ETA 2824 vs 2892

Let’s talk about Swiss watch movements, specifically the 2824 and the 2892. The two most common mechanical Swiss movements you’ll find today are from a company called ETA, a subsidiary of the Swatch group. The 2824-2 and 2892-A2 movements are about as common as Goodyear or Bridgestone tires. Meaning you’ll find them in the majority of watches sold by reputable makers who are not using their own in house movements. I’m making a tire comparison here because at the levels that these base movements are offered at, they mostly provide reliable un-astonishing performance. Much like OEM tires supplied by most major car makers. 723-S-GoodyearTripleTred

ETA was actually part of a watch company called Eterna, hence ET(ern)A. ETA was born to produce just the movements. ETA produces a wide variety of movements from the Swatch group because they swallowed smaller movement makers like Valjoux and Unitas.


ETA makes an impressive set of thermo-compensated quartz movements and advanced mechanical  movements like the Omega 8500. The best quartz movements ETA produces can compete with the the best quartz movements from Seiko/Citizen and the best mechanical movements ETA produces can compete with the best mass production pieces that a top tier maker like JLC can make. In terms of technical sophistication, quality, reliability, and accuracy – nobody can out compete ETA for mass production pieces .

The basis for the ubiquitous 2824 and 2892 are both quite old. They’re not revolutionary pieces but highly evolved and well tested movements. The key difference between the two are height. In the later half of the 20th century, it became very fashionable to have the thinnest watch possible. Before the advent and mass adoption of quartz watches, this was an arms race between watchmakers to see who had the best know how and technical savvy to produce the thinnest movements. For this reason, there is a perception in movements that a 2892-A2 (which is 1mm thinner than the 2824-2), is a superior movement. In many ways this is correct and in a small way, it is wrong.

  • The 2824 and 2892 can be ordered in different grades of quality: Standard, Elabore, Top, Chronometer
  • The differences in grades can range from quality of materials used to level of testing and regulation
  • Most 2824 movements you find will be of the lowest grade as they were the most widely produced. Even in lowest grade, it’s still a very good movement.
  • The lowest grade of 2892 utilizes better shock protection and better finishing and materials than the lowest grade of 2824.
  • Unless specifically stated by the watch maker what grade of movement is used, assume lowest.
  • At the top grades, some people consider the 2824 to be more robust albeit at the expense of being thicker. Some designs, especially today with “turnip” sized watches can accommodate for this 1mm thickness (significant) difference.
  • It’s sometimes mistakenly implied that the 2892-A2 is a significantly newer design than the 2824, both trace their roots far back. The 2892 from Eterna and the 2824 from back when ETA used to be part of Eterna.
  • At top levels, both can be made equally accurate

Generally however, most high end makers will use 2892A2 or a derivative of the 2892 simply from market impressions that the 2892 is superior regardless of grade. The thin 2892 is also well suited to act as a “tractor” for complications to be placed on top of it. This is commonly done for chronographs and ETA even produces a variant called the 2894 with 37 jewels which is most famously used in Bell & Ross watches specifically for chronograph duties.

It should be said though that the ETA 2824-2 and 28236 (Day Date complication) which can sometimes be found in the $80 (2009) range is good value even at the lowest grade. Keep in mind however, the ETA 2836 and 2824 are the most commonly contracted out movement to Asian factories. That is, ETA licensed Asian factories to produce the 2824 and 2836. I don’t necessarily see a quality problem with an Asian produced ETA movement, however, I would be more wary of long term viability. Given the choice between a Swiss made vs a Chinese made 2824, I’d choose the first. To bring the car comparison, I’d prefer a BMW made in Munich, not one of their factories in South Carolinas. I know logically BMW/ETA makes sure the quality is there but it’s just not the same.

When you compare current ETA movements to a Seiko or a Miyota/Citizen automatic movement you get a more efficient bi directional winding system, hacking, hand winding, 28k beat, and it’s generally more accurate by a few factors out of the box. I would always pick an ETA designed and made movement over an Asian movement in this price class.

