wind watch (which I think it isn't but rather I'd expect to find a calibre 1247T or 1247UC inside, personally, but we'll only know which when the back comes off).

    Very nice watch!
    Last edited by Habitant; August 21st, 2015 at 12:08.
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    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Mirius's Avatar
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    ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    The eterna ball bearing logo on the dial would argue against it being a bumper. I suspect too that the bumpers are marked automatic. But that assumes no redialing.
    Last edited by Mirius; August 21st, 2015 at 10:03.
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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    I didn't know that about the ball bearing logo. Nice catch, Mirius. Makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirius View Post
    The eterna ball bearing logo on the dial would argue against it being a bumper. I suspect too that the bumpers are marked automatic. But that assumes no redialing.
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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    1948 where when the ball bearing was introduced.
    So this could be one of the first Eterna models with the new and modern "ET(ern)A" movement, that was their subsidiary that they made 1932 .
    Last edited by 6r15c; August 21st, 2015 at 13:33.
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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    Lots of great information guys - thanks!

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    Re: ID Help! Vintage Eterna-Matic Circa 1948-1949?

    i have to concur with those who say that it isn't a bumper. i have found that the following guide is pretty accurate assuming no redials and watches made before the mid 70s or so-

    if the dial says:

    eterna- handwind if pre-quartz. or can be quartz if in that timeframe. post mid 80s, i think they did away with the "matic" designation and just went to Eterna, so everything is labeled so. i usually don't pay much attention to anything past the mid 70s so i could be mistaken here.

    eterna automatic- bumper auto. as in tony c's example above.

    eternamatic- full rotor auto on the ball bearing race.


    the OPs watch is very early in the development of the full rotor. i think we'll find a member of the 1247 family under the hood.
    Last edited by sherwoodschwartz; August 21st, 2015 at 17:38.
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