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.
On November 7, 1856, the doctor Joseph Girard and the 28-year old school teacher Urs Schild found the ébauche factory "Dr. Girard & Schild“. Eight years later the enterprise sets out the mutual rights and obligations of employees and employers in writing.
Dr. Girard sells his shares for 35,000 Swiss francs to Urs Schild in order to devote himself fully to his original profession as a doctor.
The first automated production machines are introduced, driven by water and steam. The company becomes an official manufacture with the first watch built entirely in-house.
Urs Schild becomes a National Councilor in 1882. Six years later, he dies at the age of 58. The next year, the name Eterna appears for the first time on the dial of a pocket watch.
The company becomes a general partnership under the name "Gebr. Schild & Co." with Elise, Walter, Max and Theodor Schild acting as partners. In 1899, Theodor Schild, a mechanical engineer, takes heads the manufacture until 33 years later.
Eterna focuses early and intensively on the wristwatch, the new star in the horological firmament. Proof of this is a patent filed for a special watchcase with mobile safety lugs in 1904. Four years later, Eterna files a patent for the world's first wrist alarm clock.
The jury at the Brussels World Exhibition 1910 grants Eterna the "Grand Prix". At the Swiss National Exhibition four years later, Eterna introduces the first wrist alarm clock produced serially.
This decade, Eterna produces and sells more than 1 million movements in a single year. Also Eterna presents a cigarette-lighter watch that is wound when the igniting mechanism is activated and develops "Hexa", a patented self-winding sports watch in a hard sheath.
Eterna scores a hit with the smallest serially produced baguette movement for women's wristwatches. The company splits into two joint-stock companies in 1932: “ETA AG" becomes a maker of movements and Eterna AG manufactures precision watches. In addition, Eterna begins making wrist chronographs and the new square wristwatches with a sweep second.
Birth of the ball-bearing mounted rotor system that reduces friction in 1948. The Eterna-Matic is destined to enter watchmaking history. The ball-bearing-mounted rotor becomes a standard for automatic movements. The striking Eterna logo made up of five little spheres is placed on the dial.
Back in 1947, the Norwegian archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl and five other scientists set out from the Peruvian coast into the Pacific Ocean on a simple raft made of balsa wood, on their wrists the researchers wore specially made Eterna watches.
A prosperous decade for Eterna! For the company's 100th anniversary, it releases the extra-thin "Centenaire" automatic. "Golden Heart" is the crowning glory in the ladies' watches segment. The world's smallest automatic movement with a massive gold rotor is worn by actresses Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot. Also, Eterna develops the "Kon Tiki 20", a tribute to the expedition of the norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl in 1947.
The "Eterna-Matic 3000 Dato" is 1962 the thinnest men's watch with an automatic movement and a date window. The movement height is 3.6 mm. The "Sahida" automatic has a height of 4 mm and is a great success with women.
The electronic decade. First, Eterna launches the "Eterna Sonic", its first electronic wristwatch with a tuning fork resonator and in 1974 the first Eterna with a quartz movement and analogue display. With the "Estrellita Quartz," Eterna set another record in 1979: the smallest water-resistant watch ever made. It's movement weighed a mere 1.06 grams.
The "Museum" line breaks the thinness record in all categories. The quartz wristwatch including the case has a height of only 0.98 mm. On 8 May, Eterna receives the "Grand Prix Triomphe de l'Excellence Européenne" for its significant achievements with regards to Europe’s image.
1998 Eterna releases its first Porsche Design collection.
Eterna puts itself back into the elite circle of genuine manufactures and creates in 2004 the Calibre 6036, the next year follows the ultra-thin manufacture automatic 3030, in 2007 the Calibre 6037 and a half-century after the Eterna-Matic, the "Spherodrive" once again highlights the significance of tiny ball-bearings in mechanical watchmaking in 2009.
Presentation of the "Madison Eight Days" with the state-of-the-art Calibre 3510. This manually wound movement features the revolutionary "Spherodrive" system for bearing the spring barrel plus an impressive power reserve of over eight days.
Eterna launches the watch Adventic, the first time-piece to incorporate the new Eterna proprietary calibre 3843, itself energized by an Eterna-Spherodrive mechanism.
The calibre 39 is not only an industrial calibre, but also represents a family of calibres thanks to whose modularity the brand can produce 88 different movements using the base calibre. The Calibre 39 line by Eterna: boosting the brand's pioneering spirit.