ETA Movements

Most novice watch enthusiasts like myself would have come across or owned watches with Swiss ETA movements.

ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse (ETA SA Swiss Watch Manufacturer) or ETA as they are commonly referred to, designs and manufactures quartz, winding and automatic movements.

ETA traces its roots to 1793 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Swatch Group.

ETA movements and ébauches are used both in watches of some of the Swatch Groups 19 subsidiary brands and in the watches of competitors. Through a series of mergers, ETA has become the largest manufacturer of Swiss watch movements and controls a virtual monopoly over their production and supply.

Perhaps the most famous workhorse of the ETA mechanical line is the ETA 2824-2. The 2824 is an automatic winding, twenty-five (25) jewel movement, available in four executions or grades:

• Standard,
• Elaborated (improved),
• Top and
• Chronometer.

Sandoz Submariner
Sandoz Submariner

I have owned quite a few watches which use this movement. One of my favourite watches though would be a Sandoz Submariner with a see through glass back like the one pictured here.

As mentioned on my post about the Hamilton Khaki GMT Navy, I bought this watch for $200 and after a couple years of reliable use, I sold it for $100 in 2008 – and have regretted doing that ever since!

Here is a picture of the see through caseback

Sandoz Caseback
Sandoz Caseback

The key components which differ at the line of demarcation between Elaborated and Top are the barrel spring, shock protection system, pallet stones, balance wheel & hairspring and the regulator mechanism. In contrast, since the addition of the “-2” at the end of the movement number, there has been no difference between the standard and the chronometer grades in terms of the regulator mecanism, both being Etachron.

The Standard grade is adjusted in two positions with an average rate of +/-12 seconds/day, with a maximum daily variation of +/-30 seconds/day.

The Elaborated grade is adjusted in three positions with an average rate of +/-7 seconds/day, with a maximum daily variation of +/-30 seconds/day; while the Top grade is adjusted in five positions with an average rate of +/-4 seconds/day, with a maximum daily variation of +/-10 seconds/day.

The Chronometer grade must meet strict standards prescribed by the COSC. Chronometer grade movements are serial numbered, as that is a requirement of the certification authority. Moreover, the degree of decoration on the movement’s parts, generally only an aesthetic improvement, increases as well with the grade.

ETA 2892

The ETA 2892.A2 is considered the more upscale of the basic ETA movements, and it is a comparatively newer design dating to the 1970s whereas the 2824 traces its roots back to the 1950s.

The 2892 is fitted with top quality components and is an automatic winding, twenty-one (21) jewel movement, available in three executions or grades: Elaborated, Top and Chronometer.

The 2892.A2 is regarded by many horologists as being in the same ‘quality’ range (accuracy and reliability) as in-house produced Rolex movement and is usually found in the more expensive and prestigious watches and brands.

Owing to its relatively slim height of 3.60 mm, the 2892.A2 is a favorite of watch brands that market complicated movements such as Breitling and even IWC Portofino

The Omega Co-axial based upon an ETA movement!

Omega’s popular Seamaster line of watches currently use an embellished version of the ETA 2892.A2, which is known as the Omega 1120. As an adjunct, some versions of the Omega watches may be fitted with the proprietary co-axial escapement and is known as the Omega 2500.

3 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ray on Time » ETA Movements and Rolex Lookalikes
  2. Ray on Time » Sandoz Submariner
  3. Ray on Time » Rolex “Terms”

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