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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Some of you have followed my Perfect Daily Wearer thread, and so may know that I've had my eye on a slightly older version of the iconic Eterna Kontiki. I have found that it is darn near impossible for a Yank to get his hands on this watch (or most Eternas, frankly) without just biting the bullet and ordering one. I ordered mine in the shadow of a "no hassle" return policy on eBay, and based on my first 45 minutes with the watch, I think I'm glad about that.

Don't get me wrong - this is an awesome watch. It doesn't look like anything else out there, but has a character all it's own. It doesn't even look like the newer Kontikis with the large triangular indices at 12-3-6-9. Throw in 200M of WR, a Selitte SW-200 movement, cool hands, that splash of red on the seconds hand (shiver), great lume, and that black date wheel (why can't all manufacturers do this???), and it adds up to one of the nicest watches to ever grace my wrist.

Kontiki 10.jpg Kontiki 13.jpg Kontiki 14.jpg

The size, shape, and weight are perfect. Dig those sexy curved lugs. And as E8ArmyDiver warned in my other thread, this thing has a great crown. The strap is very, very comfortable: it's a leather-on-rubber ensemble that is unlike anything I've sampled before. All topped with a nicely domed sapphire.

MSRP on this is well north of affordable, but this beast can be had on leather for right around $1k. I think that generally is accepted as affordable, so I thought I'd post a few thoughts for posterity.

The ebay listing said the watch was located in the US, but I promptly got a DHL tracking number indicating a German point of origin. No big -- the seller made up for the shipping distance with shipping speed; I ordered it Saturday, and received it this morning. The warranty card is stamped from a German AD, to boot!

Kontiki 1.jpg Kontiki 2.jpg

(The wooden display box, while nice, doesn't actually glow. Gotta love HDR.)

The DHL guy's timing was superb: first shot of the watch, and it's showing 10:09!

Kontiki 3.jpg

Here's that strap. My wrist likes it a lot, but my eye isn't sure this is the look I want. Seems like the strap equivalent of a mullet. Leather in the front, rubber in the back. I'm thinking this would look amazing on a Hirsch Rivetta.

Kontiki 5.jpg Kontiki 6.jpg Kontiki 16.jpg

Here's the caseback, with a nice etching of Heyerdahl's Kontiki.

Kontiki 7.jpg

The dial is intricate and balanced, with just a hint of dimensionality to keep it interesting. It is hard to capture, but those triangular indices at 12, 3, 6, and 9 are actually glossy little mounds of lume with numerals printed on top. The numbers are contoured with the surface of the dome -- it's a neat effect. The hour indices are shiny stainless so there is a healthy amount of flash without being overpowering or "blingy." The center of the dial is matte charcoal, which gives a nice contrast to the semi-gloss black surface of the minute track (oh, and the red part of the seconds hand begins precisely where the two dial surfaces meet - it's the little things). It's a really nice dial to look at.

Kontiki 8.jpg Kontiki 9.jpg
(Hi, there.)

When you can see it. As readers of my PDW thread will recall, I'm currently obsessed with (I wanted to say "meticulous about," but let's just call a spade a spade) good AR. Anti-reflection is one of the "finish" qualities that separates the fine timepieces from the finest. I want good AR on my next watch. And if you're paying attention to these photos, you've probably noticed what I have. There is a ton of reflection going on here.

Kontiki 11.jpg

I had to take it under my desk to avoid any glare.

Kontiki 15.jpg

Yes, I have garish lighting in my office. Yes, that will handicap any watch. But I know it can be better than this. My Junghans is better than this, and it's not particularly great. This is about the same as my Hamilton, which I classify as "not good."

Kontiki 12.jpg

Quick lume shot: hard to capture in photos, as you all know, but I'll attest that this is really bright in person. More than satisfied there. I really dig the contrast numerals on those indices.

Kontiki 17.jpg

All in all? This is a 9 out of 10, easily. I like just about everything about it - and some of it I downright love. I don't want to take it off! But dat glare. I haven't made up my mind yet. I know some other watches I'm looking at have really great AR. I haven't seen them in my office, nor this watch in the space where I saw those, so it's hard to make a 1:1 comparison. But I have a strong sense this probably isn't good enough for me. Which saddens me, because otherwise, this watch is stellar and an amazing value for what I paid. I plan to wear it (on a different strap until I make my final decision) while I go test drive a couple other watches this afternoon. Maybe it will grow on me, or I'll decide it's good enough, or I'll discover its not actually any worse than my other candidates - it's just my office that sucks. Maybe. Meantime, at minimum I'll enjoy having it on my wrist for a little while.

