We recently already introduced the Certina DS Action Diver Sea Turtle Conservancy to you. So, for general information on this special edition take a look here. However, this summer, I had the opportunity to test this watch underwater during dives in the Mediterranean. We thought it might be interesting to you to learn how this real dive watch feels like when applied to its actual purpose.
Certina got on my radar via the re-edition of the DS 200PHM which we covered here. Which is late, I admit. One reason for this is that Certina only recently started to exploit their rich heritage, probably motivated by the current vintage trend (in watches). Another reason might be one I reluctantly admit: I think I still had to escape from what I call brand-snobbishness. By this, I mean the attitude to only appreciate watches that come from a famous brand and preferably one whose watches are supposed to be expensive. Why buy (and wear) an affordable watch when you have a selection of tickers that have the potential to impress every watch aficionado? However, affordable watches have the potential to make you exceedingly happy as well. The Certina DS Action Diver Sea Turtle Conservancy is such an affordable watch which still puts a smile on my face when I put it on my wrist.
The Certina DS Action Diver has a very clean appearance, which is an advantage for a divers watch. The black & white colour scheme is complemented only by a tiny dose of turquoise (second hand and in the writing on the dial). Turquoise is used to identify the Sea Turtle Conservancy anniversary edition as this colour is part of the STC signature.
This design is useful as the legibility of this watch is perfect. The hour index at 12 o’clock is a bit different to those at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, which is essential during a night dive where you only see the luminous details. Equally shaped hour indexes can be confusing. The arrow-shaped tip of the hour hand helps to distinguish the hour and the minute hand. The size of this arrowhead is just big enough to be effective without making the hour hand appear too dominant. An anti-reflective coating on both sides of the crystal provides the perfect view onto the dial. The lume is not overly intense, but it is strong enough to offer a secure reading.
The turning bezel is the most distinctive part of the watch. The generous width and the very distinct shape of the protruding elements on its outer rim which facilitate turning the bezel give it a sharp image, especially when viewed from a slight angle. It is the look of the bezel that provides this watch with a distinctive appearance.
The case is satin-finished all over, supporting a professional and sportive look. I love the engraving on the case back. The logo of the Sea Turtle Conservancy is quite attractive, and the combination of well-defined polished and matte surfaces makes it look sophisticated.
I have chosen the version of the DS Action Diver STC on a rubber strap because this combination appeared a bit more attractive to me than the steel bracelet. The folding clasp wowed me. It looks superb due to the matte surfaces with sharply defined polished edges, and it possesses a quite practical fine adjustment. Moreover, this fine adjustment still looks good when fully extended. This solution is something utterly different to those common bracelet extensions that you swing out from the clasp and which always look like some improvised bricolage.
“Unobtrusive” is the word that describes best how this watch feels when you wear it. Despite its not so small diameter, the watch feels light and rather comfortable. It’s neither bulky nor top-heavy. At least to my wrist, it nestles perfectly.
The rubber strap is a bit less flexible than one made of silicone but is comfortable the way it is. It seems that silicone straps are a bit more prone to looking shabby after a short period of wear. Rubber straps collect much less dust than those made of silicone.
The folding clasp works reliably, and the fine adjustment is a dream. The clasp always closes instantly, and it never opens accidentally nor does the fine adjustment readjust by accident. Bracelets may fit a bit loosely for me, but rubber or silicone straps I prefer to fit tight. You must cut those straps to the correct length. If in summer, a hot climate makes your arm swell up, there is no possibility of adding another bracelet link.
For this reason, a fine adjustment makes the most sense for me on a rubber/silicone strap. In the case of the DS Action Diver, the fine adjustment is the most practical solution that I have experienced so far. Without needing to take off the watch, you push the second pair of pushers on the clasp and pull or push the clasp to extend or shorten the strap. That’s just one hand movement, and it’s done.
Like with all other strap or bracelet extensions for watches that I have encountered so far, the extent to which you can increase the length of the strap is not sufficient to make it fit over a standard 5mm wetsuit. Even better than such a fixed-length extension that generally can only match a small set of real-life cases would be a flexible strap. Certina designs all its dive watches according to the requirements of the international norm for dive watches ISO 6425. To complete this approach, Certina should consider offering rubber straps with integrated ridges. I do prefer a Velcro strap for my dive watch, though.
At first, turning the bezel was a bit hard at times. Maybe some moving parts needed to settle, but it works flawlessly now. I wore the watch during several dives and never noticed that the bezel would have accidentally turned to a differing position.
Last but not least: The Certina DS Action Diver STC stayed dry inside. Even though the brands keep telling us that water resistance is no guaranteed property we expect this from a watch boasting “DIVER’S WATCH 300m” on its dial. Don’t forget to screw down the crown after setting the time.
For this Sea Turtle Conservancy special edition obviously, I would love to picture it with an actual turtle. However, an adult turtle is too big to create a compelling photo with the watch, and neither did I meet a juvenile turtle underwater nor would I dare to force such a sensitive and agile animal into a silly picture with a watch. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist arranging something with some finned underwater friends. Be assured: No animal was harmed for the production of the images for this article.
With the DS Action Diver STC, Certina offers an attractive sports watch for a rather attractive price. It provides anything you could expect from a dive watch. The clever folding clasp with the fine adjustment is a detail you miss in watches that cost a multitude. The Powermatic 80 movement inside ceases any concerns about power reserve you might have. As Certina’s brand name reflects, “certainty” is a significant brand value. Certina’s DS (“Double Security”) concept is a feature of this watch, which gives you the good feeling that it can endure some rougher handling without negative consequences. This special edition commemorating the Sea Turtle Conservancy is the perfect accessory for a diver.
Do you like these kinds of real-use experience articles? Or do you think that luxury watches are not a suitable companion for any sporting activity? Please, let us know in the comment section!
For more information on the watch, see the specification section below or visit the official Certina website.
Andreas Ahrens is a contributor to Fratello from Germany. He lives in Hamburg and works in the Aerospace and Automotive industry. Andreas received his first mechanical watch in 1984, a Mortima Dive watch. Since 2004, he is a collector and... read more