ETA automatic workhorses, the 2824 and 2892

ETA is the largest supplier of movements in Switzerland. Currently about 80% of Swiss watches have ETA movements. ETA is owned by the Swatch Group conglomerate. Eta was formed in 1983 with the merger of ASUAG and SSIH. Prior to that ETA was Ebauches SA which was an alliance of the top three players in Swiss mechanical movements: A. Schild SA (AS or ASSA), Fabrique d’Horlogerie de Fontainemelon (FHF) and A. Michel AG. Ebauches SA also absorbed another 31 ebauch producers.

Seamaster GMT display back showing off Omega Cal. 2628 (base ETA 2892-A2)

ETA is best known for the production of two automatic movements with date, models 2824 and 2892. They are very similar in design. Both are 25.6 mm in diameter, however the 2892 is almost 28% thinner, being 3.6mm thick versus 4.6mm for the 2824. Both movements are used by other movement manufacturers as the tractor (power base and time source) for many complications like triple date moon-phase, chronograph, big date, power reserve, etc.

The 2892 (2892-A2) seems to have been given priority by making it more efficient. Its oscillating weight is better engineered with a larger support for the ball bearing races, which gives it better shock protection. It is almost always finished nicely with perlage and Geneva stripes. This movement is used by many high-end brands. Often, high-end brands like IWC, Girard Perregaux and Frank Muller will assemble the movements in house and replace some of the critical parts from the escapement to the mainspring to gain tighter tolerances. ETA uses the 2892 as the tractor for other movements like the 2893 with a second time-zone hand and the 2894 chronograph.

Sinn 556 display back showing the ETA 2824

The 2824 (2824/2) is no slouch itself. When regulated correctly it will keep just as good of time as the 2892. As mentioned, the main difference I see is that it is 1mm thicker than the 2892. One can order the watch finished as nicely as you are willing to pay. It has a strong mainspring and makes a great tractor for complication modules that are added to the top of the movement. This movement can be found in Tudors, Breitlings, Tag Heuers and many other brands.

How does a chronometer grade 2892 or 2824 compare to the competition? We think they keep equivalent time to a Rolex automatic. Some of the high-end brands we have experience with are actually more finicky, fragile and do not keep as good of time as the ETA and Rolex tried and true workhorses. These other watches often have wide deviations in timekeeping depending on what position they are in. The ETAs and Rolexes are often within a few seconds from the slowest to the fastest deviation.

Recently, ETA attempted to discontinue supplying movement blanks to companies outside the Swatch group. Due to their dominant market position, a Swiss anti-trust court forced ETA to continue producing and supplying movements. ETA was allowed to reduce production by a certain amount each year to allow smaller companies to find new suppliers for movement blanks. ETA has already begun reducing the number of movements that they are delivering to companies outside the Swatch group. Eventually, the company will only provide movements to favored customers and other companies within the Swatch group.

Browse our Stocked watches with the ETA 2824 and Stocked watches with the ETA 2892
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By Jeff Bernard

Jeff Bernard has been dealing Swiss watches since 1990.


    1. Hello Carleton. Your question is about as open-ended as they come! We like to think all of the watches we work with are good watches with good movements 🙂

      Of our most traded brands: Rolex, Omega, and Panerai offer the best value and resell appreciation.

      For a good value watch, that’s not going to have as good of a resell: Ball, Hamilton, and Longines all make great watches. You’ll get more “watch” for your money with these brands.

  1. I have a question. do you think the ETA 2892 is superior or inferior to the Unitas 6498. Just curious. enjoyed your article on the ETA. Very informative. thank you

    1. I have a hard time saying it is definitively superior. I will say that in most instances a 2892 will be a better timekeeper, but there are exceptions because of the varying grades of movements made by ETA and reworking done by individual companies. A top of the line 6498 might be a more robust movement and a better timekeeper than an unfinished 2892.

  2. Very interesting article. I find watches endlessly fascinating though I do not claim any expert knowledge myself. As with many things, the more you find out, the more you realise just how much there is to learn. Thanks for the info.