Robustness between the 2824 and 2892 is debatable since nobody has done a serious test of how much abuse each movement can take before they give up or when timing is severely affected. The 2824 does have some parts that make it more tolerant of shock but if you look at the most commonly failed part from shock, you’re better off with a 2892. If I was forced to take a guess, I would assume that at the top grade, their tolerance for abuse is nearly the same with an edge to the 2892 for better long term viability in terms of neglect of service. At the lowest available grades, the 2892 will be more robust and abuse tolerant since it’s simply not available in the lowest grades that the 2824 is commonly sold at.

In terms of accuracy, the lowest grade again, you’re worse off with a 2824, at the Top grade or Chronometer, there is no difference. At Elabore grade, you’ll find better performance from the 2892 on average.


Some watch companies take the standard 2892-A2 or 2824-2 and make no modifications and pop it into their watches. Its rumored that Breitling actually makes physical improvements to the watches but no solid proof yet from a disassembled Breitling movement. The Omega 1120 which is derived from the 2892A2 also has some improvements like the addition of some jewels and I believe one or two other improvements besides decoration. IWC takes a trans-formative approach that I think warrants them being able to name it their own movement in a small way. Of course the Omega 2500C which is produced by ETA is a 2892 with the revolutionary coaxial escapement. In this transformation it was also thickened considerably and made quite a bit more complex. (Note: It has been rumored lately that IWC has been receiving finished movements from ETA since 2007. IWC would provide the specs to ETA, and ETA would provide finished movements that IWC would place directly into the watch with no further adjustments by IWC.)

Here are the differences between the grades of movements available.

eta_chart_sm

Recommend Reading:

http://www.chronometrie.com/eta2824/eta2824.html

http://www.chronometrie.com/eta2892/eta2892.html

Future

I guess we can’t end without saying that it’s been announced by ETA that it will no longer be supplying movements outside of the Swatch group. This has since been revised so that they will continue to supply big firms like IWC and the Breitlings of the world. However, the availability of movements to small companies like Bathys or Christopher Ward might come into question. In fact both companies use a clone of the ETA 2824 in their watches, the Sellita SW200. http://ablogtoread.com/general/making-sense-of-the-sellita-sw200-movement-same-as-eta-2824-2/

This has also compelled companies like Orange Watch Company to only use non ETA movements like the amazing Soprod A-10 and Chinese movements.

If the Swatch group is doing this out of benevolence and concern for the Swiss watch market, I sympathize. Swiss mechanical watches almost died because of a lack of innovation in the field prompted by the onslaught of Japanese quartz. It makes some sense that they don’t want to be the 800 pound gorilla anymore and want other movement makers to step up and take their place. Breitling has done so with making their own B01 movement. While I don’t think it’s a complete clean sheet design, it’s at least a first step that I hope other storied watch companies will take.


27 Responses

  1. How Robust is a Automatic Chronograph? I did a unintentional Drop Test. « As The Watch Turns
    How Robust is a Automatic Chronograph? I did a unintentional Drop Test. « As The Watch Turns · December 5, 2009 at 17:25:30 ·

    […] ETA 2824 vs 2892 As The Watch TurnsHigh Horological DramaCommentsPosts […]

  2. Review of the Kazimon DREI Chronograph « As The Watch Turns
    Review of the Kazimon DREI Chronograph « As The Watch Turns · January 6, 2010 at 00:15:00 ·

    […] ETA 2824 vs 2892 […]

  3. Pregunta Modificaciones en mismo calibre.
    Pregunta Modificaciones en mismo calibre. · January 23, 2011 at 08:00:08 ·

    […] […]

  4. Some assorted questions...
    Some assorted questions… · February 2, 2011 at 15:20:21 ·

    […] Here is a link to a good article comapring the 2824 and 2892 along with the grade specs. ETA 2824 vs 2892 « As The Watch Turns Reply With Quote + Reply to Thread « Previous Thread | Next […]

