With its 42.5mm case machined out of 316L low-carbon stainless steel and a Rolex-like unidirectional rotating bezel, this quartz-powered 2009 Certina DS Action Chrono is available both on a sexy black rubber strap (ref. C013.417.27.057.00, pictured) and a more practical stainless steel bracelet (ref. C013.417.11.057.00.) As affordable as it is, this one looks like a good choice for those not willing to spend tons of money to buy a ‘real’ Submariner, but still not willing to opt-in for an “homage” from smaller brands of dubious origin.
Well, maybe that is also their main problem.
I mean, some people may feel embarrassed if someone not particularly familiar with the watchmaking world, but more or less informed that such models exist, asks them “Is this a Rolex Submariner (or an Omega Seamaster, or Breitling, or an IWC Aquatimer, or Some Other Expensive Automatic Diving Watch) on your wrist?” and they blush and start explaining that no, it is just a Certina (or Seiko, or Invicta, or Some Other Cheap Quartz Diver), but it doesn’t really look like a Rolex.
Because, you know, the hands are different, and the rotating bezel is different, and the date window is in the wrong place, etc. And they don’t pretend to own an expensive watch; they just like the style and don’t give a wooden nickel about those status things. Well, it does sound very embarrassing to me.
But if you are not that easily embarrassed, this is a perfect diving tool for you. It is powered by an accurate and reliable Swiss ETA G10.211 quartz chronograph movement (it also powers the popular Tissot PRC 200, Invicta Subaqua Noma III and the Victorinox Swiss Army Base Camp Chrono quartz wristwatches), which is perfectly sealed from the elements by the DS+ double security system and is water-resistant up to 200 meters. The only drawback of this mechanism is that it comes sealed and can’t be repaired: you will have to pay for a new movement if the original one dies on you, but that sort of comes with the territory when we are dealing with watches in this price range, doesn’t it?
And its scratch-resistant sapphire crystal features anti-glare treatment, which is not such a usual thing in the $500-$600 categories.
Like a real diver, the DS Action Chrono also offers a legible dial with high-contrast polished steel hands and hour markers perfectly visible on the black dial.
The only thing that bothers me here is the amount of luminous substance covering the hour and minute hands, as well as applied indexes. The thin strips of lume maybe just not bright enough for you to read the time in murky waters.
See also: Argonaut 1000 TQ by CX Swiss Military
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Certina DS Action Chrono specification
Price: $550 (MSRP)
Movement: Caliber ETA G10.211, quartz, 4 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date
Power reserve: 48 months
Case: Stainless steel
Diameter: 42.50 mm
Dial: Silver or black
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Black rubber or three-row satin-finished steel bracelet with a steel folding clasp and diving extension
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated