History of Certina
Certina is a brand with a rich history of watch making, starting in 1888 as a Swiss watchmaking brand in a small town. A family owned business started by two brothers in Switzerland, they began a sports watch brand that immediately took off due to their unique craftsmanship and family values. The brand was recognized for their high-quality timepiece craftsmanship, and won several awards for their work in the early days, something that carries on today. While times were difficult during the Great Depression, they made it through to grow into a major force in the watchmaking world.
The name Certina comes from the latin word “certus,” which translates to “sure.” This was the perfect name for the brand, because with Certina comes certainty in craftsmanship and quality. In the 1960s, the brand adapted the turtle shell logo as their company’s symbol to show robustness, longevity, and durability: all traits of a Certina watch.
Accompanying many adventures (see the Historical Aside), Certina makes a name for itself with many celebrities and athletes across their tenure, like Roger de Coster, a motocross champion, as well as famed boxer Muhammad Ali.
In addition to their sturdy watch innovations from the 60s, they also were the first watchmakers in the world to make a biorhythm watch, the Certina Biostar. This was the first ever watch to show the physical, mental, and emotional biorhythms of the wearer, a truly revolutionary design.
In 1983, the brand joined the SMH group, the world’s leader in sports watches, renamed Swatch in 1999. In 2013, they celebrated their 125th anniversary, complete with rebranding and redesigned watch styles and technology.
Investment and Price Range
Certina watches are an investment, but as the name suggests, they are reliable, high quality pieces you can count on. Each watch has the outline of a turtle shell to reinforce the durability. While these watches aren’t cheap, they also aren’t the most expensive. Some pieces go for about $250-$400, while rarer styles can approach the thousands mark. They’re an affordable, middle range option that remains accessible to many. Also, these watches have been loved by celebrities and athletes, and they are endorsed and accounted for across the board. There’s rarely an unhappy Certina customer.
Key Styles and Collections
The Certina brand organizes their watches into four primary collections. Within each of these collections are unique styles and technologies, all depending on the sporting function you desire.
This maritime themed branch of the brand is meant for both above and below the water adventures, with highly resistant technology and stylish designs. The collection mainly includes diver watches, which are resistant to at least 20 bars. This allows for precise time keeping while diving deep below the depths, all tested by Certina’s highly sophisticated experiments.
The Heritage Collection takes historic models and updates them. Some of the brand’s retro watch styles remain, but they have today’s high technological and make standards, giving you the perfect mix of old and new. With a 130-year history, there’s a lot of pride in their legacy, and these styles don’t need to be hidden. Instead, this collection pays homage to those timepieces that made the brand. One style that is incredibly popular is the DS Super PH500M, bringing sporty style to the line. Equally as impressive is the DS-1 Big Date and the DS-1 Powermatic 80, all with their own unique twists in style and functionality.
As a sports watch brand, the Certina Sport Collection is one of their core lines. High performance and precision are at the very center of these watches, carrying on their historical legacy. Besides partnering with motorsports professionals for a long part of the brand’s history, their watches have always been designed to be dynamic and innovative. The sports watches have a variety of functions that tell time with precision, but also have other reliable features for the adventurous lifestyle. An added bonus? A distinctive style that makes it unlike other sports watches. The DS Podium is loved by motorsports athletes, like motocross stars, and people that just want a stylish, sporty, and functional watch.
The Urban Collection is a unique twist on the sporty Certina style, engaging an even wider audience. The cosmopolitan inspiration produces sporty, modern, and elegant watches perfect for those in the city or a more professional setting. This line specifically is international in focus, with a wide range of designs for men and women across the world, fitting a variety of lifestyles with the same quality and precision the brand is known and loved for. This is perfectly encapsulated in the DS Caimano watch with a stunning leather band.
Did you know Certina watches have seen some of the world’s greatest adventures? In 1960, the Certina DS was the watch of choice for the first successful climb of the Himalayan mountains, specifically Dhaulagiri in Nepal, an 8,167-meter-high summit! This is a true testament to the brand, because the watch never stopped performing during the whole expedition that included temperature changes, high heights, and pressure changes. Ten years later, Certina accompanied another mountain expedition, this time on the Japanese expedition to Mount Everest (including the daring 8000 meter to 1000 meter ski run by Miura).
The adventures don’t stop at the top! They also go underwater. In 1965, the Certina DS (a sturdy, durable watch unique to the brand) accompanied the scientists and divers that were a part of the Navy’s Sealab II project. Even underwater during marine research, the watch was reliable. Fast forward 4 years, a new design was worn by four scientists that lived underwater in the Tektite experiment for 2 months, monitored by NASA. No matter the depth, Certina was sure.
Certina is a sports watch through and through. Besides the durability and sports features, it also has many different features that just represent utility and function. For example, the Cascadeur range has a chain resembling a motorbike and metal rods for protection. Other styles look more like a diving watch, which still fits the bill. The sporty precision is what makes these watches stylish and desirable.
Performance, Materials and Care
High performing and impeccably crafted, everything about Certina goes above expectations. For example, they have been innovating since 1959 with the DS style watch. The first of its kind, the watch was shock resistant, automatic, and water resistant up to 200 meters. This was the first of many innovative technological standards made by the brand. You can see in the historical stories of the brand, performance has been at the forefront of the brand throughout its history.
The materials are best in class, ensuring a top-notch watch. This includes stainless steel (for clasps, bracelets, and cases), which is resistant to corrosion and scratches, as well as hypoallergenic. They make sure to keep the nickel content low. They also use titanium, a lightweight material that insures durability and comfort. A third metal you may find on your watch is aluminum. To make sure the coatings don’t varnish, they use a unique technique called PVD, or physical vapour deposition. As far as stones, the watches may have sapphire crystals, diamonds, or mother-of-pearl inlay. These all allow for stunning aesthetics. So the face is visible in the dark, they also use a unique, Super-LumiNova material to emit light and glow (while being safe for your health).
With all these fine materials, proper care is essential to make your watch last (though you already have a leg up due to the different kinds of long-lasting treatments and metals they use). Regular servicing is a great first step to elongate the life of your watch, which they suggest every 3 to 4 years. Besides that, gentle polishing of the exterior is recommended to keep things shining and bright. Both the inside mechanics and exterior finish deserve the best care to preserve your investment.
A brand with such a rich history has a great social commitment as well, giving to the Earth as it gives to them. Since 2017, the brand has been supporting sea turtles (their logo), through work with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and their Tour de Turtles project. They’ve sponsored turtles and released special edition watches that donate to turtle conservation. Their philosophy is about being accountable, with their products and with the environment, and it shows through in their brand’s mission. As a Swiss made product, it is also held to the highest standards of craftsmanship.