You could call the Certina DS Powermatic 80 in its new gold attire a dress watch. You would be selling the watch short, however. Change the light brown leather strap for a more adventurous color and in a different type of leather, or even a multicolor NATO strap, and you’ll witness a complete transformation. I tried on the yellow gold PVD version with a matching gold-colored dial that came on a light brown strap with a folding clasp. Let me tell you how we got along.

The suit you wear only looks good when the shoes are of at least the same level. Wearing a virgin wool Kiton suit — the jacket alone is entirely hand-cut and sewn by around 25 master craftspeople in Naples who create an architectural design that takes 1,800 steps to complete — with a pair of K-Mart pleather dress shoes will completely destroy your appearance. When I unpacked the box Certina sent to Fratello HQ, the first impression of the light brown strap on the yellow gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80 (C038.407.36.367.00), reminded me of a pair of mass-produced shoes.

The thought behind the strap is that brown leather traditionally goes well with yellow gold.

The smooth surface and color, and also the thick lining, reminded me of an era when watch brands gave the strap no second thought. The thought behind the strap is that brown leather traditionally goes well with yellow gold. And that’s not untrue, but in this particular case it’s a bit shortsighted. Certina could have done a lot better. Luckily, the strap is not an insurmountable problem as it can easily be replaced. More about that later.

Yellow Gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80

Getting to know the yellow gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80

The new DS Powermatic 80 comes in three steel versions with white, blue, or green dials. And on top of that, there are two more luxurious rose gold PVD versions with a brown and a white dial, as well as the yellow gold colored one you see here. All of these new three-hand executions are based on the design of the retro-styled DS Chronograph Automatic from 2020 that we previously reviewed here.

The chronograph measures 42×13mm, the three-hander has a 41×10.9mm high case. Makes sense. The diameter is still quite large for a three-hand watch that operates in the field somewhere between formal and informal. What remains, however, is the vintage appeal. The domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatment on one side plays a part in that, but it’s the dial that works hardest to present a warm retro spectacle.

Retro versus modern pragmatism

Let’s start with the delicate and sharp feuille hands. The silver hour and minute hands have a traditional leaf shape, and the blued seconds hand goes very well with the yellow-gold color of the slightly convex dial. Blue and yellow gold are a powerful combination, you need to dose exactly right for a distinguished outcome. And Certina certainly has managed that.

The fact that the minute and hour hands have a Super-LumiNova coating tell of modern pragmatism.

The vintage look they created is sleek and refined. The fact that the minute and hour hands have a Super-LumiNova coating is a sign of modern pragmatism. If I had the choice, I would go for solid, lumeless feuille hands for an even more purist vintage look — the slender central seconds that reaches all the way to the outside of the dial to cover the minute track is a thing of beauty.

And in the same spirit, I would also forego the luminous dots that mark the hours. The silver applied hour markers that “hide” the dots are more than sufficient for me. What I am glad about, though, is that Certina stayed away from beige lume or fauxtina.

Yellow Gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80

Feel the power!

The retro appearance — take note watch brands, retro can be achieved with white lume too — of the DS Powermatic 80 houses a modern power source, with 80 hours of power reserve as the name suggests. The state-of-the-art automatic 80.611 movement is a product of an evolving watchmaking tradition. That’s why there’s a Nivachron balance spring. The high-tech alloy of the balance spring makes sure that magnetic fields have no influence on its function. It leads to a movement that is rated to +/-15 seconds a day.

The foundation is solid, and the step-up from 38 hours of power reserve to 80 is significant.

The movement is a Swatch Group in-house factory caliber that stems from the ETA 2824-2. The foundation is solid, and the step-up from 38 hours of power reserve to 80 is significant. It makes it so much easier to wear — or actually not to wear — the watch when you have more options to play around with. A PVD-coated rotor behind the see-through case back in the same color as the case would have been a nice touch.

Yellow Gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80

A watch for all seasons

Does it go without saying that the DS Powermatic 80 has Certina’s Double Security system that traces back to the 1960s? Yes, it does! Anyway, the water-resistance to a depth of 100 meters makes the watch more versatile than its classy looks might let on. This particular golden specimen works in both long and short sleeve situations – winter and summer, formal and casual attire.

I see endless possibilities and opportunities for this Certina!

Especially when you take full benefit of the quick-change system of the strap. The rose gold-colored version with a white dial and a modern NATO strap with blue-brown stripes (C038.407.38.037.00) is a factory-ready example of what is possible. The combination of a yellow-gold color for the dial and the case just begs to be complemented by adding a strap with a more contemporary look and feel.

Make the shoes match the suit

I’m thinking gray suede — I tried a 20mm handmade Italian strap from the Fratello shop to get an idea. But imagine green calf. And what about a dark blue alligator that matches the blued seconds hand? And a burgundy NATO with yellow gold PVD hardware will give this DS Powermatic 80 a more tennis-chic appeal. I see endless possibilities and opportunities for this Certina!

Anyway, if you want to make the “shoes” match the “suit” — get rid of the old-fashioned looking, brown OEM strap. And the steel PVD coated folding clasp that comes with it too. That folding contraption looks and is the exact opposite of luxury and devaluates all the good work Certina has done on the watch itself. It’s big and not very elegant. A simple buckle — a yellow gold-colored one, of course — would be more in line with the understated class of the DS Powermatic 80.

Yellow Gold-colored Certina DS Powermatic 80

So, if you pair it with the right strap, this Certina becomes a versatile companion. A watch that will adapt to your eclectic wardrobe effortlessly. This watch will match your Corneliani jacket and your Japanese selvedge denim. Both your Church’s and your All-Stars. The price is €895 and that’s a very decent price for an all-around great watch with a ton of potential. As I mentioned, it’s a watch you can lift to a higher level yourself with some simple tweaks. I guarantee you will have a lot of fun doing so.

More info about the DS Powermatic 80 in yellow gold PVD is available on Certina’s official website.

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