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Blog: Stauffer & Co. and Eterna

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved.

I make additions and corrections to this web site frequently, but because they are buried somewhere on one of the pages the changes are not very noticeable, so I decided to create this blog section to highlight new material. Here below you will find part of one of the pages that I have either changed or added to significantly.

Stauffer, Son & Co. was an important Swiss watch manufacturer founded in 1830. Over the years it gradually discovered that was more profitable to buy watches from other manufacturers, one of which it is well known was IWC. Less well known is Stauffer's purchase of watches from Eterna, which eventually spun its movement arm off as ETA. The connection between Stauffer and Eterna was difficult to establish because Stauffer had Eterna make movements stamped with their own S&Co. trademark, and with the visible bridges a different shape to those on the same movements that were branded Eterna. Read on below for the full story . . .

The main page on Stauffer, Son & Co. can be found at Stauffer, Son & Co..

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me via my Contact me page.

Eterna cal. 520 showing keyless work

Eterna cal. 520 with Stauffer ram
Thanks to Ventura Mijares for the pictures

Eterna 520 with Stauffer trademarks
Thanks to Marc for the picture

Eterna 520 from Jobin 1936

Stauffer & Co. and Eterna

Stauffer & Co. also obtained movements or watches from Eterna. The picture here shows an Eterna calibre 520 movement with the Stauffer trademarks on the barrel bridge of the initials S & Co. under a crown inside an oval shield, and the Stauffer trademark name "Peerless".

This is a of the Eterna calibre 520 movement. The picture below from Jobin's "La classification horlogère des calibres de montres et des fournitures d'horlogerie suisse" 1936 edition shows the usual form of the barrel bridge and train bridge of the Eterna 520 movement, which are quite different to the Stauffer branded version although the balance and escape cocks look very similar and the layout of the train and position of the pivots is identical.

The setting lever cover plate and spring detent remain the same for all versions of the Eterna 520 calibre and are the "fingerprint" of the movement. In the picture showing the keyless work I have included the footprint picture of the Eterna 520 from a Bestfit catalogue.

It seem likely that Stauffer asked for these changes to be made so that the movement appeared to be unique to them and not be easily recognised as an Eterna calibre. These bridge shapes were also used for other calibres that Eterna supplied to Stauffer, including a version of the Eterna 600 calibre. I also have an 18 ligne pocket watch movement with the same bridge shapes which the keyless work shows was also made by Eterna.

Stauffer ram on Eterna pocket watch movement

It was quite common for the Swiss ébauche factories to make variants like this of a basic movement. The vast majority of the components, including the bottom plate, remained exactly the same, but by changing the shape of the bridges and cocks while still leaving all the pivot holes in the same places, a movement could be given a very different appearance. Makers such as Fontainemelon (FHF) and A. Schild often produced several variants of a basic movement with different shaped bridges and cocks, and sometimes with different finishes to the visible surfaces such as gilding, perlage or Côtes de Genève.

At least some of the Eterna movements supplied to Stauffer have the Stauffer ram logo doing under the barrel bridge as shown in the third picture here. This was a registered trademark belonging to Stauffer and so they could insist that it was applied to any movements that were supplied to them, just as they did with IWC. Does this mean that there was any connection between Eterna and IWC? No, other than that they both supplied movements or watches to Stauffer.

The second image of a ram shown here is from an Eterna pocket watch movement. Again, this was found under the barrel bridge when the movement was dismantled. The top plate carries the Stauffer trademark of S&Co. under a crown within an oval shield and the word Peerless.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me via my Contact me page. Back to the top of the page.

Copyright © David Boettcher 2006 - 2017 all rights reserved. This page updated January 2016. W3CMVS.