Certina is a Swiss luxury watchmaking brand that many enthusiasts and collectors would acknowledge as underrated. The brand has a rich history of being at the forefront of waterproof innovations, and a prime model that exemplifies this is the Certina DS Action Diver.
The DS Action Diver is an elegant timepiece from the Certina Aqua collection. It showcases a stylish design, tried-and-tested timekeeping accuracy, and certified water resistance. While classified as a luxury diver watch, the DS Action Diver is one of the brand’s more accessible references. Despite its affordability, the DS Action Diver maintains the quality seen in all Certina watches and sticks true to the brand’s traditional watchmaking values. Today, we will take a better look at the Certina DS Action Diver, its specifications, and its price. In addition to that, we will also view some alternative wristwatches from different brands and see if the DS Action Diver is truly worth the investment.
Certina has released several variations of the DS Action Diver. For this review, we will be focusing on the Certina DS Action Diver Ref. C032.407.11.051.00.
This Certina DS Action Diver has a case diameter of 43mm and a case height of 13.1mm, making this a rather oversized watch. It has a non-standard lug width of 21mm, so finding a matching after-market strap might take some effort. Although this watch weighs around 180 grams with its bracelet, it is well-balanced and surprisingly not as top-heavy as it looks. On the whole, the DS Action Diver is quite a substantial watch and will look large on smaller wrists. If you have a thicker wrist or you are not bothered by its heft, then this Certina watch is well worth your time and budget.
316L Stainless Steel Case, Bezel, and Case Back
316L stainless steel continues to be the ideal material for watch cases due to its ruggedness, corrosion resistance, and unmistakable luster. The case of the Certina DS Action Diver mainly consists of brushed steel. Taking a closer look at the sides of the case, you will notice that Certina has brushed the steel vertically. This is a little uncommon compared to the usual way other watchmakers brush their watches and gives the Certina DS Action Diver a slightly different shine. Other components of this Certina timepiece, such as the bezel and the rear case, utilize polished steel instead.
Located on the right of the steel case is a large crown with crown guards. Engraved on its center are the letters “DS,” which stands for the “Double Security” concept that the Certina DS Action Diver is crafted with. The crown of the watch is screwed-down, creating a secure vacuum seal that prevents water from entering the watch. With its considerable size and patterned grooves, the crown provides an easy grip so wearers and divers can use it with relative ease.
Inserted on top of the case is a unidirectional rotating bezel made of aluminum and polished stainless steel. The bezel has a full 60-click rotation and no back play whatsoever. This bezel also comes with patterned grooves around its rim for a more secure grip. That said, the bezel is quite small. So, once your palms get sweaty, getting a proper hold of the bezel might be a little tricky. Such a design might be a problem for divers who plan to bring this watch to their expeditions. Aside from that, the bezel also has a black surface that contrasts with legible silver indices. At the tip of the bezel is an inverted silver triangle with a luminous pearl at the centre. This provides wearers with a source of brightness so they can read the elapsed time scale more easily.
Moving on to the rear of the watch, the Certina DS Action Diver uses a solid steel caseback that bears the iconic DS turtle logo. Certina engraves the turtle there as a reminder of the brand’s long-term affiliation with the Florida Sea Turtle Conservancy. The rear case also bears bits of information regarding the watch and its specifications.
Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal
As always, sapphire glass is the material of choice for luxury watchmakers due to its unparalleled scratch resistance. The sapphire crystal that Certina uses is flat and treated with an anti-reflective coating from top to bottom. This makes it very legible, and you will not have to worry about light glares or reflections no matter what angle you view it from.
The dial of the Certina DS Action Diver has a classic layout, with a jet-black face and lume-applied geometric hour markers and hands. The hour markers take the form of luminescent shapes that neatly contrast the black dial. Additionally, the 3 o’clock marker is smaller, to make room for the date window. The handset of the DS Action Diver consists of a sword-like minute hand, an arrow-shaped hour hand, and a red Breguet second hand that adds a splash of vibrant colour to the dial. Each hand possesses decent girth and length, which allows the watch to be easily read with a simple glance.
In the dark, the hour markers, hands, and bezel pip start to radiate with different shades of Super-LumiNova coating. The pip itself emits a green color, while the hands and markers have a blue luminescence. While it is not anything drastic, the different hues of the Super-LumiNova coatings add some fun to the watch, as opposed to the usual monochrome luminescence you see in most watches.
Underneath the surface of the Certina DS Action Diver is the brand’s Powermatic 80.111 movement. The Powermatic 80.111 is an automatic caliber that Certina modified from an ETA.2824 caliber. What makes this movement stand out is its 80-hour power reserve. For Certina to achieve this, they added a customized kinetic chain and reduced the beat frequency of the ETA movement from 28,800 beats per hour to 21,600 vph. As a result, the caliber uses less energy, which also cuts down on excess wear and tear. This modified caliber produces only six beats per second, instead of the eight beats per second produced by the standard ETA.2824 movement. However, this is not a very noticeable difference, and the improved power reserve is an excellent trade-off.
316L Stainless Steel Bracelet
As with the case, Certina uses 316L stainless steel to forge the bracelet of the DS Action Diver. This bracelet consists of solid polished links and half-links that have the same sheen as the rest of the watch. Its buckle features a deployment clasp with double pushers to release. A set of smaller pushers are also present to give the bracelet a diver extension. This provides around 15mm of leeway for micro-adjustments, which is convenient for divers who want to wear the watch over a wetsuit.
If you are not fond of the stainless steel bracelet, a matching rubber strap is also offered for this Certina DS Action Diver.
