Certina is a Swiss brand known for its superior shock-absorbing technology. It is also a very well-made watch. But how does it rank with luxury watches such as Rolex or Audemars Piguet? Is Certina A Luxury Watch Brand?
Certina is not a luxury watch brand but a middle-tier. Certina watches are Swiss Made and use in-house movements. Still, Swatch Group places the brand as a middle-tier brand in its portfolio, similar to Tissot and Hamilton. Most of Certina’s watches are also under $1,000.
This article will explore the question many are wondering: is Certina a luxury watch brand?
We will start by looking at the watch brand itself and then discuss the characteristics of a luxury watch brand.
Then we compare Certina to the characteristics before answering other questions about the brand, such as its relationship with Swatch, worth as an investment, and respectability.
We have also covered similar discussions on watch brands that many are not sure are luxury or not, such as Tissot, Hamilton, Rotary, Movado, Timex, and Swatch. Feel free to check them out if you are interested.
Certina is also in our list of great affordable watch brands.
Certina was founded in 1888 by Adolf and Alfred Kurth. It had a humble origin, as a simple workshop building movement parts for watchmaking factories.
Certina grew into a full watchmaking company, producing its first wristwatches in 1938. In 1936, it produced the world’s first ‘digital’ watch, driven by spring movement. The watch tells time through a rotating disk with inscribed numbers, similar to today’s day and date complication.
In 1959, Certina introduced the Double Security (DS) technology. It helps the watch movement stay ‘suspended’ inside the case, making the movement a lot more shock-resistant. Certina then took the watch to the test, taking it to the high mountains and the deep oceans.
Certina became part of the Swatch group in 1983, joining other watch brands such as Omega, Breguet, Tissot, Hamilton, Swatch, and Longines.
Before we discuss whether Certina is a luxury watch brand, it is also essential to see what are the things that make a luxury watch brand luxurious. Let’s do that in the section below.
What Makes A Watch Brand A Luxury Brand?
In general, luxury watch brands differ from regular or affordable watch brands in these areas:
- In-House Movements and Technology
- Brand Image
Materials: Affordable watchmakers tend to use 316L stainless steel, plastic, or resin materials. You might see luxury watch brands use more premium materials in their watches, such as 904L steel, titanium, bronze, and gold alloys.
It is also common to see luxury watch brands use diamonds, top-grain leather, and sapphire crystals for their watches.
Assembly: Luxury watch brands often insist on hand-assembling their watches in-house. This allows for stricter quality control and hence a better quality watch. Affordable watch companies often outsource part or all of their watch production and assembly.
In-House Movements and Technology: Luxury watch brands often develop and use their own watch movement. This allows them to better control the quality and performance of their watches. They also often introduce proprietary technology to improve their watches.
Regular watch companies, in turn, usually adopt watch movements from third-party companies to reduce costs and leverage these third-party movement makers’ reputations.
Design: Luxury watch brands usually have a unique design language that sets them apart from other watchmakers. They also tend to have iconic models that set the standard for the watch category.
For example, most people could compare any rectangular watch with the Cartier Tank since the watch has been seen as the ‘benchmark’ for rectangular watches.
Homages: Luxury watches often have homages made after their models. Homage watches look like the original watch, but it is not a direct copy. Many people desire the original luxury watch, but they buy the homage watch instead to save money.
Homages also use their own brand, which separates them from counterfeit watches. The Tissel 9105 is a famous homage to the Rolex Explorer.
Fakes: Luxury watch brands often suffer from counterfeit watches. These watches are made by others that blatantly copied the designs and construction. They also used the logos. Counterfeit watches could range from primary copies to high-grade ‘Super-Clones’ that are very hard to tell apart.
These watches are often sold as ‘replicas,’ but they are nothing but a way to sugarcoat that these watches are fake and illegal.
Brand Image: Luxury watch brands carry an image of prestige, class, exclusivity, performance, and of course, luxury. The image is usually cultivated by associating themselves with people, events, locations, and media outlets that project the same image.
This is why you see brands like Rolex, Omega, or IWC sponsoring celebrities, athletes, tennis, and golf events. You also see these brands placing ads in media such as The Wall Street Journal or The Economist.
Prices: Luxury watches also carry high prices that are often unaffordable to many. The reason is multifold – first, the watches are high quality and require higher production costs.
Second, a higher profit margin is required since they need to do many sponsoring and marketing to keep their brand image.
