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Hands-on – The New Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80

hands-on-–-the-new-certina-ds-1-powermatic-80

If you are in the market for a solid yet stylish 3-hand daily beater at an affordable price, the Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 should be on your radar. This summer, the DS-1 returns with three new dial colours and interchangeable straps, one of them made from plastic recovered from the ocean. Like the DS-1 Big Date of 2019 designed to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Certina’s DS (double security) concept of 1959, the watch blends a subtle vintage vibe with a resilient case and a robust Powermatic movement.  

Double Security turtle Shell

It’s natural to associate Certina’s Double Security concept with dive watches, and there are plenty of those in the brand’s repertoire. After all, when it was introduced in 1959, the DS concept marked a big step toward making watches more reliable and water-resistant. The original DS concept, which is still used on all DS models today, relies on series of O-ring seals on the setting stem and crown with a special seal on the reinforced caseback. Like the hard shell of a turtle (adopted as the brand logo in 1960), the idea behind the double security was to protect the mechanism from all sorts of external aggressions.

Adapted over the years to reflect the latest technology, practically all DS automatics now run on the new Powermatic 80 movement developed by Swatch Group and used by other mid-price brands like Tissot, Mido and Hamilton.  With an anti-magnetic balance spring and substantial shock resistance, the 80-hour power reserve of the Powermatic is a real plus. To understand the development and attributes of the Powermatic, don’t miss our in-depth coverage here.

The New DS-1

The new DS-1 models are catalogued in the brand’s ‘Urban Watches’ section, a category that is popping up all over the watchmaking scene to house models that don’t sit comfortably in the sports watch section or in the dress watch section. These hybrids of the watch world combine just the right amount of resilience and style to cover most of your daily activities. As mentioned, the new DS-1 models come in three dial colours – dark blue, grey and brown. For our hands-on, we shared some time with the dark blue model that comes with an integrated stainless steel bracelet and an eco-friendly blue fabric strap made of #tide ocean material, which is recycled plastic recovered from the ocean.

Made of 316L stainless steel, the 100m water-resistant case has a conciliatory 40mm diameter and a relatively thin height of 10.98mm. Viewed from the side, you can appreciate the solid case construction and the contrasting brushed and polished surfaces.

Viewed from above, the slim polished bezel reveals the more stylish face of the DS-1. The domed dial and applied arrow-shaped indices convey a subtle vintage vibe without going overboard. The contrast between the dark blue background with its sunray finish and the applied and faceted rose gold-coloured indices and hands is vivid, and the fact that the dial has no luminescent features makes it dressier.

Perhaps my only misgiving regards the white background of the date window at 3 o’clock. I understand that white assists legibility, but maybe a blue background like the dial and a white number like the inscriptions on the dial would have been more elegant?

Powermatic 80.611

An evolution of the ETA 2824-2, Swatch Group’s Powermatic is a robust and precise industrial movement with a titanium-based alloy Nivachron™ balance spring that is resilient to magnetism, shocks, ageing and temperature fluctuations. The modern Powermatic movement got its name from its powerful 80-hour supply of energy, a huge step up from the ETA 2824’s average of 38 hours.  Although you can see the automatic movement through the sapphire caseback, don’t expect any refined hand finishings.

Eco-friendly strap

Right on trend with interchangeable watch straps and today’s growing concern for the environment, this DS-1 model comes with a blue fabric strap made from recovered plastic from the ocean. The Swiss company #tide is keen to address plastic pollution and works with scientists from the Swiss University of Applied Sciences to upcycle the plastic into granules, filament and even yarn for polyester textiles. The blue fabric strap can easily be swapped for the five-link steel bracelet, thanks to the quick-change strap system.

Price

The Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 with blue dial (ref. C029.807.11.041.02) retails for CHF 790. Certina’s website offers two options: one is to reserve the watch in one of Certina’s Swiss boutiques, the other is to buy it online directly from the website. When I last looked, this particular reference was not available, but the brand lets you sign up to receive a notification as soon as it is back in stock.

For more information, please visit www.certina.com.

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