What Is An ETA Watch Movement?

Perhaps a more fitting way to ask this question is not so much “what is ETA watch movement?” but instead “WHO is ETA watch movement?” ETA SA is a Swiss watch manufacturer that specializes in creating some of the finest watch components in the world. More specifically, Swiss ETA produces mechanical watch movements (the internal mechanism of the watch), which can be found in a wide variety of luxury watches. In fact, the ETA SA is so popular that it is featured indifferent brands! Perhaps it is most effective to think of the ETA Swiss movement as the industry standard. ETA has been featured in so many different watches for so long that it may, in fact, be the most popular movement in all of watchmaking history. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into who ETA is:

The Brand - ETA SA Manufacture Horlogère Suisse, or ETA for short, has been making movements and watches since the early 1800s. Though it was officially founded in 1856, ETA SA began as a humble watch shop with four founding members: David Benguerel, Isaac Benguerel, and François, and Julien Humbert-Droz.  

The Subsidiary - Currently, ETA is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Swatch Group. Currently, the Swatch Group controls ETA SA and uses the movements produced by ETA SA in their own watches. Additionally, the Swatch Group effectively licenses the technology produced by ETA SA by allowing other watch manufacturers to use their movements. By including ETA SA movements in their watches, high-end luxury watch brands are able to claim that their watches are “Swiss Made.”  

ETA movements are world-renowned not just for their common use in other luxury watches but also for their precision, durability, and cost. Let’s take a closer look at some of ETA’s movements and why they are heralded as a “go-to” movement for luxury watch brands worldwide.

The Different Types Of ETA Watch Movements

ETA specializes in two distinct types of watch movements; quartz and mechanical. While each has its place within the watch manufacturing community, it is actually ETA’s quartz movements that are the more coveted of the two. ETA’s quartz movements have a reputation for unparalleled accuracy and durability, making them an excellent value for a Swiss watchmaker interested in the value props that a quartz movement represents. 

Quartz - Quartz movements have seen a great comeback since the quartz crisis of the 1970s. ETA was especially impacted by the quartz crisis of the ‘70s, though their quartz movements (especially the Calibre 282.002) are now a staple in the ETA arsenal. 

Mechanical - Unlike the ticking secondhand of the quartz watch, the mechanical movement features a smooth, sweeping motion. ETA is well regarded as having one of the best mass-produced mechanical movements in the watch manufacturing industry. The ETA calibre 2824-2 has become a staple in the watch manufacturing industry as its precision and reliability is a valued asset in any watch. In fact, the ETA calibre 2824-2 is said by some to rival the internal movements of Rolex, which is high praise for ETA!

What Are The Benefits of ETA Movements?

Traditionally, there have been three major benefits for a watchmaker to use ETA rather than committing the time, effort, and resources to make their movements in-house. Capital spent, time consumed, and reliability of the movement itself are all part of the decision to employ an ETA movement instead of crafting one in-house.

Cost - Although we have touched on it briefly, it is more cost effective for a watch manufacturer to purchase and use an ETA movement. The materials, manpower, and time spent are all cost factors that watchmakers must keep in mind when crafting a watch. 

Time - Building a watch requires a great deal of time and using an ETA movement can help speed up the process while still maintaining the technical requirements a watchmaker desires. 

Final Thoughts On ETA

Overall, the shift that many brands are making to producing their movements in-house is a good thing. While ETA movements are certainly terrific caliber movements, there is a desire from both the consumer and the brands to have an in-house movement in the watch. When a luxury watch brand like Panerai controls the process of production, they are able to mold and tweak watch movements to fit very precise specifications, especially as they apply to a new watch design.

As Panerai launches its new line of watches with in-house movements, be on the lookout for some intriguing designs and new complications. The shift back to a more “in-house” approach is sweeping the luxury watch industry, and Panerai is leading the charge with many others like Cartier, IWC,  and JLC. To find a new Panerai watch that features a new P6000 calibre movement, visit us here at CJ Charles. We also offer full service repair, in case you’re wondering how to change your Panerai strap, need a polish, or need to identify whether you have a fake Panerai watch. We can’t wait to help you find the perfect new Panerai timepiece, whether it features the new in-house designed P6000 or the reliable industry standard of an ETA movement.

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