Certina might not be as popular as other watchmakers (Tissot, Omega, Hamilton, etc.) but believe it or not, this Swiss watchmaker was founded in 1888, more than a century ago. The DS Podium Automatic wrist watches are a testament of how this brand has evolved around the years.
It is simple and dressy watch, but enclosed in the sturdy “DS” casing of Certina that promises a robust watch against water and shock. That’s definitely will bring a peace of mind to its owner =). Let’s get on with the Certina DS Podium review and have a closer look at it.
Certina DS Podium Automatic Specification
Diameter: 38 mm
Thickness: 11 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Case: Stainless steel case
Strap: Black leather strap with butterfly clasp
Dial: Black or white dial
Dial Window: Sapphire crystal
Marker: Numeral and index markers
Hands: Silver hands with lume
Movement: Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic self-wind movement
Movement Features: 25 Jewels, 28800 vibrations per hour or 8 beats per second, hacking, manual winding
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Accuracy: +-15 seconds per day
Water Resistance: 100 m
Other Features: Exhibition caseback, date display, lume on hands and markers
Best Place To Buy: Amazon
Are Certina Watches Any Good? – The Tale From 1888
Certina is one of the lesser known wrist watch brand. But make no mistake, it has been around since 1888 in the watchmaking region near Jura mountains, Switzerland. Around the 80’s in the aftermath of the Quartz crisis, Certina joined the Swiss watch manufacturer SMH group (which will be known as Swatch nowadays).
It is famed for making sports watches particularly diver watches and Certina has devised the DS concept which stands for “Double Security”. This concept uses many seals (around the crown and caseback), sapphire crystal and reinforced caseback to create a robust wrist watch that can withstand the abuse of usage by a sportsmen.
I would say this DS concept is just marketing gimmick by Certina. Many brands (Swiss and Japanese) have been able to achieve those things too. Water resistance and shock resistance are quite common for diver watches nowadays. But all in all, Certina is a good watch brand with more than a century of Swiss watchmaking experience.
Solid And Rugged Stainless Steel Case
The case of the DS Podium Automatic is quite substantial to look at. It is made of highly polished stainless steel. The diameter is a good 38 mm with thickness about 11 mm.
This watch has an empty bezel which will make the watch face appear larger as compared to other watches with bezel (diver watch, tachymeter chronographs, etc.). This has helped to make the look of it much more elegant and sharp.
The sides of the watch is straight devoid of any curves. The lugs are big, bulky and looks solid. In my opinion, the lugs are the defining factor of the DS Podium Automatic look.
The big lugs just scream toughness and “you don’t mess with me” rugged kinda thing. Very different than the simple understated dial that is very dressy and clean. A good guy with a tough side if you may lol.
The watch comes with a black leather strap. Like most Swiss manufacturers, the strap comes with a butterfly clasp which I really loves. The standard pin and buckle on normal straps will just destroy it with constant use. I’ve even had to changed a rubber band on my diver watch due to it.
The pin and buckle need some very delicate use so that you won’t damaged the strap (which is very hard to do!). By using a butterfly clasp, you won’t have to pull and stretch the strap every time you want to put on/off the watch. This greatly helps to lengthen the strap’s age =)
The Certina DS Podium uses a leather strap with a butterfly clasp
Clean, Simple, Understated Dial
The dial of the Certina DS Podium Automatic comes in two colors: Black and White. Both versions has the same design with different dial colors. The watch face is styled to be simple and understated. There are minimal signatures on the dial.
The numeral and index markers, while big enough to read time without having to bring the watch closer to your eyes, is still moderately sized. There is also a date display at the bottom of the watch.
These design elements caused the dial to have a very proportioned design: it is just nice without any overbearing elements. In fact I think it is one of the best proportioned dials I’ve ever seen.
Some watches will have a very big markers, or a very big signatures and logos. But this DS Podium Automatic managed to make it fit in and sync all of these elements together. The absence of day display is a greatly missed (day and date display is a huge addition to functionality of an automatic watch), but I think it is for the best.
I don’t see where they can fit a day display in this dial actually. Overall, the Certina DS Podium Automatic has a beautiful dressy dial, inside a robust and sports-quality DS (Double Security) case that the brand is famed for.
This white dial is another option for the Certina DS Podium Automatic
Swiss ETA 2824-2 Automatic Self Winding Movement
Inside this DS Podium Automatic is Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic self-wind movement which is a common workhorse movement used by many Swiss brand’s (especially those in Swatch Group.
ETA is also a subsidiary of Swatch fyi). From Tissot Le Locle, to Victorinox Swiss Army (VSA) Alliance Mechanical, the movement has proved to be a workhorse and has been in production for decades. This shows how good it is really.
ETA 2824-2 has 25 jewels inside it. It runs at 28800 vibrations per hour or 8 beats per second – which is a common beat rate for a Swiss watch. It results in a more fluid/smooth second hand sweeping motion than the Japanese movement that typically comes with 6 beats per second.
The movement is also can be hacked and manual wind (which is quite standard nowadays. Watches without these features are quite rare). The accuracy is modest, at +-15 seconds per day considering it is the standard version.
The ETA 2824-2 has 3 other different versions (Elaborated, Top and Chronometer). Each versions has a better quality materials, delicate decorations and higher accuracy (and higher price of course).
This ubiquitous movement can be seen from the exhibition caseback of the DS Podium Automatic. On top of the rotor, Certina has decorated it with its label name in gold engraving. Not much decoration can be seen there.
