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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I'm searching Swiss watch (Omega, Eterna, Longiness maybe...) from a year 1968 for my brother as a gift as he is turning 50 next year. Early bird one might say but I thought that finding a nice one for reasonable price might not be so easy.

Well anyhow on my crusade I came across with this nice Eterna Matic. Seller says that reference number is 4366121. Can anyone say from what year is it? I found this one list of Eterna numbers but it doesn't match at all... (http://www.wristchronology.com/watch-guide/serial-numbers-by-year-2/eterna-calibre-numbers/)

Any input is highly appreciated, Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm afraid I can't get the number from the movement but I will ask. So those case numbers don't tell manufacturing year or do they?

-J-
 

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I'm afraid I can't get the number from the movement but I will ask. So those case numbers don't tell manufacturing year or do they?

-J-
They do and they don't.

Here's the serial numbers chart:
Triple Time
Scroll down and click the blue bar at the bottom of the page.

The number on the case is not a reference one, it's a serial as well- and follows the same code as the movement serials. According to the chart at schild-eterna.de, the case serial on your watch is for 1959. Which given the design of the watch seems entirely plausible. One thing you should know, is that in mass production a two-three years gap between the movement and the case (for example, the movement could well be from, say, 1961) is entirely possible, so you'll need to open it up (or if you haven't bought it, request pictures of the movement) anyway.

One thing that I find disturbing, is that it's a 1959 serial, and the dial has tritium lume....

So IMO, not only does it not date to 1968, but there is something that needs explaining- explaining that's impossible to do without the movement serial.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok, thanks for info. No, I haven't bought it. It's coming on sale in an auction nearby on friday...

I'll have to request the auction house if they could open it up and check the number. It was just my wishful thought that it might possible be from 1968 as I'm trying to find a nice watch from that exact year.

By the way, what did you mean about that tritium lume? Is it usually seen on newer watches or shouldn't there be any at all?

And thanks!

-J-
 

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My point about tritium lume is that before 1960 it wasn't really used. Even Omega discontinued their last radium lume dials only circa 1962/63. So any tritium dial on a watch, which dates to before 1960, is uncanny to the point of being suspicious. There's an Eterna Centenaire from 1960 listed on another Eterna website, Eterna-Fanatic. The watch still has radium lume, so Eterna was still using it after the watch you've posted (and which has tritium lume) was made.
 

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I agree with mkws - I have a couple of Eterna-Matic Centenaires from 1962 (both with case references beginning 45) which have radium lume so the 'T' markings on this dial are suspicious - plus the chapter ring is a style that is almost exclusively used on Centenaire models. The watch you are interested in isn't marked as such (but does have Centenaire style hands) so I'd suspect a redial. Here's one of mine to show what I mean:

a.JPG
 

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My Eterna-Matic 1000 has a 6180354 serial number. According to the Triple Time archive, that puts it at 1972, not 1966 as the seller advertised. However, according to this resource, the calibre 1488K establishes the watch as being manufactured in 1967. Whom should I believe? As much as I like the watch, I don't think I would have purchased it if I'd thought it was a 70s vintage.

IMG_6559a.jpg

Not easy to get a picture of the serial number, and completely failed to get one of the calibre number, but it's 1488K.

IMG_6561a.jpg
 

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This is just a guess, but I would have assumed that the cal 1488K was produced for more than one year, and perhaps that second table indicates the first year of production for each movement. The Schild-Eterna table may not be perfect, but I'd be surprised if it's off by 5 years.

These Eterna-Matics are great watches, and it wouldn't bother me at all to have a watch from the early 1970s vs. the late 1960s.
 

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My point about tritium lume is that before 1960 it wasn't really used. Even Omega discontinued their last radium lume dials only circa 1962/63. So any tritium dial on a watch, which dates to before 1960, is uncanny to the point of being suspicious
I don't know for Eterna, but as a more aware Longines collector, it's not unusual to see older movement cased in newer models. For example, Longines chronometers advertised in the late 50s often had movement serial from early 50s. That's why in general I don't trust so much the movement serial number to date a watch model, or not even the year it was sold, but to me the most accurate dating comes from advertising.
 

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This is just a guess, but I would have assumed that the cal 1488K was produced for more than one year, and perhaps that second table indicates the first year of production for each movement. The Schild-Eterna table may not be perfect, but I'd be surprised if it's off by 5 years.

These Eterna-Matics are great watches, and it wouldn't bother me at all to have a watch from the early 1970s vs. the late 1960s.
Thanks, Dan. It is a nice watch and I like it a lot. I also wouldn't have thought to use a calibre number to date a watch, but that second, Danish resource is intriguingly firm. Anyway, it's a fun research project. There's a Russian novel's worth of text inscribed on the caseback that would seem to offer a lot of leads.
 

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This thread reminded me that I'd seen something similar to the original OP's watch (not the cool Birks) on eBay. The seller is right about the 50s on the inside, with the 1412 movement, but the dial is very 60s, tritium and all.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Eterna-Matic-Gents-1950s-Wrist-Watch-Cal-1412-UD-With-Hidden-Crown/332803809480?hash=item4d7ca720c8:g:IFoAAOSwaWpbmgFd
The movement serial number of 5.29M puts it at 1966. Unfortunately, the engraving has been completely polished off of the case-back.
 
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