British watch brand Christopher Ward asked us to review one of their new C65 Trident Automatic, vintage-inspired, diver’s watches. An updated model from the manual winding version which had been available for some time already, and which is one of their best selling products. Not only mechanically updated with an automatic movement and date function, but the dial of the C65 Trident Automatic also became more sophisticated with raised circular indexes.
While the below € 1.000,= segment of vintage-inspired diver’s watches gets pretty crowded nowadays, we see a high interest in it from our readers as well. So, of course, we were happy to accept the invitation for a C65 Trident Automatic review and would like to make it a special one. Instead of reviewing the watch from our desks and probably wearing it for only a short period of time, I took it out on a journey. In my schedule, I had a period of quite intensive travel ahead of me and used that to take the watch to the test. Below – in between of our regular quality pictures – you’ll find daily snapshots of the watch taken with my phone, spiced up with some experiences during those days.
But let’s start with some history on the Brand Christopher Ward. If you do not happen to live in Maidenhead, Berkshire (UK), chances are good that you’ve never seen a Christopher Ward watch in a watch shop’s show window. And that’s very understandable. Founded by Christopher Ward, Mike France, and Peter Ellis in 2004, Christopher Ward became the first ever watch brand to sell their watches exclusively online. Just like for instance German brand Sinn did for years before, Christopher Ward cut out the middleman by selling directly to customers.
An important part in their operation and communication is a dedicated Christopher Ward watch forum, www.christopherwardforum.com. It must have been in 2006, after TimeZone banned Christopher Ward from their forums (accusing them of paying for postings), that on an initiative of a Dutch fan this forum was launched. With agreement from Christopher Ward, on the condition that it had to be completely independent of them. This situation remained till 2015 when, after nine years and more than 10,000 members, the forum was handed over to the Christopher Ward company. The Christopher Ward Forum is one of the key sources, along with the CW Enthusiasts page on Facebook, for people interested in Christopher Ward. To do research on watches, learn about new models, and participate in often lively debates.
From the beginning, Christopher Ward watches were build using, in watch industry well-known and reliable, Swiss components. Close cooperation with Synergies Horlogères in Biel (CH) opened the road for even further technical enhancements. This cooperation led both companies in 2014 to form Christopher Ward Holdings Limited. Together they even managed to create their own movement, caliber SH21. A hand-wound movement using two series connected barrels, providing 5 days of power reserve. The movement in its basic form can be found in various Christopher Ward models, however, it’s a base engine for future collections of watches with the possibility to integrate different complications into it. Besides Christopher Ward, we saw this movement in a slightly adapted version being used by MeisterSinger as well. Probably the Synergies Horlogères Christopher Ward consortium decided to sell the SH21 movement to third parties as well.
So far for history, on to the watch. An electrifying blue dial, an elegant narrow rotating bezel, and the camel-colored leather strap are the first things which strike the eye. I mean, of course, the faux-patina colored raised circular indexes are nice too, but not something extremely surprising.
One will find the Trident shaped counterweight of the second-hand appealing. Just like its fine faux-patina colored tip. And of course, the boxed crystal which even happens to be of sapphire. I love the shape and finish of the crown as well, embossed with de Christopher Ward double cross logo. And you’ll notice that this logo is debossed in the dial, at the regular position below the 12, as well; nice! I’m not sure if I find the positioning of the brand name Christopher Ward at 9 o’clock immediately adorable, it will take some time before I know.
Flipping the watch over shows a nice high definition case back, with a trident and the brand’s name. Here it’ll show as well that the strap is equipped with a quick release system. Learning that the strap measures 22 mm at the case isn’t something I was very happy with. To me, that’s not very ‘vintage inspired’.
Besides the Trident and name on the case back, some technical information is mentioned there as well. Swiss Made, S.Steel, and 15 ATM. And, following the model indication (C6541ADA1), a unique serial number (0061) which is always a plus. And this point, I found out that, although the watch is rated 15 ATM or 150 meters waterproof, it does not have a screw down crown. Nothing wrong with that, but normally watches with this depth rating have.
