Tag Archives: Christopher Ward

Alliance of British Watch & Clock Makers

Recently British watchmaking has for sometime been regarded something of a cottage industry, like other similar industries there is an element of chummy collaboration. Often representatives of the various brands will mention other brands in interviews. They have realised that there is enough space for them all to thrive so why not co-operate. Up until now that co-operation has been informal.

During the last ever Salon QP a conversation between Mike France of Christopher Ward and Roger Smith led to the idea of taking this co-operation to another level. I understand all my favourites such as Fears, Pinion and Vertex are getting involved. The video below gives you all the background.

There was also a really nice chat with Mike France and Roger Smith on the Scottish Watches podcast

To support this initative you do not have to be a watch manufacturer. Anyone with an interest in British watchmaking can join up. I for one have put membership on my Christmas list. For more information:

https://britishwatchmakers.com/join-us

Christopher Ward GMT Worldtimer

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.

Christopher Ward – again

Is it me or are the watches getting more impressive? A few years ago I had he company in the category of “worthy” offering good value, but fairly anonymous watches online.

Well the last couple of releases have really made me start to think again. The latest to be released is this C65 Super Compressor.

The twin crown style might remind you of the Longines Legend Diver or indeed the Farer Aqua Compressor but they are very distinctive.

Christopher Ward claim this watch is the first genuine super compressor diving watch in 50 years. With every metre you descend, its ingenious mechanism increases water-resistance.

There are other compressor watches available, I suspect the difference here must be the word “super”. Reverse-engineered by the team in Switzerland, this is a fully functioning super compressor with the ’60s looks to match. Thanks to improvements in watch construction, it is the first one with an ‘exhibition’ caseback, through which you can see the ultra-thin compression spring. At 300 microns thick, the spring, which enables the compressor to work, is just four times the width of a human hair. Look again, and you will also spot the ‘diving-bell’ mark, the logo Ervin Piquerez used to signify authenticity..

Other than being a “Super Compressor” the details of the watch are:

  • 41mm
  • Case MaterialStainless steel
  • Case ColourSteel
  • Height13.05mm
  • Lug-to-Lug47.12mm
  • Case Weight72g
  • Weight inc. Bracelet166g
  • Water Resistance15 ATM (150m)
  • MovementSellita SW200-1
  • Power Reserve38 hours
  • No of Jewels26
  • Complication Type3 hands
  • Vibrations28,800 p/hr (4Hz)

Overall an impressive looking watch available with a blue or black dial and a choice of four straps, steel, tropical or one of two leather for a reasonable price,£1000. I am pleased the logo has moved to the more conventional position just below the 12 indices.

I hope the opportunity come along to see one of these watches in the metal. In the meantime if I have wetted you appetite you can find out more at

https://www.christopherward.com/retro-dive/c65-super-compressor/C65-41ASC1-S0WB0-B0.html

Military Rivals

First of all apologies for my “radio silence” over the summer. No excuse really other than the usual “non-watch” commitments in the real world.

Starting anything again after a little time can often be a little daunting, there are always reasons to put it off again. Well today I re-started two activities I have been putting off. Firstly,I have just returned from my first motorcycle ride for a couple of years, just a couple of miles around my area but satisfying feeling my intuitive operation of the controls returning.

So now here I am back at Grinidgetime, my return to the keyboard prompted by several announcements of new watches from the British value brand Christopher Ward. My particular attention was caught by three watches in particular, produced apparently with the approval of the UK Ministry of Defence. There is a watch for each of the three arms of the British military, Army, Navy and Air Force. A remarkably similar initiative to Bremont’s Armed Forces collection launched earlier this year.

Taking the watches one by one I will start with the Sandhurst, named after the Royal Military of the same name. The watch follows the now almost generic design of the Smiths W10. This modern re-interpretation comes in a 38mm brushed steel case with a rugged and precise Swiss-made automatic movement – a chronometer-certified version of the Sellita SW200-1. Usefully, this watch has a 150m depth rating.

It is very difficult not to compare this watch to the Bremont Broadsword. Both watches offer C.O.S.C certified movements. The Bremont is slightly larger at 40mm with a lower depth rating of 100m. The big difference being the price,The Sandhurst is offered at between £795 to £895 depending on which strap option you choose. The Bremont Broadsword £2595.

The next service to cover is the Royal Navy, here Christopher Ward offer the C65 Dartmouth, named after the famous naval officers training academy. The design is inspired by the Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’ – initially known as the Royal Navy 0552, a Ministry of Defence commissioned piece that saw the first appearance of the popular inverted triangle. The Dartmouth uses a 41mm brushed steel case and the same Sellita movement as the Sandhurst, the watch is also rated at 150m.

For people looking for a Royal Navy watch the Christopher Ward offer differs significantly from the equivalent Bremont Argonaut. The Bremont having a slightly larger case (42mm) and higher depth rating of 300m. Again though there is a significant price difference. The Dartmouth at £795/895 compared to the Argonaut at £2795.

Then we get to the youngest of the three services, the Royal Air Force. This watch is called the Cranwell, named after the famous training college, it finds inspiration in two of the most definitive pilot’s watches ever made: the ‘6B/346’ models produced by Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. Again the movement is same Sellita as the other two housed in a 41mm steel “light-catcher case.

For Royal Air Force fans Bremont have their mono-pusher model, The Arrow; again at a significantly higher cost £3595 against £795/895.

This collection of military watches from Christopher Ward clearly offers an alternative to watch buyers wanting to show their support of one on Britain’s armed forces. The advantage being the cost and the use of the single arms insignia on th ecase back. The Bremont range with the Argonaut and Arrow do offer more features but at a price.

Christopher Ward – gosh

I thought Christopher Ward merit an honorable mention this week, they have recently announced some really nice looking watches which move them significantly away from the generic styles. The latest one to really catch my eye is this the C65 Trident Diver.

C65 Trident Diver – photo Chr. Ward

As you can see the look is vintage but I am not able to identify any particular watch as the inspiration, though I am sure there is someone out there that can.

This watch has  a useful casual but smart look, a diver that is not so “in your face” as the usual desk divers whilst retaining all the practicality. A cool trick.

The specifications are:

  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Height: 11.55mm
  • Weight: 65g
  • Calibre: Sellita SW210 (hand wound)
  • Case: 316L Stainless Steel
  • Water resistance: 15 ATM (150 metres)
  • Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
  • Timing tolerance: +15/-15 seconds per day
  • Dial colour: Blue or Black
  • Lug to lug: 47.1mm
  • Strap width: 22mm
  • Leather or Rubber strap
  • Price €870

I would really like to see one for real. The only potential negative for me might be the 41mm case size, I am curious to see how it wears.

Here is the usual nice video from Christopher Ward

 

 

Chr. Ward Bronze Trident

I realise that for sometime I have had a fairly neutral attitude towards Christopher Ward as brand. This I realise is probably due to their positioning as “a good value online only brand”. This was is a positioning  I  did not really to buy into.

Then this week I saw a posting on social media for this watch, a bronze cased Trident diver. As you can see from the video below this is a great looking watch.

The specifications are :

  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Height: 13.30mm
  • Case weight: 107g
  • Calibre: Sellita SW200-1
  • Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4Hz)
  • Timing tolerance: -20/+20 seconds per day
  • Case: Bronze C5191 (CuSn6)
  • Backplate: 316L Stainless steel
  • Water resistance: 60 ATM (600 metres)
  • Dial Colour: Deep Blue
  • Lume:Old Radium SuperLuminova®
  • Strap width: 22mm
  • Lug to Lug: 51.5mm

There is a choice of finish  case finish, raw or patinated . You can also choose between, leather, rubber or canvas straps.

In summary a very handsome package for a reasonable sounding £795 – something for the summer.

Stylish Bargain

I received an e-mail from Christopher Ward today telling me about their sale.  I usually give the sale a browse to what bargains are on offer. Of the latest offers one really caught my eye, the C9 Pulsometer COSC.

 

This great looking chronometer is calibrated for use in measuring a person’s heart rate.

The tachymeter-style pulsometer scale of the dial is calibrated for 30 heart beats and both its red colour and the beautiful contrast of the optic-white dial make for easy reading.

Blued hands, a caduceus design on the second hand counter-balance and the finesse of the C9 case .  This limited edition of only 250 pieces is on sale for £525. If it wasn’t for it being just after Christmas and just before the tax deadline I would be surly tempted to press the button on one of these.

If you are of the same mind have a look https://www.christopherward.co.uk/events/januarysale/30-percent-chronometers/tbc-fafcb5

Christopher Ward – Trident GMT

For some reason I have steered slightly clear of Christopher Ward as a brand, I have not warmed completely to them. I think this might be because their positioning is based on a very commercial message, great value well made watches. I think I might have been doing them a disservice especially when you consider some of their recent launches.

Over the Christmas holidays I had the chance to see one of their watches for a little longer than the cursory trial at a show. My brother turned up with a Trident GMT on a “Bond” nato strap.

Trident GMT

 

Although this model is one of the many “homage” to the Rolex Submariner, hence the Bond strap, it does have enough design details that make it a little more individual. For starters the case is 42mm. Then there is the trident shaped second hand and the textured ( I am sure there is a technical description) finish on the dial. The final obvious difference  on this watch is the red second time zone hand.

Adding to the charm of this particular watch is the steel bezel and the old style Chr. Ward logo.

My brother tells me he bought this watch a few years ago in the sale,  duty free, so paid well below the £700 plus of the current model. For this he has a well made GMT tool watch which he says he uses when visiting “dodgy” countries, were his more normal wrist wear might attract the wrong sort of attention. Maybe I should start checking eBay.

Orange Christopher Ward

As well as being a fan of British watch brands I do also have some favourites from other countries, even Switzerland. One of those watches is the Doxa Sharkhunter, a great looking dive watch with a great Jacques Cousteau connection. More often than not you find examples of the Sharkhunter with an orange dial.

Doxa Sharkhunter – Orange

And this is the watch that Christopher ward have just announced.

Limited Edition C60

The Trident range is renowned for the variety of options available . The new C60 Trident 316L Limited Edition – limited to 316 pieces, referencing the marine-grade steel used in its bezel, and 43mm case.

The watch uses a Sellita 200-1 movement and is water resistant to a healthy 600m. The price, especially when compared to the orange Doxa, is a reasonable £730 – £795, depending on the strap chosen.

https://www.christopherward.co.uk/watches/new-releases/c60-trident-316l-limited-edition-range