Eterna was started by a medical doctor, Dr Josef Girard, and school teacher Urs Schild on Nov 7, 1856, in the village of Grenchen at the foot of the Jura mountains in Switzerland.
Initially, the company called Dr Girard & Schild made movement blanks. Josef Girard quit in 1866 discouraged by the stiff competition and bleak prospects.
In 1876, the first Eterna watches were made and the company's high standards of manufacturing were well accepted by consumers.
Over the years, Eterna gained a well-earned reputation for pioneering new technology in horology.
* 1914 - Eterna made the first wristwatch with alarm.
* 1930 - Eterna made the most compact woman's wristwatch with baguette movement.
* 1947 - Eterna made one of the most famous watches in marine horology - it supplied the KonTiki expedition members with a rugged and water-resistant wristwatch. The KonTiki watch is much sought after by collectors.
* 1948 - Eterna patented the rotor mounted on ball bearings for an automatic-wind movement. the Eterna-Matic was the first to use this system and the five ball bearings used for the auto-winding system became Eterna's logo. This auto-wind system is widely used even today.
* 1958 - The Golden Heart design featuring the world's most compact self-winding movement with solid gold rotor.
* 1962- Ultra-slim Eterna-Matic 3000 with 3.6mm thin calendar movement.
* 1976 - Royal Quartz KonTiki was the world's slimmest calendar quartz watch with water resistance to 100m.
* 1980 - Museum Line - a range that holds the world record for slimness - only 0.98mm thick for a quartz watch.
On May 18, 1980, Eterna won the Grand Prix Triomphe de l'Excellence Europeenne for contributing to the prestige of Europe.
In 1995, the Porsche family bought the Eterna watch company. Porsche watches which used to be made by IWC are now made by Eterna.
Lam Seng Fatt
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