Finally, keeping prices high ensures their watches become ‘aspirational’ pieces. Customers that buy them will wear them as a status symbol to show their success and, in many cases, wealth as well.
‘Luxury’ Is Subjective
Aside from these characteristics, it is also important to note that the word ‘luxury’ can mean different things to different people.
If you have never bought anything other than a basic Casio, splurging $500 for a great Orient would feel like a luxurious purchase.
However, if you are used to that, perhaps your ‘aspirational’ luxury purchase would be a $7,000 Rolex Datejust.
Are Certina Watches Luxury?
Certina watches are not a luxury but middle-tiered watches. Certina is placed as a middle-tier brand within Swatch Group’s portfolio, and most of its watches are priced under $1,000. Certina also lacks aspirational timepieces that signal its desire to become a genuine luxury watch brand.
|Characteristics||Luxury Watch Brands||Certina||Pass?|
|Materials||May use 904L steel, titanium, precious metals, gemstones||Titanium, gold, diamonds, mother of pearl||✅|
|Assembly||Mostly hand assembled||No such claims, all watches are Swiss made||❌|
|Movement||Almost all have in-house movement||Uses in-house movement||✅|
|Proprietary Technology||Almost all have proprietary technology||DS Double Security Concept||✅|
|Design||Often iconic, and sets trends.||Value for money design, not iconic enough||✅|
|Homages||Have homages made after their models||None. Creates homages instead||❌|
|Fakes & Imitation||Suffers from fakes and imitation||Does not seem to be widely counterfeited||❌|
|Brand Image||Prestige, exclusivity, class||Carries an ‘affordable luxury’ image||❌|
|Prices||At least four-figure.||Has watches as low as $135||❌|
Certina watches use premium materials for their watches, such as titanium, ceramic, sapphire crystal, and premium leather. You can also see their watches finished with 18K gold bezels and diamonds for the ladies’ watches.
This means Certina watches use materials similar to many other luxury watchmakers. And for them to offer such materials on their middle-priced watches is very generous and makes it a great deal.
Certina does not mention that they hand-assemble their watches, nor do they assemble their watches in-house.
However, all their watches have the label ‘Swiss Made.’ By Swiss law, only watches that:
- Have 60% of its production in Switzerland
- Uses a Swiss movement
- Are encased and regulated in Switzerland.
Can use the label ‘Swiss Made.’
This means Certina watches are true ‘Swiss’ watches. Many watch brands claim to be Swiss, but in reality, only in name, as the production has moved overseas, usually to East Asia.
In-House Movements and Technology
Certina uses the Powermatic 80 movement for their automatic watches. This movement is essentially an ETA 2824-2 movement, with the beat rate slowed down from 28,800 BPH to 21,600 BPH.
This slows down the second-hand movement, causing the sweeping motion to not be as smooth. However, the watch can run longer, as the power reserve goes up to 80 hours.
This means you can take off the watch on Friday, wear it back on Monday, and you do not have to reset it.
This movement is also similar to the ones used by Tissot. This is not surprising, given that both ETA and Tissot are part of the Swatch group.
Certina’s quartz watches are running Precidrive, a derivative of ETA’s Caliber 261.264 quartz movement.
Certina, however, is known for its DS technology. DS stands for Double-Security, a system in which Certina suspends the movement inside the case to protect it from absorbing forces when the watch is impacted.
The DS technology is so synonymous with Certina that Certina’s watch logo is a turtle, referring to how the turtle shell protects the soft insides.
However, Certina lacks a signature design that helps it stand out and be recognizable from far. Their popular watches, such as the DS Diver or the DS Action Powermatic 80, do not stand out. They require a good look to determine if they are Certina or not.
Certina has a brand image of prestige, toughness, and sport. Certina actively sponsors motorsport events such as the MotoGP, Formula1, and the GT4.
Its robustness with the DS technology also made people think of Certina as a classier upgrade from the G-Shock.
Certina’s watches could also be dressed up for suits and dressed down for backyard BBQ.
It does not try to play into an ultra high-class Wall Street image, unlike those from Patek Philippe or Rolex. This made sense as Certina watches are a middle-tier brand.
So far, there have not been homages made over Certina watches. In fact, Certina’s best-selling models do have a resemblance to other iconic luxury watches.
For example, the DS Diver, when placed side by side with a Rolex Submariner, looks quite similar. It could be possible to say that the DS Diver is a homage to the Rolex Submariner.
Another example would be the DS Action Powermatic 80. When placed side by side with the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra, they also look pretty similar, to the point that it is possible to claim the DS Action as a homage.
