Your Next Watch: A modern watch that harnesses clever design cues to create something visually vintage...
If you know a few watch collectors (be it virtually or physically) the likelihood is everyone will have some experience or at least an opinion on one British brand that aims to bridge the gap between entry-level and luxury watchmaking. That brand is Christopher Ward. Ever since 2004 this 'bridging the gap' phrase is something we have heard dozens of times thanks to Kickstarter type brands popping up everywhere. But after spending some time with the C65 Trident, I think Christopher Ward has a good point here...
The Christopher Ward C65 Trident - What it doesThis model was initially introduced in early 2019 in both the black dial option we have with us today and a blue version. Both immensely popular colour choices which no doubt appeal to a huge range of collectors. This appeal is only enhanced when you take a look at the dimensions.
The 11.5mm case comes in at 41mm wide with a lug to lug distance of 47.1mm. A good start for the Christopher Ward, a size that suits a huge amount of wrists is a must. And it does, on my 7 ¼ inch wrist it’s simply fantastic. The watch does have 22mm lugs which wouldn’t be my choice, but more on that later. This case looks to have the same design as the one we saw in the C65 Sandhurst which again, is another positive. This case is slender, solid and most importantly it’s comfortable. The watch comes with 150m water resistance without a screw-down crown; make of that what you will, I'm a screw in crown fan but others won't have a strong opinion on this.
And let’s be honest, most people who go for this watch aren’t going to be diving. And if they are? Then Christopher Ward offers plenty of watches with a higher depth rating.
Refined, clean and legible. Three must haves in a quality tool watch and all three are present on the C65 Trident Automatic. The use of round indices, stick batons at 12,3,6 and 9 as well as the unobtrusive hands really do add to the quintessential diving aesthetic. I believe this is one of the most impressive features of the piece, Christopher Ward have managed to create a watch that really has that ‘feel’ of a reissued watch. This is something many companies with genuine history, with genuine models they could pay homage to, struggle with.
The aluminium bezel on the C65 Trident Automatic is equally as clean in design, as Christopher Ward kept things simple with just arabic numerals appearing. The bezel itself is relatively subtle with the real estate it takes up on the front of the watch being noticeably reduced when compared to what you might be expecting.
The movement powering the watch is the Sellita SW200; a popular choice it seems for the brand as we also saw this in the C65 Sandhurst. There’s a reason why it's a go to option for brands eager to put a swiss movement in their watch. It's exactly what you want and expect from a swiss automatic movement. Reliable, tough and accurate.
Hands-on thoughtsChristopher Ward has an excellent ‘box ticker’ here. The watch really isn’t missing anything that many watch collectors look for. You’ve got a watch which has all the appeal of a diver, with the popular design cues of a vintage-inspired piece, wrapped up in a watch with a reliable swiss movement that is an appropriate size. A simple formula executed well. Nothing changes when you strap this watch to the wrist as well, all of those positives are present and accounted for when you look down to check the time.
If you’re reading this at the time of publishing you’ll probably understand that due to the current climate (don’t worry, this isn’t the place to talk about 'that') I’ve struggled with testing the watch past working at a desk from home, however it’s still had an impression on me. The simplistic dial design with those large round indices filled with vintage lume add a sense of playfulness and casual demeanor to the piece. This watch could so easily have fallen into a ‘serious’ looking watch, but to its advantage it is quite the opposite.
The bezel on the C65 Trident effectively increases the legibility of the dial with its unobtrusive scale, but the impact of this is that it’s difficult to operate due to its reduced width. Branding and Christopher Ward and words that have historically gone together whether they like it or not. The C65 Trident goes for a two-pronged approach with the name at 9’oclock and the logo debossed onto the dial at 12.
The more time I spend with Christopher Ward watches, the more I understand and sympathise with them regarding their branding. Initially I felt the answer would be to move the brand name underneath the logo at 12, maybe change the logo to white as well and it’s job done. But the brand name is extremely long for a watch dial so this approach would clutter the centre of the dial.
Logo aside, this is an extremely comfortable and wearable watch. You could easily daily wear this and it wouldn’t let you down.
Watch straps for the Christopher Ward C65 Trident
The watch we received came fitted to a well built metal strap with easy ratchet style micro adjustment ability. It also comes with quick release spring bars, something we see a lot on leather straps not so much on metal. However, I think we can extract the vintage touches in this piece because of the black dial with vintage lume / beige coloured details. Let’s explore some watch straps…
ZULUDIVER Quick Release Sailcloth Perforated Watch StrapFirst up is a watch strap that is quickly becoming a classic. The Quick Release Sailcloth continues to be one of our best sellers and when the perforated version of the strap is fitted to the C65 it becomes clear why. Here the beige stitching is our choice to pick up on the vintage lume and although the watch is a diver, the perforated version of the strap makes the most sense to me. The reason? Well the watch is a clean simplistic design so the perforated strap adds a nice amount of depth to the combo. It also reminds me of the Tropic Rubber strap, subtly hinting at a historical importance.
