Observations on the ETA 2894-2

& Ventura “Small” Chrono…

Posted by Walt Odets on March 19, 1998 at 6:50:41:

I now own an ETA 2894 in a recently purchased “small” Ventura
chronograph, and I would like to make the following observations. The top plate of the movement is clearly that of the 2892, with the characteristic oversized rotor bearing of this calibre. The familiar ETA twin click wheels of the automatic winding system, however, appear to be of a new design. The chronograph mechanism is on the bottom of the plate (behind the dial).

The movement has 37 jewels, a significant increase over the 21 jewels of the “plain” 2892. Thus the chrono mechanism is extremely well-jeweled. The action of the pushers and the chrono hands is smooth and accurate despite lever, rather than column-wheel, synchronization. This is clearly not a movement of Piguet 1185 quality, but in operation it is extremely satisfactory. The rotor is very well finished with geneva bars, and the top plate with well-done perlage. The whole movement is rhodiumed to a nice color, though the fine finishing (anglage, etc.) is just so-so.

Given the history of the 2892, I would also expect the movement to be reliable and relatively trouble-free. Over the first four days, the watch has run about 3 seconds fast per day, which is excellent out-of-the-box performance. Incidentally, if you like the appearance of the Ventura, it is an extremely well-constructed and well-finished watch–first class. For real chrono use, its legibility is also excellent. The layout is unusual, with subsidiary (constant) seconds at three o’clock, chrono minute register at 9, hour accumulator at 6. At about 37mm in diameter and 12mm height, the watch is an unusual shape: like a little titanium muffin on your wrist. But it is light and easy to wear. Quality of construction, detailing, and movement finish (including a supplied COSC certificate) put it somewhere on the quality scale between an Omega and the very best chronographs (like the Blancpains). Although the retail is about $3,500, at typical discounts the watch seems like an excellent value to me.

Does anyone else have information or comments on the 2894?

A speculation…

Posted by Walt Odets on March 19, 1998 at 16:02:59:

In Reply to: Walt , what about the ETA 2894/2 Vs ETA 2824 D. Depraz? posted by William Massena on March 19, 1998 at 13:54:26:

My observations of the 2894 movement are entirely through the sapphire back of the small Ventura chrono. Interestingly, this 20 ATM watch has a “snap”-back case, but requires 85 kilograms of pressure to close. So I haven’t opened it, because I don’t think my case press would provide me that kind of leverage. But I can see the top plate clearly and this isn’t a 2824. The 2824 was an ETA development, while the 2892 was originally an independent Eterna development which ETA later took over. Thus the 2892 is the most distinctive of the ETA automatics and quite recognizable. I assume, without knowing for sure, that ETA has developed a chronograph version of the 2892 base plate in order to have a smaller, thinner movement than the 7750/7751. Thus, it would make more sense to build it on the 2892 than on the 2824 because of thickness: the 2892 is only 3.6mm, while the 2824 is 4.6mm. The exact dimensions of the 2894 are shown on the COSC certificate: the thickness is 6.25 mm, the diameter 28mm. (The calibre number is “386” on the certificate). Compare this to the 7750/7751 at 7.9 mm and 30mm respectively, and you can see why ETA needed a smaller chrono–especially with the excellent Piguet 1185 taking so much of the market. The 1185 is 5.4 and 26.2mm, respectively, so it is clear that ETA is going after them with the 2894. Without having seen the chronograph mechanism of the 2894, I would guess that all the
jewelling (16 for the chrono section alone) allowed a flatter design than would have been possible with sleeve (or other kinds of) bearings. Clearly ETA needed something smaller like this. Perhaps Hans can confirm my impressions of this movement. I haven’t found any published information.

An interesting note on the COSC certificate (dated June, 1997) accompanying the watch: the figures are remarkably good. The variations of daily rate (in seconds per day) are 0.4, 0.5, 0.3, 0.5, and 1.4. In the crown-down position, the first day was -0.3 (one-third of a second) and the second day 0.0. This is, of course, the position the watch is in on the left arm, with the arm at your side, and the timer may have favored this position. Interestingly, the dial up position caused the greatest daily variations, all losses: -1.8 (8 degrees C), -6.6 (23 degrees), -9.2 (38 degrees), -3.9 (23 degrees), and -2.5 (23 degrees). All other positions, including all the vertical positions showed variations of less than 1.8 seconds per day, usually much less. Interesting, and I’m not sure I understand it unless there is a bad lower balance pivot or bearing or poor lubrication there. Dial down was only 1.4 and 1.8.