Gilt Eterna Two-Tone Spillman Chronograph Circa 1940
This is not a watch one is priviledged to see in the metal frequently. And by that, I mean not ever. Finding anything built in 1940 but still in operation today is a rarity. Finding a wristwatch built in 1940 that is functioning perfectly demonstrates a level of dedication to longevity and quality that shames my iPhone. One very interesting variety of 1940s watches are early waterproofing iterations. CR Spillman invented a then-oversized 38mm case with a screw-down back and oversized pusher tubes. They were adopted by a range of manufactures, but perhaps none so stylish as this two-tone Eterna.
The dial is no slouch either, executed in full gilt with telemeter scales. If you’ve never used a telemeter chronograph to determine how far away you are from lightning after seeing and then hearing thunder, you’ve never been alive (I known I’m sad). Given the blank description and no case back photos, I’m working with scraps here. But I’d imagine this attractive case houses a Valjoux 22 or 23, common chronograph proven in period. The case is strong but could have seen some polish, lug profiles remaining. The dial has aged much better than most, with all scripts and scales highly legible. Lume on the handset and numerals is un-degraded and an even gold.
Find this Eterna chronograph here on Chrono24 from a private collector listed as POA.