The new Eterna 1948 Evolution (refs. 29126.96.36.1995 & 29188.8.131.525) three-hander offers an extremely boring, generic design, which may in fact be a good thing if you happen to work in a company with a ridiculously strict dress code.
As you can see on the promo photos below, the watch sports a pretty much standard design with its pair of dauphine-shaped hour and minute hands, a thin central second hand and a small date aperture at 6 hours constantly giving you a feeling of deja vu (doesn’t it remind you this gorgeous Carl F. Bucherer Manero AutoDate?).
The hour markers that are applied at even numbers are also not particularly inspiring with their common frustum-style shape although I feel obliged to admit that they play quite nicely with the dauphine hands creating an organic (albeit sort of generic) exterior.
Still, together with a thin bezel, elegantly shaped horns and an ergonomically shaped crown (it is rather short, but its increased diameter makes operating the watch a breeze), the watch looks extremely elegant, even despite the size of its stainless steel body. Measuring 44 millimeters in diameter, it is about 10 percent wider than a dress watch is supposed to be.
While I usually prefer dials with black backgrounds that offer an especially good contrast for polished steel hands, I must admit that in this particular case the version with a silver-toned face looks better (mainly, thanks to its sun-burst pattern that makes the polished surfaces of the hour and minute hands look contrast enough in normal lighting conditions).
From where I sit, the main problem of Eterna 1948 Evolution Automatic is its price.
The MSRP of $3500 looks absolutely outrageous for a pretty average timekeeper, which is powered by a mass-market caliber. Of course, the ETA 2824-2 ebauche that animates the timekeeper is usually accurate and reliable (especially when it is regulated properly and upgraded to higher specs as many established brands do when opting for this mechanism although I don’t know whether Eterna decided to go the route or simply put the movement as is,) but it is surely not exclusive enough to justify the sky-high price tag that Eterna put on this thing.
Of course, it is always up to you to decide whether the price is adequate or not, but the mere fact that many European online retailers offer this piece with 40 to 50 percent discount at less than €1500 speaks volumes to yours truly.
Eterna 1948 Evolution (refs. 29184.108.40.2065 & 29220.127.116.115) automatic watch specification
Price: $3500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic (self-winding,) Caliber ETA 2824-2, adjusted in five positions, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Modified “Eterna” oscillating weight with brand’s logo and vertical Geneva stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 44.00 mm
Case height: 11.70 mm
Lug width: No data
Dial: Black (ref. 2918.104.22.1685) or Silver-toned (ref. 2922.214.171.1245,) with sunburst pattern
Hour markers: Applied, rhodium-plated
Hands: Steel, polished
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Sapphire