The retro dive watch reborn
Meet Christopher Ward's new, improved take on the retro dive watch theme. More sophisticated, more alluring and more capable than before, this new generation of the hit C65 range is no longer as closely associated with the C60 Trident Pro series of professional divers, and has instead earned itself a new, distinct identity: Aquitaine.
Named after the historic French coastal region that was home to celebrated undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau, Aquitaine takes design influence from the first modern dive watches of the 1950s and launches with a confident three model collection: a steel automatic, a steel GMT, and a bronze-cased COSC version.
Virtually every aspect of the new C65 is significantly improved. Water-resistance is up, from 150m to 200m, there's a new sapphire exhibition caseback and the date display has moved from 3 o'clock to the more symmetrical, less obtrusive 6. On the dial, an applied version of the company's well-known twin-flags logo sits just below the 12, with the word mark 'Christopher Ward' now relocated to the back of the watch.
Perhaps most noticeably, the new bezel has a curved and highly polished sapphire insert, reminiscent of that used by the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. It brings an unexpected level of soft, curvaceous luxury to what's still, at heart, a sports watch. It's also remarkably tough: as sapphire is 50% harder than even ceramic, this is the most difficult-to-scratch bezel Christopher Ward has ever offered.
“Our new domed bezel catches the light wonderfully, and allows for more effective use of colour than steel or ceramic ever could," says Mike France, Christopher Ward's CEO and co-founder. “Aquitaine's a more refined, elegant dive watch than we've offered before, but there's real muscle to it too. Think, perhaps, of the sinuous, feline grace of an E-Type Jaguar."
Other improvements include a new glass box crystal, reminiscent of those seen on classic '50s and '60s dive watches, and a sleek new steel bracelet, more tapered and refined than the company has offered before. This also uses screwed links for the first time, while an updated quick-change mechanism makes tool-free swapping between straps and bracelets easier than ever. Then there's the new 'Dry Marshal' safety feature, designed to remind you when Aquitaine's screw-down crown isn't fully secure.
Though it combines brushed and polished elements throughout, this is overall a shinier, glossier piece than Christopher Ward is known for. The blue and green dials feature a sunray finish, while the applied indices are specifically designed to reflect the light. Christopher Ward's highly regarded Light Catcher™ case has been modified too, not least in that the lugs are now a millimetre shorter than before. This might sound insignificant but makes the 41mm Aquitaine comfortable on a remarkably wide range of wrists, big or small.
C65 Aquitaine Automatic
At launch, the C65 Aquitaine comes in three versions. The automatic uses a Sellita's SW 200-1 movement and comes in Marine Blue, White Sand or Seamoss (a dark green shade), while the bracelet is complemented by a range of straps, including blue tropical rubber and a new range of vintage oak leather in assorted shades.
C65 Aquitaine GMT
Then there's the Aquitaine GMT, which uses Sellita's SW 330-2 movement to keep track of two time zones at the same time. Its White Sand dial comes paired with a striking Marine Blue bezel and an eye-catching GMT hand in the same colour. This is available on the bracelet, or tropical rubber or vintage oak leather options.
C65 Aquitaine Bronze
Finally, the bronze Aquitaine pairs a Marine Blue dial and bezel with this richest, most charismatic of case materials. Bronze isn't just horology's hottest metal, it's also - considering its historical associations with maritime exploration - especially well-suited to a retro dive watch. This version comes on rubber, canvas webbing or vintage oak straps, and uses Sellita's SW 200-1 COSC movement - the only one of the trio to be an official certified chronometer.
Whichever you choose, you'll not just be buying a robust, timeless and highly refined dive watch, but will also be helping keep the seas as beautiful as we found them. 5% of the sale of each Aquitaine will be donated to Blue Marine Foundation, a charity dedicated to restoring the ocean to health.
Prices and Availability
The Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine is available at the Christopher Ward site to preorder for delivery in June 2022, with prices starting from £895 for the Automatic, £1,120 for the GMT and £1,095 for the Bronze.