After all it is a low-medium range watch and they have their budget constraint and all. But then the effort put forth by Certina to use some gold colored gear wheels inside the movement is quite nice though. It really helped to bring a boring silver colored stainless steel movement alive.
Watch this review to see the Certina DS Podium Automatic closer
Where To Buy Certina DS Podium Automatic?
This watch currently retails for an MSRP of more than $600. But you can now get it cheaper at Amazon. Take a look at the newest deals of the DS Podium Automatic by clicking the links below:
>- Check The Best Price of Certina DS Podium Automatic Black Dial (C0014071605700) At Amazon<-
ConclusionCertina DS Podium Automatic is a very beautiful wrist watch with simple and dressy look. It has a clean proportioned watch face design, which is housed in a sturdy and robust “DS” case by the historic Swiss brand.
Looking for a dressy watch but afraid the thin case it might be too brittle and you could break it anytime? Then this is the watch for you =)
I hope you guys enjoy this Certina DS Podium review. Let me know if you guys have any comments or questions regarding it.
I would love to hear from you guys =)
Till next time then. Cheers!
17 thoughts on “Certina DS Podium Automatic Watch Review – Dress Watch In A Rugged Case”
I love a good watch. I own several Omega, Stowa, and Movado watches, mostly automatics. This is not one of those watches. It’s pretty much the opposite of them, except in its reliable timekeeping. I bought this watch to go on an African photography trip in 2019, because I did not want to have an expensive watch, but I wanted something that would work reliably, be readable in dark conditions, resistant to the elements, lightweight, and decent looking. Looks a re a matter of taste. I like the olive drab band, the cream-colored dial is easy to read, but it’s plain—and I like that in a utilitarian watch. It’s been to Africa three times, Iceland, Death Valley, Bora Bora, Qatar, UK, and points between. It’s been snorkeling in the ocean, in the snow, in temperatures well below 0F and above 100F. It has never failed to work.
What is the lume like on this watch? Average? Above average? What color is the lume? Also I’ve seen different dimensions listed for the quartz version. What do u know about the quartz dimensions? Thanks!
What is the lug length from top to bottom?
Hi – dies the Certine DS Podium also have lume of on the hour markers and numerals?
Hi Stefan. Yes the DS Podium has lume on its numeral markers.
Thanks for the review!
I just purchased this watch (the older 4 Hz movement version). When I went to handwind it I noticed a loud grinding sound, which I haven’t heard with my other watches. Did this also happen to you/is this normal?
Hi Aidan. My experience with my Tissot Visodatewith the same ETA 2824-2 is the winding is fairly smooth, a bit higher pitched but not a grinding sound. If you really feel the winding is very rough, you might want to check it with your local watchmaker just to confirm if this is normal or something you need to be concerned about.
Does the DS Auto have a screw down crown?
Hi Clay. There’s no screw down crown on the DS Podium automatic.
I just bought a grey market DS Podium automatic, which I assume is an older version of the DS Podium Powermatic 80. I choose the older version because it has the older movement, which beats at 28 and not 21 thousand beats per second and has a smoother sweep of the second hand. The only thing I don’t really like about it is the clip strap. So I’m planning on swapping it out. The problem is I’m not sure if it’s 21mm or 20mm and it’s hard to get information about it on the Internet. I know the newer version is 21.
Hi SWR. Yes you’re right about the newer version having a slightly wider lug width of 21 mm. If you’ve bought the older ETA version, then the lug width should be 20 mm.
Not many people seem to know much about Certina. I really like the look of the DS Podium Chronograph Automatic but I am unsure of the movements’ reliability. Can you enlighten me a little more before I make this purchase?
Hi Scott. Yes, I do agree that Certina is somewhat less popular. This could be due to their lesser promotional campaigns compared to the larger brands such as Tissot. On the movement, this particular DS Podium model uses ETA 2824-2 automatic movement which is one of the most reliable movements that has been in the market for years.
I recently purchased a Certina DS “Podium” identical to the one you review here. It was a little alarming to see the pressed-in case back (rather than a screw-in caseback) on a watch that is supposed to be rated at 10 bar water resistance, but then again, my military-specification Marathon Navigator is a plastic-cased watch with a push-in case back and a push-pull crown, yet it too is rated for 100 meters. My faith in the Certina was restored when setting the time: the crown on this watch is SOLID – there is almost no “wiggle” to it at all. It snaps to the second, date-setting position with a satisfying “stop,” and when pulled out to the third position for time-setting, it does not accidentally displace the hands if you do not rotate it. The operation of this crown mechanism indicates a high degree of precision and quality of the watch’s components and assembly.
Hi Gerard. Glad to know you love your Certina DS Podium. The thing about water resistance is there is no real rule of thumb on how a watch construction/design will affect its water resistance rating – at least for those lower than 100 m water resistance =P
Hello , I have a Certina DS1 automatic 1886 watch, have left if for a day on the night table and now nothing moves anymore, the second indicator is like blocked…what do I have to do?
Hi Markus. If your automatic watch had stopped moving, you can try to manually wind it by rotating the crown (read HERE on how to wind your watch) and shake the watch a few times. Most of the times, the power reserve was depleted which was why the watch stopped.
If above don’t work, then you need to send the watch to Certina or any other trusted watchmakers for them to check it.
Let me know how it worked out Markus.
(read also my post on the common problems with automatic watches HERE)