The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 Review

The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 Review

Ben Adams



Your Next Watch: A modern watch with an incredible specification and balanced styling...

I'm sure most of you reading will be familiar with Certina, a brand that has existed since 1888 providing reliable Swiss watches with an emphasis on quality and durability for many generations. Today we will be looking at a watch in the DS-1 range which I think serves as a great example of what this brand does best.

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

This DS-1 Powermatic 80 is a 3 hand automatic watch with a date window and a careful balance of modern and vintage styling to create an ultra-legible, sporty piece that would be perfect for everyday wear. It also balances a pretty great specification which allows for the quality, execution and function to all be at the forefront.

The DS name comes from Certina's 'Double Security' concept, something that Certina has lived by for many decades that symbioses their approach to form following function.

"Since 1959 the DS Concept has stood for maximum resistance. For sixty years we have made every effort to make watches capable of meeting all of life’s demands. Over the years the concept of Double Security has repeatedly been adapted to reflect the latest technical standards." - Certina

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

On a modern-day watch like this, the DS concept basically means that the watch is:

  • Water-resistant, through their use of gaskets and o-rings in the construction, including a double o-ring in the crown which aids water Resistance eve if the crown is left out by accident.
  • Anti-magnetic, thanks to the incredible technical development of the Nivachron™ material that they use in parts such as the hairspring which would usually be effected by magnetism in a normal watch movement.
  • Scratch proof, through the use of sapphire crystal.

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

The next part of this watches name, 'Powermatic 80', is a reference to the incredible movement that sits in the watch. Since Certina is now owned by the industry giant Swatch Group they have access to some of the finest affordable movements on the market, the Powermatic 80 is an exclusively Swatch Group movement produced by ETA and even though is based on the famous ETA 2824-2 it has some key differences. The main difference and one of the greatest parts of this watches spec is that the power reserve is up to 80 hours in comparison to the 38-hour power reserve of a standard 2824.

"This caliber’s claim to fame is the high 80 hours power reserve. In contrast, the standard ETA 2824-2 is rated at about 38 hours power reserve when fully wound. Obtaining an 80 power reserve was achieved with the combination of a more efficient spring barrel and reducing the frequency from 4Hz to 3Hz. This means that the PM80 beats at 21,600 BPH compared to a 2824-2 beating at 28,800." - Caliber Corner

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

The use of this fairly exclusive movement makes the Certina a great value proposition and only works to enhance the user experience, this 80-hour power reserve means that you can safely use this watch Monday through Friday for work, and if you switch out your watch during the weekend it should have maintained almost perfect time by the time you pick it up again on Monday, thanks to its chronometer timekeeping standard!

At the surface this watch is definitely 1960s racing watch inspired, evoking a design first shown in legendary watches such as the Heuer Carrera which went on to be the benchmark for successful racing watch design in the 60's. Yet Certina has managed to mix this vintage style with some clever modern design cues to present a watch that is nostalgic yet forward-thinking with details such as the generous amount of white lume, date at 6, chronometer text and the stamped circular texture on the minutes track.

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

The watch is also very wearable with a 40mm diameter and 13mm thickness, although it is worth noting that with the mix of long lugs and being basically all dial it wears slightly bigger, more like a 41/42mm watch. This does seem to be an extremely popular size for an everyday sports watch, and even though I am used to wearing watches smaller than this I do think it suits the style and definitely will appeal to the target customer.

On the wrist the watch performs excellently, the contrast between the hands/indexes and dial means that it is easily readable in basically any condition and even though the dial is simple, the little details such as the chamfering of the indexes and the sunburst dial texture play with the light and work to create a genuinely interesting watch. The crown is a joy to use thanks to its size and sturdy feel, it isn't a screw-down crown but there is no wobble at all when you pull it out so you do get a reassuring feel of quality.

The details of the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Watch straps for the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80

Luckily for us, a watch that blends modern and vintage styles so effortlessly as well as being pretty colour neutral opens up for a bit of fun with watch straps. Although, there is one downside to this watch... The 21mm lugs make it a lot harder to find a suitable strap than if it had a 20mm lug width, luckily though we do stock a range of 21mm straps and here are a few of the ones I think work best.

ZULUDIVER 141 Nylon Military Nylon Watch Band

This is a great choice as the summer months arrive, made with ultra-durable and breathable nylon our 141 Nylon is the perfect choice for that sleek and sporty look. I think the black works very well with the dark grey dial and is subtle enough to let the dial speak for itself.

The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 fitted to our 141 Military Nylon - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Simple Handmade Italian Leather Watch Strap

The next choice, our simple handmade Italian Leather strap in chocolate brown, this strap works wonders to pick up the subtle brown tints in the grey dial and brings the watch back to its vintage roots, an excellent choice for any fans of the original Heuer watches that inspired this piece.

The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 fitted to our Simple Handmade - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

Vintage Otley Padded Genuine Leather Watch Strap

Finally the vintage Otley, the choice for someone who wants a leather strap but would rather keep the modern style. I have chosen the black stitching on black leather for an exceptionally sleek look which would suit a casual look as well as with a suit at dinner.

The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 fitted to our Vintage Otley - Image credit: WatchGecko Online Magazine

So what are my final thoughts on this watch? Well, I think this watch really offers exceptional value and that is helped by one point which may seem like it wouldn't help... This watch is officially discontinued and although you may have trouble finding one in the future, they seem to be readily available on the grey market or in outlet stores for half of the original RRP which was somewhere around £1000.

At that price, it was pretty reasonable for a Swiss-made watch with an exclusive chronometer graded movement and from a brand with such history, but at around £500 it really is a steal... Although I do have to mention if I could change anything about this watch I would change it to have a 20mm lug width, I think the thinner lug width would look more balanced with the 40mm diameter & open it up to many more strap choices.

If you want to learn more about Certina, you can check them out here.

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Ben Adams

About the Author: Ben Adams

About the Author: Ben Adams

Since being gifted a TAG Heuer Aquaracer for my eighteenth, my interest in watches has gradually turned into an obsession... I'm especially passionate about independent brands as I believe the passion and unwillingness to compromise can also be found in what we do here!

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