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This thread will be reserved for important posts. I expect to update it as needed and do not need anyone else to post here.



This is a long item but I think it marks a very significant event in the world of HAQ. We have a brand-new TC movement - the ETA 251.264.CEN PreciDrive - installed in a brand-new watch from a long-established Swatch Group watch manufacturer. Unlike all the other announcements of the last year or so, that have only a very limited (albeit exciting) appeal, like the Hoptroff CSAC watch, or are still apparently vapourware, like AtomicTime and Morgenwerk, this one is real and is currently being shipped to retailers at a very reasonable price.

Certina's effort in announcing and publicising their new watch, after the initial press releases, has been feeble and confusing, with retailers and their distributors having very little information and even Certina's web site has almost no useful information. There are currently six models with cosmetic variations and they are shown here:
certina.com/collection/gent-quartz/ds-2#m=1
It appears that they all have the TC movement but only the more expensive LE version has a COSC certificate (and a fancy box).

My recently departed, and not greatly missed, Aerospace has left an HAQ-sized gap, just in time to receive my own Certina and I hope the photos give a good idea of the whole package. If you want wrist shots, or a photo of the movement, then you'll have to buy your own. :)

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Chronograph Indications
View attachment 1278889

Detailed specification (from Certina and my own watch)

  • Model number: C024.447.11.081.00
  • Movement: Thermocompensated Quartz ETA 251.264.CEN PreciDrive, +/- 10 seconds/year
  • Battery life: more than 2 years (silver oxide 394/SR936SW), EOL indication
  • Functions: Centre hour & minute hands, small-second, date,
    time-zone (hour hand setting is independent),
    date adjustment using hour hand, NO perpetual calendar
  • Chronograph: Centre 1-second hand with 1/100[SUP]th[/SUP]-second graduations,
    runs for first minute, subsequently displayed when chronograph is stopped
    Centre 60-second hand
    Small 30-minute and 12-hour dials
  • Case: Brushed/polished 316L stainless steel
    41mm diameter, 12.54 mm high, lug width 22 mm
    Aluminium bezel with tachymeter scale
  • Dial: Anthracite with polished hands and nickelled indices
    Sub-dials black with textured finish
    Superluminova on hour & minute hands and hour markers
    See the Certina link for other variations
  • Water resistance: to 10 bar (100m)
  • Crystal: Sapphire crystal, domed, with inner anti-reflective coating
  • Watch strap: Three-row 316L stainless steel (brushed/polished)
    with twin push-button butterfly buckle
    Removable links with split-pin fixings
  • Dimensions: Case 41 mm diameter, 12.54 mm high, 22 mm lug width, 51 mm lug-to-lug
    Weight of watch with full bracelet 150 g
    Maximum wrist circumference of watch + bracelet 21.5 cm
    Bracelet 22 mm wide, tapering to 19 mm,with removable links 7 mm (x2) and 10 mm (x5)
  • Warranty: Two year international warranty, service through normal SG Group centres

A brief initial review


First impressions are that this is a very nicely designed and finished piece, quite 'normal' in appearance. The case has a good mix of brushed and polished sections, as does the bracelet, although I fear that the large polished centre links will soon show scuffs and scratches. The bracelet was quite easily adjusted to size with two sizes of link, and there are helpful arrow markings on the bracelet to avoid the disaster of attempting to insert or remove the split pins in the wrong direction. I would have liked to see micro-adjustment but this is probably impossible with a butterfly fastening.

Rather surprisingly for a 100m WR watch, the back is pressed in rather than screwed in. However, Certina make a big deal of their DS (Double Security) Concept, and there is a relief of a turtle on the back, so I have to assume that they know what they're doing! It does mean that I'm in no hurry to have a peek at the movement.

On the wrist it's quite comfortable and doesn't feel too big. It's on the upper size limit for my taste, and I prefer titanium for lightness, but it's OK. Absence of a rotating bezel is a major plus point for me.

Readability is good, helped by the slightly domed crystal, with internal AR, that avoids the problem with a flat crystal of the dial disappearing behind one large reflection. In the absence of an outer AR coating this is good enough. The dial has a very subtle sunburst effect for the main dark grey part, with black sub-dials that have a raised annular ring pattern.

Operation is perfectly straightforward, with all the functions working as expected. The independent hour hand is for me a mandatory feature for any HAQ . Perpetual calendar would have been nice but it seems unachievable with a chronograph. You have to turn the hour hand through 24 hours to change the date (works in both directions). Lume seems adequate but I haven't tried an 05:00 time check yet.

The chrono buttons work smoothly but I must make a comment about the 1/100[SUP]th[/SUP]-second feature. This was greatly hyped in the initial press releases, as if it's a must-have unique feature. To me it's a complete nonsense. Trying to read an elapsed time that requires reference to 4 separate hands (12-hour and 30-minute sub-dials, plus 60-second and 1-second main hands) is a serious test of one's patience. Omitting the 4[SUP]th[/SUP] hand would give a perfectly serviceable 1-second stopwatch. If you need sub-second resolution then any cheap digital stopwatch is infinitely better.

