This week the winners of the prestigious GPHG awards were announced and congratulations to Christopher Ward for winning the “Petite Aiguille”, for the Bel Canto chiming watch.
For those of you like me that thought “amazing” but what is the prize for, I will save you time looking it up, “Petite Aiguille” means small needle. This is the prize for watches with a retail price of between CHF 3,500 and CHF 10,000.
I am especially pleased as a friend of mine is on the list to get one. A great news for British watch Christopher Ward a brand until recently known for worthy good value watches. Great news also for British watches overall, I hope this award encourages the public to no longer think the watches being of limited interest to a few enthusiasts her in Britain but finally making a mark on the world stage.
After seeing Pinion watches at Salon QP and a couple of Pinion “get togethers” I finally took the bait and ordered my Pinion Pure Bronze, which after I ordering Piers Berry, the founder, suggested I have the watch fitted with a green dial that until then had been mainly used in the gunmetal case. At the time there were very few watches available with bronze case and I was only aware of the fellow British brand Schofield, which I don’t remember being available with a green dial.
It is now 2023, this watch is my regular weekend/holiday watch. It is robust, has 100m water resistance, is a strap monster and has an appearance that improves with age.
Somewhat disappointingly its look is no longer as unique as in 2016. There is hardly a significant watch brand that does not have, or has not recently offered, a bronze model in their range and green appears to be the dial colour of the year. The obvious exception being Rolex. Both Tudor, Oris and now Christopher Ward notably going full bronze offering not only bronze cases but also bronze cases with bronze bracelets, which however much I personally like the material, I find a little too much. Of the major Swiss brands I am very tempted by the bronze Omega Seamaster 300 which nicely combines a retro look with a case that will patina.
However this is blog about British watch brands so what are the alternatives this side of the channel?
Bremont offer their British military approved Broadsword and Argonaut with a bronze cases
On checking the Christopher Ward website I find three of their C65 range are available in bronze, the Dune, even with a bronze bracelet, the Acquataine and Sandhurst. The dive watch stalwart of the CW range, the C60, is also available though only with a blue dial.
As mentioned in my initial paragraph in my mind Schofield are the other original bronze watch producer and an updated version of their Bronze Beater, the B3 is still in the range. You can choose between a “raw” or “patinated” versions.
The patinated version looks great straight out the box, through in my mind one of the attractions of bronze is the development of a unique patina so given a choice I would probably go for the raw version.
Sadly, Pinion the pioneer of the sector, do not have a bronze case in their range, though this might be down to the company now specialising on smaller commissioned runs.
The good news though is that bronze cased watches are still cool and generally attract more attention than their steel equivalents. The even better news is the watches on offer from the British brands are at relatively affordable prices ranging from £985 for the Christopher Ward C60 to £3495 for the Bremont Argonaut. Not a huge amount to be distinctive. All of these watches can be found on their respective websites:
Hot on the heels of their collaboration with Garrick, Fears have announce another, this time with Christopher Ward. Again, both companies being founding partners of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.
This jump-hour watch is limited to 50 pieces and available to purchase by Club members of the Alliance with all profits from sales being donated to the Alliance to support its various initiatives.
Differently to the Garrick watch this one features a bespoke 40.5mm Fears case and uses a JJ01 Christopher Ward movement. The movement being developed in house based on a Sellita SW200.
They are making just 50 of these models. They will only be available to Club members of Alliance on a first-come, first-served basis when it is launched.
The ‘Fears Christopher Ward : Alliance 01’ will be available to Club Members to order on Friday 27 January priced at £3950 (inc. VAT).
Well where do I start ? I have not been keeping up for sometime and a lot is going on. It used to be that I would see some news that I could report and now the world of British watches really frothing with news and not just with new brands popping up on Kickstarter actual exciting watches.
So to avoid any risk of favoritism I will treat these items in alphabetical order.
Bremont have been working away somewhat separately from the rest of the British watch industry whilst investing heavily in their UK manufacturing facility in Henly-on-Thames. Last year this investment led to the launch of the ENG300 movement which was housed in the limited edition Longtitude which were available for between £15k and £22k which clearly minimised the impact a little. Clearly a company with the vision and ambition of Bremont would not go to the effort of developing a movement just for a limited run watch.
So this October saw the announcement of not one but three new ranges of watch. The Supernova, the Fury and the Audley. To my eye the Fury and Audley are very clearly the style of watch we have come to expect from Bremont. The Supernova offers something different a steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet.
I am not sure the the Supernova brings something new to the watch market, from everything I have seen it will be a very nicely made piece in the spirit of the more well known models from Switzerland. What it does bring is a British alternative which in itself from my point of view is positive. On sale for £7,995 which is more expensive than the usual non-limited edition Bremonts, but looks good value when compared to the better known continental offerings.
The 40mm Fury, a re-interpretation of the classic pilots watch, again more expensive than we are used to from Bremont and other similarily styled watch, but again it features the Bremont made H1 certified movement. H1 being the new chronometer timing standard, directly comparable to the ISO3159:2009 Chronometer test.
The final watch in the series is the the classic dress watch, named after Bremonts showroom in Mayfair, London. Avilable in steel (£5,995) of rose gold (£14,995).
In my mind Christopher Ward are a company producing very well made watches at very reasonable prices. They have produced some pieces that cause you to look twice, such as the C60 Sapphire. This October they announced the C1Bel Canto, featuring a striking hour. This watch is already listed on the website as “sold out”. Now personally it is not a style of watch that I particularly like but what they produced for the price just seems spectacular value for money. As you can see from the images this is not a watch that will go un-noticed, especially when it starts to chime. I guess we will have to start looking out for them on the used market.
Fears have been super busy. Due to my lockdown induced laziness I have not really covered this year’s news from Fears very well apart from via Instagram posts which is a real shame as Nicholas Bowman Scargill has continued to bring some really interesting pieces to market. After the Garrick collaboration there was the the limited edition for the Californian watch retailer Topper. This watch featured a black or white californian dial and wait for it – a 40mm version of the now established Brunswick case. We then returned to the standard 38mm Brunswick case for the Royal Purple jubilee year celebration. The obvious question is; what else are Fears going to do with the 40mm case? So here we have it the Brunswick 40, a sportier Brunswick on a steel bracelet and with 100m water resistance. A possible “one watch”, sporty and elegant. This new watch is available with a Pink, Silver or Blue dial. The bracelet of course is not an “off the shelf” design and as a secret design “egg” the inside of the butterfly clasp features the “flower of Bristol” , honouring Fears’ home city.
The watches are priced at £3750 for more information go to the Fears website.
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:
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.
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:
Case MaterialStainless steel
Weight inc. Bracelet166g
Water Resistance15 ATM (150m)
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
As someone that works inTV advertising to earn a crust, imagine how excited I was to see the news of a TV commercial Britfor the British watch brand Christopher Ward. The watch featured being their impressive C60 Sapphire.
Here it is, I hope others follow their inspried lead….
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.
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:
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
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