Blast Into the Past With the Retro Certina DS-1

If you have been a watch enthusiast for a long time, you have probably heard of Certina watches. This sports watch brand has been around in the watch industry for a good few decades, slowly making a name for itself by developing watches made with uncompromisingly high quality, modern technology, and sustainable goals. Today, it has a wide assortment of reliable Swiss wristwatches under its belt, all intended for different needs such as formal events, sports, casual use, and more.

One exceptional dress watch from the brand is the new Certina DS-1 Powermatic. Inspired by the vintage Certina DS, this watch has quickly caught the attention of many. Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Certina DS-1 Powermatic, including its history and everything it has to offer.

A Background on the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80

Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 Watches on its side

A Brief History of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80

Although Certina was first founded in 1888, it only truly became famous with the release of the Certina DS in 1959. The launch of the Certina DS allowed the brand to break into the international market, thanks to its top-notch quality and advanced technology. The Certina DS came with a shock-resistant automatic movement and an excellent water resistance capacity of 200 meters, which was quite a rare feature back in the 1950s.

In order to prove the DS’s durability, Certina also put it through a battery of difficult tests. These included testing the watch’s resistance to extreme temperatures by putting it through the 8,167 meter-high Dhaulagiri peak in western Nepal, the seventh highest peak in the world. Certina also evaluated the watch’s resistance to underwater pressures by bringing it down to the bottom of the ocean for the US Navy’s Sealab II underwater project. All of these trials guaranteed the Certina DS’s impeccable performance and reliability.

More than 40 years later, Certina has seen fit to update the Certina DS. In 2014, the launch of the innovative Powermatic 80 automatic caliber led Certina to utilize it in a number of the brand’s highest-quality watches. This, of course, included the new Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 models. Equipped with state-of-the-art modern technology, contemporary eco-friendly straps, and the brand’s signature Double Security concept, the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 is one of the brand’s best-selling watches today.


Case, Lugs, Crown, and Bezel

case and bezel of Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 watch

The Certina DS-1 comes in a 40mm case made of 316L stainless steel. This material is the most popular choice for making watch cases, thanks to its incredible durability. It is able to withstand scratches and impacts and is also resistant to corrosion from extreme humidity or gasses like chlorine, so you can safely wear this watch while swimming in the pool or even during your outdoor hiking adventures.

The Certina DS-1’s case is also reinforced with molybdenum. This is a lustrous, silvery-white metal that is essential for any diving equipment, as it provides additional protection from corrosion and heat. Luxury watch brands like Grand Seiko are known to use molybdenum for added durability, while also enhancing their watches’ lovely sheens. Indeed, Certina’s use of this material is a testament to the brand’s dedication to equipping its watches with the best the watch industry has to offer.

The Certina DS-1’s case bears surfaces that are alternately brushed and polished, giving the watch an impeccable lustre all over that enhances its elegant look. Fitted on top of the case is a slim fixed bezel that has also been polished, adding to the watch’s expansive, sleek aesthetic. For most men, the Certina DS-1’s 40mm size and slender bezel can look a little small on their wrists. If you are a fan of bigger case sizes, or if you have a larger wrist, then this model might not be a great choice for you.

This watch also comes with slender, well-beveled lugs that measure 20mm apart. This is a standard lug width, so you can easily swap out your strap for other after-market options if you want something that better suits your tastes. The lugs’ build also adds to the Certina DS-1’s lovely slim profile.

On the right side of the Certina DS-1’s case, you can find a sizeable stainless steel crown, with grooves to provide wearers with a better grip. As part of the watch’s Double Security (DS) Concept, its setting stem and crown also come with secure O-ring seals. They act like a turtle’s hard shell on the Certina DS-1, protecting it from threats like magnetic fields, moisture, and impacts. As a result, the Certina DS-1 has an impressive depth rating of 300 meters, which is an improvement on the Certina DS’s 200-meter water resistance capacity.


dial of Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 watch

There are three models of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 available, each offered with a different colorway. You can choose between a model with a blue dial, a dark brown dial, or a light gray dial. Of the three options, the blue dial variant is the most popular, since it is extremely versatile and goes perfectly with virtually any menswear.

All three versions of the Certina DS-1 have the same minimalistic, straightforward layout. Each dial is adorned simply with applied arrow-shaped indices, dauphine hands, and a date window outlined in white at 3 o’clock. The blue dial model has its hands and indices in a lovely rose gold tone, while the light gray version shows off silver accents that match its Milanese bracelet. On the other hand, the brown dial timepiece comes with yellow-gold accents that contrast vividly against its dark brown backdrop. They are also equipped with sapphire crystals that have been treated with anti-reflective coatings, protecting the dial while also giving you a clear view of the watch’s face.

One significant downside to all three Certina DS-1 models is that none of them have luminescent features, which can make them harder to read in the dark. This is a big disadvantage since most modern watches place more emphasis on luminous dials. After all, everybody wants to have a clear and bright time display at night.


case back and movement of Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 watch

The Swatch Group, to which Certina belongs, is the company responsible for the creation of the Powermatic 80 caliber with its Nivachron balance spring. The Powermatic 80 movement is, without a doubt, a highlight of the Certina DS-1 watches. It is considered one of the most advanced calibers ever invented in the world of watches.

