Christopher Ward Bel Canto

Christopher Ward Bel Canto

Richard Brown


Christopher Ward



Pure horology really is a work of art and goes beyond the creation of simply a functional timepiece. Haute horology aims to produce a beautiful machine with such complexity that there is an element of awe and wonder as to how a human created it.

The Christopher Ward Bel Canto is just such a watch. Not only is it beautifully crafted with exquisite workmanship, but it is also an audible wonder with a small hammer that chimes to mark the passage of every hour thanks to a clever movement.

Grade-5 titanium has been selected for the case as this has proven to improve the resonance and tone of the chime. Normally titanium is selected because the watch in question requires a high level of resistance against salt water or the environment; however, the Bel Canto it's made from this difficult material for the improvement in sound resonance.

Christopher Ward Bel CantoChristopher Ward Bel Canto - Credit WatchGecko

It's fair to say that traditional watchmaking is visual art. Therefore, a new creation really stands out when it also embraces the art of sound. Named after a style of opera, the principal importance of the Bel Canto was not just to provide a watch that chimes on the hour but deliver a showcase for the new striking mechanism.

As time passes, the movement of the hour and minute hands on the floating dial draws a chiming hammer until it strikes a steel spring which curves around the edge of the dial.

The amazing in-house FS01 movement which makes this possible was created by Christopher Ward’s technical director Frank Stelzer. Frank adapted their ‘jumping hour’ movement (Calibre JJ01) into a striking mechanism by adding more than 60 new components. However, this was only the start of a three-year journey that eventually led to the Bel Canto.

Christopher Ward Bel CantoChristopher Ward Bel Canto - Credit WatchGecko

The CW design team worked hard to refine the watch's aesthetics and sound. For example, over 80 different springs and hammers of different materials, lengths, and shapes were tested (and rejected) before achieving the sought-after chime in the key of D.

Should you be in a critical boardroom meeting, where silence is paramount, a button at 4 o’clock can be set to an ‘on’ or ‘off’ position which stops and reactivates the chime.

The Bel Canto build quality is second to none. Hand-finished to perfection, the multi-layered architecture of the watch dial is enhanced by the polished hammer, spring, and bridges – which, when seen together, resemble a songbird. Crafted under a microscope by some of Switzerland’s finest artisans, this level of finishing is usually the preserve of the most exclusive brands.

Christopher Ward Bel CantoChristopher Ward Bel Canto - Credit WatchGecko

Underneath all this incredible innovation, it's easy for us to forget there is actually a functional watch with a respectable 38-hour power reserve. The Bel Canto has a case diameter of 41 millimeters, and astonishingly, given the level of complexity in the movement, it is just 30 millimeters high. The lug to lug is 48 millimeters, so it should wear well on most wrists, and thanks to the use of titanium, the watch weighs only 53 grams. Christopher Ward state that the watch offers 30m metres of water resistance however, if you take your new Bel Canto for a swim or even into a damp or humid environment, you're braver than us! The watch is supported by a Vacona leather strap which is of the highest quality, or a titanium bracelet.

So how much does this gem cost? Not as much as you may well be thinking. The watch is available with four color dials. ROSA (rose gold), NERO (black), VIOLA (purple) and CEILO (light blue). Depending on strap choice, the watch costs £3195 for leather and £3530 for the titanium bracelet.

The latest batch of Bel Canto’s will not be available until April 2024; however, you can secure one now with a £1000 deposit.

Christopher Ward Bel CantoChristopher Ward Bel Canto - Credit WatchGecko

How can you summarise this watch? How can you succinctly express the impact it has on high horology by almost making it attainable to the watch enthusiast?

In every measurable way, the CW Bel Canto is a stunning creation, and what's most impressive is that it still costs half of what we would expect to pay for an entry-basic steel model from more than one of the huge Swiss watchhouses.

Christopher Ward truly is at the cutting edge of watch design, and creating such a stunning model can only make us wonder where this impressive company will go.


  • Watch Model C1
  • Size 41mm
  • Dial Colour Cielo
  • Case Material Grade 5 Titanium
  • Case Colour Silver
  • Bezel Colour Silver
  • Height 13mm
  • Lug-to-Lug 48mm
  • Case Weight 53g
  • Weight inc. Strap 113g
  • Water Resistance 3 ATM (30m)
  • Movement Calibre FS01
  • Power Reserve 38 hours
  • No of Jewels 29
  • Complication Type Passing Chime
  • Vibrations 28,800 p/hr (4Hz)
  • Timing Tolerance +/- 20 sec p/day
  • Lume SLN C1 X1 BL

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Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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