300m Water Resistance
Certina places a lot of importance on being ISO-certified, which is not surprising. Before obtaining certification, the model must go through rigorous testing. The criteria involve resistance to water pressures, condensation, shock, temperature, and overpressure. Once your watch matches the international standard for diver watches and is ISO-certified, people will begin to see your dive piece as remarkable and trustworthy.
The Certina DS Action Diver is an ISO-certified timepiece that can withstand up to 300m of water pressure. That means that the DS Action Diver can participate in all sorts of water-related activities. From taking a shower to scuba diving, this Certina timepiece can handle it all. In fact, the 300m water resistance rating even allows the user to bring the watch to the dark depths of professional or saturation diving.
The Certina DS Action Diver retails at approximately $865 USD. Compared to other dive watches of its caliber, the DS Action Diver is highly affordable. You will definitely get your money’s worth with this diver timepiece. A pre-owned model can cost as low as $550 USD, which is around the same price as a brand-new Seiko Prospex Samurai.
What is Double Security?
Double Security, or DS, is a concept Certina created that provides several protective procedures and enhancements for their watches. It ensures that the timepiece is reliable, durable, and efficient at work. Double Security usually improves upon certain aspects of the wristwatch, such as anti-magnetism, water resistance, longevity, and robustness. Over the years, Certina has continuously adapted its DS concept to reflect the brand’s high standards in watchmaking. Through arduous research and rigorous testing, the DS concept continues to produce Certina wristwatches with top-of-the-line quality.
Still not convinced that the DS Action Diver is the watch for you? No need to worry. Just like the fish in the sea, there are plenty more watches out there for you to try. Here are some highly competitive alternatives to the Certina DS Action Diver.
Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch (SRPE93K)
Seiko is a watchmaker that seems to have an answer to everything. As such, they also possess an excellent, budget-friendly alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. Feast your eyes on the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K. While this tonneau-cased timepiece has a look similar to the DS Action Diver, it also has a set of exclusive qualities that make it stand out.
This Seiko Prospex timepiece fetches an approximate price of $530 USD. It comes in a 44mm stainless steel case, making it a millimeter bulkier than the Certina DS Action Diver. As a more affordable alternative that is cheaper by more than $300 USD, the Ref. SRPE93K has some features that are not as first-rate as the DS Action Diver. For instance, Seiko uses their patented Hardlex crystal to shelter the dial. Although Hardlex offers decent protection, it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire glass.
Seiko equips the Ref. SRPE93K with their 4R36 caliber. This is a self-winding movement with manual hacking capabilities. While that in itself is neat, the caliber can only last up to 41 hours, nearly half of what the Certina’s Powermatic 80 is capable of. Additionally, this Seiko Prospex has a water resistance of 200m. It is still pretty substantial but is lower than the DS Action Diver’s 300m water resistance rating.
One thing the Prospex excels in is lume quality. As many of us know, Seiko watches are known for their exceptional glow in the dark. With their eco-friendly LumiBrite technology, the Ref. SRPE93K has fantastic luminescence and is slightly brighter than the Certina DS Action Diver. In terms of style, the DS Action Diver has more ample spacing between each component compared to this Seiko Prospex watch. The hints of red, smaller hour markers and slimmer hands make the DS Action Diver appear more refined. Of course, preference is king, and it will always be the deciding factor.
What makes the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K something to consider is its balance between quality and price. It offers great specs for an affordable price of just $530 USD, which is much cheaper than the Certina DS Action Diver. And like many other gorgeous timepieces, the Ref. SRPE93K is not just a divers watch, as you can bring it to chic events or on your daily routines. Truthfully, it would be quite a task to find a $500 USD watch that offers as much as this Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch does.
Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto (H82335131)
Hamilton is another brand associated with top-notch quality and affordable prices. For this reason, we chose the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto as the second alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. This Hamilton watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case. At first glance, you will notice the Khaki Navy Scuba’s lovely black dial with white indices, hour markers, minute and hour hands, and a splash of red on its second hand. Aside from the largely monochrome color scheme, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto also has other similarities with the Certina Diver.
First of all, the Hamilton Khaki Navy is powered by a Hamilton H10 automatic movement. It features a power reserve that can last up to 80 hours — the same amount of time as Certina’s Powermatic 80. The Khaki Navy Scuba utilizes high-quality sapphire glass to protect its dial. Like Certina, Hamilton also wants to best protection possible for its dark and alluring watch face. In addition, the sapphire crystal used by Hamilton is anti-reflective as well. Like the Certina DS Action Diver, the Khaki Navy Scuba also comes with a round stainless steel case and a screw-down crown. These are is crucial in ensuring the security and waterproofness of the watch.
That said, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba is only water-resistant up to depths of 100m. Although this allows you to take the watch for a good swim, it is considerably less than the Certina DS Action Diver’s 300m. Even comparing this Hamilton watch with the Seiko Ref. SRPE93K, its water resistance rating is 100m less. If having excellent water resistance is not a high priority for you, then this Hamilton watch is definitely worth checking out. Even with its lesser water resistance capabilities, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba still stands out as a highly competent and sleek timepiece.
All in all, the Certina DS Action Diver watch is an incredible piece. It showcases the attention to detail, sophistication, and craftsmanship that Certina provides with all its models. Moreover, it bears a classy and timeless look that also makes it an excellent dress watch. Realistically, you can use this Certina timepiece for all sorts of activities and events. It has a stellar design and a robust exterior that allows it to withstand anything that gets in its way.
To top things off, the Certina DS Action Diver comes at a relatively modest price point. Although excellent alternatives do exist, the DS Action Diver promises quality and reliability above all. It is a practical and affordable piece of luxury that you cannot find just anywhere.
Looking for another kind of divers watch? Check out the Orient Mako II and see if it’s worthy of a spot in your collection.
Featured Image By: Certina