The user manual is perfectly adequate, being written in good English (plus 16 other languages) and contains everything you need to know on 12 tiny pages. This includes simple instructions for resetting the chrono hands, which was necessary when my watch arrived.

So, my initial conclusion is that I am very pleased with this attractive watch at an attractive price. I cannot understand why Christopher Ward doesn't do something similar with sensibly-priced COSC quartz, instead of their bizarre special editions that are commemorative of nothing very significant.

I am now starting my test of accuracy and will report as soon as the SPY value starts to settle down. +/-10 SPY is not usually a problem for ETA TC movements.

I'll be happy to attempt to answer any questions.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Great stuff! I must say I had completely missed the original announcement. So not only do we have a new HAQ watch but also a new HAQ movement, the ETA 251.264, after the often used ETA 251.232 with its 1/10th second chrono feature. Let's hope the movement is actually tweakable unlike the one on the Aerospace, have you been able to track down a technical manual?

Too bad the new center 1/100th hand doesn't seem to have much practical use and I'm not surprised because my vintage Omega 1/100th and Longines 1/100th with the ESA 251.252 (Omega 1670, not sure about the Longines name) have the same problem, hehe...

I'm also not a big fan (hate them really) of pressed backs as it's impossible to remove them without leaving marks and this one might be even harder to remove with the DS claim...

Finally it seems you can only get seconds readings down to 5 seconds? Not a huge practical issue but a tad "annoying" for an HAQ, a bit like that CW where you couldn't read the minutes on part of the dial, well that was worse I suppose ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Just to say that if anybody is looking to buy one at a good price, I can recommend my supplier. No personal interest in this, other than as a satisfied customer. PM me for info.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Chris, you do not have the COSC Spec movement, only the C024.448.11.031.00 model is COSC... you do have the precidrive which means you can measure up to 1/100th of a second in chronograph mode...

chronograph DOES NOT mean chronometer
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Chris, you do not have the COSC Spec movement, only the C024.448.11.031.00 model is COSC... you do have the precidrive which means you can measure up to 1/100th of a second in chronograph mode...

chronograph DOES NOT mean chronometer
I think that you are overestimating the significance of COSC. My understanding of this range of watches is that they all have the same PreciDrive TC movement, which will be adjusted by ETA in exactly the same way. The LE model contains a movement that has been tested by COSC and comes with the certificate. Since COSC isn't a watchmaker, the movement passes or fails and that's it. So the only difference is the certificate. I know that I have a chronograph and that only the LE is a chronometer within the Swiss meaning of the word. Certina claims +/-10 SPY for all the watches. As to actual chronometer levels of performance, I'll be able to see for myself quite soon.

Measuring 1/100th second has absolutely no connection with COSC performance. The underlying ETA PowerDrive technology may facilitate high-resolution chronograph operation but that's available on the non-TC movements as well. 1 to 10 millisecond chronograph resolution is available on several other quartz watches that don't have PreciDrive or PowerDrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

i have preordered at uhrzeit.de,but how to change battery when the times comes?
This is a sealed case,can an ordinary watchmaker in my local area change battery or must it be shipped to switserland?
Like any WR watch the back needs care in removal and even more care when it's replaced. Ideally it will need a new gasket (possibly also the crown and pushers) and should be pressure tested. I wouldn't consider taking it to a local 'battery man'. If you look on the Certina.com web site you can search for your nearest Certina (Swatch Group) service centre. Unless you're in Switzerland it shouldn't need to travel that far! If its performance is outside the +/-10 SPY spec. you can get them to regulate it as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

one quick question. Does pulling out the crown on these watches save the battery? I have heard all kinds of interpretations, from it makes the battery die faster, it makes the battery leak to it's ok and will save the battery life.
Of course, being that the watch has a HAQ movement, the question might sound pointless, but let's say I know I wont be wearing the watch for 6 months, and I don't want to open this difficult caseback nor send it to service.
This is a subject that has been beaten to death many times. I'll quote from Certina's user manual for this watch:

If you plan not to wear your chronograph for several weeks or months, we would advise you to store it with the crown pulled out to position III [that's fully out]. This cuts the electrical supply to the motor, thereby extending battery life considerably.

Certina have not yet added the manual to their web site for downloading. I would have liked to have made a scan available here, but I'm not about to put copyright material on a public forum. If anybody wants more information, please PM me and include a real email address.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Just picked up my DS2 from the UPS depot. Sitting in my car waiting for a car wash, so here is a quick pic and first observations.

View attachment 1297148

First impressions:
- neat box only slightly spoiled by a tear in the (paper) covering on the back. Like the neat compartment for the manual.

- The green is brighter than the web pictures led me to believe. But does look pretty neat. Quite a contrast from the dark red hands on the Skyhawk Red Arrows that I am wearing today.

