By John Galt
Beginning of World War 2 most country’s air forces where looking for time pieces to keep up with the modern aircraft starting to be used in the war and the Czechoslovakian military were no different in 1939. As they urgently contacted Eterna with a list of must haves for a pilots wrist watch and obliged them to build a watch to the exact specification ordered by Czech military experts. This resulted in with black dial, 3 hands that are highly visual for ease of reading at night and a tough stainless steel case and the outcome is a highly legible piece that still looks stunning now 75 years later.
Eterna have now re-issued them under the heritage collection with two stunning versions hankering back to the originals but with some very slight improvements in design but still capture the very essence of the original spirit.
One of the re-issues is practically identical to the original from 1939 with its brushed and polished stainless steel case deep black dial with minute accruals round the outer edge of the dial, hands are vintage inspired gold color and are coated in green luminous a perfect touch by Eterna as a fitting tribute to the 1939 model. Case size is 40mm slightly larger than the original but in keeping with the present day sizing.
Eterna have added a few modern additions to the pieces with a small date window at 6pm, sapphire crystal and a thick leather strap being the only updates from the originally ordered Czech versions. Eterna have had to leave a couple of things off the re-issue the twin crossed daggers at 11pm on the case and “Majetek Vojenské Správy“off the case back as translated means property of the military department, so as this is a re-issue and not ordered by Czech military then back has to stay plain.
Eterna other release is identical to the stainless steel version but coated in black PVD and it really works on this vintage inspired piece coupled with a brown leather strap this is a stunning vintage piece with a very modern contemporary feel. Inside is the notorious ETA 2824-2 self-winding movement with a power reserve of 38 hours. The watch is also water-resistant to 50m.
With growing interest among collectors for early wristwatches from both conflicts the original Eterna’s are becoming rare and highly sort after, so im sure these will become highly sort after as well as so little has changed from the original 1939 model. Each piece is limited to 1939 in honour to first pieces for the Czechoslovakian military pilots.
With quiet a lot of watch manufactures releasing special editions or vintage inspired pieces, but with most changing too much to really call it vintage, but this is stunning and so close to the original that I’m sure even the pilots from ww2 wouldn’t really tell the diffence. This is one re-issue piece that would definitely make me part with my money. For more info, please visit eterna.com
John Galt – Contributing Editor
John Galt caught the horology bug 4 years ago on his first visit to a London watch show and has snowballed since; John has become an avid writer and blogger of timepieces of all kinds, from everyday timepieces to modern Luxury Haute Horology, his favorite brands being HYT and Greubel Forsey that push the bounders of modern watch-making. John keeps a keen interest in the UK watch scene with their many emerging brands and timepiece’s. John Galt currently contributes watch related articles for online publications in the UK and USA. You can follow John on Twitter @johng73 Read his articles here.