Spexhall Genuine Leather Watch Strap in Distressed Brown
Next up is the Spexhall in Distressed Brown. This strap is a real game changer for the C65 Trident, not only adding to the watch comfort but also the watches charm. The distressed leather introduces some unique texture to the piece as well as some warmth.
Falmouth Sailcloth Padded Water-Resistant Leather Watch Strap in Army Green
Finally we go back to Sailcloth material and the Falmouth Padded in Green. This strap is the one the watch spent most of its time fitted to which I believe really enhanced my enjoyment of the watch. Here the green option complements the vintage lume on the piece and adds a military touch to the watch. This is a thicker strap, however much like the Sailcloth Perforated I believe this adds some much needed depth to the watch.
Things we would change on the C65 Trident Automatic
As always, let’s highlight a few things on the C65 Trident that don’t quite hit the mark for us.
22mm Lug Width - Although this watch is 41mm wide, I believe a 20mm lug width would really help the watch accentuate the vintage feel Christopher Ward are going for. This thought is naturally heavily linked to my personal opinion, but it is something I believe worth mentioning.
Bezel Size - For all its charm and character, the proportions do let the bezel down on the C65 Trident from a practial point of view. There is a bit of a knack to operating the bezel, but in it’s current form I found myself less inclined to use it. There are of course many wrists that simply won't plan on using the bezel and simple have it there from a design point of view.
Bezel Pip - You may have noticed throughout this review that the pip on the bezel is actually green, whereas the lume throughout the dial and hands is a vintage yellow colour. I’m not sure if this was on purpose or an oversight, but personally I’d want to see this all matching as once you see it, it's pretty difficult to un-see (sorry if you hadn't spotted that..).
Without repeating ourselves talking about the logo again, that really is it for the C65 Trident. The watch does a lot of things right which is made only more impressive when you consider it’s £800.
What else is available?
This will be a really satisfying watch for most if not all of the wrists it sits on. The universally appealing design, with it’s versatile sizing and digestible price really make this watch a fantastic choice. This £500 - £1,000 price point can be a bit of a meeting point for watches that span a range of qualities. So what are some other alternatives?
The more affordable option: Baltic Aquascaphe - £577 approx.
Coming in a few hundred pounds less than the Christopher Ward, the Baltic Aquascaphe comes from a similar place as Christopher Ward being a modern brand that has effectively created a vintage style watch that feels surprisingly like a genuine vintage piece. It’s worth mentioning that the Aquascaphe is slightly smaller than the C65 Trident and doesn’t come with a date. Potential game changers for many.
Similarly priced: Oris Diver 65 £1,500 new, £1,200 pre-owned.
For a few hundred pounds more you could get your hands on an Oris 65 Diver. This is probably visually closest to the Christopher Ward out of the choices with round indices, simple hands, date at 3 and a well-designed case. If you’re not concerned about having a brand new model you can pick these up for lower £1,000.
Something more expensive: Bremont S300/BR Black £3,395
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The Supermarine S500 was the first diving watch introduced into the Bremont collection back in 2009. The 43mm chronometer holds its own against any other mechanical professional diving watch in terms of engineering and continues to be a go-to timepiece for many of our ambassadors. #bremont #testedbeyondendurance #divewatch #watches #adventure #aviation #britishwatches #supermarine #s500 #watchesofinstagram #watchoftheday #luxury #instawatch #horology #wotd #timepieces #wristwatch #wristshot #mybremont
If you’re enamoured by British brands making swiss made watches then Bremont would be worth looking at. The S300/BR shares many similar traits to the C65 Trident, just bare in mind your pockets might need to be deeper than you first expected...Whether this is a first watch or one for a rotation collection, you would be making a smart move going for a C65 Trident. This watch can tick a lot of boxes for many people in the market for a sporty vintage-looking piece. A daily driver or a weekend crush, the C65 Trident Automatic is a fantastic option that should be on your shortlist. They also launched this model in a lovely blue colour with coloured bezel to match. Which every you go for, just know that it seems they’re telling the truth when they say their aim is “to put premium watches within the reach of everyone.”
We’d like to take this moment to thank Christopher Ward for sending the C65 Trident in for review. To find our more about this watch and their full range, click here.