“Hands-On” Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic [live pics, price]

Certina’s recipe for one of the most expensive watches in their portfolio is a massive case, numerous tasty bits, and a colour combination of black, white, and intensive green.

History of the brand

Certina is one of the rare watchmaking brands who have been active without stopovers since the day they were “born” – in this case, since 1888. Established by brothers Adolf and Alfred Kurth in Grenchen, the company was known as Kurth Freres in its early days. It grew in popularity when a golden medal was awarded to the brand during a world fair in Milan. At the time the duo’s watches were called “Grana”, being short for “Granatus” which in turn is the Latin name for the city of Grenchen. In 1938 the brand name Certina was registered – this in turn came from the Latin word “certus” (sure, safe) and was to be a warrant of high “Swiss-made” quality. At the time the company employed around 250 people, but several years later – in 1955 – it doubled its employee count, producing 100 watches each day.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

Currently Certina is associated mostly with budget-class durable sports watches with built-in Double Security (DS) system. DS stands for five factors that increase the resistance of the watch to shock and impact: sapphire glass, a special O-ring gasket on stem, two o-ring gaskets in crown, specific gasket on case back, and a reinforced caseback. Before launching the first DS watches on the market, they were put to numerous tests, such as being dropped from a few metres’ height. Fame arrived in 1963, when a BMW driver squeezed his Certina under a rim of his automobile before a race. The DS-1 came unscathed from the ride, despite being driven at over 150 km/h.

DS is currently Certina’s flagship technology, reflected in the dials, where the brand’s logo – a turtle – is present.

Design + numerous details

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

Hearing of a “46-milimetre steel case” most of you will say: this is too much for me. It turns out that size does not necessarily need to intimidate, and a good profile may work wonders. Let it be proven by the combination of this year’s Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic and my petite wrist.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

The case sits on the wrist comfortably, but one needs to remember watch like this is a piece of steel that needs to weigh its mass. Habit comes – just like with the Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea which I reviewed last year (LINK) – after a few hours and when a few days have passed, one can forget the feeling of the lump on the wrist. This feeling owes a lot to a well-holding strap. When referring to the said strap, I need to mention the “bulge” at its end, which does not let the loops fall off. Naturally, this solution is commonly found in other sports watches, but not as frequently as one would wish.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

Certina’s black case owes its colour to the PVD treated steel. The rubber strap and dial are of the same tinge. The black is broken by details in green and white. The latter colour was applied to all the divisions and scales of the tachometer, as well as with the luminous substance on the indices and (partly skeletonized) hands. Green adorns chronograph’s counters and small seconds subdial as well as the central chronograph’s hand and a ring around the crown.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

The dial is marked with a texture – a grid of small squares. Such a background is home to three subdials – two chronograph counters and a small seconds. The rings that surround these raise above the main face, and their inner side, decorated with a snail pattern, is lowered. This created a three-dimensional effect, additionally strengthened by an arena-like external ring with the minute scale and raised hour indices, and a raised date window.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

The front of the new Certina is protected by a sapphire glass united with the case by a bezel with six screws. Similar screws hold the strap, the cover of the case marked with the CERTINA sign and the protecting element of the crown and the buttons of the wristwatch on the opposite side. The chronograph is operated by two oblong buttons with rubber inserts. The timepiece we received for testing is a prototype (when this text was being written the model was not yet available for sales in Poland) and, unfortunately, it turned out that the rubber inserts did not survive the test. An unfortunate selection of glue caused them to fade away after a mere day. Certina assured us, however, that this issue has been eliminated in the final version.

Movement

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

There are watches which I could wear inside-out, just to show off their beautiful inner workings. Unfortunately the DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic is not one of these, although on the other hand you cannot expect Haute Horlogerie decorations in a watch of this price range. The ETA C01.211 powering the timepiece is visible through the transparent caseback with a skeletonized turtle below (a nod towards the brand’s logo) with the engraved CERTINA DS. All would be fine if not for the fact that Certina decided on the use of a black rotor under the said skeleton. It has something inscribed on it, but it’s very hard to decipher what Certina decided to put there. This destroys the aesthetics of the back; the rotor ought to be of one colour, with no inscriptions.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

Setting aside the visual aspects, the movement works efficiently, especially when we consider starting and stopping chronograph which is smooth and light. Working with the crown with the DS emblem was also not problematic. I hold only slight reservations towards the date window, whose indications did not always click at the right place, i.e. the middle of the designated area. This may, again, be an inherent problem of the prototype that could have been eliminated in the production pieces.

Impressions

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

I am personally fond of massive sports watches. Maybe this was the reason for my almost exclusive attention devoted to the DS Eagle Chrono model when I visited Certina’s stand at this year’s Baselworld. It is a cool timepiece, with a lot of sporty tidbits. Maybe even a few too many. The sheer number of details such as screws or varying textures may become mundane with time, although this was not a problem I had.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

Recently, all the companies have been trying to show watches with blue accents. Certina ought to be highly praised for breaking with this trend in favour of green. Black and green in a sporty watch make a good match.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic

At the end, I need to mention the price. Certina will impact the wearer’s budget by about 1750EUR, an amount noticeably larger than the brand’s other creations. In return, we will get an efficient movement surrounded by elements whose finish was accompanied by a lot of attention. Although the price seems too high, the design will surely justify it in the eyes of a lot of customers.

Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
Certina DS Eagle Chronograph Automatic
For reviewing purposes, the watch has been provided by Certina.
We would like to thank the following: D10 Concept Store.
Photos: Adam Gawenda