Dive Watch Wednesday: Two Swiss-Made, Affordable Dive Watches That Got Better Over Time


Tissot and Certina are Swiss brands, both part of the Swatch Group, that currently offer mechanical dive watch models priced below $1,000 — the Tissot Seastar 1000 and Certina DS Action Diver. These watches also have something else in common: both were improved shortly after their launch, which makes them an even more attractive option to those in search of an affordable Swiss made dive watch.

The 43-mm Certina DS Action Diver was first introduced at Baselworld in 2011 in stainless steel (Ref. C013.407.11.051.00) and titanium (Ref. C013.407.44.081.00). A 45-mm chronograph version followed in 2012 (Ref. C013.427.11.051.00), and a blue-dial version in 2013 (Ref. C013.407.11.041.00). All models offer 200-meter water resistance and a bezel inlay made of sapphire crystal covered with a transparent layer (epoxy resin). They are either powered by an ETA 2824-2 or ETA 7753 movement and are available with either a rubber strap or metal bracelet. (Considering the price difference, we recommend going for the bracelet option first and acquiring the rubber strap separately). Unfortunately, all these models were initially equipped with a black-on-white date wheel between 4 and 5 o’clock, which probably is the most obvious thing to criticize (next to the text/font treatment on the dial; the ISO Standard could have easily been placed on the caseback instead). Fortunately, it appears Certina came around to agreeing: sometime between 2012 and 2013, the black dial base model was upgraded and now features a less dominant white-on-black date wheel. So if you can live with its position, and have always liked the look of this watch, now might be an even better time to give this model another chance. Hopefully, we’ll see the rest of the collection with matching date wheels soon, too.

Certina DS Action Diver original - Baselworld 2011
The original Certina DS Action Diver from 2011
Certina DS Action Diver - redesigned - Baselworld 2013
Above and below: the redesigned Certina DS Action Diver from 2013

 

Certina DS Action Diver -reclining

Also in 2011, Tissot launched its radically redesigned Seastar 1000 collection. Its rather unique look, and a huge selection of models and colors (there were, for example, three models with three different chronograph movements, all available in three color variations) made it difficult to not appreciate the range instantly (we still find the “1000” moniker a bit misleading for a 300-meter water-resistant watch, though, and the 48-mm chrono feels a bit too large while the 42-mm base model could have been a little bit larger when it comes to the lug size). The stainless steel case featured a helium release valve, a solid engraved bezel with PVD coating, and a sapphire crystal in the caseback. Tissot made changes in 2014, replacing the orange version with a darker red and making the blue version a bit darker. The bezel was optimized, the inlay replaced with ceramic, raised indices were added, and, most importantly, the mechanical base model (e.g. Ref. T066.407.17.057.02) was upgraded to include the Powermatic 80 caliber – which is still based on an ETA base movement but offers an interesting, more exclusive alternative to the standard 2824 by adding an 80-hour power reserve.

Tissot Seastar 1000 - original - Baselworld 2011
The original Tissot Seastar 1000 from 2011
Tissot Seastar 1000 - redesigned - Baselworld 2014
The redesigned Tissot Seastar 1000 from 2014

In short, if you are looking for a more affordable, Swiss-made dive watch, both of these already attractive models have now become even more so. The Certina is probably the more elegant, conservative choice while Tissot offers more exclusivity when it comes to aesthetics and functions.

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7 Responses to “Dive Watch Wednesday: Two Swiss-Made, Affordable Dive Watches That Got Better Over Time”

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  1. I have yet to read or see any confirmation that the bezel insert for the Certina is actually made of
    Sapphire. I thought it was acrylic in composition. I would love to know either way.

    Reply
    • Mike: seems you were right. Still have no offical answer from Certina, but from what I researched last night, the insert seems to be covered with a transparent epoxy resin layer. Whilst this looks as good as a sapphire inlay, it definitely is not as scratch resistant… so there might be yet another chance for Certina to upgrade the DS Action Diver. :-) Thanks again for pointing it out!

      Reply
      • And here’s the official answer from Certina:

        ‘… the bezel has a transparent enamel layer to permit the SuperLumiNova markings (from 0 to 20 minutes) glowing in dark conditions and providing the user with an additional information (e.g. with how much the diving time has been overpassed).’

        Best regards

        Roger

        Reply
      • Thanks Roger for looking into it. I agree it may not be as scratch resistant it is very glossy and i have found that a little Mothers Mag polish takes away any small marks and keeps the bezel edges looking new. I hope Certina updates to Sapphire for durability long term as it is such a nice watch and well worth the money.

        Thanks again

        Mike

        Reply
  2. About the Seastar you mention “we still find the “1000” moniker a bit misleading for a 300-meter water-resistant watch”. Doesn’t 1,000 ft equals about 300m?

    Reply
    • Luciano, of course it does. Still, the 1000 as part of the product name (and without the feet) could be a bit misleading since many extreme water resistant dive watches carry the meter number in the name, e.g. Ocean 2000, Seamaster 1000, DS-2 SuperPH 1000, Marinemaster 1000 etc. to underline their increased WR. And even quite many regular dive watches do so as well: Seamaster 300, Seiko Diver’s 200 etc.
      Sure, there are also those watches like the new Sea-Dweller 4000 without the feet (or with fathoms etc.) in the name, and there are watches with the feet in it such as the 20’000ft from Charmex. But as a personal opinion I would presume that if you asked a consumer what he might in general expect from a “Seastar 1000” water-resistance wise, it might not only be 300 meters :-)

      Reply
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