Christopher Ward are no strangers to the moon phase complication. In fact, their C1 Moonglow watch was one of the first watches I remember seeing from the British watch brand back in 2019. Their first moon phase watch came four years before that, however, with the C9 Moonphase. Now CW are back with their third and possibly most ambitious moon watch yet: the C1 Moonphase. I was incredibly fortunate to get hands-on with the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch a whole month before it’s release, and here are my thoughts…
Christopher Ward has had some seriously impressive watch releases of late including a couple of notable designs tailored towards smaller, arguably more feminine wrists (The Twelve 36 and The Twelve Halo being two obvious examples). So, when I saw the first images of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch a few months ago, I was very excited to see another CW timepiece with its eyes set on feminine wrists. But then the watch arrived at HQ…
My first thought was “wow, that’s bigger than I expected”. The case of the C1 Moonphase is pretty hefty in both size and weight, particularly for a watch of this style. I suppose I imagined the case to be dressier, which it is in some ways, but not in its sizing. It sits at 40mm wide and 13.3mm tall, the latter being very noticeable on my 5-and-a-half-inch wrist.
The dial, on the other hand, is stunning. It’s completely void of any adornment, placing all your attention on the sparkly aventurine backdrop and large moon phase display. Aventurine is a type of glass infused with reflective flakes of copper oxide that nicely resembles the look of a starry night sky. It has a decent sparkle to it, so without fear of stereotyping too strongly, it feels very feminine. So, with its arguably masculine-sized case and sparkly, feminine dial, what audience are Christopher Ward targeting here?
Let’s get into the nitty gritty details, shall we? Although big on my female wrist, the finishing of the case is lovely. We all know CW will deliver on that front. It has brushed finishing on the case sides and lugs which blend into the brushed finishing on the outer links of the bracelet. In contrast, the raised bezel – something which doesn’t help the height in this instance – is brightly polished. On top, box-shaped sapphire crystal glass provides effortless legibility of the dial beneath with anti-reflective treatment covering on both sides.
As mentioned, dimensions are 41mm wide and 13.6mm tall with a lug-to-lug width of 47.9mm. It also weighs in at 67 grams. These specs probably don’t sound like much if you have an average male sized wrist, however those with wrists smaller than six inches will likely find it feeling very out of place. Sadly, the water resistant rating doesn’t make up for the large case either which is limited to just 30 metres.
The Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch debuts a new jewellery-like bracelet for the brand, one they have named “The Consort”. It’s a beautiful-looking bracelet with 127 individual links brushed and polished and an ultra-slim 3mm profile. The butterfly clasp has also been engineered discreet, fitting in with the dressy theme of the dial. The bracelet is stunning, but it again feels disjointed to the size of the case.
The watch is also available on a dark blue leather strap, which like the bracelet, is fitted with a quick-release system for no-hassle swapping.
I do really like the dial of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch. The aventurine backdrop brings with it a beautiful level of sparkle. The small countless flecks of gold in the glass aren’t overpowering but deliver a subtle shimmer that matches perfectly with the oversized moon phase aperture at 12 o’clock.
The detailing of the moon phase complication is also well done. According to the British watchmaker, the complication is twenty-five percent bigger than the moon on the C1 Moonglow. It rotates on an aventurine disc and is made from Globolight, a material that is a mix of ceramic and Superluminova. It is printed with an accurate four-colour representation of the moon’s surface that gives it an almost three-dimensional look. At night, the moon glows pure white.
There’s not much else to say about the dial since it is almost completely stripped of any adornment. There are just three polished central hands at the centre for the hours, minutes and seconds and some white printing for “Swiss Made” at 6 o’clock. Even the CW logo is absent; an interesting choice for a brand that is renowned for its logo. We can confirm it’s definitely a Christopher Ward watch, since the logo is placed on the crown and oscillating rotor, but when it’s on the wrist, this watch could arguably be from anyone.
I’m glad they have left the dial clear of unnecessary hardware and decoration though. It gives the watch a clean look that forces you to put all your attention on the glittering backdrop and oversized moon phase. It also reinforces its jewellery-inspired, feminine personality.
The size of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch makes a little more sense when you consider the movement within. It houses the brand’s in-house modular movement, the Calibre JJ04, the very same that powers their equally sized, 40mm wide C1 Moonglow watch.
There’s no denying this is an impressive movement. It uses the Sellita SW220 as a base but removes the date wheel and replaces it with four wheels to drive the moon disc. The result allows for the smooth perpetual action of the moon phase. If kept wound, the JJ04 movement will accurately track the phase of the moon for 128 years. It also promises a 38-hour, a frequency of 4 Hz and 26 jewels. As previously mentioned, the movement is put on display through the C1 Moonphase watch’s exhibition case back.
There’s a lot I like about the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch, but there’s also a lot that doesn’t make sense to me. The dial is beautiful, feminine and dressy. The case is well executed with plenty of nice finishing. Together, however, they just don’t match. The case is masculine and too tall to be classed as a dress watch while the dial feels overly feminine to tempt wrists wanting this case size. I love them as separate components, but just not together.
If CW placed this dial within a smaller case, then I have no doubt they’d find a lot of interest from smaller wrists – including many of the females here at Watch Gecko HQ. On the other hand, if you changed the dial a little, moving away from sparkly aventurine and adding something more classically masculine like a glossy black or deep navy dial, then you’d have a handsome men’s moon phase watch.
But what do you guys think? Is this a watch you’d wear yourself, or does the dial or case make you shy away? Let us know in the comments below.
The Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase watch is available to order now for £1,995 on leather and £2,120 on the bracelet.
- Diameter: 40.5mm
- Height: 13.3mm
- Lug-to-lug: 47.9mm
- Weight: 67g
- Crystal: Box Sapphire
- Water Resistance: 30m
- Crown: Push-down
- Back: Screw-down display caseback
- Movement: Sellita SW200-1 with JJ04 module
- Execution/Finish: Elaboré finish with twin flag pattern over ‘Colimaçoné’ finish on the rotor
- Type: Automatic
- Function: Hour, minute, central second, moonphase
- Frequency: 4 Hz/ 28,000vph
- Power reserve: 38 hours
- Jewels: 26
- Tolerance: -20/+20 Seconds per day
- Price: £1,995 (Leather), £2,120 (Bracelet)
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