Christopher Ward has developed a distinct style over the past couple of years, but there is still great variety in the different releases. A great example of an aesthetic that differs from the brand’s signature style is the new C65 Super Compressor Elite. This watch celebrates the funky Super Compressor divers from the ’70s. But while the execution of the design might find its roots in the rich history of dive watches, technologically, this is very much a modern watch. It’s time to find out more about this latest addition to the brand’s popular line of retro divers.

Four years ago, Christopher Ward introduced its first C65 Super Compressor model. As Tomas said back in 2020, it was a treat for fans of cult dive watches. Combining a 1970s-looking Super Compressor case with bright, youthful colors made for a compelling offering. That model also stood out for me because of its striking style. Now Christopher Ward introduces a new version with the C65 Super Compressor Elite. This new watch makes a big impression with an even more colorful presence and a decompression scale on the dial.

The background of the Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor Elite

When the first C65 Super Compressor came out four years ago, Christopher Ward’s Senior Designers Adrian Buchmann and Will Brackfield, and Technical Director Frank Steltzer had completely reverse-engineered the Super Compressor case. The concept was first introduced in the 1950s by the famous case maker Ervin Piquerez S.A. (EPSA). As the wearer descends to greater depths, the case back compresses, engaging a spring that sits within a compression ring. The ring applies counter-pressure to the case back, improving the gasket’s seal. As a result, the water resistance increases as the watch travels deeper until it reaches its limit.

When building the case style from scratch in 2019, Christopher Ward’s team decided to make the 300-micron-thick compression spring visible through an exhibition case back. So, the main story of the first C65 Super Compressor essentially started on the back. It was a bold choice as Super Compressor cases usually feature an all-steel case back. By displaying the spring, Christopher Ward revealed the magic of this case style. Framing the spring was an orange aluminum ring, a visual sparkle that has remained with the new C65 Super Compressor Elite.

The story is told on the back of the watch

The sapphire crystal on the back also reveals glimpses of the chronometer-certified Sellita SW300-1. The automatic movement operates at 28,800vph and offers 56 hours of power reserve. It runs with an accuracy of -4/+6 seconds per day. Additionally, you will see the steel coin bearing the original EPSA Super Compressor diving-helmet logo in relief. This harks back to vintage watches on which the helmet denoted the authenticity of a true Super Compressor watch.

The case measures 41mm in diameter, 13.75mm thick, 47.12mm long, and 22mm between the lugs. This 72g watch also has a 150m depth rating and features a predominantly brushed finish. Exceptions are the slim polished outer bezel and the bevels along the case sides, which give it some visual brilliance. On the right side of the case, you will find two crowns. The upper crown is sealed with two gaskets and features an orange ring that matches the orange accents on the dial and option Tropic-style strap. Once unscrewed, the crown controls the white internal dive-time bezel with large dark blue numerals and a large orange triangle as the 60-minute marker. The second crown features the brand’s logo and allows you to set the time.

The dial of the C65 Super Compressor Elite

As mentioned, the watch features a colorful dial. It has a sunburst blue vertical-gradient base with applied hour indexes filled with lume and white markers for the minutes. Above it sits a handset consisting of a stainless steel hour hand, an orange minute hand, and a steel seconds hand with an orange tip. But there’s no missing the decompression scale executed in light blue and orange beneath it. Divers used the classic decompression scale in the past to avoid the effects of decompression sickness. Nowadays, dive computers will help you with that, but seeing the classic scale on this retro-inspired C65 Super Compressor Elite is great.

Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor Elite

Using the scale is simple. First, you establish the dive depth in either meters or feet. As you can see, there are indications for both flanking the hour marker at 12 o’clock. After identifying the depth, you follow the corresponding ring around the dial clockwise until you read the first maximum dive time requiring no decompression. If the dive extends beyond this point, along the ring, you will find numerals corresponding to the time required to decompress before surfacing. A simple example is diving at 40 meters/130 feet. If you dive up to 10 minutes at that depth, no decompression is required. But if you dive 45 minutes at 40 meters/130 feet, 60 minutes of decompression is required for a safe resurface.

Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor Elite

Final thoughts on the Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor Elite

The colors of the decompression scale, in addition to being functional, give the new C65 Super Compressor Elite a very funky presence. The retro-inspired blue and orange combination works incredibly well with the classic shape of the Super Compressor case. Additionally, I love that the designers didn’t use the characteristic Christopher Ward handset but more generic hands that better respect the vintage style.

Christopher Ward C65 Super Compressor Elite tropic

The watch is available with a choice of two straps or a bracelet. The first option is a light blue Aquaflex rubber strap, putting the total price at €1,805. The second is a blue and orange rubber Tropic-style strap. With this, the watch will cost €1,795. The last option is the brand’s stainless steel Bader bracelet with a folding clasp, which brings the watch to €1,960. Usually, I would prefer to get the watch on a bracelet and add a strap later. This time, though, I would pick the new C65 Super Compressor Elite on one of the two rubber straps. They add to the funky looks of this modern version of a classic Super Compressor diver. We can’t wait to take this watch for a spin at the Fratello office.

For more information on the C65 Super Compressor Elite, visit the official Christopher Ward website. In the comments section, let us know your thoughts on this new Super Compressor diver.

Watch specifications

C65 Super Compressor Elite
Blue gradient with applied markers filled with white Super-LumiNova, light blue and orange decompression scale, white internal rotating bezel with blue numerals
Case Material
Stainless steel
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 47.12mm (lug-to-lug) × 13.75mm (thickness)
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal with "coin" featuring the original EPSA dive-helmet logo
Sellita SW300-1: automatic with manual winding and hacking, 28,800vph frequency, 56-hour power reserve, 25 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer
Water Resistance
150 meters (15 ATM)
Choice of light blue Aquaflex strap, blue and orange Tropic-style rubber strap, or three-row stainless steel Bader bracelet, 22mm width
Time (hours, minutes, seconds), 60-minute internal bezel, decompression scale
€1,805 (Aquaflex) / €1,795 (Tropic-style) / €1,960 (Bader bracelet)
60 months on the movement