Investigations online have not revealed Certina as a widely counterfeited watch. However, it pays to be careful whenever purchasing watches online.
Counterfeiters usually focus less on lower-priced watches such as Certina. It takes a significant effort to create counterfeit watches. The counterfeiters also need the original watch to be very expensive to attract people to consider fake watches.
Therefore if they counterfeit Certina, they may not make much profit since the original Certina is not that expensive to begin with.
Certina’s middle tier status is also clearly reflected in its pricing. Looking into their official online store, it can be seen that most of Certina’s watches are under $1,000.
Their most expensive watch model is the DS Chronograph Automatic at $1996. Its most affordable model is the DS Caimano, at $301. You can get Certina watches for as low as $135 when shopping at Amazon.
The prices for Certina watches seem to be similar to Hamilton and Tissot. This made sense since all three brands are considered ‘middle-tier’ within Swatch group’s portfolio of watch brands.
Is Certina An Entry Level Luxury Watch?
Certina is not an entry-level luxury watch, although some of their models could be considered entry-level luxury watches. These watches use premium materials and in-house movements and are priced close to over $2,000.
From the previous section, it is pretty apparent that Certina watches check many boxes when it comes to being a luxury watch. It uses premium materials for its watch parts. It is a Swiss watch with an in-house movement and proprietary technology.
However, Certina does not seem to have iconic models or homages made for it. Certina’s models look more like a homage to luxury watches instead. The pricing of Certina’s watches also reflects a middle-tiered brand.
Is Certina Owned By Swatch?
Certina is part of the Swatch Group, which comprises other watch brands such as Breguet, Omega, Hamilton, Longines, Swatch, and Flik Flak. It also includes movement maker ETA. Certina is one of the ‘middle-tier’ brands within Swatch’s portfolio, together with Tissot, Hamilton, and Mido.
Certina became part of the Swatch group in 1983. Joining the group has been suitable for Certina, as it allows the brand to survive through the Quartz crisis.
The Quartz crisis was a period where many Swiss watch companies went bankrupt due to cheap Japanese quartz watches flooding the market.
It also allows Certina to access technologies and expertise from other watch brands. As a result, Certina can also integrate other watch brands’ strengths into their watches. An example is how Certina is now using ETA’s automatic movement for their watches.
Is Certina Worth The Money?
Certina watches are worth the money, as they are well-made Swiss timepieces with great technology and design. Certina’s prices are also affordable when compared to the specifications. It also uses a variation of ETA’s movement, meaning servicing should be easy.
Certina’s watches are well designed, with excellent materials such as titanium, sapphire crystal, and even 18K gold. It also has designs that are sporty and modern.
Their watches also resemble iconic models, such as the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra. If you are a homage watch hunter, Certina would be a great option.
But the most important thing is, by owning a Certina, you are buying into a proper Swiss watchmaker with a long history of making great and robust watches.
Do Certina Watches Hold Value?
Certina watches do not hold value well, common in middle-tier watches. Certina does not have enough demand from consumers. It also does not have a large community of passionate fans and collectors to help push prices up.
Certina watches are perhaps best seen as a watch that you buy, enjoy, and sell it off when the time comes. It might not be worth your time to buy Certina watches for investment.
This should be ok as Certina watches are not too expensive, to begin with. Let’s assume you purchased a $1,000 Certina watch, wore it for 6 years, and decided to sell it off for $500.
Sure it is a 50% depreciation, but you only lose $500. Compare this to if you purchase a $5,000 Omega and have to take a 40% depreciation. That’s a whopping $2,000!
Is Certina Respectable?
Certina is a respectable watchmaking house with a long history of watchmaking. All Certina watches are made in Switzerland, using premium materials and in-house movement. Certina watches could also signal you as a watch enthusiast that is deep into watches, as it is not a very known brand.
Certina has been making all their watches in Switzerland since day one and still does until today.
Despite being part of the Swatch Group, Certina maintains its independence and continues to improve on its watch technology. Their Double-Security (IDS) features are still well appreciated by watch enthusiasts today.
Wearing a Certina watch might tell you as a person who loves finer things in life but still loves to go hard at times. You like sports and speed but still want to look like a classy gentleman.
A Certina watch also shows you are a classy gentlemen who are more likely to enjoy a Formula 1 race than Nascar.
But the most essential point is, when you wear a Certina, watch enthusiasts will recognize you as someone deep into watches. Certina is not a famous brand, so only those who study watches will know it.