After far too long, Certina is on a roll: most people have no idea just how illustrious is this brand’s history, how innovative it was – especially with matters of ruggedness – or that it was a true manufacture. To put it another way, the “DS” in the new DS PH200M has nothing to do with, say, an equally innovate automotive design from Citroen. Here it means “Double Security”.
Security against what? Water, dust and destructive shocks, because Certina – like its Swatch Group siblings Tissot, Blancpain, Longines and Omega – was known for professional diving watches in the 1960s and 1970s, and renewed efforts should return the brand to the public’s consciousness. One reason it is back in force with water-resistant timepieces is its support of the Sea Turtle Conservancy project, an endeavour that complements Certina’s maritime legacy.
Flip over the DS PH200M and you’ll see what I mean: the company’s logo is a turtle, suggesting a case that is as robust as a tortoise shell. I like to think that some wag in Certina chose it in part because it gently satirises another brand which uses a certain mollusc – also known for its efficacy as an aphrodisiac – as its case type’s namesake to denote water-resistance.
For Certina’s latest, the depth to which it’s secure is 20 BAR, equal to the 200m referred to in its name. Beefy 42.8mm size aside, it’s a delightful time-warp as far as the looks are concerned. Even the use of a NATO-style strap – the current over-used, rarely suitable trope for modernising a tool watch – amplifies its heritage status because the colour scheme, if not the number of stripes, recalls the fabric strap fitted to James Bond’s Rolex worn in Goldfinger back in 1964.
Inside, though, it’s a different story: like its relative, the latest Tissot Seastar, this uses the new automatic ETA Powermatic 80.111, with a healthy power reserve of 80 hours. It’s blessed with superior legibility thanks to the generous use of Super-LumiNova for the hands and indices. The bold bezel’s prominent indications segue into those on the black lacquered dial, the hour hand is a massive dagger type, and the red sweep seconds hand is a perfect accent to break up the monochrome look.
Continuing the historical veracity is the use of a Hesalite crystal, as in the original DS Concept, treated with anti-reflective and scratch-resistant NEX Scratchguard coatings. Water-resistance is ensured through the use of a separate mounting ring, screw-back case and screw-down crown. Increasing the sense of occasion is the packaging, a robust, reusable Peli-style case also containing the spare strap in brown calfskin, supplied for dressier occasions.
There’s one other area where Certina addresses the past: a seriously un-21st century price. All this is yours for an astonishing £565. Hell’s bells, I’ve seen watch buckles that
Automatic ETA Powermatic 80.111; power reserve 80 hours
Brushed 42.8mm 316L stainless steel; water resistant to 200m
Black/grey NATO-style and brown calfskin, both with pin buckles