Review of Certina DS Action Titanium Automatic Diver

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Model #  CO13.407.44.081.00
 
Brand/Model:  Certina DS Action Titanium Automatic Diver
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  titanium case and bracelet
Complications:  date display
Price:  MSRP:  about $925 USD


Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

 
Certina is a watch brand of the Swatch Group and is not widely known here in the states nor are they officially sold in the United States, so this bit of exclusivity is kind of nifty.  The brand dates to 1888 and its founding by brothers Adolf and Alfred Kurth who started in the manufacture of movements and supplies for watches, not making complete timepieces until several years later. 
The company’s first brand name appeared in 1906 as ‘Grana.’  It wasn’t until 1938 that the current name of Certina was used.  Certina is Latin for ‘assured’ or ‘certain.’  Not bad qualities to have in a watch.
 
The moniker ‘DS’ was introduced in 1959 as ‘double security’, as in a movement suspended inside a reinforced case, a form of shock resistance.  Their DS designs raised shock resistance to being able to withstand a 6 meter drop and 20 atms of water resistance.  This design innovation basically marked the beginning of the company’s sports and dive models, with a series of endorsements and action-related adventures featuring various Certina watches throughout the sixties and seventies.
 
What drew me to this Certina DS Action diver?  Its overall fairly unique look, exclusivity (at least in the U.S.) and lightweight titanium (Ti) construction.  And the price wasn’t bad for all that this Swiss watch offers.  The DS Action diver is also available in stainless steel, as well as automatic chronograph versions with both rubber and stainless steel bracelets.
 
The DS Action Ti starts with an all titanium case measuring 41.5mm without the large, widely knurled and signed screwdown crown (with two o-ring gaskets in the crown and one o-ring gasket on the stem for extra security against water intrusion).  With the crown, it measures 47mm.  The case is fully brushed in the familiar satin grey titanium color. 
The Ti caseback is screwed down, polished and showcases the Certina turtle logo.  According to DS standards, the caseback is reinforced and has a ‘specific’ gasket sealing it to the case.  Lug spacing is 21mm and case thickness is a fairly thin 12.3mm.  The watch sits comfortably on the wrist and does not wear large.
 
Overall fit and finish on the DS Action is quite good and while not the kind of watch that I immediately fell in love with, after owning it for awhile and wearing it, I have come to really enjoy what it represents (value, quality, functionality).  Please note!  I purchased this watch second-hand and the clasp has some bad polish marks on it where someone tried to remove some scuffs and didn’t do a very good job, as they show up in the photos.
 
The DS Action diver is factory rated at 200 meters of water resistance and is built to meet ISO standards for dive watches, being ISO 6425 compliant (which not all dive watches do).  You can be assured that this watch will take to the water without any problems. 
 
The dial and handset on the DS Action Ti is really where this watch shines.  The dial is a silvery grey with a subtle sunburst effect.  A very sharp color.  The hands are silver with white inset lume, with an arrow style hour hand.  The seconds hand is half white, half red, with a lume ball about two-thirds of the way up the hand, in the middle of the red section.  
 
Round applied luminous markers are at the five minute marks, with rectangular applied luminous markers at the 15, 30 and 45 positions.  An inverted triangular luminous marker is at the 12 position.  Lume is the currently popular blue color and is of good quality.
 
The quickset date is at the 4:30 position.  The date wheel is standard black on white and alignment within the smallish window is fine.  
 
About the only dislike of the dial is the amount of printing on it, with three rows of wording on the upper half of the dial and four rows on the  lower half.  It’s really too much lettering cluttering up the dial; half the amount would be much better.  A flat sapphire crystal with a non-reflective coating protects the dial.
 
The bezel is another winner on this watch.  It’s a standard 60-click unidirectional design but with widely spaced knurls, giving it a gear-like look.  The bezel rotates easily (almost a bit too easily), with positive clicks and nary any backlash. 
The insert is completely smooth and is finished in the same grey color of the dial.  Full markings (small dots for the minutes, arabics at each ten minute mark and marker bars at each five minute mark) are underneath the bezel insert.  The first 20 minutes of the bezel is luminous, being green lume instead of blue lume like on the dial.  An interesting treatment.  The lume quality on the bezel is not as good as on the dial.
 
Inside the DS Action diver beats a Swiss Made ETA 2824-2 automatic, a workhorse of a mechanical watch movement if there ever was one.  Timekeeping has been measured in my atelier at +12 seconds/24 hours, with a power reserve of 41-3/4 hours, all within expectations for this movement.  Of course, the movement hacks and manually winds.
 
The bracelet is solid titanium, with standard oyster style solid links, solid end links and a signed double locking clasp.  The clasp is just okay, it could be a bit heavier to keep up with the purposeful design of the watch; as is, it feels a bit cheap.  The deployant is machined titanium, with a stamped titanium dive extension. 
The bracelet measures 21mm at the lugs and tapers to 18.9mm at the clasp.  A simple, no-nonsense bracelet that gets the job done with a minimum of fuss.
 
Presentation is a decent looking white box with red lettering, appropriate for a watch of this price point.  There are two compartments inside the box, one for the watch and the other for the instructions and warranty cards.
 
Overall, the Certina DS Action titanium diver is a no-nonsense watch that is built to take a great deal of abuse and still come out functioning fine.  It’s a tool watch for sure, but has a bit more panache than some tool watches, which is a good thing.  Not overly bulky in any one dimension, this watch gets the job done while looking great doing so.
 
Pros:  great grey dial and bezel, very legible hands, nicely proportioned crown, lightweight titanium construction, bezel lume execution is slick, true Swiss heritage
 
Cons:  too much printing on the dial, date window a bit too small, stamped part of clasp could be thicker/of better quality
 
Verdict:  not a household name in the states, the Certina DS Action diver is a superb dive watch up to the task of actual diving as well as daily ‘desk’ diving.  It looks great, is well made and represents a good value for all that it possesses.  Well done!

 
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures.
 
Excelsior!
 
-Marc


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