Unless you have lived under a rock for the past three years, you know that the watch market has seen a huge influx of affordable GMT watches from various brands. The newest addition to the long line of releases is this Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80. While it is not the first DS Action GMT, this new version is a model with great potential. The classic GMT is executed with modern materials and also utilizes a flyer-style GMT caliber. I had a chance to go hands-on with the black and green version of the new DS Action GMT Powermatic 80. Is this the affordable GMT that everyone has been waiting for? It’s time to find out!

Certina is a Swatch Group brand offering great value for money. A first browse through the brand’s collection will reveal lots of watches to choose from. One of Certina’s most popular lines is the DS Action series. It contains many modern dive watches that have become fan favorites. It also holds one of my favorite Certina models. The 38mm version of the DS Action Diver in titanium is one of the brand’s best. Lex even went as far as asking whether it was a Tudor Pelagos 39 killer. It was a cheeky question that Lex answered with a curveball answer. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he and I adore that watch.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

The new Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 series

What we most appreciate about it is that Certina found an attractive and rather unique aesthetic. The combination of the titanium material with a gray dial, contrasting light blue lume, and a gray-brown bezel insert makes for something special. It sets the titanium 38mm DS Action Diver apart from its stainless steel peers and much of the competition. So, how is that with the new series of three DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 models? Let’s say it’s a bit more conventional, just like the regular stainless steel DS Action Divers. The model we had in for review comes with a green and black bezel. Additionally, there is a version with a “Pepsi” bezel and blue dial. Both of these come with a stainless steel bracelet.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 lineup

The third variant features a black dial, a gold-colored bezel ring with a black and brown insert, and a gold-colored crown. This last one is delivered on a brown leather strap, giving the watch a slightly retro feel, whereas the other two feel more modern. But all three DS Action Powermatic 80 variants present a comfortable, familiar aesthetic. I like our review model the best, with the brown-and-black-bezel version a close second. I love how the latter plays with retro vibes without actually being a reissue.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

The specs of the new DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

As a little side step before we dive into the specs of these new watches, Certina also has other versions of the DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 in the collection. Those use a larger 43.1mm case with a fixed 24-hour scale on the rehaut. Overall, they offer different a take on a GMT watch than the new models do, and I hope that they stay in the collection. The three newest additions all have a 41mm stainless steel case that measures 13.8mm thick, 49.3mm long, and 20mm between the lugs. Like its bigger counterpart, it is water resistant to 200 meters.

At first glance, the watch looks modern and substantial in size. It is pretty chunky, which might be a turn-off for some people. It didn’t bother me, although shaving off 1–1.5mm would benefit the overall comfort and quickly draw in more fans (also, the previously mentioned 43.1mm DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 is just 12.6mm thick). The new case feels solid and visually balanced with the DS-branded crown and its crown protectors. While the case profile is nothing revolutionary and in line with the other DS Action models, it looks good and wears incredibly comfortably.

Modern materials and an eye-catching colorway

The case is combined with a stainless steel bezel with a sapphire crystal inlay with a black and green coating and a 24-hour scale in white. The color combination perfectly matches the black dial’s white and green printing. The applied hour markers are filled with white Super-LumiNova, and hovering above the dial are the characteristic DS Action hands, which are also filled with white lume that lights up blue in the dark. The additional GMT hand is a slightly lighter electric green and features a lumed triangle with a straight tip extending from it. I would’ve preferred a traditional arrow-shaped tip rather than the design that Certina chose. While it’s not something that stood out during my time with the watch, this is merely a design preference.

Another visual detail is that the minute scale is placed on the rehaut. This gives the dial plenty of room to breathe. As a result, the hour markers are placed fairly close to the edge of it. It’s something that characterizes the DS Action line. However, I would’ve preferred the indices to be bigger and placed slightly more inward. This could have solved the issue of the “floating” date window. As you can see, the window is placed slightly inward compared to the indices. I’m still unsure whether I would have preferred a color-matched date wheel in black with white printing. This white one is in line with the markers, which also makes sense. But it would take care of the date seemingly floating in no man’s land.

