Eterna Kon-Tiki

Eterna Kon-Tiki

After 101 grueling days and 4,300 nautical miles, Thor Heyerdahl and his crew sailed their rickety wooden craft into a reef on the shores of Raroia, one of the Tuamotu Islands, completing one of the most historic and controversial crossings of the Pacific Ocean.

Heyerdahl, a Norwegian ethnographer, botanist and zoologist, devised the voyage in order to prove his hypothesis that the South Pacific was populated from east to west, contrary to the popular belief. Despite the presence of evidence to support his claims, the larger scientific community remained unconvinced that crafts of such rudimentary design could survive a cross-Pacific voyage.

To prove the journey was possible, Heyerdahl constructed a raft, which he christened the Kon-Tiki after the Incan king who had made the journey according to South American lore, using only materials and technology that would have been common to the people of South America in early history.

Defiant of the odds, Heyerdahl and his team struck out, using only the current and the trade winds to propel them across the Pacific. The crew assembled a collection of modern and ancient equipment, including a store of U.S. Army rations, hand-crank radios and, as the lore goes, six Eterna wristwatches.

Eterna had been building timepieces since the mid 1800s and had made many horological benchmarks along the way: They filed for the first patent for a mechanical alarm wristwatch in 1908 and the design of the worlds smallest production wristwatch in 1930. They even founded ETA, the movement manufacturer which still exists to this day.

While the inter-webs are replete with differences of opinion about whether Heyerdahl and his crew were actually wearing Eternas when they made the voyage, what we know for sure is that in 1958, in honor of Heyerdahl and his voyage, Eterna created the Kon-Tiki line. In addition to bearing the name of Heyerdahl’s vessel, the case back of each Kon-Tiki was adorned with a likeness of the raft.

This particular piece, dating to the late 1960s, has a gorgeous dark gray dial inside of a nicely proportioned steel case. Whether paired with a colorful nylon strap or worn on its steel bracelet, this watch is dripping with vintage appeal, making it the perfect addition to any new or growing collection.


Steel case is approximately 36mm (excluding crown). Eterna Caliber 1424 Automatic Movement.

Overall Condition: Steel case is in great condition, with light, even wear in keeping with its age. Dial is in very good condition with crisp printing, minimal signs of age, and no signs of hand drag. Unsigned crown, screw down caseback.

Includes Eterna signed steel bracelet and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

SKU: TT01099

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