Just as a little insight for this article, I own a vintage Certina DS-2. One from 1973 if my resources are correct, and fitted to a period-correct Certina-branded black leather strap with a spring-loaded Certina-clasp. This did not come with it originally, but I stumbled upon one by accident and couldn’t resist. So, when news broke that Certina was about to relaunch the vintage DS-2 in a modern collection, it was a no-brainer that I was tasked with first coverage. Now, a couple of months after the initial release, I’ve had the chance to go hands-on with it and share a few thoughts on it. And even though I’m slightly biased, I am most pleased with the 2022 edition of the DS-2 but have a few small complaints as well.
The DS-2 was first introduced in 1968 and it was known for its (at the time) robust construction with double-security technology. The double-security system prevented dust and water to enter the case, and kept the movement safe from shocks. Over the years it proved quite popular and Certina made quite a number of different variations. Time-only, time-and-date, day-date and even chronograph versions all saw the light of day between 1968 and 1976. Even today it’s a collection that gets quite a bit of attention from vintage watch enthusiasts.
Up to modern standards
To bring the DS-2 into the modern age of watchmaking, Certina has decided it needed to be enlarged to 40mm across and 12.65mm in height. It has retained that very period-correct tonneau shape, done in stainless steel and alternating brushed and polished surfaces. The Plexiglas has been ditched in favour of a sapphire crystal, yet with that characteristic dome. The crown screws down to ensure a very decent 200m water resistance.
In terms of dials, there’s plenty to choose from. Three of the four dials available are finished with a nice sunray, in silver, black or blue. The fourth option is a deep black lacquered dial, but we’ve only had the brushed dials for this hands-on. Each one has applied indices with a strike of Super-LumiNova down the centre. Time is indicated with baton hour and minute hands, and an arrow-tipped seconds hand, all with Super-LumiNova. At three o’clock the date window is nicely finished with an inserted frame. In terms of branding, Certina opted for the vintage Double-C logo, which is a no-brainer really.
As mentioned, the DS-2 is updated to modern standards and that includes the movement as well. While previously it was either a hand-wound or automatic movement, you now only have the option of an automatic one. As Certina is part of the Swatch Group, it has access to the latest in-group movements. Ticking away inside the steel case is the Powermatic 80.611 automatic movement, fitted with an anti-magnetic Nivachron hairspring. One of the biggest benefits of the Powermatic 80 movement, being a massively overhauled ETA 2842-2 at heart, is the increased power reserve of 80 hours.
Even though it’s not particularly special to look at, it’s an industrial mass-produced movement after all, Certina has chosen to reveal it thanks to the sapphire crystal caseback. It runs at a frequency of 21,600vph, which used to be 28,800vph in the ETA 2824-2 generation. The rotor is branded with a vintage font, keeping in check with the overall retro appeal of the watch.
Each of the sunray-brushed dial Certina DS-2’s comes on a fabric strap made from #tide ocean materials in either blue or anthracite. The black lacquered dial is worn on a stainless steel mesh bracelet. Prices differ as a result, with the Certina DS-2 with a sunray brushed dial retailing for EUR 870 and the black lacquered dial at EUR 940. For this, you get a watch that very closely resembles the original Certina DS-2 and one that looks and feels great on the wrist. I’d even dare to say it’s quite excellent value for money! But, there’s something I just can’t resist mentioning.
When it comes to the modern Certina DS-2, I have two small remarks. Personally, I think it would have benefited from a slightly smaller diameter and height. It would be on par with the current shift towards slightly smaller watches and would be in line with the sub-40mm size of the original DS-2.
The second remark I have is regarding the caseback. I realize they want to showcase that strong Powermatic 80 movement but if you want to revive such a well-loved Certina, the turtle caseback would have been the way to go. The original one had it, it’s a nod to the Double-Security system and they do it in other collections. It would have made an already fun watch even cooler I’d say.
For more information, please visit Certina.com