Certina DS1, the ultimate GADA / toolwatch? Review.

My favourite watch for everyday use is this Certina DS1, with the "Powermatic 80" movement that is the go-to of the day for many mid-tier watches in the Swatch group. 

Of course it has everything you'd ask from a Decent Swiss Watch - 100m WR, sapphire crystal, date, automatic movement, fine finishing, the lot, but it's in the details where this one really shines. First, it looks just wonderful: toolish, but not brutish like a hammer, more like a micrometer screw: a precision measuring tool. Which it obviously is. And the more you look, the more intricate it gets: the sector dial, the 1/5 seconds rehaut, the white second hand and white 6 o'clock date, the bezel-less case ... yet it does not look cluttered or overdesigned.  It also doesn't look too plain, due to the well-designed light play; the metal ring below the rehaut is of a dark grey that reflects juuuust the right dose of light, while the polished indices and hands sparkle like fireworks against the black dial, which itself changes from inky black to matte. 

The bracelet is a well-made 5-link oyster style with a butterfly clasp and female end links in precision-fitted solid endlinks. 80 hours of power reserve isn't bad, as well as Certina's own "double security (DS)" anti-shock-and-water system of various rubber seals: the crown, although not screw-down, has double seals around the stem, and the whole movement is held in a big rubber ring inside the case. 

Of course, there are also some things that are not perfect. The lume is pitiful, and I could have done without a glass caseback. The Powermatic 80 isn't the prettiest movement in the first place, and a solid caseback, maybe with a nice engraving of Certina's trademark turtle, would add to the toolish character of the watch. The crown could have a finer knurling for looks, the bracelet only has a fiddly pin-and-collar system, and the butterfly clasp makes fine adjustment impossible. That said, once adjusted, it fits me perfectly and sits really nice on my 16.5cm wrist.

Official retail price was around $900, but they had a big clear-out of this piece some time ago where you could pick one up for only 450. 

A chronometer certified version with this dial exists, distinguished by a light grey metal ring, which makes the 42mm watch look quite a bit smaller. DS1s come with many different dial faces, but for me, this one is the prettiest of them all.

Hope you liked this one, 

stay crunchy! :)

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Thanks for that review mate, beautiful watch !

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That's a really nice looking watch, I could see wearing it every day.

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What a beautiful Certina you have in there! 👏🏻 Here is mine 😉

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I like the cross hair dial!

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Certina is a brand I've been looking at recently, although they don't seem to have any ADs in Canada which is unfortunate. There is an independent who ships to North America (www.helen-kirchhofer.com) although buying sight unseen is a worry.

Have you had any experience with the DS 2...this also seems like a good GADA watch? For me, these (DS 1 and DS 2) along with the Tissot PR100, seem like the best Swiss sub $1,000 GADA watches. 

I have the quartz white dial version of the PR100, and it is an amazing watch (39mm diametre, 20mm lugs, date window at 6, 100m water resistance). It goes with almost any strap, although the supplied bracelet is a bit of a hair puller and a little noisy.

Thanks for sharing, and I really like theleftywatchnerd's too.

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I've long viewed Certina as an "Omega DNA" watch.  I think the Swatch group has given Certina just a little bit of that Omega style at a better price point.  Very nice!

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TAKL52

Certina is a brand I've been looking at recently, although they don't seem to have any ADs in Canada which is unfortunate. There is an independent who ships to North America (www.helen-kirchhofer.com) although buying sight unseen is a worry.

Have you had any experience with the DS 2...this also seems like a good GADA watch? For me, these (DS 1 and DS 2) along with the Tissot PR100, seem like the best Swiss sub $1,000 GADA watches. 

I have the quartz white dial version of the PR100, and it is an amazing watch (39mm diametre, 20mm lugs, date window at 6, 100m water resistance). It goes with almost any strap, although the supplied bracelet is a bit of a hair puller and a little noisy.

Thanks for sharing, and I really like theleftywatchnerd's too.

Haven't experienced the DS2, but I guess they're technically quite the same. Should be an excellent GADA watch too. I like the case shape.

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Thanks for the pics and your thoughts about this watch. Totally agree with your thoughts in favor of a nice engraved, solid caseback instead of a see-through caseback for this diver, especially in favor of the iconic #certina turtle.