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Eterna is a small manufacturer of semi-precious watches. The traditional Swiss company has been operating for over 160 years. The brand is among the elite watch brands. Eterna wristwatches are built with passion. The company tries to continuously innovate and improve the features of their watches. The company has developed groundbreaking solutions for centuries for mechanical watches to solve the problems that these watches might have. During the long history of the brand, it has set new standards time and time again.
Dr. Josef Girard and Urs Schild founded the company in Gretchen in 1856. In the beginning the company was called Dr Girard & Schild Ebauches. Their original aim was to combat unemployment in the region. In 1866 Girard left the company to return to his profession as a doctor. He sold all his shares to Schild. Urs Schild continued to run the company for the next few decades until he passed away in 1886 at the age of 58. After his death the company was passed on to a co-ownership of his sisters, and his son Max began to run the company. Max was a manager ahead of his time and he acquainted himself with the rapidly developing techniques in the United States. When he returned he presented the new technical processes, but people in the company didn’t like them. After Max got into a fight with his brother he left the company. The company changed its name to Eterna in the beginning of the 20th Century.
The year 1908 was significant for the watch company. They patented their first wristwatch that had an alarm. After a long developmental phase the watch got into production six years later. The watch was sold over a million pieces a year in the 1920s. The next hit the company launched was the smallest women’s ‘baguette’ wristwatch in the 1930s. This means that the watch is rectangular and three times as long as it is wide. In 1932 the company made some big changes and the watch factory was divided into two corporations. Because of this Eterna AG watch factory and ETA AG machinery factory were born. The ETA machinery factory was meant to manufacture and sell their parts to other watch companies. Even after these changes Eterna continued innovating in the 1930s, and launched, among other things, an eight day alarm watch and the company’s first automatic watch.
In 1948 the company launched Eterna-matic. The watch was an automatic one patented by the company. It had a ball bearing counterweight. The watch had five ball bearings in strategic places, that made it really effective and it considerably reduced the friction. Because of this the watch parts did not wear out, and this prolonged the usage time of the watch. Eterna-matic watches are possibly the most famous and best models.
Other well-known Eterna watches are Kontiki and Sahida watches. The Kontiki watch was launched in 1958. It was born in cooperation with Thor Heyerdahl who happened to wear an Eterna watch on his famous sail on the Pacific Ocean with his Kon-Tiki raft. Sahida was the first automatic watch that was meant for women. Eterna’s automatic watches for women are the slimmest ones in the market.
After 1982 the company was sold repeatedly, until FAP Beteiligungs GmbH purchased it in 1995. The owner of the company was Ferdinand Alexander Porsche who is known from the car world. Eterna also began producing of Porsche Design watches as Eterna special models. Porsche Design watches are known from their high quality demands. In 2011 the company was sold to a Chinese owner.