Certina Case, Movement and Serial Numbers

Some light on the number jungle

Example reference- &. serialnumber

If you take a look at the back side of your vintage Certina, you'll see (at least if it is from the 1950s to the mid-seventies, and the case back has not been polished) two numbers on the case back. These are the reference number and the serial number.
There were three different systems of numbering, depending on the era. Prior to 1958, a reference number, for example, looks like this: 8600-2.
But the composition of the reference number was similar to the following system which was used from about 1958 to 1974. Then, the system was changed again.

It's not clear if the serial numbering was changed in the fifties. It also could be that it continued until the changeover in 1974. Furthermore, it seems that special watches, such as chronometers and gold watches, may have had a separate six-digit numbering.

A reference number from the period 1958 to 1974 has two parts and seven digits. The serial number also has seven digits.

The reference number of this period is made up as follows:

Example of a reference number from the period 1958-1974

The first two digits indicate the movement that was used. In this example, the 87 stands for the Certina 29-064 (Valjoux 728). The corresponding assignment can be seen in the tables below. The second two digits represent the case material. Here we have a number 01 for a steel case. The last three digits indicate the appropriate model resp. the case style. In this case, the Chronolympic "Regatta" Chronograph.

Please note that the following tables are still under construction and I cannot guarantee the accuracy and completeness of the information.



No. Movement No. Movement No. Movement
04 Certina 13-22 50 Certina 410 75 Certina 28-353
08 Certina 13-20, 13-21, 13-22 51 Certina 25-36
Certina 25-66
77 Certina 28-351
17 Certina 17-25 52 Certina 25-66 81 Certina 29-151
20 Certina 19-30, 19-31, 19-55 53 Certina 25-651 (M) 82 Certina 29-152
27 Certina 17-011 56 Certina 25-45, 25-451,
Certina 25-65
84 Certina 29-053
Certina 29-063
29 58 Certina 25-651 (M) 85 Certina 29-052
Certina 29-062
30 59 Certina 25-652 (M) 86 Certina 29-0531
Certina 29-0631
34 63 Certina 25-021 87 Certina 29-064 (1971)
Certina 320 (Earlier models)
37 Certina 12-10 68 Certina 25-011 91 Certina 29-251
Certina 29-261
38 17-351 70 Certina 28-10 92
40 Certina 23-20
Certina 23-30
71 Certina 28-16
41 Certina 25-36 72
43 73 Certina 18-163

Case material

No. Material No. Material No. Material
01 Stainless steel 09 14 carat yellow gold 61 18 carat white gold (incl. bracelet)
02 Chromed 10 18 carat yellow gold 70 18 carat yellow gold (incl. bracelet)
04 Redgold-plated 11 18 carat white gold 71 18 carat white gold (incl. bracelet)
05 Gold-plated 10 micron (yellow gold) 21 Stainless steel with gold cap (on top) 80 18 carat yellow gold (incl. bracelet)
06 Gold-plated 20 micron (yellow gold) 27 Stainless steel with gold cap (top and side) 81 18 carat white gold (incl. bracelet)
08 18 carat rose gold 60 18 carat yellow gold (incl. bracelet)

Have you ever wondered what year your vintage Certina is? There are a lot of requests about that information. Unfortunately, until recently, there wasn’t a reliable way to check the serial number with the year of production. Even at Certina itself, it seems that no reliable records exist (based on various requests from collectors directly to Certina, in my experience).

What luck for us vintage Certina aficionados that Martin Lovasz has taken it upon himself to prepare such a list, and also that he welcomes our participation. At this point, thanks again Martin for your work!

The list published below cannot be absolutely guaranteed since it was created from various individual items. Unfortunately, the exact year can only be determined by a few elements. It takes a personal engraving or proof of purchase to determine the exact year. The more such pieces can be added to the database, the more precise the list will be. We are therefore dependent upon your help.

So if you own a timepiece which can be clearly dated, please send me the data. I will then pass the information on to Martin.

Serial numbers (to 1974)

Year Serial-
Year Serial-
Year Serial-
1938? 0'000'000? 1956 2'900'000 1965 5'500'000
1948 1'300'000 1957 3'100'000 1966 6'000'000
1949 1'500'000 1958 3'300'000 1967 6'500'000
1950 1'700'000 1959 3'500'000 1968 7'000'000
1951 1'900'000 1960 3'700'000 1969 7'500'000
1952 2'100'000 1961 3'900'000 1970 8'000'000
1953 2'300'000 1962 4'200'000 1971 8'500'000
1954 2'500'000 1963 4'500'000 1972 9'000'000
1955 2'700'000 1964 5'000'000 1973 9'600'000

After the changeover in 1974 the watches had no more serial numbers.

Using this list, you can roughly date your gold watch. But it is still very imprecise.

Serial numbers goldwatches

Year Serial-
Year Serial-
Year Serial-
From 1958 270'000? To 1967 393'000 To 1973 965'000
To 1963 313'500 From 1971 870'000

Design, trademarks and logos

A rough estimate of the production period can also be done by the various design markings on the dial.

Beispiel einer Referenznummer aus dem Zeitraum von 1958 bis 1974

Until about 1953, the Certina writing on the dial was printed in cursive handwriting, with connected letters.
The name "Certina" is taken from the Latin "certus", meaning "assured", "certain".

Beispiel einer Referenznummer aus dem Zeitraum von 1958 bis 1974

Starting in 1954, the modern lettering with block letters in capitals was used, as it is today.
In 1958, the lettering was complemented by the well-known logo with the two rotating “C” shapes, one within the other. In order to find a suitable logo, there was a competition created for graphic designers.

Related links

Update: 09.12.2016

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