The Certina DS Super PH1000M dives deep for cheapFergus Nash
As one of Switzerland’s most underrated brands, it’s great to get reminders of Certina’s place in watchmaking history. By the 1970s dive watches had begun to reach their peak of popularity which still lasts today, and Certina had established their DS or ‘double security’ range which emphasised both water and shock resistance. The DS-2 SuperPH 1000M came about in 1970 as a rare example of a commercial diver which could reach those depths, and now it’s back as the Certina DS Super PH1000M.
While the Certina DS Super PH1000M isn’t a perfect replica of the 1970s DS-2, the changes are very much welcome adjustments to the case size and wearability. Back then, the technology for water resistance was a bit more limited, and manufacturers needed to rely on thickness as part of the case’s defences. The original Certina’s case was almost 18mm thick, pretty much towering on the wrist. The new model reduces that thickness as well as the diameter, going from 44.5mm to 43.5mm wide and 42mm long.
As for the shape and finish, the Certina DS Super PH1000M is classic ‘70s. The cushion profile is endearing and the radial-brushing on the surface gives it a slightly-refined ruggedness that backs up its technical capability. The domed bezel with its thick-cut edge gives it a unique look and ease of grip, as well as a UFO-like stance when viewed from side-on. Other changes from the original model include the addition of a hidden helium escape valve on the right side of the case, and the screw-down crown is no longer recessed. The recessed crown was harder to grip, but it is a shame to lose some of the symmetry it provided.
Aside from the dial text which has been updated to account for the new model name and modern logo, the Certina DS Super PH1000M’s dial remains pretty much exactly as it was in 1970. The applied numerals are charming and blocky, and the thick hour hand is easily distinguished from the slender minute hand which is also coated in vibrant orange. Of course the luminous material has been changed from tritium-based material to Swiss Super-LumiNova, including the triangle at the 12′ position of the aluminium bezel insert.
Two dials were produced for the ‘70s watch, either in orange or black. Although there are plenty of surviving examples of both, the orange dial is definitely more sought-after, especially as many of them have faded into a pleasing yellow hue. Looking at vintage catalogues, the new orange dial seems to be spot-on to how the old one would have looked new, and this is the limited edition release of 1,000 pieces. Thankfully Certina are also producing the black dial version as an unlimited watch, so you won’t miss out if your heart’s not set on brightness.
As far as strap options go, you have a choice between ordering a rubber accordion-style strap or a fabric strap in #tide recycled ocean plastic material, both in black. They’re inoffensive options that keep the focus on the dial and also help to keep costs down. The 20mm lug width however provides the perfect platform for aftermarket experimentation, especially with something like an orange-stripe NATO for example.
As a brand under the Swatch Group, Certina benefits from the use of the fan-favourite Powermatic 80 movement. The power reserve of 80 hours is super handy, especially if you wear a rotation of watches. Coupled with its affordability and a good reputation for accuracy, it’s a great value-oriented movement for a watch like this. The only possible drawbacks are the 3Hz beat rate which isn’t as smooth as most other Swiss movements, and a general lack of serviceability as they don’t have a regulator.
The number of 1000m dive watches at this price point is minuscule, instantly giving it an edge over any competition. Even so, the design of the Certina DS Super PH1000M is fun and attractive in its own right, making it a perfect summer fling or daily wearer. The change to the dimensions makes it appropriate for most wrists, and my only nitpick would be my preference for the old recessed crown. Throw on a NATO strap with a bit of colour, and you’ve got a winner.
Certina DS Super PH1000M pricing and availability
The Certina DS Super PH1000M is now available from Certina retailers, with the orange dial a limited edition of 1,000 pieces. Price: CHF 910 (Black) / CHF 970 (Orange)
|Model||DS Super PH1000M|
|Case Dimensions||43.5mm (D)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||1000 metres|
|Dial||Orange or black|
|Strap||Black rubber or #tide recycled ocean plastic material|
|Power Reserve||80 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|
|Availability||Orange dial limited to 1,000 pieces|
|Price||CHF 910 (Black)
CHF 970 (Orange)