Now we know where we’re looking at it’s time to set the watch to time and date, and put the watch on for the first time. The Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic uses a Sellita SW-200 movement, so no surprises here. Because the crown is not of the screwed down type, the watch can be wound with the crown in its original position. Pulling it out 1 step quick-sets the date, one step further sets the time. I do so with the aid of a radio-controlled alarm clock, which later enables me to check on the accuracy of the watch in real life. All set and done.
Always difficult, getting a brand new strap to fit your wrist. Like any other new strap, the Christopher Ward Italian Vintage Oak Leather strap is stiff and really has to be convinced to comfortably follow the shape of my wrist. It doesn’t help that it’s relatively wide. At least it’s long enough. For my taste even a bit too long for my 17.5 cm wrist. But fortunately there are 11 holes to choose from, one size fits all. I try the 8th hole which proves to be too loose. Probably when the outside temperatures rise it might be ok, but for now, the watch almost rotates around my wrist. So that means one hole further, the 9th – and still two left. You’ll understand that the 9th is a bit tight, certainly with a stiff new strap. But I’ll keep it there and wait until the strap breaks in. It’ll be ok.
From this point onward you’ll be able to visually follow the watch, on and off my wrist, on a 25-day journey. I’ll try to cover the change in appearance, I’ll try to explain the difference in wearing it over time, and I’ll check and mention the accuracy.
Here we go, the first leg travels from The Netherlands to Spain. I started calibrating the watch according to a radio controlled clock on February 22nd and checked accuracy after five days. That proved to be very well. During that period, traveling to and in Spain, the watch ran fast only 5,5s/day. Not even a motorbike trip could make it hesitate. The strap length settled down to the 8th hole, by the way, the 9th proved to be too short in practice.
Then on February 28th, while back in The Netherlands, I reset the watch to zero, and to a South-American time zone, -6 hours compared to GMT +1 in The Netherlands, where the watch and I would travel next. So far, concerning the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic, I had nothing to complain about.
That became somewhat different once arrived in tropical atmospheres. The yellowish-brown strap proved not to be totally sweat proof. One of the keepers quite persistently left its color on the inside of my wrist, shortly after arriving in Colombia.
Not something unbearable, however, it would have been a reason for me to change the strap if the watch had been mine. On another note, it would be something Christopher Ward could look into as well, and see if another strap (manufacturer) would perform any better.
The watch remained on my wrist and in Colombia for the next 18 days. I must say it performed flawlessly. Although I have to admit that on a certain point I got a bit bored with the electric blue of the dial. Probably as well because of the combination with the yellowish-brown of the leather strap. The strap did age somewhat in color, however, even while used when swimming, didn’t become much darker. I have to conclude that I would have preferred the version of this watch with a black dial, and would have probably worn that on a dark brown strap.
Then, again back in The Netherlands and at my radio controlled clock, it proved that the watch only gained 55 seconds in a 19 day period. That’s not even a gain of 3,5s/day and thus extremely accurate. Way better than I expected from the Sellita SW200 automatic caliber. Be aware that this result might individually be different.
The last thing I promised to clear up is the position of the Christopher Ward brand name in the dial. As mentioned here above, I didn’t find the positioning of the brand name Christopher Ward at 9 o’clock immediately adorable. And I have to admit that, after 25 days of wearing the watch, still I didn’t quite like it. Obviously different isn’t always better in my book.
Technically spoken the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is a very adequate watch at an interesting price point. Except for the leather strap not being exactly color proof when it encounters sweat, there’s nothing to complain about. The watch feels solid and all operations are on par with, or above, expectations. It’s a good looking watch which has its size and dimensions exactly right.
Then on a very personal note, would I buy this watch? No, I wouldn’t. Not the blue dialed version as reviewed here for sure. And the black dial version? Probably neither. If I couldn’t get used to the position of the brand name in the dial in 25 days, I’m afraid I would never. It’s all in the details, and this detail would turn me off. However, as said, these are very personal reasons, technically speaking there wouldn’t be any reason not to buy it at the interesting price it’s been offered.
Watch specifications and price can be found at the form at the end of this article, just below the picture gallery. Additional information can be found through Christoper Ward’s website, where the watch eventually can be ordered as well by the way: christopherward.eu
Gerard has been in the watch industry for over two decades now. He owned a watch shop in The Hague, The Netherlands, and besides that he has journalistic and photographic activities in the field of watches. Collecting watches since he... read more