Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thursday Field Trip - Eterna

Every year I go to BaselWorld I try to fit in a visit to a watch company.  This year, Eterna was kind enough to make time for me.

So Thursday morning found me up bright and early and on the train from Lucerne to Grenchen via Olten.  I arrived in Grenchen and after a short walk through town made my way to Eterna HQ.  Manon Vauthier and Samir Merdanovic met me for coffee before the tour.
So our first stop was to check out the area where the movements are made. As Samir's background is in movement design, you can well imagine that this area is near and dear to him.
Now contrary to popular belief, Eterna has been making movements for a while now, although the New Modular/Adaptable Spherodrive seems to have captured the world's attention.  It is important to understand that the latest Spherodrive is the result of a LOT of research and development - and in many ways is the next step in evolution of what first came out several years ago. But it was indeed interesting to see where the future is leading movement wise.
Eterna has a few CNC Machines and my understanding from Samir is that another new machine is on the way.  This means that they will be able to ramp up for increased production.  Now on the question as to whether or not they would potentially manufacture and sell movements outside of Eterna for use by other companies?  Obviously the primary intention is for internal use to Eterna, but with increased production capacities you never know.
So as they say, the proof is in the pudding, or in this case the movement parts.
And yes, they look good!

So once the parts are made, they are cleaned and polished -
But this is not purely machining and finishing.
There is a fair amount of quality control...

So once the parts are made, they need to be assembled.
A well-lit room is staffed by several watch makers assembling the various components into the final movement.

One of the more interesting parts of the tour was something that I had first seen at Girard-Perregaux/JEANRICHARD, a training room.
Samir explained to me that Eterna wanted to have an environment where their retail and distribution partners could be brought in and trained first hand on repair and maintenance of the various Eterna models.

And to ensure that an Eterna can always be repaired or restored, Eterna has a pretty impressive after-service department.  
I won't even get into the raw numbers - but it is a pretty staggering amount of restoration work that they crank out. So rest assured, your vintage Eterna CAN be restored!

So after seeing how the past is maintained, Samir walked me through the future via the evolution of the Spherodrive -

And this was a real opportunity to see where the Spherodrive started, where it is, and consider where it is heading.
And where it appears to be heading is inclusion in the latest Kontiki model -

This is part of the new releases scheduled for Eterna. But, you will have to wait for my report on the future models - and that will be tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Until then, let me pass on my sincere thanks to Manon and acting Vice President Samir for their time and help with this visit.

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