A gift from a friend...

A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 30th 2017, 12:16pm

So, just today, I have received a parcel from Germany. A fellow collector, Silke, with whom I have worked on reference threads for WUS F11 (a guide to Lepine ebauches, and a detailed story of a rare click design flaw in early Zenith PW movements), found herself owning a wristwatch (she collects pocket watches only), for which she wanted to find a good new home. Long story short, the contents of the package were kept a surprise (well, at least the watch - there are also some raw Valjoux 22 ebauches, on which I will be doing a write-up shortly), and upon unpacking, here's what I saw:

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So, what's in the by all means lovely pouch? I got a hint that it will be small (28mm), in steel, 1940s. But what I pulled out of that pouch, was more than I could have ever expected, and it's yet another exceptionally lovely 28mm watch in my collection. So, here it is, on my wrist:

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Yep, it's an Eterna - now the second one in my collection. According to the serial number lookup, it's exactly 10 years older than my other Eterna - the serial points to 1942, but I have already contacted Eterna for details. Radium-lumed numerals and hands have aged to a dark green-ish grey, in some places almost black, which is fairly common for late 1930s-early 1940s watches (think of the dials of D/DH/DU-spec milwatches). Got to love the gilt printing on the semi-gloss black dial.

Here's what powers it- either a cal. 845H or 905H (H stands for Eterna-H shock protection device). In entries for both movements, the Ranfft archive provides the annotation I hate the most- "differences not known between [845 and 905 - in this case; author's note]"

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The rod going from screw hole to screw hole is normally rested against the case back, keeping the movement from moving around- the case construction on this one apparently has no need of case screws.

And here's what I love about vintage Eterna cases- the screw-in back:

Image

Given the inscriptions, now I can make my point again - these tiny watches were usually feature-packed, to show the manufacturer's capabilities.

But that's not the part of these backs that I love the most - to see that part, one needs to unscrew it:

Image

I hope you can see it in the shitty pic I have taken, but at this angle you can see all the goodness of Eterna's waterproof case design - the tall, threaded collar of the back, which really makes these watches a great vintage wear for the summer. You can well be sweating like a pig, and that back won't let a droplet through, so you need not worry about the crystal fogging up the moment the wrist starts to sweat.

Hope you've enjoyed this short write-up, and I'll be back with more details once I get a reply from Eterna. And, of course, coming up in the next two weeks: How Raw is Raw, or How a Very Raw Ebauche Looks
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby gerdson » August 30th 2017, 12:25pm

Awesome !
😀
28mm is kind of... small
I tried 30mm and could not quite get used to it
32plus is fine.
But we need to acknowledge in the 40ies this was a sign of quality and prestige.
Lovely movement. Shockproof. Great condition.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby jaw » August 30th 2017, 12:28pm

Lovely.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby conjurer » August 30th 2017, 12:36pm

Very nice!
Johannes! My knees are trembling from banging her so hard with my rod!

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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby gerdson » August 30th 2017, 12:49pm

Hm. Not shockproof. But that was not state of the art then. Sorry. Too superficial at first glance.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 30th 2017, 12:59pm

gerdson wrote:Awesome !
😀
28mm is kind of... small
I tried 30mm and could not quite get used to it
32plus is fine.
But we need to acknowledge in the 40ies this was a sign of quality and prestige.
Lovely movement. Shockproof. Great condition.

Thanks, Herr Gerdson! The case on this one is really well-proportioned, and it doesn't look or feel small on the wrist. Although that could well have something to do with my wrist size being 6.5 inches, up to 6.75/6.8 on a hot day.
Also, it's a matter of the mindset as well - the moment that one goes beyond the contemporary notion of sizes, it really can't bother one any less. I've just got myself to think of it the way that the original owners of these watches would have thought of them, and this way of thinking became sort of natural for me.

gerdson wrote:Hm. Not shockproof. But that was not state of the art then. Sorry. Too superficial at first glance.

Oh, and it is shockproof- only the Eterna-H shock device looks slightly different from most such devices of the period, as it is fixed to the balance cock, and you can see it on both sides of the regulator needle. When we think of shock devices, we think of a golden spring above the capstones over the balance staff, and there was a number of designs very different from that notion- Eterna-H was one, but if you'd look at, for example, a Wyler Incaflex, I bet your first thought would be "not shockproof", and that's because an Incaflex relies on elastic balance wheel spokes (i.e. the spokes are, in a way, springs, which reduce the effect of the weight of the wheel on the balance staff).

Here, for example, Eterna 520H in the Ranfft archive:
Image
Note the same feature on the balance cock, below the regulator needle and on the sides of it. The letter suffix in Eterna calibre numbers indicates the type of the in-house shock device used (Eterna-E, Eterna-H, Eterna-U...).

And here's an Eterna-U, in my 1952 Eterna's cal 520U:
Image
Also, no apparently visible shock device...Not if we imagine something like Kif or Incabloc, but notice that golden ring around the capstone- yeees, that's the Eterna-U shock device.
Last edited by MKTheVintageBloke on August 30th 2017, 1:13pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 30th 2017, 1:07pm

conjurer wrote:Very nice!

jaw wrote:Lovely.

I thank thee, Messrs Conjurer and Jaw, for thy kind words!
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby conjurer » August 30th 2017, 1:12pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
conjurer wrote:Very nice!

jaw wrote:Lovely.

