Certina Diver Watches

The turtle submerges

 

The first diver’s models came on the market around 1960, shortly after the introduction of the DS product line (1959). When the successor to the DS (the DS-2) was launched in 1968, two versions were available: one was waterproof down to 200m (reference 5801 303), the other waterproof down to 500m (reference 5801 123). The DS-2 Super PH 500M was successfully used in the TEKTITE I & II experiments in 1969 and 1970. Furthermore, there is evidence that Certina had already provided watches for the earlier US Navy experiment called Sealab II.

Certina EchoUnfortunately, erroneous information was spread by some sources that the 1000M version (Reference 5801 302) was used in the Tektite I experiment. The article on the right, from Certina’s own magazine “Certina Echo” (spring edition 1970) is proof against this rumour. Furthermore, the Super PH 1000M was introduced as the successor of the 500M model in the same article.
In the picture below taken from a Life magazine article on the Tektite I experiment, the Super PH 500M can be recognized on the diver’s wrist. The 500M model can be found in other pictures as well.


Life MagazinTektite I was a federal underwater experiment that took place from February 15 to April 15, 1969 in the Lameshur Bay of St. John, close to the Virgin Islands. In this experiment performed by the U.S. Navy, NASA and the American Department of the Interior in collaboration with the General Electric Company, four aquanauts spent 60 days in an underwater habitat 15 meters below sea level. In addition to exploring the bottom of the sea, the main objective of the experiment was to study the behaviour of the scientists under these unusual conditions. The Super PH 500M was evaluated according to 13 criteria, receiving the rating “excellent” six times, the rating “good” five times, and “satisfying” twice.

National GeographicThe Tektite I project was considered a great success and the two diving cylinders, each five metres high and four metres in diameter and connected by a tunnel, were submerged a second time in the Great Lameshur Bay. In the Tektite II project, run in 1970, five aquanauts shared the underwater base for periods of two weeks (on average), returning to this habitat between their dives for scientific exploration. Based on a story published in “Certina Echo”, the Super PH 1000M was provided by Certina for the project. It is possible that a few scientists who had participated in Tektite I decided to wear their Super PH 500M again. In the sixth out of a total of ten missions, for the first time, an exclusively women’s diving team, led by marine biologist Dr. Silvia Earle, was on duty.

UFOWhat is less well-known: the Super PH 500M was in action not only in water but also in the endless expanse of the universe … at least in theory. In the cult television science fiction series “UFO” which began broadcasting in September 1969, Ed Bishop, aka Commander Ed Straker, wore a 500 on his spacesuit during his “foreign” operations as you can see in the photo on the right. (By the way: when he was at home in his space station, he wore a Certina Argonaut Chrono). You see, a diver’s watch cuts a fine figure in space as well!

Derived from the DS-2 Super PH 500M, the DS-2 Super PH 1000M (Reference 5801 302) was introduced in 1970 in Basel. By then, all models had the 25-651 movement. In 1974, the reference numbers were changed and this model was given the reference 919 1301 41. There was also an identical model under the name „Technos Sky Diver“ available but this model had an ETA 2789 inside. In 1976, the DS-2 Super PH 1000M was replaced by the almost-identical DS-3 Super PH 1000M which had the same reference number. This one had the new 919-1 movement with the quickset date feature. The DS-3 Super PH 1000M, among others, was used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). These watches are identifiable by means of the engraved “National Stock Number (NSN)” on the case back.

In addition to this model, a “civilian” version of the DS-3, water resistant to 300 meters (Referenz 750 1402 41) could be found. From this model, numerous “NOS” pieces are in circulation. Likely, because of the quartz crisis, there were still some parts left over in stock, which were later assembled. It seems that with the same reference number, there were another two models with the marking PH 200M available, one of them with a quartz movement.

In those days, the usage of one reference number for several models seems to have been fairly common. The number refers mainly to the case and less to the dial or the movement. The DS-2 PH200M (reference 5801 113) for example, has the case of the former DS with the same reference number, but the dial was used also for the later reference 5801 303. So, the “second” Reference 5801 113 seems to be some kind of a “transitional reference”.

In addition to the models of the DS line, there were also diver’s watches with the marking “Argonaut”. Unfortunately, I have little information about these models at this time.

You can find further interesting information about vintage Certina diver’s watches in the links below.

Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
Argonaut 220M
Argonaut 220M 5801 122 Certina 25-651 37 x 42 x 14 Automatic
Date without quickset
Black “Crossdial” dial with printed indices
Water resistant to 220 metres
From 1965
Argonaut 220M
Argonaut 220M 5801 122 Certina 25-651 37 x 42 x 14 Automatic
Date without quickset
Black dial with printed indices
Water resistant to 220 metres
From 1965
Argonaut 200M
Argonaut 200M 5801 223 Certina 25-651 39 x 41 x 12 Automatic
Date without quickset
Black dial with appliqued indices
Water resistant to 200 metres
From ?
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
Argonaut 200m Chrono
Argonaut Chrono 200M 8401 002 Certina 29-053
Valjoux 23
38(39) x 42 x 12
LW: 19
Manual wind. No Date. Black dial with
two sub dials at 3 and 6
Water resistant to 200 metres
About from 1968 to 1972

Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS Diver
DS 5601 013 Certina 25-65 D: 40.5 Automatic
Black dial with appliqued indices
Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1960
DS Diver
DS 5601 113 Certina 25-65 37/39 x 45 x 14 Automatic
No date
Black “Crossdial” dial with appliqued
indices. Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1964
DS Diver
DS 5801 113 Certina 25-651 37/39 x 45 x 14 Automatic
Date without quickset
Black “Crossdial” dial with appliqued
indices. Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1964
DS PH200M
DS PH200M 5801 117 Certina 25-651 D: 40.5 Automatic
Date without quickset
Black “Crossdial” dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1967
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS-2 PH200M
DS-2 PH200M 5801 113 Certina 25-651 37/39 x 45 x 14 Automatic. Classic case from the DS
Ref. 5801 113 from 1964.
Date without quickset.
Water resistant to 200 metres.
From 1969
DS-2 PH200M
DS-2 PH200M 5801 113 Certina 25-651 37/39 x 45 x 14 Automatic. Classic case from the DS
Ref. 5801 113 from 1964.
Date without quickset.
Water resistant to 200 metres.
From 1969
DS-2 PH200M
DS-2 PH200M 5801 303 Certina 25-651 40 x 43.5 x 13
LW: 20
Automatic. Cushion case
Date without quickset
Black dial of the Ref. 5801 113 with appliqued indices. Water resistant to 200 metres. About from 1972 to 1975
DS-2 PH200M
DS-2 PH200M 5801 303 Certina 25-651 40 x 43.5 x 13
LW: 20
Automatic. Cushion case
Date without quickset
Blue dial of the Ref. 5801 113 with appliqued indices. Water resistant to 200 metres. About from 1972 to 1975
DS-2 PH200M
DS-2 PH200M 919 1402 41 Certina 25-651 40 x 41 x 14 Automatic. Case like DS-3
Date with quickset
Blue dial with appliqued indices
Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1976
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS-2 Super PH500M
DS-2 Super PH500M 5801 123 Certina 25-651 43 x 48 x 16.5
LW: 19
Automatic
Date without quickset
Black “Crossdial” dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 500 metres
From 1968, Used in the Tektite Experiments
DS-2 Super PH500M
DS-2 Super PH500M 5801 123 Certina 25-651 43 x 48 x 16.5
LW: 19
Automatic
Date without quickset
Black dial, printed orange framed indices
Water resistant to 500 metres
From 1968, Used in the Tektite Experiments
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS-2 Super PH1000M
DS-2 Super PH1000M 5801 302
Ab 1974:
913 1301 41
Certina 25-651 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic
Date without quickset
Black dial with appliqued indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
About from 1970 to 1975
DS-2 Super PH1000M
DS-2 Super PH1000M 5801 302
Ab 1974:
913 1301 41
Certina 25-651 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic
Date without quickset
Orange dial with appliqued indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
About from 1970 to 1975
DS-2 Super PH1000M
DS-2 Super PH1000M 5801 302
Ab 1974:
913 1301 41
Certina 25-651 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic
Date without quickset
Black dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
About from 1970 to 1975
DS-2 Super PH1000M
DS-2 Super PH1000M 5801 302
Ab 1974:
913 1301 41
Certina 25-651 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic
Date without quickset
Orange dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
About from 1970 to 1975
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS-3 Super PH1000M
DS-3 Super PH1000M 919 1301 41 Certina 919-1 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic, Date with quickset
Black dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
Successor of the DS-2 Super PH1000M
Used by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
From 1976
DS-3 Super PH1000M
DS-3 Super PH1000M 919 1301 41 Certina 919-1 43 x 46 x 18
LW: 20
Automatic, Date with quickset
Orange dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 1’000 metres
Successor of the DS-2 Super PH1000M
From 1976
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
DS-3 Taucher
DS-3 300M 919 1402 41 Certina 919-1 40 x 41 x 14
LW: 20
Automatic. Date with quickset
Dial with radiancy pattern, various versions
Appliqued indices
Water resistant to 300m
From 1976
DS-3 PH200M
DS-3 PH200M Automatic 919 1402 41 Certina 919-1 40 x 41 x 14
LW: 20
Automatic. Date with quickset
Various dial versions
Printed indices, Turtleback
Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1977
DS-3 PH200M Quartz
DS-3 PH200M Quartz 750 1402 41 Certina 750
ESA 9361
40 x 41 x 14
LW: 20
Quartz movement. Date with quickset
Various dial versions
Printed indices
Water resistant to 200 metres
From 1977
Model Reference no. Calibre Dimensions mm Comments
PH100M Quartz Diver
PH100M Quartz 750 3008 41 Certina 750
ESA 9361
37 x 44 x 12 Quartz movement. Date with quickset
Orange dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 100 metres
About from 1980 to 1983
PH100M Quartz Diver
PH100M Quartz 750 3008 41 Certina 750
ESA 9361
37 x 44 x 12 Quartz movement. Date with quickset
Black dial, printed indices
Water resistant to 100 metres
About from 1980 to 1983

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Update: 05.03.2016

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