One doesn’t normally mention the names “Certina” and “Audemars Piguet” in the same sentence, but the two have something in common, shared only by them. While numerous brands have been pursuing silicon applications, including balance springs, this pair has elected to use a new titanium-based alloy in their exclusive Nivachron spring. For Certina, currently one of the hottest entry-level brands thanks to its astounding DS PH200M diving watch, the development’s timing is perfect.
This is a year of anniversaries for Certina, including the 60th for the DS concept of its double-security case. To mark it, and to provide a noteworthy debut for the Nivachron spring, the company has introduced an utterly gorgeous three-hander, the DS-1 Big Date, its name proclaiming its other nifty feature. The date change is a little ballet all on its own, accomplished by a clever leaf system that will force you to stay up late at night just to watch the change.
Certina, however, would prefer to focus on the movement, a new development of the Powermatic 80 calibre (with a truly generous 80-hour power reserve) with the aforementioned spring. The alloy — they clearly want to keep shtum about what else is used besides titanium — offers all of the virtues of silicon and then some, because it can be worked more easily. The material was developed with the Swatch Group to enable improved resistance to magnetic fields, one of the bêtes noires of the mechanical watch and which is far more common a problem than one might think, e.g. your fridge door is as big a threat to your watch as leaving it on top of a loudspeaker.
As Nivachron is based on titanium, the new balance spring is also highly resistant to temperature variations, and it also affords greater shock resistance. At a recent press event, we were also informed that it lends itself to simpler production techniques, and will definitely find its way throughout the range.
Even if that wasn’t part of the DS-1, the watch is super-desirable. It has that cool big date feature, a Milanese bracelet and the ultimate touch: one of the best green dials ever, likely to make its sister brand Glashütte Original as green with envy as the dial itself. How so? Because the DS-1 sells for £775 — or roughly one-tenth of the price of most of the other emerald-dialled watches you see on the market.
There’s an added bonus, too, for Certina. This brand has long been under-appreciated, despite a history to match any great house that can equal its 130-plus years. The DS PH200M made everyone sit up and take notice. The DS-1 Big Date 60th Anniversary proves that there’s more to Certina than a stunning retro diving watch.
ETA Powermatic 80.651 automatic with titanium alloy balance spring;big date; power reserve up to 80 hours
Stainless steel, 41mm
Stainless steel Milanese strap with butterfly closure