Kontiki 18.jpg
 

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Beautiful watch. Great review!! Eterna has always put out quality watches. I love the lume. Too bad about the glare. How is the accuracy so far?
 

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I always loved and admired the classic design of the Kontiki.
 

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great review! I actually read the whole thing, which with my attention span is a compliment ;) lol

I've never seen an AR that really did well against fluorescent lighting in an office. Then again, all my watches come in at <$750.
 

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That's a wonderful retro [to my mind] timepiece,really very nice.

The glare is an issue but wouldn't usually be a problem in the UK as it's dark and/or really quite cloudy most of the time.Perhaps you should move to northern Europe to eliminate the reflection situation ?

Eterna keep making things of beauty.
 
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Great review, and that watch is simply amazing. I'm thinking of getting rid of all my watches and just becoming a 1 watch owner. This Kontiki is just the sort of watch I will be putting on my 1 watch short list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Beautiful watch. Great review!! Eterna has always put out quality watches. I love the lume. Too bad about the glare. How is the accuracy so far?
I put it into WatchCheck right after I posted the review. Accuracy seems great so far, but too soon to tell.
 

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Nice review.

RE: AR - you're going to get more glare off of a domed crystal than a flat one. The more arc to the dome, the more glare you'll get.

AR coatings are basically cellophane sheets applied to the surface of the crystal, somewhat like the protective stickers on there when you first get a watch. I think the "quality" of AR is a function of the material used and thickness of it (thicker AR would lower the overall refraction index of the crystal as a whole), but the perception of AR quality is going to be affected by the shape of the crystal and how thick the sapphire is (thicker sapphire would increase the refraction index). I suspect your Kon Tiki's crystal is likely to be fairly thick, for the sake of the water resistance, and just expected quality at that price point.

If your Junghans has an acrylic crystal (I think some do), that would be less reflective than sapphire, and wouldn't need AR applied, but its shape (assuming it's a big bubble) might increase its reflectiveness compared to a flatter surface made of the same material.

The last shot you posted seems (IMO) to be the one you should use to judge. The AR is always going to suffer in an indoor environment with multiple light sources. I never realized how "bad" the AR was on my Certina until I wore it inside a convention hall with a few hundred hot lamps hanging overhead. But most times, I really didn't notice it one way or the other. For comparison, I just took the Cerberus I'm wearing today (domed sapphire with internal AR, which I believe is fairly high quality) and moved it around my office some (my office has dreadful overhead fluorescent lights, but I'm sitting in a somewhat darker corner), and the appearance ranged from "Crystal? What crystal?" to "I don't know what time it is, but there's a dead bug in that light fixture, I can see it quite clearly".

In other words, what I saw with my watch looks a lot like the pics you posted above. It looks like you've got a light every 6 feet overhead, and so there won't be any escaping the reflections, and you may be unfairly judging the AR because of them. I would recommend you take note of the AR in a variety of environments and "normal wear" conditions and postures, plus, do what you're planning already, take it with you to the AD so you can do a side-by-side comparo against other candidates you're considering.

If you're truly serious about getting the clearest, most non-reflective view of your watch at any and all times, I'd recommend you look for something with a flat crystal instead (or look for something with an acrylic crystal rather than sapphire). The crystal on the Acionna is flat sapphire, and it's totally invisible most of the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
great review! I actually read the whole thing, which with my attention span is a compliment ;) lol

I've never seen an AR that really did well against fluorescent lighting in an office. Then again, all my watches come in at <$750.
Ha!

It's true, the lights in here are harsh. But I've definitely handled better AR than this. I can't photograph it, but I can see a very clear, colorful reflection of my whole face in the dial. Outside under blue skies, I had to focus hard to see the dial past the reflections. So it's not just indoors.

I'm trying to convince myself I will get used to it -- lighten up on the AR thing already -- its a beautiful watch, just enjoy it for what it is...

:-|
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice review.