This Swiss movement uses a titanium base to ensure greater durability and higher performance when it comes to precise time-telling. In addition, the Powermatic 80 has been upgraded with a Nivachron balance spring, which provides stronger resistance against magnetism, shocks, and extreme temperature changes. As its name suggests, the Powermatic 80 also comes with an extended 80-hour power supply, so you can leave the Certina DS-1 aside for three whole days without ever needing to wind it. This impressive movement can be admired through the Certina DS-1’s see-through sapphire crystal caseback.


rear view and strap of Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 watch

Certina offers each model of the DS-1 with two different kinds of straps, catering to each variant’s specific style and mood while also offering some degree of variety. The light gray model has either a Milanese bracelet that enhances its fashionable look or a grey textile strap that complements its dial. The popular blue dial Certina DS-1 is paired with a sleek five-link bracelet or a blue textile strap, both of which complement the watch’s sporty, masculine aesthetic. Finally, the brown dial Certina DS-1 comes with either a Milanese bracelet or a dark brown leather strap, making it a great watch option for formal events.

If you are a green enthusiast, you might be interested to know that the textile straps Certina offers are all made from #TIDE ocean material. This is an award-winning method of using sustainable materials made from 100% plastics collected from the oceans. The plastic waste is processed through cleaning and shredding, transforming it into premium raw material which Certina uses to create its eco-friendly textile bands.


The Certina DS-1 has an estimated price tag of around $850 USD. This is quite a reasonable price, considering the durability and power it offers.

Alternatives to the Certina DS-1 

1. Tissot PRX Blue Dial Ref. T137.410.11.041.00

front view of Tissot PRX Blue Dial Ref. T137.410.11.041.00 watch
Image from Watchshopping

The first watch on this list is the Tissot PRX Blue Dial Ref. T137.410.11.041.00, which showcases a remarkably similar style to the Certina DS-1, albeit at a much more affordable price. This watch comes in a cushion-shaped 40mm case made of stainless steel, with integrated lugs and a matching single-link stainless steel bracelet. Its bracelet comes with a butterfly-style deployant clasp, ensuring that the watch is securely fixed to your wrist.

Like the Certina DS-1, this Tissot watch also flaunts a gorgeous blue sunray dial. It is furnished with slim silver hour indices, thick blunt hands coated in luminescent material, and a compact date window at 3 o’clock. Powered by a reliable quartz caliber, this watch has a depth rating of 100 meters.

This Tissot PRX watch retails at a very budget-friendly price of just $369 USD.

2. Tissot Heritage Visodate Powermatic 80 Ref. T118.430.11.041.00

front view of  Tissot Heritage Visodate Powermatic 80 Ref. T118.430.11.041.00 watch
Image from Watchshopping

Another great substitute for the Certina DS-1 is the Tissot Heritage Visodate Powermatic 80 Ref. T118.430.11.041.00. This is another blue dial watch option, housed in a 42mm stainless steel case and a fashionable mesh bracelet made of the same material. The dark blue matte dial is contrasted against bright silver accents, including luminous hour indices, beveled dauphine hands, and a day-date display outlined in silver at 3 o’clock.

Like the Certina DS-1, this Tissot Heritage timepiece is driven by a Powermatic 80 caliber. This means that it also has a power reserve of 80 hours and comes with a Nivachron balance spring for greater durability. One con, however, is that it only has a water resistance capacity of 30 meters, which is a far cry from what the Certina DS-1 offers.

Inspired by the brand’s vintage 1954 Visodate collection, this is a timeless dress watch that looks good with virtually any outfit. You can get your hands on this piece for approximately $579 USD.

3. Tissot T-Gold Powermatic 80 Ref. T927.407.41.031.00

front view of  Tissot T-Gold Powermatic 80 Ref. T927.407.41.031.00 watch
Image from Watchshopping

Last on the list is the high-end T-Gold Powermatic 80 Ref. T927.407.41.031.00, meant for those who want a more luxurious alternative to the Certina DS-1. This T-Gold watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case, coupled with a three-link bracelet and a lavish fixed bezel crafted from 18K gold.

The watch’s gorgeous silver and gold exterior is complemented by a lovely white dial. This dial is highlighted with gold accents that match the gold bezel, comprising gold applique indices, beveled dauphine hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock, also outlined in gold. Like the Certina DS-1 watches, this piece also runs on the Powermatic 80 caliber.

This refined Tissot watch has an estimated price of $1,429 USD.

Wrap Up

As an entry-level Swiss watchmaker, Certina is a good choice for beginners just getting started in the watch community. The Certina DS-1, in particular, is a fantastic choice for a versatile dress watch. Stylish enough to be brought to all your formal events, but hardy enough to survive your daily activities, the Certina DS-1 is definitely worth adding to your collection.

Photo credits: Certina’s official website unless otherwise stated.

Do you want to know more about Certina watches? Check out the Certina DS Action Diver and learn its details and features.

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