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.
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.
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.