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Until May of 2021, American fans of Certina watches looked on longingly as the Swiss brand merrily launched one great watch after another. During this interim, the Powermatic 80 movement — Swatch Group’s mid-range pride and joy — served as a cornerstone for the brand, appearing in just about every form of the vaunted DS watch from the DS Action to the DS-1 and beyond. In the U.S., the Certina-shaped hole in watch lovers’ hearts was partially filled by offerings from Mido, Certina’s fraternal twin in the Swatch Group portfolio. But for some, Certina was just irreplaceable. With the very limited return of Certina to Yankee shores (they’re still hard to come by), it’s exciting to see a bevy of releases within the new DS-7 collection — fingers crossed that this portends wider Certina availability on this continent.

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North American watch fans would be forgiven for needing a primer on Certina’s catalog concept. Organized around the founding principle of “double security,” the brand’s selections are, for the most part, designated numerically: DS-1, DS-2, and so on. In each instance, protections like anti-magnetic components, anti-shock structures, and water-resistant cases define the robustness that made Certina’s standouts over 60 years ago. Today, everything the brand produces carries a DS prefix, from the modular DS+ to the retro-dressy DS-6 that draws inspiration from some of the brand’s earliest pieces, dating back to 1888. Uniquely, Certina is not afraid to blend sizes, styles, and even movements within lineups. Whereas many brands opt to lock in a specific look within a collection, Certina boldly mixes it up, as is the case with the new DS-7 group.

In 2023, the DS-7 has brought sports watches with integrated bracelets to the brand’s catalog. Within this freshman class of watches are six different references of 39mm automatic three-handers, and four references of 41mm quartz chronographs. With this many watches arriving at once, some comparison is needed. Hold up the blacked-out quartz chrono next to the lone titanium automatic, for example, and it’s clear that the watches share some DNA, yet are so distinct as to be almost totally singular.

The DS-7 cases cover all the bases, from gold-tone to two-tone, and from steel to PVD. The only permutation not present is a gold-tone chronograph, which might be for the best given the depth of existing choices. Dial colors among the 39mm automatics are a bit broader, with standards like blue and black joining unique shades of green gradient and turquoise. All told, there is tons of variety yet very little overlap in the nascent collection.

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Regardless of color, size, or machinery, the uniting feature of the DS-7 collection is the case shape and strap/bracelet interface. The semi-hidden lugs and integrated bracelet/strap could be said to be the defining feature of the collection. Each can be exchanged with a familiar quick-release system, and each also makes use of a butterfly-style folding clasp. While this often means sacrificing precision sizing, the DS-7’s links are very small to make exact fitting much easier. One attention to detail that’s particularly notable is the titanium clasp of the aforementioned blue-dial variant. Too often, brands overlook this important match, lazily sticking a steel buckle on a titanium bracelet. Not so with the DS-7.

Another notable feature is the reported thickness. For the automatics, Certina claims a thickness of just 9.94mm, making it one of the slimmest autos in the game. Even the chronographs (although they benefit from quartz movements) come in at 12.15mm, thinner than most.

Inside, the quartz models make use of ETA movements that power standard chronograph features on the dial, operated by conventional pushers. This being a Swatch Group product, the automatics house the famous Powermatic 80 caliber used widely at this price point. Providing its namesake 80-hour power reserve, these versions include a NivachronTM hairspring, a key in preventing magnetization, and a tentpole in Certina’s DS concept. Made visible via the exhibition caseback, the branded rotor adds visual interest to the otherwise familiar movement.

Viewed as a group, the DS-7 is a substantial expansion to Certina’s already robust catalog. Ten new references to launch a brand new collection is no mean feat, and with abundant variety, there will be something for just about everyone. Viewed from afar, the collection has similarities to other components of Certina’s sister brands. Just as if you squinted at the tonneau-cased 40mm DS-2, it’s easy to see the resemblance with congruently-shaped mechanical pioneers. So, here, with the DS-7, the integrated sports watch look paired with the Powermatic 80 (not to mention tons of dial variety) looks a lot like another certain integrated bracelet sports watch popular among collectors. It all combines to add more options for collectors, which is worthy of applause. The Certina DS-7 starts at 590 CHF ($610 USD) for the quartz chronograph and 740 CHF ($760 USD) for the automatic versions. Learn more at the brand’s website.

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Brand: Certina
Model: DS-7
Water Resistance: 100m
Crystal: Anti-reflective sapphire
Strap: Integrated stainless steel or titanium bracelet with quick-release mechanism. Black synthetic strap (C043.417.22.051.00 only)
– C043.407.22.091.00 – Green dial, 39mm, stainless steel/silver PVD, automatic
– C043.407.22.031.00 – Silver-colored dial, 39mm, stainless steel/gold PVD, automatic
– C043.407.22.061.00 – Black dial, 39mm, stainless steel, automatic
– C043.407.11.351.00 – Turquoise dial, 39mm, stainless steel, automatic
– C043.407.33.361.00 – Gold-colored dial, 39mm, stainless steel/gold PVD, automatic
– C043.407.44.041.00 – Blue dial, 39m, titanium, automatic
– C043.417.38.081.00 – Black dial, 41mm, stainless steel/black PVD, quartz chronograph
– C043.417.22.031.00 – Silver-colored dial, 41mm, stainless steel/gold PVD, quartz chronograph
– C043.417.22.051.00 – Black dial, 41mm, stainless steel/silver PVD, quartz chronograph
– C043.417.44.041.00 – Blue dial, , 41mm, titanium, quartz chronograph
– Quartz: Swiss-made ETA quartz G10.212 AA Precidrive™ chronograph movement with 1/10 seconds (in real time and visible during the 1st minute), 30-minute- and 60-second function. Hours, minutes, small seconds, date
– Automatic: Swiss-made ETA Powermatic 80.611 automatic with Nivachron™ balance spring. Hours, minutes, seconds, date
– Quartz: Date at 4 o’clock. Indexes, hour and minute hands coated with Super-LumiNova®
– Automatic: Date at 3 o’clock. Indexes, hour and minute hands coated with Super-LumiNova®
Availability: Available via Certina authorized retailers starting September 2023

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