RE: AR - you're going to get more glare off of a domed crystal than a flat one. The more arc to the dome, the more glare you'll get.

AR coatings are basically cellophane sheets applied to the surface of the crystal, somewhat like the protective stickers on there when you first get a watch. I think the "quality" of AR is a function of the material used and thickness of it (thicker AR would lower the overall refraction index of the crystal as a whole), but the perception of AR quality is going to be affected by the shape of the crystal and how thick the sapphire is (thicker sapphire would increase the refraction index). I suspect your Kon Tiki's crystal is likely to be fairly thick, for the sake of the water resistance, and just expected quality at that price point.

If your Junghans has an acrylic crystal (I think some do), that would be less reflective than sapphire, and wouldn't need AR applied, but its shape (assuming it's a big bubble) might increase its reflectiveness compared to a flatter surface made of the same material.

The last shot you posted seems (IMO) to be the one you should use to judge. The AR is always going to suffer in an indoor environment with multiple light sources. I never realized how "bad" the AR was on my Certina until I wore it inside a convention hall with a few hundred hot lamps hanging overhead. But most times, I really didn't notice it one way or the other. For comparison, I just took the Cerberus I'm wearing today (domed sapphire with internal AR, which I believe is fairly high quality) and moved it around my office some (my office has dreadful overhead fluorescent lights, but I'm sitting in a somewhat darker corner), and the appearance ranged from "Crystal? What crystal?" to "I don't know what time it is, but there's a dead bug in that light fixture, I can see it quite clearly".

In other words, what I saw with my watch looks a lot like the pics you posted above. It looks like you've got a light every 6 feet overhead, and so there won't be any escaping the reflections, and you may be unfairly judging the AR because of them. I would recommend you take note of the AR in a variety of environments and "normal wear" conditions and postures, plus, do what you're planning already, take it with you to the AD so you can do a side-by-side comparo against other candidates you're considering.

If you're truly serious about getting the clearest, most non-reflective view of your watch at any and all times, I'd recommend you look for something with a flat crystal instead (or look for something with an acrylic crystal rather than sapphire). The crystal on the Acionna is flat sapphire, and it's totally invisible most of the time.
I'm glad you posted that, as it validates what I've anecdotally observed, domed vs. flat. With domed pieces, it seems to focus the reflection so that, for instance, I can see my hole head in the crystal, whereas a flat crystal gives a more 1:1 reflection -- I can see just my eye, for instance. And the domed pieces do seem to generally reflect a LOT more - perhaps because that lensing is actually pulling in and focusing more light toward my eye (I aint a scierntist)? The Junghans has a sapphire crystal, but it's completely flat, so that perhaps explains some of my preference for the AR on that piece. I can compare this Kontiki and the Voyager side by side tonight to get a more accurate sense.

I've also noticed that the best AR I'm witnessing is on flat crystals. The Artix I just handled has a flat crystal and its reflectivity was exactly what I am looking for. Spot on. Jewelers are also fairly unforgiving in terms of spot lighting and many fixtures, but, side by side in the same space, it was no contest. The Artix killed the Kontiki.

I sort of laugh about that last photo - I went into an internal conference room with no windows, hid in the corner so there were no lights directly overhead, and aimed the dial at the wall. :) Optimal watch-viewing conditions!

I'll keep hope alive, though. More testing = more wearing.
 

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First of all - Congrats Jake.
Secondly - thanks for being a standup guy, and sending me my double reward which arrived here (one of which is cash in the amount of fifty cents) --> I'll post in the original thread.

Thirdly, regarding AR - either get an acrylic crystal watch like a Sinn 103 (lightly used, its in your budget) as docvail suggests. Or get a flat sapphire crystal, like the Damaskos or C. Ward C11 with double AR (blueish tint, outer AR might scratch?) or Sinn U1 or many others out there.
 

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Very nice! The white dialed KonTiki Date has tempted me often.
 

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You better hope the seller is not a hard$$$ like Doc, or changing straps wouldn't count as being 'unworn' for return purposes.
 

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It doesn't matter even a little what the sellers policy is. eBay will give you your money + original shipping back.
In this case, the seller has specified that "buyer pays return shipping". Original shipping was free. The seller is in the UK/EU. So I believe that's about $50 for sending it back, out of pocket.
 
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