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2018 was the last Baselworld that Swatch Group brands attended. I’m not sure if it was a conscious move from them or just a coincidence, but most brands brought the heat to close out their long association with the presumably defunct fair. Among them was Certina and its, then-new, DS PH200M, a reedition of their legendary vintage diver. Today we’ll have a look at its sibling, the Certina DS PH200M Blue.
Technically the DS PH200M Blue is not in the same model line as the DS PH200M. The latter is part of Certina’s Heritage Collection. Meanwhile, the Blue is in the Aqua Collection with models such as the DS Action Diver or the DS Action Day-Date. It does not matter, though, the DS PH200M Blue is still a “sick” watch.
In case you are not familiar with this model, here are a few things you need to know: the DS PH200M originally came to the market around 1967. It looked similar to the previous Certina DS from 1964, but that one had stick hands. The “new” DS PH200M came with large sword hands and a screw-down crown.
Thank God, Certina has some fantastic models in its vintage portfolio. Hence, the brand initially decided to resurrect the DS PH200M and create a watch that is as close to the original as possible. They did it while using modern materials and ETA’s latest Powermatic 80 movement, yet the brand kept the typical DS PH200M elements. These included the domed crystal, the red crosshair dial, the broad sword hands, and the black dive bezel. Everybody loved the timepiece, so for Certina to release something cool like the DS PH200M Blue was only a matter of time.
We didn’t have to wait too long. This year Certina released four new versions of the DS PH200M. There is a blue option on a NATO or leather strap, and a Black PVD version on a leather strap or Milanese bracelet. The black version had a PVD coated black case and black dial. The strap is vintage style brown leather with side stitching. You can also go for the Milanese steel bracelet if you prefer.
Other than the dial and the case, the ceramic bezel is black as well. The Blue models are virtually the same. The only difference is the strap option. The DS PH200M I had in for review was on a matching blue nylon strap. If you prefer leather, though, you can get the DS PH200M Blue on the same leather as the black version. These are beautiful watches with more than competitive prices. The DS PH200M Blue is €857. The Black is €872 on the strap and €911 on the bracelet. That’s an excellent price/value ratio, in my opinion.
Ceramic and steel
We have the same case here as we had with the 2018 DS PH200M. Crafted from 316L steel, the case measures 42.8mm wide, 12.4mm thick, and has a lug-to-lug length of 51mm. It’s not a small watch. However, you do not feel it at all when on the wrist. Thanks to the wide and rounded bezel, the watch face appears smaller. Crucially, the width is 42+mm if you measure it from the dial side (across the bezel). It’s only 40mm if you check it from below. The bezel is a tad wider than the case itself. That means the bezel is easy to grip and operate, while also making for a more comfortable wearing experience.
If you are looking for a watch that mixes vintage vibes with a more modern size, the DS PH200M Blue is a good option. If you’re used to genuinely vintage pieces, this model might be a bit too big for you. When it comes to finishing, we have mostly polished surfaces. This includes the lugs, the case sides, and the back. That also helps shrink the watch’s visual impact somewhat, as the watch looks a bit dressier than the serious tool it actually is.
The first iteration from 2018 had the legendary turtle case back just like on its vintage counterpart. This timepiece, the DS PH200M Blue, is not a vintage re-edition anymore. Instead, it’s a vintage-inspired modern watch. As such, here, the designers of Certina did not stick too strictly to the looks of the original watch. Hence the screw-down case back this time has a display window. Around it, you can find the usual information such as water resistance (200m), model name, and reference number.
While the turtle perfectly matched the ambiance of the 2018 model, the display window fits well with the DS PH200M Blue. When we talk about the case, we need to mention the bezel. We have a beautifully rounded, blue ceramic bezel with etched gold indices and a Super-LumiNova lume dot. While the inlay is ceramic, the rest of the bezel is 316L steel, like the case.
If you think that gold does not go well with blue, think again. The DS PH200M Blue has gold and white accents on a black dial. For some reason, albeit this might not be my first-choice combination either, they complement each other perfectly. The ceramic bezel’s blue color is excellent, and the gold indexes on it work well visually. This is the same gold tone you can find on the dial. The logo, the crosshair, the Super-LumiNova hands, and the index outlines on the 3-6-9-12 are all gold.
Meanwhile, the rest of the indexes are white Super-LumiNova. As I said above, the hands are vintage style sword hands, just like you saw on the 2018 DS PH200M. The center seconds hand is white, as well as the date wheel. Yes, the DS PH200M blue has a date aperture at the 3 o’clock position. Due to the color contrast, the watch is easily legible.
I haven’t talked about the DS PH200M Blue’s movement. Well, nothing new here. Certina used ETA’s new workhorse, the Powermatic 80(.111) caliber with 80 hours of power reserve, and the Nivachron balance spring. This balance has increased magnetic field resistance and durability thanks to its titanium base. So, it’s safe to say that the Certina DS PH200M Blue is an extraordinary timepiece inside and out.
Indeed, it would help if you put everything into perspective. Still, for this price, what you are getting is not a bad deal. I love the look of the dial and the bezel, the blue/gold’s harmonious symbiosis, and the feel on my wrist. As far as the strap is concerned, I’m more of a leather strap guy, but the NATO works as well. The quick-release spring bars are a nice touch, just like the lacquered glossy dial. Is this the best Swiss Made, budget diver this year so far? You tell me. It’s certainly on my list… If you’d like to visit Certina’s site please click here.