- Time was off by 9 hours (we are UTC -7) so must have been set to factory time in Switzerland, not local Spanish time(?).

- It was also off by about 9 seconds, but there's no guarantee that it was set exactly.

- I like the way the chronograph works compared to the Miros & CW C70, with the large hand doing 1/100 ths, and the minutes on the small dial (versus minutes on the large dial and 1/10 ths on the small dial).

- Just set it against the Skyhawk and will start a test this weekend as I do an update on the other 3 (I'll start a test on the Sinn again too at the same time).

Going into the wash now so gotta go.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches


Ceramic casing? What is that exactly?
Mine is on the way here by UPS, I can't wait to hold her!
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Well, she's here!

playing around with the date and time settings while I took this pic.

 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Well I have 56 days of data now, so here goes for my DS2:

View attachment 1358494

At 24 days it was projecting a SPY of -3.22 seconds and at 57 days, -3.6 SPY.

Looks like a good start. Especially for a non-COSC certified caliber. Obviously it likely would have passed had it been submitted.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

What was your wearing routine? Mine appears to be sensitive in this respect - about -3.5 with daily wear, and close to zero with alternate days' wear. After a full month in the latter mode, I think I'll try unworn for a few weeks.

I wonder if there is any real difference between the COSC and non-COSC versions. It seems that (assuming a 4 SPY step in calibration) both of our watches are as close to 'perfect' as they can reasonably be, and that the only extra feature is the actual test and the certificate. There would seem little point in ETA/Certina deliberately downgrading the non-COSC performance, as they claim the same +/- 10 SPY for all six models.
My wearing routine is actually quite sporadic as I have a large watch rotation, and so it usually only gets wrist time every two weeks.

As to the COSC/non-COSC, I suspect that there is no manufacturing differences, only that some candidates do the final exam (and hopefully pass) for a fee, and the others venture out into the world untested. After all the Seiko and Citizen HAQ models do not get COSC certification (and can't per Swiss rules), and yet still manage to pull off some impressive numbers.
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Chris01 has a dealer (in Spain) that he will recommend to you. I used them on his recommendation and they were good to deal with, and at a good price. I would send you the info but I am away from home today and don't have the info at hand. PM Chris01 and I'm sure that he will send you the info.
I'd just like to second everything Sabre has said - Chris01's contact in Spain was very easy to deal with and the prices were very competitive. I had a few questions during shipping and they responded often within minutes with the information I'd asked for.

For those wary about buying without seeing it in person, the only (slight) criticism I've heard is that the green dial is a bit more intense than the photography would indicate. Personally though, the only problem I'm having is that I want to keep looking at it all day - it's hard to get any work done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Getting hard to resist...I guess that I sell my Longines Flagship Perpetual Calendar I'll have an excuse to get one too...Anyone want to swap ? ;-)

In the meantime, is there a video somewhere showing how the watch works in chrono mode, especially how that 1/100th second hand moves around ?
Have a look at this: http://certina.com/sites/default/files/videos/ds-2_150sec._original_14611.mp4.mp4

You can see the chrono being started just after 1 minute into the video.

What happens is this:

Start the chrono: the 1/100 (plain hand) and 60 sec (hand with a small circle) hands start together.
1/100 = 1 revolution per second, apparently smoothly **
60 sec = 1 revolution per minute, jumping between seconds

After 1 minute: the 1/100 hand stops at 12 while the 60 sec hand continues normally. The 30-minute and 12-hour hands jump to the next position as required. They don't move gradually between markers.

Stop the chrono: all the moving hands stop. If the 1/100 is already stopped at 12, it moves round to the current 1/100 second position.

You then have the task of reading 4 separate hands to get the time!

** One of the features of the new PowerDrive technology is the 200 steps per second drive. So the 1/100 hand may be jumping up to 200 times per second. Needs a slow-motion video to find out.

Has that helped to explain it?

On the other matter, the DS-2 is a great watch but I'd never give up a VHP PC to own one. Find something else to sell!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

Three months' data, and I am now going to leave it unworn for a month.

This may not be really significant, but it's interesting to look at the final week's data - the total variation (blue bars) shows a loss on each day it was worn, followed by a gain when unworn on the following day. The green SPY line shows it clearly. I'll look at this again later.

View attachment 1375757
 

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re: Certina DS 2 PreciDrive watches

A quick photograph of my watch. I've removed the bracelet & replaced it with a Hadley Roma alligator strap on a RHD deployant buckle.

For those who are considering this watch, I bought it from the well-known dealer in Spain (thanks Chris for the recommendation). Juan was great to work with and the watch was shipped promptly. The only issue I had was that I ended up using Paypal because I couldn't get their website to work with a credit card.

I checked with the Hour Passion (Swatch group factory store) in New York and they did not stock the watch and the price was not competitive. I found that a little unusual because often products are priced more competitively in the US by the importer than overseas with a foreign exchange transaction.

 
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