WORKHORSES & CHRONOGRAPH CLASSICS
For many years ETA SA Swiss Watch Manufacturer, commonly referred to as ETA, has been dominating the market of mechanical movements with the coveted “Swiss Made” label. It’s not only appreciated for creating a convincing array of calibres considered by many to be operating on a level comparable to Rolex (Elaboré, Top, Chronomètre etc.) but also for their high accuracy and dependability. In the following article, we’re going to present some of the most important movements and movement series made by ETA.
ETA 2824 – The robust all-rounder
The ETA 2824 in its current version ETA 2824-2 is the epitome of a workhorse offering not only outstanding reliability, but also considerable durability. The most recent iteration of the 2824 series has been manufactured in large batches since 1982. Needless to say, any hiccups have long since dissipated. While more often than not high precision is achieved at the expense of robustness, the 2824 combines both characteristics due to its relatively simple but highly effective design. Most notably, the 2824 is reputed not only for its accuracy but also for remaining relatively constant at any position of the watch under varying conditions. The ETA 2824 also has a leg up on other movements not just in part thanks to its widespread usage, but also because spare parts are easy to obtain and relatively inexpensive. Due to its profound success it has often been copied by other manufacturers, even from those hailing from Switzerland. The most prominent adaptation of the ETA 2824 is the SW200 by Sellita which achieves excellent results.
Frequently used at: Raymond Weil, Michel Herbelin, Tudor, Frederique Constant, Mido, Oris, Mühle Glashütte
ETA Valjoux 7750 – The chronograph classic
This movement was first developed in the 1970s and since then, numerous watch manufacturers have come to place their trust in the reliable service of the Valjoux 7750. It is also regularly used by premium manufacturers and specialists such as IWC chronographs, TAG Heuer, and Breitling. In addition to its large dimensions, it also boasts 30 millimeters in diameter and 7.9 millimeters in height, while the 30-minute counter is located at 12 and the hour counter at 6 o’clock. The moving second is positioned on the left side of the dial at 9 o’clock so that the three chronograph subdials together make up a left-sided isosceles triangle.
Thanks to its robustness, its accuracy, and an excellent value for money countless manufacturers have come to rely upon the 7750. The design of the calibre which has been largely untouched for decades, also provides substantial security when planning new model series (there’s a high probability that it will not be fundamentally changed in the upcoming years either). This is especially relevant for smaller manufacturers and one of the more important reasons for using the 7750.
Frequently used at: Maurice Lacroix, TAG Heuer, Oris, IWC, Breitling
ETA 2892 – The premium self-winding movement
In addition to the 2824-2 and the 7750, the 2892-A2 is also among the most common calibres produced by ETA. Aside from its flatter structure, its design also shares similarities with the 2824. The 2892 is often used for flagship model series of brands in the medium to upper price segment. Especially by those who either do not have the necessary know-how for the production of manufacture movements or cannot produce a calibre for their own use in sufficient quantities (yet). The 2892 often serves as a basis for intricate watches since it is thinner in comparison with the ETA 2824. The movement stays compact even if additional components such as simpler program cogs or complex switching mechanisms are added. For example, the famous Tag Heuer caliber 12 is based on a 2892 and has been fitted with the Dubois-Dépraz chronograph module 2022.
Frequently used at: Union Glashütte, Longines, IWC, Baume & Mercier, Breitling, Tudor, TAG Heuer, Paul Picot, Omega (Caliber 1120)
ETA 2801 – The standard yet reliable hand-wound movement
The ETA 2801 in its current version, the 2801-2, is a hand-wind movement with 17 jewels and the 42 hour power reserve typical of ETA. With a measurement of only 3.35 mm it is relatively thin, even by hand-wind movement standards. Apart from the absence of the rotor and a date display, the 2801 is similar to the 2824 in its design. The movement can also be found in the Meistersinger Einzeigeruhr No. 1, which perfectly reflects the minimalism of the ETA 2801.
Frequently used at: Meistersinger (Einzeigeruhr No. 1), Junghans
ETA 2836-2 – The 2824-2 with a sharp weekday display
The ETA 2836 is a calibre based on the ETA 2824 and while it not only has a date function, it also features a weekday indicator. The most recent version of the 2836-2 houses a stop second device and can be upgraded to a GMT calibre with a second time zone. Just as not every watch with a 2824-2 features a date display, there are also watches in which the 2836-2 is used, even when their dials do not permit a weekday display (e.g. Mido Baroncelli or the Chronometer Jubilé). The adaptation of the classic 2824 timepiece is often found in manufacturers such as Mido and Oris in a considerably accessible price segment.
Frequently used at: Mido, Oris
ETA Unitas (6497, 6498) – Out of the pocket, on to the wrist
Both the 6497 and the 6498 were developed originally in the 1950s by the movement manufacturer Unitas, but nowadays area manufactured and sold by ETA. Originally launched as a calibre for pocket watches, the 6497 and 6498 are regularly found in wristwatches. In the past, Unitas movements were widely used by Panerai for their OP X and OP XI movements. Since Panerai increasingly relies on calibres from its own production, the Italian luxury watch manufacturer doesn’t often require ETA movements such as those found in the Unitas series.
Frequently used at: Panerai (Caliber OP X, XI), TAG Heuer Carrera (Cal. 1)
ETA 7751 – The adaptation of a classic for everyday wear
In hardly any other Swiss movement can you expect to find such complex mechanics for your money than the ETA 7751. Fitted with a chronograph function and a fully functioning calendar, it combines two important characteristics with very high everyday usability. This makes it the perfect choice for the pragmatists among watch enthusiasts. In addition to the 7751, further adaptations of the classic ETA Valjoux 7750 have been launched throughout the years, e.g. the 7753 which has a pusher-quickset at 10 o’clock and a display of the stopped minute on the right side.
Frequently used at: Longines, Omega (Kaliber 1151)
2894 – The 2892 with chronograph function
The 2894 is the ETA chronograph movement based on the 2892-A2. Even equipped with these upgrades, the movement is no higher than 6.1 millimeters. The 2894 is, when directly compared to the ETA Valjoux 7750, the more modern and more complex interpretation of a very reliable chronograph movement. The automatic caliber has 37 jewels and as expected of ETA, a Swiss lever escapement as a regulator.Frequently used at: TAG Heuer
ETA 2000-1 – The extremely thin self-winding movement
Manufactured since 1998, the ETA 2000-1 is the most recent version of this unusually thin yet elegant automatic movement. With a height of only 3.6 mm, it is barely thicker than the manual winding movement ETA 2801. The movement has a stop second and date function with quickset. Despite the slim design, it has a power reserve of 40 hours. Due to its thin design, similar to that of the ETA 2671, it is frequently used for women’s watches.
Frequently used at: Mido, Oris, TAG Heuer, Omega
ETA Valgranges – A new series designed for larger watch enthusiasts
The manufacture series with the alphanumeric reference A07.XXX takes into account the increase in demand for large and robust wristwatches, similar to the repurposing of the Unitas calibres that have originally been developed for pocket watches. Due to the intricately designed main board, the movement is intended to fill the caseback of larger watches completely. Eponymous for this series is the French name of the town Grenchen (Granges), where ETA SA has its headquarters. It is offered in several different versions. The first (A07.111) is the standard version, while the second (A07.161) has a power reserve indicator. The third (A07.171) comes fitted as a GMT watch with a 24 hour hand and finally the fourth (A07.211) is a chronograph.