Spending Time With The Funky Certina DS-2 Powermatic 80
Certina's retro-cool DS-2 is excellent value-for-money, combining vintage looks with modern specs.
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
Yep, they definitely missed the mark sizing it at 40mm. Tell me more about this spring-loaded clasp on your vintage DS-2. Sounds awesome!
Does this model still have the double security system like the original?
I don’t like it ether .
I don’t mind the size but the see through back is ridicilous. This watch has to have the turtle back. Period. They already use it on some other models. Why do they think that someone needs to see this movement? And what’s also a no go is that Certina lately doesn’t even offer matching stainless steel bracelets. Tissot, from the same herd, seems to be able to do that.
Well, pretty to look at but I wont spend money on it.
Couldn’t agree more re the size and caseback.
Certina often misses the mark with the size.
Their heritage divers and that beautiful DS chrono would have killed it at 40mm or under.
Agree with the author, under 38mm and proper turtle 🐢 back would make me fall in love.
38mm would have made it interesting for me as 40mm will be just too big with this case shape. But I always appreciate a display case back, even on a mass-produced movement. Makes it easier to verify authticity without cracking it open and ruining the WR as a result.
I can live with the 40mm, but the see through case for the unadorned Powermatic 80 shows that Certina does not understand the appeal of this watch. It was a tank and the steel back with the turtle symbol was part of its tough charm. I skipped this version because of the see through back.