While my love of vintage-infused watches is cyclical, my love of dive watches is constant. There is just something about the purity and a sense of purpose that will always keep the genre on my favorite list. When done right, as with the shape and size of Certina’s DS Super PH1000M STC, a touch of retro can truly dial up the desirability scale.

Certina’s DS line represents value-for-money sports watches, and I’ll admit to having a favorite in the larger-than-life presence of the orange-dial PH1000M. But a deep petrol blue might just sway me as I unbox the new DS Super PH1000M STC edition with its good cause in mind.

The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

Certina’s brand strengths

Over the last few years, Certina has risen as a solid Swiss force within the Swatch Group. Living in Scandinavia, I have always had a close relationship with the brand, which has a solid retail presence here. With the ever-growing love of retro, the brand has managed an outstanding balance between modern tool watches, such as the 38mm titanium DS Action Diver, and a rich back catalog. That’s where the largest diver comes into play, the Certina DS Super PH1000M. With 43.5mm of broad-shouldered intent, the black dial is true to its 1970 origins, while the orange-fresh version on a chunky rubber dive strap is a great summer piece. And while I’d love to get my hands on one of those 1,000 Satsuma-tinted limited watches, I’ll have a closer look at Certina’s sophisticated new version. This is one with a mission.

The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

First impressions of the Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

When strapping on the new PH1000M, it struck me how a sculpted case, bezel, and dial design can impact an impression of size. One of the delights of this top-tier Certina dive watch is how true it is to its 1970 inspiration. It has a large case but feels like a mid-sized 40–41mm watch, spelling comfort for smaller wrists. To the cognoscenti, it has a similar feel to a Doxa Sub 300. Sure, at 43.5mm wide, 48mm long, and 14.5mm thick, it’s not lithe or svelte, but it still feels reassuringly compact. The dial is about 28mm wide, the same as a dressy number like my Grand Seiko SBGW283. That is also part of its large/small visual trickery. The legibility is superb thanks to small but exquisite applied indices and classic diver hands. Then, flanking the dial is a broad bezel with a dramatic shape and color-matched aluminum insert.

The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

Large, comfortable, and inspiring

True to the 54-year-old OG, this watch’s unidirectional dive bezel is slightly conical with steeply sloping sides and a very comfortable grip. The other note for the comfort book is that the new strap is stitched FKM rubber. Why is that important? Putting my science hat on, let me explain. FKM is the most commonly used fluoroelastomer, a fluorocarbon-based synthetic rubber. What does that entail?

Fluoroelastomers generally have broad chemical resistance, making for rugged straps. But FKM is also the most comfortable, boasting a good balance of solidity and suppleness. Compared to softer silicone rubber, it’s not a dust magnet, allowing this big watch to sit comfortably and handsomely with its big tonneau case. The case back might be fat to provide the strength needed to submerge 1,000 meters, but the comfort is excellent for this big tool. That’s got a lot to do with its gently curved case, which, like its ’70s forebear, has some well-chosen polished details.

The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

A beautiful balance of finishes

You might be on a different page if you’re a fan of pure, matte titanium, but I think a touch of polish underlines a good, functional design, like the dramatically sloping, volcano-like bezel. A polished steel ring sits between it and the case, with another framing the bezel insert’s inner circle. The polished details match the applied hour markers and broad, polished case sides. To me, an all-brushed look does nothing but hide the precise lines of a good design. Thankfully, this watch has a period-perfect shape, and the finishing is just right.

I did like the blocky rubber strap on the orange-dial LE. However, this FKM number is much more refined. It also has a perfect orange pop in its side stitching to echo the five-minute pips and vivid minute hand.

Powering the Certina DS Super PH1000M STC is the ETA Powermatic 80 caliber, which we know well but is impressive nonetheless. The caliber offers a power reserve of up to 80 hours and an antimagnetic Nivachron balance spring, and it is certainly tough enough for this deep-diving tool. And the date window at 3 o’clock? With its crisp white frame, it belongs there. After all, this is a tool watch, not a tuxedo accessory.

The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC

The inspirational backstory

Despite its on-paper girth, the Certina DS Super PH1000M STC is a great everyday watch. You’ll struggle to fit it under a shirt (as a contrarian, I’d still try), but with the sartorial detail of a tonally matched blue dial and bezel, it’s acutely elegant. This is also a color that changes quite a bit, going from vivid sea green in direct sunlight to a deep blue in the shade, just like the colors of the ocean, where its turtle inspiration comes from.

Sea turtles are facing the threat of extinction. Rising sea levels and water temperatures, plastic waste, beachfront construction, and disorienting lighting combine to form a growing threat to the species’ survival. With this watch, Certina reinforces its long-term collaboration with the non-profit Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). The brand also produces videos and content on STC projects and organizes joint press events to raise awareness. The Certina DS Super PH1000M STC will be available for CHF 915. Check out Certina.com for more information and to find your nearest retailer.

What about you, my tool-watch-obsessed Fratelli? Does the DS Super PH1000M STC’s sleek shape remind you why vintage love is so strong in 2024? Let me know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

DS Super PH1000M STC
Blue with orange accents, applied luminous indices, and date window
Case Material
316L stainless steel with brushed and polished finishes, anodized blue aluminum bezel insert
Case Dimensions
43.5mm (diameter) × 48mm (lug-to-lug) × 14.5mm (thickness)
Sapphire with AR treatment
Case Back
Stainless steel with Sea Turtle Conservancy engraving, screw-in
ETA Powermatic 80.611: automatic with manual winding and hacking, 21,600vph frequency, 80-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, Nivachron balance spring
Water Resistance
1,000 meters (100 bar)
Black FKM rubber (20mm width) with orange stitching and stainless steel pin buckle
Time (hours, minutes, seconds), date, 60-minute dive bezel
CHF 915