The brothers Adolf and Alfred Kurth set up their own watch production facility in the Swiss town of Grenchen. In this idyllic spot at the foot of the Jura mountains between Solothurn and Biel, the brothers and their three employees work in an annex to the family home. Within a short time business is flourishing, and so in the following years various extensions are opened and new employees taken on.
In 1906 the Kurth brothers introduce a brand name for their watches: "Grana", short for "Granacus", the Latin name of Grenchen. The quality of this timepiece is immediately recognised and earns several awards. In the 1920s Alfred Kurth’s sons Erwin and Hans join the company and see it through the difficult time of the Great Depression.
During the 1930s the company increasingly uses the brand name Certina, for a good reason: it is easy to pronounce in all languages and is based on the Latin word "certus", which means "sure". The brand is officially registered in 1939 and in 1949 is chosen to be the sole brand name.
The turtle shell symbolises robustness and longevity – characteristics born by all Certina watches, without exception. It's therefore no wonder that the turtle shell has been the brand's personal symbol since the 1960s. To this day, the characteristic outline can still be found on almost every Certina timepiece, as well as on the brand logo.
It evokes the extraordinary durability which characterises every Certina watch.
In 1959, the company brings out the first Certina watch with DS Concept. The Certina DS is an extremely shock-resistant automatic watch with water resistance up to 20 bar (200 meters). This sets new standards for a whole generation of wristwatches.
The Certina DS accompanies an international expedition on the first successful ascent of the 8,167-metre-high Dhaulagiri in western Nepal. It overcomes all the challenges – from strong temperature fluctuations to considerable height and pressure differences – with no problem at all.
The Certina DS takes part in the US Navy's Sealab II underwater project, which involves scientists and divers working in a diving station in different areas of marine research. They confirm that the Certina DS is absolutely reliable under all conditions.
The innovative DS-2 Super PH 500 M is part of the Tektite underwater experiment, in which four scientists live in two underwater residential tanks for two months under NASA observation. The Certina models worn by the scientists achieve the very best scores.
A Japanese expedition to Mount Everest is accompanied by Certina watches, which also stand up to these highly challenging conditions. During the expedition, the Japanese skier Miura achieves one of the most daring ski runs of all time, descending through 1,000 metres from an altitude of 8,000 metres, while wearing a DS-2 Chronolympic.
The Certina Biostar is the first watch in the world to display a person's daily biorhythms. At a glance it shows the wearer's physical, mental and emotional biorhythms.
The Belgian rider Roger de Coster wins the motocross world championships 500cc class for the third time, proudly wearing his Certina DS 288.
The ultra-robust and scratch-resistant DS DiaMaster attracts attention everywhere – including on the wrist of the famous American heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali.
Certina joins the newly founded SMH Group, which is led by the visionary entrepreneur and watch-lover Nicolas G. Hayek. SMH becomes the world’s leading watch group, and is renamed the Swatch Group Ltd. in 1999. Certina sport watches are in the middle-price segment of the corporate group's range.
With its new Cascadeur models, the Certina brand's skill in making sport watches can be seen at very first glance: the strap of this timepiece is designed like the chain of a motorbike, and two eye-catching metal rods over the sapphire crystal provide extra protection.
Certina continues to extend its involvement in motorsport, and can now be seen on the wrist of the popular rallying world champion Colin McRae.
The DS-3 1000m recaptures the heritage of Certina’s famous diver's watches. This automatic timepiece is water resistant to a record-breaking depth of 1,000 metres.
As the official sponsor of the Sauber Petronas team, Certina celebrates its debut in Formula 1, a discipline to which it will remain loyal for many years. At the same time, the brand is delighted at the 125cc class world title win by motorcyclist Thomas Lüthi, whom it has sponsored since the beginning of his career. These sporting successes are reflected in the launch of the DS Podium, whose sporty design and precision make it one of the most popular and successful Certina watch families to this day.
The Norwegian Ole Einar Bjørndalen, most successful biathlete in sporting history, joins the international Certina family as an official brand ambassador.
On the occasion of its 125th anniversary, Certina presents not only a completely new and fresh corporate identity, but also three new watch movements. The Powermatic 80 automatic caliber is a highly precise movement with a power reserve of up to 80 hours, and the C01.21 makes a name for itself as an extremely reliable chronograph; the innovative trio if rounded off by the Precidrive™ calibre, representing a new generation of quartz watches whose precision is comparable with that of chronometers.
The brand also continues its intense involvement in motorsport and is now the official timekeeper at the FIA World Rally Championship
Certina is expanding its presence in motor rallying, as the official partner of the Abu Dhabi Total World Rally Team, one of the most famous and most successful teams in this sport. It is also entering into partnership with the renowned ADAC GT Masters. As the official timekeeper in one of the most exciting racing series in Europe, the brand is consolidating its reputation as an authentic sport watch, which is at home at the world's major motorsports events.