As I have mentioned in an earlier post Christopher Ward was a company offering excellent value worthy watches. This watches often in the sort of styles that I like. i.e sporty rather than dressy and over complicated. Despite this they lacked that little “something”. To mind this is probably because they lacked a little originality and that indefinable feeling that possibly comes from heritage/history. This brings me back to my reasons for starting this blog, the “heritage creation” of the Bremont, another British watch brand. I thought Christopher Ward (CW) were starting to follow this idea with some odd collaborations like that with Morgan.
Over the last year my perception of the brand is changing, and this is probably due to three factors, firstly hearing Mike French, one of the owners of the company, explain the company’s philosophy. Secondly, I read Roger Smith has a CW Trident. Then a series of very individual watches they are now offering.
One of these watches that has caught my eye over the last couple of months is the subject of this review, the C65 Worldtimer GMT. Given the limited opportunities for travel this is not really the ideal moment to discover the benefits of a GMT or Worldtimer, I do not even have any far flung relatives I want to keep track off. I must admit the feature that caught my eye was the yellow detailing, colours offering opportunities to play with interesting strap combinations.
This watch is a variant of the C65 range offering, as the name suggests, GMT and worldtimer functions to the standard C65 “retro diver”. As such it shares the same 41mm steel ” light catcher” case as the rest of the range. In place of the Sellita SW220 in the rest of the range this watch uses the SW330 which offers GMT functionality.
As with all watches the first part of the ownership experience entails removing the watch from its packaging. I have often commented on the size of watch packaging, you can understand brands wanting to offer the full luxury experience, but they do present a storage issue and you can understand many less fanatical buyers put theirs in the bin. This might be more the case at the value end of the market. CW have come up with an innovative solution to satisfy both needs. The nicely solid box is made of 95% biodegradable eco MDF, bamboo and cotton, it is probably the most eco-friendly watch box on the market. So, it is robust and presentable enough to keep or degradable if you want dispose of it and not worry about landfill.
Once you have the watch in your hand the first impression is wow, this is a solid piece of kit. The major contributor to this sensation is the impressive steel bracelet, which once sized is super comfortable, an important contribution to this feeling being made by the micro adjustable clasp. I have found myself varying the size almost daily depending on how close I want the fit that day, which would clearly be less convenient without this clasp, The strap also features easy to use spring bars with little tabs which makes changing straps significantly easier, minimising also the risk of scratching the case. This is the first time I have used a clasp like this and they are a real boon for a serial strap changer like me and for which this watch lends itself so well. My favourite match being the green MN strap with a yellow stripe from Erika’s originals, or all black for a more serious look.
As a GMT worldtimer the dial and timezone bezel there are predictably full of details, which though offering a very cool look, I found a little small to read easily. This might say more about my eyesight than the clarity of design. The additional GMT hand is well designed, being yellow and arrow shaped it did not ever .make reading the local time confusing, which has always been a worry of mine when considering watches with four hands. The other details of the dial such as the applied indices and the date window in the usual three o’clock position all work very well. The only question mark being the positioning of the Christopher Ward logo at nine o’clock, I must admit to getting used to seeing it in this position.
Less immediately obvious is how impressive is the optical illusion offered by the 41mm steel “light-catcher” case, on the wrist it has an almost vintage appearance, hiding very well the modern case height. The screw down crown is easy to grip and operate, I have a slight doubt about how well it sits with the bezel and the case, but not really a deal breaker.
Turning the watch over you find a solid caseback which I generally prefer, unusually this one with a black DLC covering. I can only assume this was done to match the black on the bezel.
So to sum up. This is a really well made practical watch with a reassuring 150m water resistance. The perfect “one watch” for a non brand conscious traveller. With all the impressive new launches it will be interesting to see how the brand recognition and perception develops.
The fullprice is £1100 which represents remarkable value andCW are adverse to fairly frequent price promotions. On CW website.