Much of the watch-loving world still doesn’t know about Certina — one of the under-the-radar Swatch Group brands — because Certina is still not well-distributed all over the world. That historically includes the United States, but the Swatch Group is slowly starting to bring Certina watches into the American market. That’s a good thing because Certina is one of the Group’s more affordable Swiss Made watch brands, positioned alongside companies like Hamilton and Tissot, and just a bit under Longines when it comes to price point. Certina specializes in well-priced sports watches, and I think this version of the Certina DS Action Diver (reference C032.607.48.051.00 as reviewed) is a perfect example of that fact. The short of it is that this is a titanium-cased ISO-certified diver’s watch with a Powermatic movement and a price under 1,000 Swiss Francs.
Certina makes several versions of the DS Action Diver, offering both steel and titanium cases, different dial colors, and most versions coming on a matching metal bracelet. In fact, only this particular version of the DS Action Diver comes on a NATO-style strap option. If you like this watch but would prefer it on a matching titanium bracelet, then certainly take a look at the Certina DS Action Diver reference C032.607.44.051.00, which costs less than 100 Swiss Francs more than this model.
There is a lot the DS Action Diver watch does well with very few quibbles at all. One of the smaller things I would point out is that most enthusiasts would probably rather have a no-date version of the dial and preserve more visual symmetry. The date window at 3 o’clock isn’t overly obtrusive at all, but I know many fellow watch lovers and will agree that they would have preferred this dial to be a bit cleaner. That said, Swatch Group will correctly point out that most of the mainstream consumers out there do, indeed, still prefer a date window on their mechanical watches, so that is probably why the DS Action Divers have them.
Most versions of the watch have a more traditional white-colored luminant for the hands and hour markers, but I really like the look of this tan-colored lume, as it goes with the glossy black dial and the deeper gray tone of the titanium case. Design- and presentation-wise, Certina is channeling a vibe that is somewhere between the Rolex Submariner and any given high-end Omega diver’s watch. Yes, the Certina has a bit of its own look and feel, but you can tell that this watch is squarely trying to remind you (in a good way) of other esteemed high-end watch-wearing experiences. In fact, to its credit, Certina does an excellent job of giving the DS Action Diver the look and feel of a much more expensive watch. That is a combination of the excellent use of materials and surfaces, as well as the crisply machined titanium case. In a way, it feels like the Swatch Group’s Tudor to Omega.
The 43mm-wide case is in finely machined titanium and is about 13mm-thick with a roughly 51mm lug-to-lug distance. That has the DS Action Diver wearing large, but not too large by any means. The case is water resistant to 300 meters and carries an ISO 6425 certification designation (which is not an easy task). The uni-directional rotating bezel insert is in polished black ceramic with a lume pip and marker coloring that matches the dial’s Super-LumiNova colors. Over the dial is a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal. Certina does a great job with the dial because, even though the hands and hour markers have polished elements, the overall face-reading experience is very legible with little glare. On the rear of the case is Certina’s iconic turtle shell design embossed with nice effect.
Another little quirk is that Certina opted to go with 21mm-wide spacing between the lugs. This is visually a correct size, but 21mm-wide straps are a bit uncommon to find. Supplied with this C032.607.48.051.00 version of the DS Action Diver is a black and orange-colored nylon NATO-style strap that comes on a matching titanium buckle. Inside the watch is a movement borrowed from other Swatch Group brands, namely the Swiss Made ETA automatic Powermatic caliber 80.611. This is a 3Hz operation, 80-hour power reserve movement. Even without a 4Hz operational frequency, the Swatch Group typically boasts chronometer-like performance out of Powermatic movements given the upgraded parts and relatively high-efficiency operation of the mechanism. Certina offers a nice alternative to a Powermatic movement if those offered by brands like Hamilton and Tissot aren’t to your taste.
Mass appeal from a visual and wearing perspective is a strong suit of the DS Action Diver, even if a lot of watch collectors are still mostly unfamiliar with the brand. The watch has an attractive design and excellent features and is comfortable on the wrist with a versatile sense of fashionability. I really enjoy wearing this Certina quite a bit and look forward to sharing more of the brand’s products on aBlogtoWatch soon. Price for the Certina DS Action Diver reference C032.607.48.051.00 is 970 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Certina watches website here.
>Model: DS Action Diver reference C032.607.48.051.00
>Price: 970 Swiss Francs
>Size: 43mm-wide, 13.1mm-thick, ~51mm lug-to-lug distance
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As a serious diver’s watch or handsome daily-wear desk-diver.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone looking for value and style in a traditional diver’s watch priced around $1,000 USD.
>Best characteristic of watch: Really nice use of parts and construction techniques for the price. Attractive design and nearly universal visual appeal. Titanium is finished well and helps keep the case very lightweight.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Watch enthusiasts would have likely opted for a cleaner-looking dial without the date. A bit strange to me that rather than charging fractionally more for a package with the matching titanium bracelet and NATO-style strap, Certina created a separate SKU for each watch combination.