Review of Certina DS PH200M – The return of an icon

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Of course, I could write a detailed article about one of my personal highlights of this year’s Baselworld itself. This refers to the new edition of the Certina DS PH200M. But it would be even better if someone would write him who was directly involved in this project, a proven vintage Certina DS PH200M fan and watch blogger, right? Someone who can give us real insights into the project and cooperation with Certina – from concept to finished product.

Just one thing about Certina DS PH200M

Certina DS PH200M

There are lots of expensive watches in the market. Before we get to the actual article – a little background info: Pascal has been in contact with Certina for quite some time. Which is little wonder, if you are thematically specialized in a brand and has acquired a considerable knowledge over the years. A knowledge that the manufacturer sometimes lacks in their own archives.

But that is by no means a matter of course: that a manufacturer is consulting a German-speaking watch blogger for a new model or a new edition. Certainly, there is the project Omega SpeedyTuesdayby Fratellowatches. But such a thing has rarity value – and is aimed more at an international audience. Maybe that’s just changing. The Swatch Group, which includes Omega and Certina, seems definitely a bit more open-minded here. OK then. And like more of it. After all, the target group (aka watch fans) knows best what the target group wants. But now to the actual article about the Certina DS PH200M.

Certain – divers watch with the history

divers watch

Certina has stood for robust and reliable watches since its founding in 1888. With the introduction of the DS-System in 1959, this reputation was further underpinned and in the sixties, the robustness of the DS-System was repeatedly proven by spectacular tests and participation in expeditions. Milestones in the history of Certina and at the same time stress tests of first quality were the participation in Sealab and Tektite experiments of the US Navy. In this period, the manufactory Certina showed that they belonged to the world elite with their diver watches along with manufacturers such as Rolex.

So in 2018 – after 130 years of existence of the brand – it is only logical to let a model from this era stand up again. In addition, the reissues of diving watches have been in vogue for a few years and the trend is currently unbroken. You could say that Certina jumped on the band a little late. It should not be forgotten, however, that in 2004 Certina launched a reissue of a classic diver’s watch, namely the limited edition of 1888 pieces of the DS-3 Super PH1000m, which was one of the pioneers of this trend back then.

How it started …

How it started

The birth of the new edition of Certina DS PH200M was at Baselworld 2017. The task was clear, a treasure from the rich history of Certina is to be resurrected. But which model should it be? When I sat together with the Certina team around CEO Adrian Bosshard and product manager Niko Grozdanov, the decision was made quickly. Niko and I both had the same watch in our heads. The DS PH200M (Reference 5801 117) from 1967.

Until Baselworld 2018, the model was to be developed ready for the market and first pre-series models should be available. The production team was full of enthusiasm and sat down accordingly. I was allowed to follow the whole process in an advisory capacity, which of course was extremely exciting. Thanks again to the Certina team! I got the first renderings from Niko in the summer of last year. The original DS system from that time should be reused.

Therefore, parallel to the design development also had to be tested to what extent this is even possible with a new automatic movement. Yes, you’ve read that correctly; in the new Certina DS PH200M the glorious original DS-system, which was introduced in 1959, should be installed again!

Double security

Double security

DS is the abbreviation for «double security». This was achieved at that time by attaching the entire plant in addition to the conventional shock absorber (Incabloc) floating with the help of an elastic shock absorber ring in the housing. There was also an air gap between the dial and the case, which allowed the movement to move in all directions.

Additional features were additional seals, an extra thick and reinforced Plexiglas and a reinforced case back. If we are already at the abbreviations; the PH in the designation “PH200M” stands for “Pression Hydrostatique” (water pressure) and thus designates the water resistance up to 200m or 20 bar.

Finally, in late August, the dummies from the 3D printer arrived. Niko also sent me some photos of that. At the beginning of February, the first prototypes were assembled, which for the first time gave a real impression of what the clock really should look like. And at the end of March 2018, at Baselworld, it was finally time! I was able to hold the Certina DS PH200M in my hands for the first time and put it on my wrist.



Meanwhile, I have received my copy. This is still a pre-production model, which I have worn the past few weeks and now want to introduce you to more detail. Certina DS PH200M – Box The first thing that stands out is the original (and of course waterproof) Peli Case, in which the clock is delivered and creates a link to the subject of diving and Toolwatch. After opening, the watch is fitted with a honey-colored leather strap and beige contrasting stitching, alongside the supplied black and gray striped Nato band.

The textile band is quite thick and has a leather reinforcement at the holes. It makes a very high-quality impression. I’m a small fan of the Nato band, so I like the included band. Certina DS PH200M – NATO strap. So that, the bands can be changed without tools, so-called interchangeable webs are installed. This means that the band change is quick and easy without tools on the stage. Both belts have a polished pin buckle. A nice detail would have been from my point of view if they were also designed in the style of the old closing or at least as the clock would be stained.

The stainless steel case is stained on top and on the flanks. When the original was the case (as far as I could verify based on previous copies) polished all around. The satin finish makes the watch appear high quality anyway. The diameter of the case is 41 mm, that of the bezel 42.8 mm, Lug to Lug 52 mm, the height is about 13.2 mm, the lug width 20 mm. On the grippy screw-down crown we find the engraved logo with the two intertwining “C” as it was common in the days of the model.

The conclusion

It goes without saying that my report is not completely unbiased because of my involvement. It should therefore not be a classic hands-on article. I just want to introduce you to the clock and recommend you to wear it yourself. All in all, there are a few small things I would probably have done differently. However, considering the price, it becomes clear that you had to make a few compromises. In any case, Certina did a great job and launched an attractive watch at a very attractive price.

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