  5. Sumo vs Dive Master
    Sumo vs Dive Master · February 15, 2011 at 09:59:12 ·

    […] reading on the ETAs, you could start here (and there is plenty more if you search): The ETA 2824 ETA 2824 vs 2892 « As The Watch Turns As far as comparing the Seikos or Miyotas to the ETAs, that may not be as easy as it sounds, since […]

  6. Pound for pound, the current PO must be the best value "entry level" luxury wristwatch on the market
    Pound for pound, the current PO must be the best value "entry level" luxury wristwatch on the market · April 23, 2011 at 22:24:34 ·

    […] […]

  7. Cu si despre ceasuri - Page 450
    Cu si despre ceasuri – Page 450 · August 27, 2011 at 14:04:04 ·

    […] wisepiggy uite aici o discutie 2892 vs 2824. […]

  8. Tag Heuer vs Hamilton & Tissot - Page 2
    Tag Heuer vs Hamilton & Tissot – Page 2 · November 10, 2011 at 05:09:41 ·

    […] […]

  9. ETA 2824 & 2892-A2 calibre watches
    ETA 2824 & 2892-A2 calibre watches · December 21, 2011 at 10:37:39 ·

    […] […]

  10. valjoux 7750, ETA 2824, ETA 2804 what the...? - Page 5
    valjoux 7750, ETA 2824, ETA 2804 what the…? – Page 5 · September 13, 2012 at 19:42:54 ·

    […] vs 2824 I would have… But the link I was looking at did not have a credit as did yours… ETA 2824 vs 2892 Reply With […]

  11. A MATTER FOR THE ACADEMIC HOROLOGIST AMONG YOU TO BE AWARE OF: Doxa Sub ETA 2824 Vs. ETA 2892
    A MATTER FOR THE ACADEMIC HOROLOGIST AMONG YOU TO BE AWARE OF: Doxa Sub ETA 2824 Vs. ETA 2892 · June 19, 2013 at 18:23:28 ·

    […] COSC & 1000T COSC. If you Google search these are the best articles that give you an insight. ETA 2824 vs 2892 ETA 2824-2 Versus 2892-A2 . . . Practical Comparisons – Watch Freeks ETA Automatic Movements ? […]

  12. Luca
    Luca · July 22, 2013 at 04:44:53 ·

    BULOVA 63F80

    Dubois Depraz DD 14070 Régulateur based on 2892A2 COSC certified

  13. ETA 2824-2 on divers - What's the big deal? - Page 7
    ETA 2824-2 on divers – What’s the big deal? – Page 7 · September 30, 2013 at 12:06:00 ·

    […] folks will mention that the 2824-2 is inside of this or that watch. If it didn't, try reading this: ETA 2824 vs 2892 . All the best. Cheers, Tony Reply With […]

  14. Movements and Who Makes Them and Who Mkes the Watch
    Movements and Who Makes Them and Who Mkes the Watch · October 10, 2013 at 14:37:48 ·

    […] ETA movements for small watchmakers come from Grey Markets? possibly made-in-China fakes … ETA 2824 vs 2892 and What is an Asian ETA movement? – Time Talk – Time Tech Talk – TimeTechTalk.com are some of the […]

  15. Orient OS300 or Aquadive BS 100 SS - Page 9
    Orient OS300 or Aquadive BS 100 SS – Page 9 · February 28, 2014 at 21:19:45 ·

    […] is some Far East versus EU manufacturing debate going on. Interestingly, according to this article: ETA 2824 vs 2892 ETA licenses Asian factories to manufacture both the 2824 and 2836. i guess this means that while […]