  3. I am a watch fanatic and I am intrigued by all the different brands if watches and more so the movements within them.according to what I’ve read Breitling use alot of 7750 movements in there watches but I’ve just read they also use 2824 movements too and I believe the 2824 movements are workhorses. The watch I really want is a Breitling but st present funds wont allow but th Di Bacarri use 2824 which Breitling also use at a fraction of the price of a breitling.can anyone tell me why this is.
    Watches are truly fascinating and they never cease to amaze me .are Breitling that much more prestige and are they just built better than a Di Bacarri ?
    I’ m curious.

    1. Yes, Breitling has traditionally used the 7750 and 2824 for many of their movements. They do modify and improve those base movements though. Today, they use variations of their in-house B01 movement for many of their models, but still use ETA movements for their lower end (which is still nice!).

      I am not familiar with ‘Di Bacarri’. I did a quick Google search and noticed they have the word ‘designer’ in their title. We rarely deal with watches that are described as ‘designer’.

  4. I have read that the ETA 2492 is considered to be superior to the larger 2824 movement but they can both be calibrated to COSC accuracy. The 2492 is said to be more expensive. Yet a Longines Hydroconquest comes with the 2492 and costs roughly $1000 while a Breitling Superocean Heritage and the Tudor Black Bay are equipped with the “cheaper” 2824 and each one cost about $3000. What is your take on this?

    1. The Breitling and Tudor watches are COSC certified (Chronometre grade) while the Longines is Elabore grade only. The breitling is also better quality dial with all applied numerals and indices, and better quality bracelet. Honestly I think the better value is the Hydroconquest, but the Breitling is better quality and more accurate.

  5. i wonder if you can give me information on a roamer automatic movement.its their new line of autos just minute hour hands with second hand and date.they probably use eta movements.Also are they a privately owned company.I have owned quite a few watches cheap as well as expensive.I find this watch a little stunner and reasonably priced.Its called a roamer ceres the newer model is called venus its the same watch but named differently.Any information would be of help.Kind regards,Dave.

      1. You probably right,i have been on their website,they claim that,by the way its worded that they use Swiss manufacturers for the parts.They ship the parts in and assemble in Switzerland.They are reportedly a private company.,Cant find anything else.Most manufacturers now,must be shipping watch cases, glass and other parts from manufacturing companies and assembling only at their own establishments.Would i be right on this point.Kind regards,Dave.

  6. I like all watches. Just love mechanical things. Because 2824-2 and 2893-a2 are ubiquitous, I can work on them by myself. I don’t claim to be a watchmaker by any means. I just love learning and seeing how they tick (so to speak). I have taught myself to dissemble, clean and lubricate 2824 and 2893 moments saving me thousands. Even if I screw up, parts are no problem. It’s easy to get a case and a 2824 and build your own if it makes you happy.

    Having said all that, I also love my 60 year old IWC, my rolex daytona and many others. These with in-house movement are different. Not from a mechanical point of view but from one of public information and parts. I can’t get parts diagrams for the in-house moments of rolex. I can’t go on-line and get rolex parts with the knowledge I currently have and I’m okay with that. I would never consider dissembling my rolex. I also have not dissembled my ETA 7750.

    Many ways to look at all this and to me ETA, Rolex, Patek, Zenith are all great and have their place but, if you want to educate yourself about watches as I did, ETA is you answer. You can get and ETA 2824 for as little as 50 bucks, clones for China also as well as the Selleta which I feel are good quality. You can study an ETA 2824, take it apart, put it back together all you want.

    When I go to a shop today, the people behind the counter better not try pull one over on be because now in most cases I know more than they do. Want see if they are on the ball, ask them if they have anything with a co-axial movement. If you get a cold stare, you know you have them. Often when you ask a knowledgable question you will find they like dealing with someone who knows something and they will offer you even more.

    The ETA 2824 is the place to start learning and,,,,,, it’s great device even if others are higher quality.

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