Service: EternaMatic Kontiki calibre 1489K

IMG_0938This lovely Eterna is Anders’ as well, and it’s also in need of a service.

If you are in my generation, you will remember Thor Heyerdahl, and “Ra” and “Kon-tiki” will mean something to you. As my brother was an avid fan and had a couple of Mr. Heyerdahl’s books, I got the connection. An explorer’s watch with a screw-down crown.IMG_0942

The 1489K movement, and if you are familiar with ETA movements, you can already see the similarity. For good reasons, as Eterna developed a fair amount of ETA movements.IMG_0948

This is the first incarnation of the sliding crown wheel with click, and the click wheel on the barrel can move freely in one direction, pushing the crown wheel to the side, and engages in the other direction for manual winding.IMG_0951

The usual old grease in the mainspring barrel.IMG_0952

The bottom plate looks almost experimental. The “Patented” has been chopped off to make room for the cover plate for the date mechanism.IMG_0955

And here it is. Also note that the bottom escape jewel has a cap.IMG_0957

The cut-off “Patented” and the quick-set mechanism.IMG_0962

Ready for the cleaning machine.IMG_1140

The new mainspring goes into the barrel.IMG_1167

Then I fit the balance jewels.IMG_1168

Now I can put the gear train in.IMG_1170

And the base movement is beating.IMG_1171

Nice even beat rate, good amplitude and great beat error.IMG_1172

A very nice looking movement indeed.IMG_1173

The bottom plate comes back together.IMG_1175

Now I can case the movement with a new gasket. IMG_1177

The crown isn’t original, but I can’t get an Eterna crown to fit the pendant tube that’s in the case. Maybe someone replaced the pendant tube at one point.IMG_1178Off across the Pacific!



How could I forget! As Anders suggested, here is the great Kon-Tiki logo on the case back.

24 thoughts on “Service: EternaMatic Kontiki calibre 1489K

  1. Dear Christian,

    Here is a question of a type you might not wish to encourage. Anyway, just in case you feel like answering (and I promise: It will be just two simple Yes/No-questions in the end):

    Some weeks ago I bought a movement of this type with some damage from water on eBay and have made a habit since of taking it apart and putting it together again. Starting from upside turned out not to complicated (after reading a little in a textbook), but if I start from the bottom, there is one part that changes its position the very moment the date ring comes off. (It is part 2566, Cal. 1438, I assume its part of the quick set mechanism: A plate in the shape of a sitting bird with two pins. I discovered it on some of your photos but obviously not always in its final position since the positions vary).

    Please forget about it if you find this question irritating or not worth the effort. Just in case you don’t: Is this part in its correct position in Pic 12, Watch 966, in your photo library? And am I right in guessing that the way to handle it is putting it there and tightening the corresponding spring through the rectangular opening in the date ring cover?

    Thank you very much! And
    kind regards

    • Hi Frank,

      Yes, that photo shows the date corrector in its right position. It’s a pain in the backside to get this working. Put the plate on, then move the spring in the right position through the opening, and then tighten the plate. Takes some practice …

      Best regards,


      • Aah, date corrector …

        Dear Christian,
        thank you very much, this was really kind! Good it is sunday, so I can get out my screwdrivers and tweezers again to work a little on the date corrector and maybe see what lies below …
        Kind regards,

        • Dear Christian,
          Should you feel like writing a how-to again, a piece on how to choose a mainspring would be gladly welcome.
          If I may ask again, here is what I finally came up with for this movement as a layman using some textbook knowledge.
          1. Look it up with ranfft: Height 1.1 mm, thickness 0.11 mm, inner barrel diameter 11.0 mm. No information about lenght.
          2. Check if the original is stainless steel. If not, reduce thickness by 0.01 mm.
          3. Check with Best result for automatic: Height 1.1 mm, thickness 0.11 (the original is stainless steel), inner diameter 10.0 mm, lenghth 360 mm.
          4. Check what the originals inner end (bridle) looks like and add a letter code suggests (I guess it is required during the process of ordering – right?)
          Result: Order code GR 2637X plus the letter code in question.
          Does this make any sense? Thank you very much!
          Kind regards

          • Hi Frank,

            That’s about right. I would also add that you have to check how much space the mainspring takes up in the barrel – if that’s too much, you have to go for one that is less long.

            Best regards,


  2. Hi, Im looking for a crown for my father’s Eternamatic Kontiki 20, it doesn’t matter if is not original, can you please tell me were can I fin one, or witch one could fit.

    Thank you very much

  3. Dear Christian,

    As a regular read of your blog and a complete layman I noticed that you almost as a matter of routine replace old mainsprings. On the other hand, many of your customers seem to care for their watches and have them served regularly. Something seems to be odd there. Don’t other watchmakers replace mainsprings? Or have the later for some reason just reached the end of their lifespan when they arrive at your workshop? Thank you and

    kind regards,

  4. Hhi Christian

    I need a guy like you to serviced my Eterna Super Kontiki
    with calibre 1489k

    i see make good work

    where are you localised please ?

    have you some time to realised service ?
    of course i will paye you
    thank you for your answer
    best regard

  5. I have a watch the exact same as this, but the crown has come away from the watch it looks like it is in one piece, would you be able to repair this for me.

  6. Hi Christian,

    Thank you for your blog I enjoy your posts immensely!

    I have a Kontiki 20 and the crown is loose in the unscrewed position. Is this normal?

    Best regards,


  7. Hi Christian ,

    Thank you for posting your blog I enjoy your posts very much.

    I have a Kontiki 20 and my crown seems quite loose when unwound is this normal?



  8. The history behind the (Norwegian) explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his”KonTiki” expedition back in 1947 gave the name for the watch.
    Eterna was one of the few sponsors to believe in this mad man! The crew on the KonTiki raft all wore Eterna KonTiki watches.
    After this all the “sports range” of Eterna watches has been named KonTiki.
    My example I guess is dating from the late 1960’s. I love the decent size (37.5mm diameter wo crown) and in my opinion well crafted case.
    The latest KonTiki movie actually was nominated for the Oscar’s this year as “best foreign movie”. I have seen it, and it is not bad at all!

    • Hi Anders, I suppose you are Norwegian? 😉 One of my cherished childhood memories is when my father would read us Heyerdahl’s book at night, along with fictions from Salgari and Verne. Now I can seldom leave my konktiki super 1973 (reissue)

      • Hi Fransisco!
        Yes, I am Norwegian, in love with the sea and all that….
        Your super KonTiki 1973 reissue is one of the few reissue watches I would actually consider! It is a true beauty and true to it’s origins.
        As you may find from Christians blog I like my Eterna watches.
        I hope to, one day, find a good condition early Eterna KonTiki, and a Super Kontiki. We will see;-)

  9. There is a recent film about the Kon-Tiki voyage based on Heyerdahl’s book. Not seen it, but it is apparently good 😉

    I didnt know these watches had a symbol on the back… it’s rather nice!

    • The film is good indeed, you should see it 😉 And as far as I understand, supported by Eterna (or at least the iPad’s app is very Eterna-centric)

  10. Again lovely watches. I love seeing some of these things and it always amazes me how this blog shows them off so well. The reverse logo was worth the extra picture indeed!

    May I ask why the Patented would be cut off?

  11. “Off across the Pacific!”
    Or at least the North Sea this time:-)
    Looking forward to receiving it back home! If you still have not packed it maybe a picture of the gold medallion “KonTiki” raft on the caseback would be nice to include in the blog. It’s part of the history behind these watches.

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