  16. A Bit of Advice... - Page 2
    A Bit of Advice… – Page 2 · May 1, 2014 at 02:35:15 ·

    […] you want to go. The third is more intuitive) 1.The ETA 2824 2.An indepth look at the ETA 2892 3. ETA 2824 vs 2892 Don't worry about the Selita SW-200, another popular one but it's a direct clone of the 2824 by […]

  17. What movement would you like to see in an "Affordable"? - Page 2
    What movement would you like to see in an "Affordable"? – Page 2 · February 2, 2015 at 05:59:12 ·

    […] reading on the 2892: ETA 2824 vs 2892 An indepth look at the ETA 2892 -Jeremy My Current Collection Reply With […]

  18. Concerned about my Frederique Constant - Page 2
    Concerned about my Frederique Constant – Page 2 · February 25, 2015 at 02:44:04 ·

    […] ETA 2824 vs 2892 […]

  19. Help! New to Automatic Watches! - Page 2
    Help! New to Automatic Watches! – Page 2 · March 12, 2015 at 10:00:09 ·

    […] EAT 2892 — ETA 2824 vs 2892 […]

  20. Hamilton khaki worth it or not? - Page 4
    Hamilton khaki worth it or not? – Page 4 · May 21, 2015 at 20:33:08 ·

    […] ETA 2824 vs 2892 […]

  21. Longines Hydroconquest. Old vs New? - Page 2
    Longines Hydroconquest. Old vs New? – Page 2 · July 28, 2015 at 11:08:45 ·

    […] Tapatalk You never really got an answer, I was trying to find out more and came across this ETA 2824 vs 2892 Apologies for bringing up an old thread. Reply With […]

  22. H2O KALMAR 2 MOKUME GANE - Page 47
    H2O KALMAR 2 MOKUME GANE – Page 47 · December 15, 2015 at 04:30:22 ·

    […] it quite interesting for those didn't already know or for those that can't remember everything.ETA 2824 vs 2892 Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk ndw6, thank you for sharing Reply With […]

  23. YAAvsB: Stowa Antea 390 or Laco Classic for a Bauhaus Style?
    YAAvsB: Stowa Antea 390 or Laco Classic for a Bauhaus Style? · May 6, 2016 at 07:00:20 ·

    […] an interesting summary of the movements: ETA 2824 vs 2892 The 2892-A2 is probably slightly better, but it depends what grade the Laco uses to compare it to […]

  24. Seiko SARX035- beautiful but very overpriced? - Page 10
    Seiko SARX035- beautiful but very overpriced? – Page 10 · June 13, 2016 at 19:31:32 ·

    […] discounting and rebates. [QUOTE] Its not clear that the 2892 is better than the 2824. See: ETA 2824 vs 2892 The trade off is between robustness and thickness. Its a similar trade off for the 6r15 versus the […]

  25. New Steinhart Ocean Titanium with Engraved Ceramic! - Page 119
    New Steinhart Ocean Titanium with Engraved Ceramic! – Page 119 · November 1, 2016 at 21:43:55 ·

    […] Helpful info! I found this too.ETA 2824 vs 2892 Also the steinhart website now says "13mm" height/thickness. I believe before it was 14.5? Likely […]

  26. Im Stealth-Modus: Corum Admiral's Cup Legend 42 - zeigr.com
    Im Stealth-Modus: Corum Admiral's Cup Legend 42 – zeigr.com · February 9, 2017 at 11:34:19 ·

    […] Man hätte es sich auch einfacher machen können. Corum hätte ein Standardwerk wie das ETA 2824 nehmen können, das andere Hersteller gern und oft verwenden, und auf die kleine Sekunde verzichten können. Offenbar wollte man das nicht und griff zu dem hochwertigeren und aufwändigeren Werk. […]

  27. Miyota vs ETA
    Miyota vs ETA · February 14, 2017 at 23:13:19 ·

    […] And scroll down on this page to see the chart we frequency refer to, for the 2824 and 2892:ETA 2824 vs 2892 Now that I think about it, most of my life has consisted of taking the opening that […]

Leave a Reply