It was 2007 and I was window shopping at a watch store that had low to mid range watches. Brands like Festina, Casio, Tissot and Certina were in there, mostly sports models and of course mostly chronographs. Two watches stood out of the crowd for me; the Tissot PRC 200 (which I bought, not there and then but that’s a different story) and the Certina DS Podium. It was a fairly new model line within the Certina family that the brand offered in both quartz and automatic versions. Though at the time the automatic was out of my price range I loved the look of the watch and its sportiness. Exactly 10 years later I finally managed to put one on the wrist. During my review of the Certina DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer Racing Edition that is. Here’s what I think of it.
DS Podium Chronograph
The DS (Double Security) Podium is 12 years old this year. The first models came out in 2005 when the brand sealed a deal with (then) F1 team Sauber Petronas. To mark the collaboration and their debut to the F1 the Certina launched the DS Podium line. It has proven to be one of the popular sellers in the sports chronograph segment. Partly due to their friendly prices but also for certain models’ interesting, sometimes-unorthodox, square case shapes. One could associate it with the Heuer Monaco and call it an homage – like some did. Well, open the history book of Certina and look for the Argonaut chronograph. The DS Podium is still one of Certinas strongest selling lines with a very handsome price tag and racing DNA throughout.
Certina is the sponsor and official timekeeper of the ADAC GT Masters series. As such, the color-theme of the model I got from Certina was most ADAC-like. My DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer had a black base color with yellow details such as the numbers, hands and indexes. The black-and-yellow theme is the color of ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V.) the General German Automobile Club. But this is not the only color combination the DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer has. The other black case model has Certina-green elements such as chronograph hands and strap stitching. Certina also offers a steel version with red hands. None of them are as colorful as the ADAC version though which I have on the wrist as I type this.
PVD is back…only it never left
As I said above, the Certina DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer ADAC has a steel case (316L) with PVD coating. Other than the polished bezel the whole case is brushed, which works well with the sportiness of the time piece. The bezel has the usual Tachymeter scale from 300 to 60, the numbers are filled with yellow paint. The pushers of the chronograph are flat and integrated well into the side of the 42mm case. They have a grid motif on them also painted yellow, just like the “DS” on the crown. The screw-down case back has the Certina turtle logo with the usual details – like reference number, water resistance (100m), and serial number – on it. The watch wears nicely and it’s comfortable on the wrist. It is a relatively large piece but not too thick (11mm) and the strap softens its look when worn.
The dial, as you’d expect from a sports watch, is busy but still easy to read. The numbers 3-9-12 are large, yellow and raised like the long indexes. The Certina branding with the year of establishment (1888) is just under the 12, the date is at 4 o’clock while the 3 chronograph sub dials are at 2,10 and 6 o’clock. The sub dial at 2 shows the 1/10th of a second. When you start the chronograph, it runs for 3 minutes then stops. According to Certina the reason they do not want it to run all the time is to save energy. Rest assured it still counts and displays the 1/10th once you stop the chronograph. The 10 o’clock sub dial is the 60-minute counter. As a side note GT Master races also run for 60 minutes. This sub-dial has the “Racing Edition” marking.
Lastly, the sub dial at 6 o’clock is the continuous seconds’ display. While the other two sub dials have smooth surfaces, this one is ribbed. The model name (DS Podium) in white is here and the words “Chronometer” and “Lap Timer”. The sword hands received the same yellow paint (lume) like the rest of the watch features. As I already said above, the chronograph hands are all red while the continuous second hand is white. The DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer has a flat sapphire crystal.
While the movement in the Certina DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer Racing Edition might be quartz it is not just a regular quartz. It is an ETA G10.212AJ Precidrive movement with chronometer certification. As the brand told me, from now on Certina plans on selling quartz watches exclusively with chronometer certification. The quartz movement also helps to keep the price of the time piece at a low point. For this particular model, the (German) recommended retail price is €715 including VAT. It is more than attractive for a Swiss Made quartz chronograph from a reputable watch brand. The chronometer specifications for a quartz movement are of course more strict than the one for mechanical movements.
The strap is black leather with yellow nylon edging and stitching. The green version has the same strap with green stitching while the 3rd version (steel case) also comes on a steel bracelet and perforated black leather strap. The buckle is a double deployant with push buttons, PVD black like the case. A great strap that is comfortable, wears well but also looks matching to the watch both on its colors and style.
Why the DS Podium?
Well, if you are a fan of car racing you have a number of watches to choose from depending on the size of your wallet. The Certina DS Podium Chronograph Lap Timer Racing Edition is a pretty distinctive watch. However, despite the yellow elements, the black case works well it’s not too loud but sporty enough to become a “daily driver”. Surely this is not a dress watch nor does it want to be. For the petrolheads who need an inexpensive but quality Swiss Made sports watch with a pick-up-and-go quartz movement, this might make its way onto their Christmas list.
More information via Certina on-line.