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Watch Freek
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WATCH NAME - Certina Ds-1

Welcome to my unsponsored and unpaid review of the Certina Ds-1.

After having three attempts at owning a Flieger I actually bonded with, I recently sold my Escapement Time Flieger B. A very well spec’d watch, with 300m of water resistance, sapphire crystal, and a good leather strap. What’s more, it was ridiculously well priced, I just think I am not a Flieger type of guy. This left a gap in my watch box, and as much as I love diver’s watches, I didn’t want another one.

Now, I am not a lover of dress watches, but I don’t see the Ds-1 as being purely a dress watch. To be honest, I don’t think it’s entirely a sports watch either, so would describe it as a dressy sports watch. This is ideal for me. You see, I am very much hoping to receive a knighthood at some point, and despite my large collection of watches, I have been uncertain if I own one befitting of such an occasion, but think this may be ideal.

It’s my first Certina, and I have heard nothing but good things. You see, I don’t believe there is a massive gap between entry level Swiss watches, and luxury brand Swiss watches. Of course, some may disagree. Certina are one of many brands owned by the Swatch group, and this has certain advantages. We will get to that later.

SPECIFICATIONS –
Case 39mm, depth 11mm, lug width 21mm, lug to lug 48mm. Weight for my 6 7/8” wrist is 124 grams on the stainless bracelet. These are great dimensions, and pretty perfect for most size wrists. It should said though, the watch wears far more like a 40mm, partly because of the lack of a bezel.

PRESENTATION –
It’s a reasonably premium box, and good enough for a watch of this price.

MOVEMENT & CROWN –

This houses the ETA 2824-2 movement. It runs at 28,800 bph, hacks, hand winds, and regulated correctly is very accurate. These movements have little positional variance and run accurately with a low amplitude. That means, they are accurate prior to being fully wound. In brief, the ETA, and many of its variance are probably the best mechanical movements to be found in watches under a few thousand pounds, and are often used in watches costing a lot more. The advantage of buying a Swatch group watch is getting a watch with an ETA movement, rather than any of its variants. That isn’t to say movements such as the PT5000, Sellita SW200, and Ronda equivalent aren’t excellent as well.

It should be mentioned that the Ds-1 is also available with a quartz and Powermatic 80 movement. I have little interest in an extended power reserve at the cost of a smoother sweep, so am happy I have the 2824 movement. The other derivatives do have slightly different dial layouts though.

The crown is signed, well knurled, the right size for the watch, and operates beautifully. However, like many ETA movements, the winding action is quite heavy. I would always suggest that only a few hand winds are necessary with this movement.

CASE, CRYSTAL & FINISH –
The Ds-1 has a slightly boxed dome sapphire crystal. I am not sure if it has any reflective coating, if it does, there isn’t much.

The finishing is superb. It has a combination of horizontal brushing and polishing, and all is done well. The case shape is simple, but elegant. The case back is of the exhibition variety, and is screw down. Unfortunately the rear crystal is only mineral. On such a watch I find exhibition backs are the right thing to do. For what it’s worth, I am not a fan of them on diver’s watches.

BRACELET/STRAP & CLASP –
From the moment you handle the watch you know the bracelet is well made and is going to be comfortable. The five-link construction articulates beautifully and fits around the wrist like leather. I simply love the combination of 80% brushing, and a hint of polishing. The links are solid with a push pin system. Some may moan they aren’t attached by screws, but this isn’t something that has ever bothered me, although I do believe a pin and collar system would have been more secure. All the links are solid, and the end link is female, which also adds to the comfortable fit. The end links fir the case perfectly with absolutely no play. The clasp is partially milled and functional. It is secure, yet doesn’t feel as premium as the rest of the watch. These seams common with Swatch group watches, as Tissot are exactly the same. There are only three micro adjustments, which is a shame, especially as my preference is a minimum of four.

BEZEL –
Needless to say, this watch doesn’t have a bezel, which helps highlight the beautiful dial.

DIAL & LUME –
Firstly, the lume. The hour and minute hand have a minimal amount of lume, so minimal it’s not worth talking about.

The beautiful grey partially textured dial drew me to this watch. There are countless amounts of watches on the market of this type, but the majority are a tad boring, the Ds-1 certainly isn’t. I simply love the applied Roman numerals and minute track, and the script is neither too much or too little. This dial exhumes good taste and class. It has a date window at the 4.30 position that is colour matched. Where a manufacturer puts a date window can be quite subjective, but I quite like it.

WATER RESISTANCE -
DS stands for double security. This refers to a hardy movement and the water resistance. Despite the fact it doesn’t have a screw down crown, it’s still got a 100m water resistance rating. This is partly what makes this a sports dress watch.

PRICE &VALUE FOR MONEY –
Determining the true retail price of this watch isn’t easy. If I was prepared to wait for delivery, I could have imported this new from the USA and paid as little as £282 including postage and duty. I could also have paid nearly £600 from a UK high street retailer. In reality, it probably has a UK retail value around £500. That isn’t cheap, but find me a Swiss a well-made watch with an ETA 2824 movement for less. For what it’s worth, I bought this barely worn one from an eBay seller for £275. This model is also available with a leather strap, which in turn will save you a few quid.

QC ISSUES, Dislikes & Likes
Fortunately, there are no QC issues, but by my own admittance I don’t look for such issues as closely as some other reviewers.

Whilst this watch is indeed lovely, like most things in life it isn’t perfect. It is designed with a sports element, so why on earth didn’t Certina give it a respectable lume? Secondly, it looks like the clasp belongs to another watch, as it just isn’t befitting of this timepiece. Like I said, it’s adequate, but isn’t premium. As mentioned, either screw links or a pin and collar system would have been better than the basic push pins for the bracelet. Finally, I am not sure why Certina needed to give the watch a 48mm lug to lug, after all, it’s meant to be a dress watch, and a 46mm would have been more suitable.

Of course, it has far many more strong points than it does weak. It’s stand out feature is the beautiful dial, but the overall fit and comfortable bracelet don’t come far behind. The bracelet is excellent, as is the movement. Like I said, I am not a great lover of out an out dress watches, so the slightly sporty element makes this watch far more palatable for me.

SUMMARY

If you are looking for a well-made Swiss watch of this type, you will struggle to find better. Another option may be the Tissot Le Locle, but you will have to put up with less water resistance and a butterfly clasp if you take that route. There are many Seiko watches that fit the bill, but unless you want to spend twice as much to get something that probably won’t be as good, it’s not really an option. Ultimately, I am very much hoping I receive a knighthood in the coming year, and at last I believe I may have purchased a watch that would suit the occasion.

This is a very nice watch, but not without its flaws. If you are after something a bit dressy and a bit sporty, you could do a lot worse
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Yeah, outstanding really MW ! Thanks a ton !!! :D

My apologies about letting the Escspement Time go,
but this DS-1 really is stunning, and just a phenomenal
looking watch. o_O😮 Not to mention is a watch that
seems as if it can take on any day, or occasion you
might have in store for it. It’s actually very much like
a chameleon it seems ! ..Which I honestly love.

Also love that these watches, and Certina in general
offer such bang for the buck. 😉 I often for some reason,
picture Certina watches being way more expensive, but
they really are a neat, very cool brand/company. (y)(y)
 
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