This is a pretty cool Certina watch that can be easily overlooked until you see one in person. In 1970, Certina reportedly first released the DS Super PH1000M, which was a durable and tough diver’s watch with 1,000 meters of water resistance that sported a novel tonneau-style case with a round dial. This overall profile led to the distinctive Certina “DS” logo with a sea turtle shell. You can certainly see how the popular sea reptile’s carapace resembles the overall look of the watch case. For 2023, Certina returns the DS Super PH1000M watch with two versions. One is the not-limited reference C024.907.18.051.00 which has a black dial, and the other is this reference C024.907.17.281.10 sea slug orangey-yellow dial version that is limited to 1,000 pieces.

What separates this particular dive watch from similar modern ones is a fair adherence to the proportions of the original. That means a smaller overall wearing experience along with a narrower dial. That is difficult to notice if seeing this watch floating against a white background on the brand’s website, but once you put it on your wrist, you recognize that it has a much more mid-size wearing experience compared to many of the much larger divers’ watches today, especially those that have 1,000 meters of water resistance.

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While the Certina DS Super PH1000M isn’t per se a small watch, it is smaller than much of the competition out there with a case that is 43.5mm wide, 14.15mm thick, and a roughly 48mm long lug-to-lug distance. The dial itself is only around 28mm wide, which helps keep the entire package feeling small. Even though the case is relatively thick overall, it wears very low on the wrist given the highly curved caseback and the curvature of the lugs and case flanks. A smart element that reduces visual mass is the sloped sides of the otherwise tall rotating bezel, which makes the watch look a bit like a volcano.

The polished and brushed steel case overall has a beautiful architecture to it, even though it is meant to be a serious diving tool. Over the dial is a flat AR-coated sapphire crystal, and in the uni-directionally rotating diver’s timing bezel is a matte black aluminum insert with a lume pip at the 60-minute marker. A special safety feature on the watch is a bezel rotation lock. This prevents the bezel from turning unless you press it down first. While mostly unnecessary today, such a feature was valued before the existence of modern diving computers. Divers would use the timing bezel to calculate dive and safety stop times — which could be life-threatening if miscalculated because the original position of the bezel was lost.

The case also sports an automatic helium release valve and has a nicely embossed caseback with the Certina DS turtle logo. Inside the watch is a Swatch Group exclusive Swiss Made ETA Powermatic caliber 80.611 automatic mechanical movement. This movement operates at 3Hz with 80 hours of power reserve — though the use of modern component materials allows it to generally perform as a 4Hz movement would (meaning more accuracy over time). Attached to the case is a black rubber diver’s style strap, which is comfortable to wear both in and out of the water.

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The watch dial itself is legible and attractive but will look a bit small given how most modern dive watches wear. This is probably a good option given that many people like this classic look, which is typically hard to find in modern production mechanical dive watches, so consider this a fun niche product for those who seek it. The watch dial is a great reminder of tool watch dials from the 1960s and 1970s, sporting legibility, useful information, and often fun colors. The blocky hour markers are applied and have a polished exterior with luminant filling the center. A darker shade of orange is used for some outer minute scale accents on the dial, as well as for the minute hand. A lumed seconds hand matches the style of the hour markers, and a date window is positioned at the 3 o’clock hour marker on the face.

What is challenging for Certina fans is being able to decide on this watch to the exclusion of their many other fine dive watches, many of which are around the same price and with similar movements. Certina also has a very confusing product name system whereby the majority of their watches have “DS” in the title. More so, “DS Super PH1000M” sounds more like a vitamin supplement product you’d buy at a drugstore than a hip-sounding luxury sports watch. Indeed those are the names that these modern products inherited from their historic ancestors, but I feel like someone needs to break this cycle within the Certina brand. In my opinion, doing so will help people understand, categorize, and better recall the otherwise fine Certina wristwatch products. The easiest way to sum up the appeal of the limited (or non-limited) edition Certina DS Super PH1000M is that it offers classic looks, high performance, and excellent construction, all for a price that no one outside of the Swatch Group can seem to meet. The price for the Certina DS Super PH1000M reference C024.907.17.281.10 limited edition of 1,000 pieces watch is 970 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Certina website.

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