In 1856, Doctor Josef Girard and schoolmaster Urs Schild founded the “Dr. Girard & Schild” ‘Ebauche' factory in Grenchen. They worked together for four years before Dr. Girard, wishing to take up medicine again, decided to sell his shares to his partner.
The Firm steadily grew and installed its first automatic machines of its own design. Thanks to its watches produced in-house, ‘Dr. Girard & Schild' became a manufacture in 1870.
After the death of Urs Schild in 1888, the firm remained in the family and was renamed “Gebr. Schild & Co.” It launched the Eterna brand, which appeared for the first time on the dial of a pocket watch in 1889. The same year, Urs Schild's son Theodor, a mechanical engineer, took over as manager, remaining at the helm for 33 years.
Eterna was at the forefront of the development of the wristwatch, and filed a patent for a special case with movable safety catches. Thanks to its innovations, the firm won its first Grand Prix at the Universal Exposition in Brussels in 1910.
Over the course of the following decade, Eterna pursued the same course, presenting a number of creations including a cigarette lighter watch, which wound itself up when lit.
The Eterna-Matic rotor mounted on ball bearings first came out in 1948. From then on, Eterna dials have recalled this innovation, with the five ball bearings featured in the logo.
The firm celebrated its centenary in 1956 with the “Centenaire” model. 21 years later, Eterna reconnected with its past as a manufacture proper, presenting no fewer than four new calibers in five years.
In 2009, fifty years after the Eterna-Matic, the “Eterna Spherodrive” system, with its barrel mounted on ball bearings, was released. In 2012, Eterna launched the Adventic, the first model to sport the Manufacture 3843 caliber, itself powered by an Eterna Spherodrive.