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- Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 3:10 pm
This 32mm beauty is a 1948 Eterna ref. 166 (as per the case back) in stainless steel:
The case shares its basic design with the ref. 106T (and 106BDT), like this one...
...only it's thicker with its deeper case back to house a relatively thick bumper movement. In this case, the movement is the Eterna cal.833 (or - to be precise - the 833H), which is basically a 905H on a much larger (by 2 lignes) baseplate, equipped with the bumper automatic assembly and an indirectly driven sweep second. The H is there due to the presence of Eterna's own Eterna-H shock device - the 833 also existed as the 833E, with the Eterna-E device.
The 833 has a lower power reserve than the 905. Conversion from hand-winding to bumper automatic came at the expense of...a whopping 9 hours of power reserve. Yep, the 905 had 47h of power reserve - this only has 38, which is about the same as a modern ETA 2824/SW-200, or - from its own period - the Alpina 584 (37h PR). I suppose that's due to a different design of the mainspring and its barrel.
As a salesman back in the day would argue, that's not important, because hey, it winds itself as you're wearing it!
The 833 came with either 17, 19 or 21 jewels. Which one is this? I don't know. Eterna had no habit of putting the jewel count anywhere on their watches. Not even on the movement itself. In either version, the jewel count is at least sufficient. The base 905H had 15, and just looking at the 833 gives you an idea where did the additional two rubies go - apparently, they're bearings of the axis of the oscillating mass (hammer/bumper). For example, the Alpina 584 (17j) doesn't have jewels there. That's thoughtful of Eterna!
Back to the case... It features its original domed crown. The only noticeable alteration ever made to the watch is the gasket. The 106T (and 166) had a massive lead gasket surrounding the movement. Here, if you look at the movement pic, it has been replaced with some plastic. It's just a gasket, so not like it's some big issue. The watch is certainly lighter with the one it has, and because I don't intend to get this one wet, that matters even less, although I suppose that a plastic gasket is likely to do its job the same as its lead predecessor.
The dial is the star of the show here, though. At different angles, it can look monotone...
...as if it had a bright ring on a darker background...
...or a dark ring on a brighter background:
All in all, the dial and hands are in great shape. The red tip of the seconds hand is wonderfully preserved, there is no lume loss anywhere. There is some dirt around the edge at 6 o'clock, the only two noticeable marks are by the A in ETERNA and by 7 o'clock - presumably slight radium burns. I don't mind them.
In case you wondered about accuracy... In a week of wearing the watch, I didn't have to adjust it even once. Go figure...
Mr. Bloke out.
Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade