When a few weeks ago Certina presented its new DS Powermatic 80 Collection, I personally thought “OK, that looks quite cool and has some serious mechanical content.” But it also made me think about the first mechanical watch… If like me you’re a watch lover, the first mechanical watch is important. And at the same time, you think about spoiled kids on Instagram… There’s a certain balance to find. Which made me think again that this new model could well be a strong candidate for this job. And now that we’ve seen the Certina DS Powermatic 80 in the metal, it’s time to look at this question.
What is the DS Powermatic 80 Collection? In short, a watch from the Heritage collection, inspired by the DS Chronograph Automatic of 2020 – a re-edition of a Certina chronograph from the 1940s – but here in a time-and-date context, with retro style, serious execution, strong movement and just a bit of fun in its design. And a price that feels rather justified in the end.
So let’s look at the basics behind this collection. The Certina DS Powermatic 80 is based on the signature concept developed by the brand in 1959 to make watches more resilient, reliable and water-resistant, the DS system for Double Security. Something that sounds rather standard these days, but wasn’t in the late 1950s. As Rebecca explained, “like the hard shell of a turtle (adopted as the brand logo in 1960), the idea behind the double security was to protect the mechanism from all sorts of external aggressions. The original DS concept, which is still applied to all DS models today, relies on series of O-ring seals on the setting stem and crown with a special seal on the reinforced caseback.”
Following the handsome and vintage-inspired Certina DS Chronograph Automatic of last year, a watch that we personally liked a lot, except maybe for its case size that we would have preferred smaller, the brand reiterates with now time-and-date models. Same overall design, but of course a simpler display, and the addition of nice funky colours and cool straps. The case, whatever the edition of the watch you’ll choose (there are 6 in total), is made of stainless steel and measures 41mm in diameter with a height of 10.90mm, and are water-resistant to 100 metres (not bad for a dressy watch). There is the option for gold-coloured cases, like the two watches we have today, obtained by a PVD process. The watch isn’t really small, but the ergonomic lugs and slightly curved caseback are designed to enhance the fit.
While being simpler time-and-date models, these new Certina DS Powermatic 80 models share a lot with the brand’s historic watches, and the 2020 chronograph version. The dials, available in multiple colours, are slightly domed for a cool retro touch, and protected by a box-shaped sapphire crystal. Also, they retain the handsome applied arrow-shaped hour with a cutout leaving space for a luminous dot. The lance-shaped hands are also historically relevant in design, but filled with SLN. There’s a date window at 3 o’clock, which will always be a point of debate, but I guess it’s something that is required for newcomers and non-watch-enthusiasts.
The new Certina DS Powermatic 80 collection comprises white, blue, gold, green and brown dials, all with a refined sunburst finish. A discreet minutes/seconds track and a very thin and elongated blued central seconds hand complete the package on the models we had here. While the white version is rather classic and easy as a choice, the gold-coloured dial certainly adds a strong personality to the watch, and is paired with dark grey-coated hands and indexes.
Under the hood, and visible through the caseback, is the Powermatic 80 movement. Developed by the Swatch Group for its mid-range brands, and based on the reliable base of the ETA 2824, it brings multiple updates, such as an elongated power reserve of 80 hours. The present version is equipped with an anti-magnetic Nivachron balance spring – and since magnetism is the main reason for watches to be sent to service these days, that’s quite an important feature here.
The brand has also played on straps here, to bring a nice, casual touch. For instance, the white dial model comes with a fun striped NATO strap, but other models can be fitted with a more classic leather strap – equipped with quick-release spring bars.
A good option for a first mechanical watch
Besides the obvious reason for the price, the choice for a first mechanical watch is quite complex. My own take on the concept is this; it has to be cool enough to draw the attention and to build passion, but it also has to be reasonable enough to make room for evolution. If you start straight with a Rolex or an Omega, there’s not much space left in terms of growing as a collector… Except if your parents are extremely wealthy or if you have a super-successful career.
Looking at these Certina DS Powermatic 80, and with a price just below the 900 Euros/Swiss Francs mark, they can be a great gift for the holiday season, or for an achievement in life (graduation or the likes). But mostly, these are very well-built watches that will last, with mechanical movements to steer your passion in the right direction, and with designs that are cool, fun, light-minded and with a slight vintage touch that will (weirdly) talk to a young generation… Even though we would have, once again, opted for a sub-40mm case.
So, with Christmas around the corner, this is a watch to put on the list of gifts for your daughter or son. Or simply for yourself, if you’re looking to enter the fascinating world of mechanical watchmaking, without a crazy-high budget.
Availability & Price
The new Certina DS Powermatic 80 models in stainless steel cases retail for CHF 850; the models with gold-coloured PVD cases are slightly more expensive and retail for CHF 890. They are part of the permanent collection and are now available from retailers.
For more information, please consult Certina.com.