Certina DS Action Quartz diving watch

„Taste isn´t kind“, said the good Doctor Lecter to Clarice when he was kept so rudely incarcerated. And, as usual, he was right. The more you develop your taste, the more things can get spoiled by just that.

I had been looking for a “perfect” wristwatch for every day for the last few months, including the hot summer weeks. My needs were : A good modern size, but not overly large. A quartz movement for reliability and accuracy without having a need to service the timepiece, and since I change watches sometimes, I didn´t want to have to set time and date on an automatic or handwind movement every other day. Decent lume, timeless design, a nice metal bracelet that can take lots of sweat, a date function without a cyclops, maybe a unidirectional diving bezel for short and rough timing.

Submariner style watches are always a good solution for these needs, but most of the homage candidates ususally feature Chinese movements that need a lucky pick to get an accurate one. Also, many of the them have cyclopses or the water resistance is not so good. I had a nice Junghans quartz sub hommage in the 90s for many years that was quite ok, but nothing on the market seemed to compare.

I had been sneaking around the swiss Certina Quartz models for quite some time, but could never justify the retail prices on my budget. Especially the DS Action Quartz models seemed promising, but 400 Euros for a watch with a quartz movement that costs around 30 dollars as a spare part ? Anyway, a very slightly used one turned up on ebay. The seller description seemed competent and honest, the price was right (about half of the retail price, including insured shipping) and I made one of the more spontaneous decisions of my life.

After only two days of waiting, I received the DHL announcement at work that the parcel had arrived at home with my folks. Talk about torture. ds0 Opening the white Certina box was a revelation of quality. If you have never handled a really well-made watch, you should give it a try. OK, the Certaina DS Action does not contain a mechanical movement, so some aficionados would not even consider it a real watch.

But let´s just talk about workmanship, not snobism. A super solid case and bracelet with a clasp that double locks in a nicely subdued finish, a coated sapphire crystal, a solidly screwed crown and a precisely turning diving bezel (like a vintage safe lock) are things that come not cheap when made in Switzerland, so even the full retail price at your local dealer is probably justified.

The only things that I could criticize on this DS is that the bezel resistance is not too high when you turn it, but I do not dive anyway, and that the lume could be better. It is, quite honestly, more in the Casio department than in the Seiko class, I´d say, if you know these categories. There are tuning possibilities to remedy this. As it is, I can tell the time in a completely dark bedroom with it.

I had to get used to the weight of an all stainless steel watch like this again. With a 20mm bracelet (solid link ends), a 40.5mm width (bezel diameter) and a height of almost 11mm, this tank weighs almost 160 grams. That is quite something if you are used to G-Shocks or Seiko 5s ! A nato or rubber strap can always mitigate this problem, but why buy a watch with a stainless steel bracelet in the first place then ? As a spare part, you can find this band for 200 Euros on ebay. It deserves to be used and is part of the attraction of a diving style sporting watch. ds1 Let´s face it, we could all tell time with our cell phones. Watches are jewelry pieces, too. There is a blue dial/bezel version of the DS Action available as well as a subdued titanium variant, but these pick up scratches easily in my experience. A stainless watch like this fits into every wardrobe, now matter if you wear cargo pants and a T, a grey suit or orange swimpants. The symmetry of the dial with the date window at 6 and the sword hands (Roman or Viking, you decide) with correct lengths are timeless and very clean to my eye, maybe even slightly retro . This one is a keeper for many years to come. ds2 ds3 ds4 ds5


2 thoughts on “Certina DS Action Quartz diving watch”

  1. I simply love it. I sometimes mourn the weight of the bracelet and now wear it rather loose. As I wrote, the lume could be better. As the watch seems to be discontinued, I even consider grabbing the blue face model or the Titanium Version, if that does not have a tendency to be scratched too easily.

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