September 2020 witnessed an unexpected surprise from Certina, the DS Chronograph Automatic. Packing 130 year of experience and a look specific to the ’40s, the watch is remarkable good looking, especially for its price tag.
The Heritage collection featured until now a series of vintage-looking pieces inspired by the brand’s past. For the first time, Certina goes way back, almost 80 years to bring a specific look back to life. Certina DS Chronograph Automatic is presented with the classic and elegant look specific those times.
Slim, elegant lines
Certina DS Chronograph Automatic comes in a beautiful, classic-looking 42 mm diameter steel case. While the case is definitively large by those times standards, now is more contemporary as ever. Certina managed to keep the elegant proportion of the entire watch. Even the domed crystal reminds of those times.
The case is finished with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. The wide pushers have a familiar for those used to the watches of that era. Even the flat crown with Certina logo rounds the vintage look. The exterior look of the DS Chronograph Automatic is faithfully reflecting an exceptional era in watchmaking.
The bi-compax dial
The final touch for a complete ’40s vintage look is the dial. Featuring a classic layout with two central sub-dial, the Certina DS Chronograph Automatic brings a lot of nostalgia. The watch features a complete dial with telemeter and tachymeter, rarely met today. The central hands are slightly bent. Together with the rest of the blued hands, the watch offers a lovely contrast.
Note the blue accent os the tachymeter scale. The interior register is purposed for the chronographic function with the notation in seconds for great accuracy. The same register can be successfully used for the minute readout. The hours are not fogoten – 10 applied volumetric indices, from which two numerals, serve as indexes for the hours.
The dial is simply delicios. Certina opted not to display date, which I find it a smart choice. The printing and the overall dial layout is gorgeous.
The left side of the dial reveals the running seconds on a circular pattern with black printings sub-dial. The other sub-dial is used for the 30 minutes counter.
A powerful movement
Certina chose for this watch a calibre based in the Valjoux 7753 – the ETA A05.H31. This movement was updated and modernised with a silicon balance spring. Calibre ETA A05.H31 offers an impressive power reserve of 60 hours. Unfortunately, the movement is not revealed, being covered by a solid caseback.
We only have available the stock photo of this movement. This reveals basic, industrial finishes, easily understandable for this price category. Don’t get it wrong, the Calibre ETA A05.H31 comes with pleasent decorations, but does not shine on this chapter.
The behaviour of the chronograph function is quite alright. I find it a bit better than the “rather” brutal feedback offered by the classic 7750/51. But not having a direct comparison piece, I rely upon only tactile memory.
A gorgeous chronograph with an interesting price tag
Certina managed to pull quite a fat rabbit from its hat. But by all means, this is not a cheap trick. Certina DS Chronograph Automatic is an exceptionally good looking watch at a very attractive price point. It is not just a well designed vintage-inspired piece, but also a modern contestant. It brings an improved movement featuring a silicon balance spring – that means less sensitive to temperature or magnetic interferences.
The watch wears small than expected. Due to its slim design with elongated lugs, flat crown and cute pushers, the watch brings the feeling of the ’40s into the modern times. The legibility is excellent, but note there is no luminescent material – the lack of it being for my not only understandable but also desirable.
Certina DS Chronograph Automatic Technical Specifications and Price
Special feature: DS (Double Security), anti-magnetic silicon balance spring, an elaborate tribute to a historic model
- Hours, minutes, small seconds
- 30-minute counter,
- ETA A05.H31 automatic movement,
- Swiss Made,
- Silicon balance spring
- 60 hour power reserve
- Stainless steel,
- 42 mm diameter
- Water resistance: Up to a pressure of 10 bar (100 m)
- Glass: Anti-reflective, convex sapphire crystal
- Silver-coloured, convex dial;
- Small seconds at 9 o’clock
- 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
- Hands: Blue, curved
- Leather strap, butterfly closure with two pushers
- Switzerland CHF 1,890.00*
- Germany EUR 1 842.-
- United Kingdom GPB 1 690.-
- Hong Kong HKD 15 000.-
*recommended retail price