The Certina DS+ is a shapeshifting innovation that lets you switch watch cases with zero fussFergus Nash
Certina have always had a way of flying under the radar for a myriad of reasons, but this new concept from the Swiss brand has marked them out as utterly unique among their peers. The concept of a modular wristwatch has been around for a little while, occasionally cropping up with microbrands and other Kickstarter projects. But this is the first time it’s been done with a time-honoured Swiss brand like Certina. Not only does the release of the Certina DS+ have implications for the entry-level luxury sector, but the success of this could find its way working up and across the Swatch Group ladder.
The fundamental idea of the Certina DS+ as a modular system is quite simple, breaking down the wristwatch into a head, a case, and a strap. The head of the watch contains the movement and dial encapsulated with a crown, and could be carried around on its own if you were so inclined. The case informs the context of the watch, able to change its personality between smart, dressy sensibilities or an all-out tough diver with rotating bezel capability. We’re all aware of the power that changing a strap can have on a watch, and the use of quick-release spring bars makes it easy to swap over either the included Certina straps, or aftermarket ones.
Three main Certina DS+ kits have been curated for those who want a few swapping options to start out with, although you are free to mix and match between any of the elements purchased separately. The first kit is the Aqua & Sport, providing one 43mm diving case and a 41mm sports case with strong 1970s influence, packaged with a neat black dial and black NATO strap or steel bracelet. Thanks to the enclosed watch head design, any combination of heads and cases are water resistant to 200m.
The Sport & Urban kit has a white watch head with gold indices, matching the gold-tone bezel of the Sport case, and providing a nice touch of class when worn with the subtle 40mm Urban case. This kit comes with a gorgeous mesh bracelet that lies somewhere between a Milanese and a beads-of-rice, as well as a rugged brown leather strap.
The Urban & Heritage kit now pairs a sunburst blue and gilt dial with a two-tone Urban case, and an impressively kitsch Heritage case with a 43.4mm diameter in a heavily chamfered cushion shape. It also comes with a NATO or bracelet combo, this time in blue.
The Certina DS+ dial itself, while identical in layout across all three head options, does change quite dramatically when re-contextualising the different colours in the different cases. Certina have done incredibly well to create a harmonious look that balances sportiness and sophistication without being too boring or bland, capturing the brand’s identity in a nutshell. The head utilises the Powermatic 80 movement that’s so popular among Swatch Group fans, thanks to it’s proven reliability, accuracy, and that generous 80-hour power reserve. The use of a 6 o’clock date wheel is handy too, so there’s no part of the Certina DS+ that sacrifices functionality in any configuration.
The Certina DS+ pricing and availability:
The Certina DS+ is now available from the Certina website here, and from authorised retailers. You can either purchase one of the three established kits, choose your own components, or use their online configurator to preview some combinations that excite you. Price: 748 – 864 CHF (Min. – max. price for a head, case, and strap) / 940 – 960 CHF (Pre-made kits)
|40mm, 41mm, 43mm, 43.4mm
|Black, blue, white
|Solid steel bracelet, mesh bracelet, NATO strap, leather strap
|748 – 864 CHF (Min. – max. price for a head, case, and strap) / 940 – 960 CHF (Pre-made kits)