I thank thee, Messrs Conjurer and Jaw, for thy kind words!


Well, in Jaw's case, one word.
Johannes! My knees are trembling from banging her so hard with my rod!

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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby foghorn » August 30th 2017, 1:34pm

That's a great gift. I'm lucky to get the time of day from my friends,let alone a watch. Bunch of savages around here.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby biglove » August 30th 2017, 3:21pm

In fantastic condition considering the age. Looks like someone took excellent care of it all these years.

That dial really is special. No matter how much modern watchmakers try for that look, it never is spot on.

Congrats on a most wonderful gift.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby AntFarm » August 30th 2017, 8:09pm

That's a beautiful watch. The dial is amazing. The gold just pops against the black... Even the numbers look cool. What a wonderful gift.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby bobbee » August 31st 2017, 12:13am

A very nice watch from a very nice woman.
I miss Silke, I always got on well with her. Very knowledgeable too.

The shock protection looks very like the Erismann-Schintz system, another early (1927-8) shock absorber system.

Here is my birth twin to your watch, also from 1942 and same size at just 28mm.
The Bulova one-button chrono.



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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby DX » August 31st 2017, 7:08am

Nice friend...

Congrats
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 31st 2017, 9:43am

bobbee wrote:A very nice watch from a very nice woman.
I miss Silke, I always got on well with her. Very knowledgeable too.

The shock protection looks very like the Erismann-Schintz system, another early (1927-8) shock absorber system.

Here is my birth twin to your watch, also from 1942 and same size at just 28mm.
The Bulova one-button chrono.



ImageImage

Indeed, she's an exceptionally kind person, and really knowledgeable about pocket watches - especially Zenith and everything Georges Favre-Jacot.

Eterna was one of the very few manufacturers to design their own shock protection systems. The non-standard shock devices, including the ones fixed to the balance cock between the entire balance staff assembly and the regulator scale, are always somewhat more interesting than an ordinary spring over the capstones. Not necessarily more efficient - dunno how devices like Foerster (found on Foerster movements in German Foresta watches) or Eterna-H compare to, say, a Shock-Resist, but if it works, it works.

As to your Bulova- if I remember correctly, it had an issue with some components of the chronograph module? I was just thinking, that you could reach out to someone with the technical capabillites of making new spares for it. There's been a thread here at WL, concerning a guy in the Netherlands, who makes his own titanium cases with a CNC milling machine. But, as far as I know, he also makes watchmaking tools, and a certain Dutch friend of mine (who recently managed to pull off that Tissot dial swap, and currently works on four other watches of mine) is trying to talk him into manufacturing obsolete movement parts (using contemporary materials of higher durability than the alloys used for the original parts).

By the way, do you have that ad, which promoted 28mm watches as ones "for the military man?" Can't remember what brand it was - I think it was Bulova, but I'm not sure.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby bobbee » August 31st 2017, 11:27am

Not sure if I have the ad now, but it mat be on the WUS thread I started, "eclectic adverts".
It can"t be cheap to manufacture new parts from scratch, and I haven't got the dime. :)
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 31st 2017, 11:43am

bobbee wrote:Not sure if I have the ad now, but it mat be on the WUS thread I started, "eclectic adverts".
It can"t be cheap to manufacture new parts from scratch, and I haven't got the dime. :)

By traditional means, it is costly. But when it's just a matter of programming the machine right, not of all the cutting and finishing the part by hand, the cost is likely far lower. I mean, for now the guy doesn't make the spare parts, so that's just something to consider in the future.

As to the Eclectic Adverts thread, maybe I'll check there later. I've been looking for Mido ads there a few days ago, and my hand still hurts from constant scrolling (for those of you who don't know - it's more than 20 pages long, 10 posts per page, and the majority of posts has north of a dozen vintage adverts each, in a fairly high resolution).
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » August 31st 2017, 1:36pm

Some more shots of the watch(es):

Side by side:
Image

Very similar case profile on both watches, including a slightly recessed, raised part below the flanks, housing the tall case back collar:
Image

Case backs are slightly different - only three wrench slots on the '42, the '52 case back has a considerably higher dome to it - but the entire architecture of the case remains pretty much identical:
Image
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby TemerityB » August 31st 2017, 2:17pm

Those Eternas are really great. The new one is really sharp, indeed.

Good on ya, and it pays to have friends.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » September 1st 2017, 8:03am

For the last two days, the watch has been running wildly fast - 5 minutes per day. Makes the compass needle move, so I guess it's most likely magnetized - during the shipping, the parcel must have been put close to one with magnetic contents... Although I don't know if a magnet alone could have caused that. I'll send it for a quick fix to my friend, in the next batch of watches. As far as I know, the watch was recently serviced, so I guess demagnetizing and replacing the mainspring will do the trick - for those who don't know, the old mainsprings tend to lose their properties over time, and their reduced performance causes a lower amplitude, which makes the watch run faster, fast enough for the regulator to be incapable of compensating for that amplitude. If possible, the old spring will be replaced with a contemporary one, made of a more durable white alloy, which alloy retains its properties for much longer.
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby tiktok » September 1st 2017, 8:52am

^^^^ is mk not the most amazing mind horologus around these parts...and funny as hell!
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Re: A gift from a friend...

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » September 4th 2017, 4:08pm

tiktok wrote:^^^^ is mk not the most amazing mind horologus around these parts...and funny as hell!

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