The Kurth Brothers Set Up Shop
The company’s story begins with the Kurth brothers in Grenchen, Switzerland, when they opened their home workshop.
Adolf and Alfred Kurth started their business in 1888, though they began by making components only. At this time, the company was under the name Kurth Frères SA.
The firm steadily grew, and therefore soon began to make its own watches. Many of these bore the brand Grana, which the Kurth brothers shortened from Granacus, the Latin name for Grenchen.
Not long after the turn of the century, the brand began manufacturing wristwatches. These were chiefly women’s watches, since men rarely wore wristwatches prior to World War I.
Growth was slow during the Great Depression, but the watchmaker persevered.
Sure And Secure: The Certina Name And The DS
In 1939, the company registers the name Certina, from the Latin “certus,” which the English “certain” descends from.
However, the line of watches that is preeminent in the brand’s collections today, the DS, didn’t start until 1959.
The idea behind the DS was excellent shock resistance, hence DS, or “Double Security.”
A DS watch’s movement sits within a shock-absorbent ring within the sealed case, therefore it has wiggle room during impacts.
The seals that served as part of the DS system also afforded water resistance up to 200 meter depths.
The Certina Turtle: A Hard Carapace
The brand needed a logo to symbolize its toughness, therefore, in 1960, it took on the turtle logo.
The company builds its watches to live long and survive hard knocks, so a turtle was the perfect fit.
Of course, the association with water is not without merit either, with the brand’s watches accompanying various underwater research missions.
These included, for example, Sealab II and the Tektite habitat, where the DS-2 watches excelled.
Since 2017, the company is partners with the Sea Turtle Conservancy, an American nonprofit dedicated to sea turtle conservation.
The Turtle Joins The Swatch Group
Certina joined General Watch Co. in 1971, which would later comprise part of Swatch Group. The brand decided to join General Watch Co, a part of ASUAG, because it was in danger of failing.
Despite decades of strong business, the rise of the Japanese quartz watch, compounded with otherwise tough economic conditions, loomed heavy. Fortunately, joining ASUAG turned out to be the right choice for survival.
Though it had never been a giant, Certina regained its former status under the new group.
Before long, it was able to return to developing new watches. In 1975, the company worked with watch brand Rado, now a fellow Swatch Group company, in order to create the DiaMaster.
This watch therefore used a tungsten carbide case, a signature element of certain Rado watches. The collaboration hinted at the future, as Rado would come under Swatch Group later on.
Learn More About Certina
This company built its name on outstanding durability and resistance to the elements, but places sporting above all.
For more on the brand’s background, check out the watchmaker’s partner page VintageCERTINAs.
Current collections can be found on the official site here.
Finally, find more high-quality brand histories, guides, and reviews on watches in the links below: