Eterna, Swiss replica watches UK manufactures since 1856, have in recent years followed an industry wide trend by complimenting their modern collection with “heritage reissue” pieces, which combine current watchmaking technology with historic design concepts. At Baselworld 2017, Eterna unveiled their new KonTiki Manufacture Bronze in a limited edition as well as a new, non-limited stainless steel KonTiki, which they call the Eterna KonTiki Gent. Eterna indicate that both pieces were designed in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 KonTiki expedition in which he and a few pals set sail on a homemade raft from South America to prove the possibility of primitive people engaging in transoceanic migration. Thor’s impressive nautical efforts aside, we went hands on with Eterna’s stainless steel KonTiki Gent and found out the new piece has a lot going for it and makes an interesting case for the careful modernization of vintage designs.
One of the more striking features of the KonTiki Gent is the textured dial. When we first went hands-on with the KonTiki Manufacture Bronze LE, Ariel noted the “granite textured” dark grey dial. With that in mind, I was pleased to find Eterna have carried this design element into their more pedestrian KonTiki lineup in both the blue and black dialed versions with the other model sporting a glossy white dial with contrasting, seldom seen black-lumed hour markers and hands. In all three, the hour markers are Eterna’s signature triangular-ish shape, with especially large triangular indices at noon, three, six, and nine o’clock with the twelve o’clock marker topped with Eterna’s five ball-bearing signature. Dial text is also fairly subdued, with only “Eterna Automatic” and “KonTiki Diver 200m” at twelve and six o’clock respectively.
Straightforward sword hands compliment the triangular dial elements Eterna replica watches and are, along with the hour markers, liberally coated with Super-LumiNova. One thing this design does particularly well is the placement of the date window. It’s easy to miss the mark when placing a date window anywhere other than the traditional three or six o’clock positions but on the Eterna KonTiki Gent, the date window’s four o’clock position perfectly compliments the rest of the dial’s well-planned elements. This dial design does a couple of things at the same time. For one, it faithfully reproduces certain elements from KonTiki watches of yesteryear to cement the piece in the heritage realm. However, by playing around with texture, dimension, and color, the dial on the KonTiki Gent hangs right in there with the modern watch world.
Differentiating itself again from its bronze relative, the Eterna KonTiki Gent’s case is stainless steel and 44mm in width and 12.2mm thick compared to the bronze version’s heftier 14.5mm thickness. Case finishing on the Gent is somewhat standard, with brushed and polished surfaces adding interest to the otherwise fairly predictable case shape. The bezel is, at least in shape, everything a tool diver’s watch should be. Thick and rimmed with deeply machined teeth, the bezel sports a ceramic inlay insert with US Navy no decompression figures represented in meters of depth, an odd move considering their limited utility in a world of almost universal dive computer use.
Although this bezel looks interesting, the use of a standard diver’s elapsed time bezel Eterna replica watches would have at least helped with the random, mostly topside timekeeping tasks the majority of these (and indeed most diver’s watches) end up timing these days. Doxa, for example, who have long used an easily understood no decompression scale on their bezels, also include an elapsed time scale for general or diving use.