Hands-on: Certina DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80
My initial thought of the new Certina DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80 was that it’s a well-balanced watch. Design-wise.
Let’s address the elephant in the room; the DS Action Day-Date (from now on this is how I’ll refer to it) looks a bit like the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. Whether it’s the long triangle indexes or the shape of the hands, perhaps both, I don’t know. Since Omega and Certina both belong to the Swatch Group, the similarity is not that uncanny. Also, the watches are by two different brands and are selling in different price categories. It will be boring if I keep referring to these timepieces as affordable, yet it is very much the case with this model too. But let’s talk about the price a bit later.
Certina DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80
The DS Action Day-Date is a bit of an odd one out when we look at its model family. Let me explain why. Certina has four major model families, each with a very different focus. The Aqua collection is all about dive watches. The Sport collection is a motorsport-inspired line with models such as the Podium. The Heritage collection, as its name suggests, contains timepieces that are reeditions of vintage Certina watches. Lastly, the Urban collection is about pieces that are not sporty, slightly dressy or elegant. Now, based on this where does our watch belong to? Of course, into the dive watches category, the Aqua collection. No, it’s not a mistake. You can see by the name (DS Action), the Day-Date Powermatic 80 is the dressiest diver watch in Certina’s collection. I might even say, from all of the diver’s watches that I’ve ever seen.
No diving bezel
First and foremost, the lack of bezel issue. The Certina DS Action Day-Date is not a dive watch in the classical sense. It is a piece that is derived from a diver and has many features to support being in the group. But it’s more of a smart/casual sports watch. So, don’t look for a rotating bezel, you will not find one. The 316L steel 41mm diameter case is very comfortable and has a height of 12.8mm. It is mostly brushed with a few polished elements like the bevelled lugs, or the case back. Since the bezel is thin, the front of the piece is mostly dial which enlarges the DS Action Day-Date optically. However, it does not feel oversized when worn, though I have to say it does feel larger than 41mm. You have a screw-down crown and case back which also got a display window.
One can find three models in the DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80 collection. There is a black dial version with either black leather strap or steel bracelet. A two-tone model with silver dial on a two-tone bracelet and this version. And there’s a satin-brushed dark blue dial version with a beautiful deep tone that changes its shade in different angles. The dial layout is pretty simple; you can find a large day-date window at the 3 o’clock, relatively long triangle-shape indexes with Super-LumiNova coating and silver outline, the brand name at the 12 and the model name just above the 6 o’clock. While the indexes are long and thin, they do not reach too deep into the dial. This makes the DS Action Day-Date very easy to read. The wide hour and minute hands also help the readability. The tip of the second hand is “sand” coloured according to Certina.
Powermatic 80 – what else?
That seconds-hand looks more faded than sand-colored to me, but that, of course, is a personal opinion. The Swatch Group brands love to use the Powermatic 80 movement in pretty much all of their mid-segment brands. This Certina DS Action Day-Date also received this movement, based on the ETA Powermatic 80.621. This is a Swiss-made automatic caliber with up to 80 hours of power reserve, a day-date feature and ticks at 21,600vph (3Hz). As it is a widely used movement by the Swatch Group these days, servicing will not be a problem in the future. The Powermatic 80 is not fancy or particularly advanced, but it gets the job done. You can check it out through the display window on the case back. Please don’t look for movement decoration; you won’t find any in this price range.
As I wrote above, the DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80 comes in three dial colors and two straps (black or brown) and two bracelets (steel or two-tone). The blue dial version comes on a brown calf leather cognac strap. I have to say the photos don’t do the strap justice. It appears to be darker than it is in the metal (or leather in this case), but this is a good thing. Eventually, the leather will darken anyways. The lug width is 20mm, so the strap is a standard 20/18 version with a steel deployant. It’s a double deployant or butterfly clasp with security push buttons. The strap is padded, which adds a bit of depth to the watch when on the wrist. There’s also grey side stitching and goes down on both sides of the strap.
Take into account that the Certina DS Action Day-Date Powermatic 80 has water resistance to 200m, anti-reflective sapphire crystal and the legendary Certina DS system inside its case next to all the above-listed features. For all of this, you have to pay €665 (540 GBP) for the version with a leather strap. It does not matter if you want black or blue versions. If you fancy the black watch on the steel bracelet, the price is €695 (565 GBP). The bicolor version will set you back €750 (610 GBP). I love blue, so if I had to choose, I’d go with this version with the brown leather strap. For this price, it is a no-brainer.
Visit the Certina website here.