Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph
When it comes to spending $4700 on a wristwatch, this is not a decision most watch enthusiasts take lightly. The fact is, that is a huge chunk of change and in that price range of luxury watches, there are countless options. If you are reading this review, I am pretty sure you read other review sites as well (Don’t worry, it’s okay). I do so from time to time, and when researching this watch as I always do as part of my review, I noticed many sites discussing the movement, which of course is a major aspect of the Eterna Super Kontiki, and how well it did with them on dives. That is all well and good, but how many of you reading actually dive? Watch enthusiasts all buy for different reasons, and we all have things that attract us to a watch and help us justify the price. For some, it is brand and brand recognition, the history of the company and such. For others, it is the quality and components, the resale value and many other factors. One thing I always try and do here at Watchreport gives you the nitty-gritty. The real deal of how this watch stacks up to the plethora of others available. And if that is what you really want to know about the Eterna SuperKontiki Chronograph, just keep reading.
Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph Specifications:
- 45mm case of 316L Stainless Steel
- 43mm bezel
- 51mm lug to lug
- 16.5mm thick
- 22mm lugs
- Sapphire crystal
- Aluminum bezel insert
- Eterna Manufacture 3916A Flyback Chronograph Movement
- 65 Hour Power Reserve
- Rubber Strap or Optional Mesh Bracelet
- 200 Meters Water Resistant
Price $4700 on Rubber, $4900 on mesh bracelet
Let me get right to one of the big reasons the Super Kontiki Chronograph is $4700. It is powered by a completely in house manufacture movement; The Eterna caliber 3916A. Why is this such a big deal? Well, for a few reasons. One of them being Eterna is the company that started ETA, you know that movement maker now owned by the Swatch Group. Yes, Eterna started ETA in 1932, and even though ETA was sold, Eterna is still producing fantastic watches and making their own movements. I could go on and on about Eterna’s history and contributions to the watch industry, but that is an article in and of itself, for another day. I will say, if you are not familiar with the brand or their history, I urge you to check out their website linked above to read up on it.
When you are charging this much money for a watch, especially these days, buyers expect an in house movement. It should almost be a given. If it is not an in house movement, it should at least be heavily modified, and not just off the shelf. With all that said, what makes the Eterna 3916A so special? Well, it is a column wheel chronograph, and it is a Flyback Chronograph as well. This allows you to instantly reset the chronograph back to zero while in use, using the bottom reset pusher. Something that you can not normally do with most chronographs. Is this the only movement to do this? No, not at all. But it is not super common either. Accuracy on my particular example has been a consistent +4 seconds, over a 4 day period. I would say that is pretty damn good, if not great. I found the power reserve was more around 58 hours than 65, as the specifications state. The movement, which can be seen through the display case back, is extremely beautiful in my opinion.
If you are familiar with the Eterna KonTiki, you know the name is pretty iconic a this point. The Super KonTiki Chronograph uses the same case design as its vintage predecessors from the 60’s and 70s. It is a case design that I had forgotten how much I truly loved. The design is just so comfortable on the wrist, and the way this one in particular is finished is purely striking. There is absolutely no doubt that when anyone picks this watch up, they know they are holding a luxury watch in their hand. The polished and brushed finishing is superb and the way they combined them on the case is fantastic. It is a seamless transition, the way it should be.
Almost every part of this watch was made with great attention to detail, but that does bring me to a few things that I feel are lacking. Mind you, I might be nitpicking with a few of these things, but I do think they are warranted. The first is the use of an aluminum bezel insert. I just cant understand why this would be used on a $4700 watch such as the Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph. These days so many brands are using ceramic or sapphire covered inserts, that not only enhance the look of the bezel, but also helps keep them scratch free for much longer. (You can scratch ceramic and sapphire of course, but it takes some doing). Dive watch bezels do not need to be lumed with the exception of the pip, as that is more of a gimmick in my opinion, but premium materials is what you expect in a luxury item. That is my biggest negative with this watch.
My other gripe is that the molded rubber strap is too short. I have a 7 1/2 inch wrist and I am in the third hole, and there is not much strap left over to go into the keepers. As a matter of fact, I feel it is exactly just the right amount of slack left over, any less and it would not look or feel right. This means if you have the same size wrist as I do, or less, you should not have any issues. Really any larger than that and you will not be able to wear this on the Eterna strap. Which is really a shame, as the strap itself is flat out awesome. It is comfortable, the custom buckle exudes class and does not dig into the wrist, and it helps balance out a heavy watch. I am just not sure why a 45mm watch would be made to fit a wrist no larger than 7 1/2 inches.
As listed above, the rubber strap version is $4700, but if you want a bracelet, you will have to pony up another $200. Normally, I would not have an issue with this, as metal bracelets cost more to produce than a rubber strap. What I do wonder about though, is why they went with a mesh bracelet, as opposed to a link style with solid end links. I know it is vintage inspired and that many like mesh bracelets, (I admittedly am not one of them), but I think this could have really stood out even more on a custom made bracelet. I do not want to use pictures that are not mine, but google “Eterna KonTiki Super 70’s NOS” to see what a vintage KonTiki diver looked like with a link bracelet. Had they made an updated version of that for this new release, it would have been even more attractive.
I know some may be thinking by now, did he not discuss the dial? I know, this review might be constructed differently than I normally do, but I wanted to highlight other aspects of the Eterna Super Kontiki Chronograph first. When it comes to the dial, I really have no issues. It is slightly hard to read the chronograph registers, as the minute and hour counters are combined into one register, but this is somewhat typical of a two eye chronograph. Overall, the dial is fairly uncluttered, especially for a chronograph and the highly polished markers and hands are mirror like, so much so in some photos you can see the dial lettering reflecting on them. Something that also gets a huge plus from me is the date being positioned at 6 o’clock, and not stuck somewhere in no mans land on the dial, as so many makers seem to do these days.
So many times, value is equated to something that does not cost a lot, or is affordable. While the Eterna Super KonTiki Chronograph is very much a high end luxury item, I feel I can put it in the value category. The manufucature movement alone puts it there, because as a watch enthusisast, this is something that sets it apart from so many other brands. While Tudor is now using in house movements for their Black Bay model, it was still using a modified ETA up until about a year ago, at around $3200 list price. And for sure, Tudor is an iconic brand in its own right, but besides Rolex, is their a more iconic diver than the KonTiki? I will leave that to you, our readers, to discuss. I will say this, in person and on the wrist, the Super KonTiki Chronograph is as awesome as I hoped it would be, and while I did have a few quibbles, (as I do with almost any watch), there is no denying that this is a superb watch in almost every way. It is a throwback to an innovative time where dive watches were new and intriguing, it is amazingly finished throughout and it evokes that vintage theme, while being modern at the same time. I have no qualms with saying if you are looking for a fantastic dive watch with an in house movement, do not let this one pass you by. At the very least, it should be on your list as a contender.
Great review as always Don. I agree with your comments on the aluminum bezel and note that the Scuro Divewatch has a titanium bezel and costs a fraction of the Super Kontiki (yes I know the comparison is not exactly apples to apples as the Eterna is a classic and the Scuro is a new entrant but the point stands on the bezel material). In terms of iconic dive pieces the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms is right up there with Rolex in my view (albeit at a higher price point). Thanks!
Great watch awesome review …
This is a mans time piece. It has a great in house movement and it is built with great detail precision. I really would like to have this in my growing collection. Great job on this vintage inspired watch.