The Powermatic 80.661 GMT movement

Inside the case, Certina equips the watch with the Powermatic 80.661 (ETA C07.661) movement. It is the flyer-style GMT version of the Powermatic 80 caliber. It operates at 21,600vph, has 25 jewels, and offers 80 hours of power reserve. Mido and Tissot use the same movement, and it also powers the Certina DS Action GMT models that I mentioned earlier. The movement is visible through the display case back.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

The fact that it is a flyer-style movement is a big plus. Not many brands offer these at a price of around €1,000. While we have seen an increase in the movements that will let you adjust the 12-hour hand independently to change the local time, the standard is still a caller-style GMT that lets you adjust the 24-hour GMT hand. The first is a far more practical option when traveling, giving this Certina an advantage over many competitors at this price point.

Wearing the Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

The black and green model we had in for review comes with a stainless steel Oyster-style bracelet. The three-row design tapers from 20mm wide between the lugs to 18mm at the clasp. The folding clasp feels decent and features a flip-lock and three drilled holes for micro-adjustment. Overall, the bracelet and clasp are not the absolute best at this price point, but they feel solid enough. As we know, bracelets and clasps in particular can often spark lots of debate at the ~€1K price point. Certina did a decent job of equipping this watch with a bracelet and clasp that feel sturdy, capable, and befitting of the price.

On top of that, once on the wrist, the bracelet makes the watch very comfortable to wear. The DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 is one of those watches I immediately loved because it sits well on my wrist. Yes, it is chunky, but I didn’t mind that for one second. On my 19cm wrist, the watch feels right at home. The colors look nice, especially thanks to the sapphire bezel, and the build quality is great. A detail that confirms that it is operating the crown. Every step, from unscrewing to pulling it out and turning it, feels solid. The same goes for the bidirectional bezel. While the clicks might not be the most sonically pleasing in the industry, turning the bezel does feel good.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 on wrist

Visually, the DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 makes sense

Once on the wrist, the watch also feels familiar. That’s obviously because we have seen the colors in combination with the design aesthetics before. It’s a standard set by the Rolex GMT-Master (II) that has become an industry standard for GMT watches. But I will say that this DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 has plenty of details in common with the regular DS Action diver to keep a close connection to its peers. The hands, hour markers, and placement of all the elements all feel and look like that of a Certina DS Action watch.

Lex and I discussed the colors of the watch and if they were too obvious. While I admit that we would have loved to see different colors, visually, this is a very comfortable color configuration for many buyers. And the same goes for the other two models. I believe this will play a part in making these three watches successful. I might have been skeptical initially, but soon after putting the watch on my wrist, it made sense. There is a reason that the combination of black and green is popular. And with the specific shades that Certina uses, this watch pops.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

Final thoughts on the Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

So, how good is this new Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80? It’s really good. Certina did the right thing by introducing this new series of GMT watches. They are slightly smaller than the 43.1mm DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 models and have a significantly different design that will greatly appeal to a larger audience. Additionally, there is still not an abundance of affordable flyer-style GMT watches from big brands.

Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80

That’s why this new series has the potential to become a popular go-to for people looking for a tasteful-looking and well-made GMT. For CHF 1,070 / €1,195, this new Certina is hard to beat. If you prefer the two-tone model on the leather strap, it comes in at CHF 1,040 / €1,170. There is stiff GMT competition from brands like Christopher Ward, Seiko, Baltic, and Yema. But with a flyer-style movement, great looks, and modern-day execution, it is hard to top this Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80. And in today’s competitive market, that is quite a remarkable achievement. It puts this Certina on top of the list of considerations for affordable GMT watches around €1,000.

For more information, visit the official Certina website. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this new Certina DS Action GMT Powermatic 80 in the comments section. Is it the best that your money can buy at this price point? Let me know what you think.

Watch specifications

DS Action GMT Powermatic 80
Black with applied indices filled with white Super-LumiNova
Case Material
Stainless steel, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal bezel insert with colored coating in black and green
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 49mm (lug-to-lug) × 13.8mm (thickness)
Sapphire with antireflective coating on underside
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal, screw-in
ETA Powermatic 80.661: automatic with hand winding, 21,600vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve, Nivachron balance spring for enhanced accuracy and antimagnetic protection
Water Resistance
20 bar (200m)
Stainless steel three-row bracelet (20/18mm) with push-button folding clasp and safety lock
Time (independently adjustable 12-hour hand, 24-hour hand, minutes, seconds), date, 24-hour bidirectional GMT bezel
CHF 1,070 / €1,195