The Top Five Christopher Ward Watches Hiding In Plain Sight
 

The Top Five Christopher Ward Watches Hiding In Plain Sight

6 min read
Rob Nudds

Brands

Christopher Ward

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

Rob Nudds

Brands

Christopher Ward

Categories

Watch Buying Guide

We have worked with Christopher Ward for years, and considering it is their 20th Birthday (founded June 2nd 2004), it only makes sense to do an article highlighting their Top 5 models!

5. Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic 

Christopher Ward C65 Dune AutomaticChristopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic on the WatchGecko Ridge Military Nylon Watch Strap - Credit WatchGecko

 
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Black & Orange
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Navy & White
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WatchGecko Ridge British Military Watch Strap - Black & Red
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Sometimes, simplicity is best. There has been a pleasing trend towards sandy-coloured dials coursing through the micro and small independent brand landscape recently and, as the kids would say,

“I’m here for it.”

Glib as that may sound, I really am. This model is gloriously pared-back, leverages every ounce of Christopher Ward’s experience in making high-quality daily beaters, looks ready for anything (with adventure-ready specifications in spades), and dresses up nicely on a bracelet or slicker leather strap.

At £750 it represents almost unbeatable value, especially given the growing prestige of the brand name on the dial. It also happens to be an absolute strap monster, so, if you do decide to add one of these to your stable, make sure to furnish it with a stack of new shoes so it’s always able to put its best foot forward.

4. Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow

    C1 Moonglow. Credit - Christopher Ward

    The Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow was the model that put the brand on the map for me. I was lucky enough to go hands-on with the original piece (which was similar but far from identical), and I was blown away by the build quality and creativity of the display at the price point.

    Currently, the C1 Moonglow retails for £2,155, which lands it about midway in terms of brand pricing. The slightly reworked dial that now features the new logo and calibre designation adds a dash of maturity to proceedings, and the five-link bracelet is an interesting upgrade that gives this already characterful piece even more presence on the wrist.

    3. Christopher Ward 12

      Christopher Ward TwelveChristopher Ward The Twelve 36 Alta White Review - Credit WatchGecko

      You could easily slot any other dial colour of the CW12 in the third spot depending on your personal preference. While I admittedly have a leaning towards “aqua” dials, selecting the Mineral Blue as the representative of the brand’s most talked about model goes beyond my own desire.

      This is a colour that is squarely on-trend. Many brands have experimented with similar shades, meeting almost exclusively with positivity. IWC, H. Moser & Cie., Czapek, anOrdain, you name it — brands adore this colour quite simply because it sells (and happens to be exceedingly photogenic to boot).

      Christopher Ward Twelve (36)Christopher Ward Twelve (36) - Credit WatchGecko

      However, it isn’t an easy colour to get right. The tendency to veer too far in either the blue or green direction is common. One can imagine why: this vivid teal shade feels risky because it is exactly the kind of fresh and fun face the watch industry is too often nervous about showing the world. 

      In that regard, we are perhaps able to appreciate the true strength of Christopher Ward’s price bracket — the brand can afford to take chances. And so, instead of bottling it at the last moment and trying to tone down the dial’s vivaciousness, the brand went full bore, and we, as consumers, are reaping the rewards of that boldness. 

      2. Christopher Ward Bel Canto (any of them)

        Christopher Ward Bel CantoChristopher Ward Bel Canto on ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Credit WatchGecko

         
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        ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Orange
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        ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Blue
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        ZULUDIVER Maverick (MK II) Sailcloth Waterproof Watch Strap - Black / Grey
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        It would be impossible to write a list of the best Christopher Ward models currently available without mentioning the Bel Canto. In fact, the biggest surprise might be that this headline-hogging model hasn’t snagged the top spot! However, the model that beat it out to first position offers the one thing — probably the only thing — the Bel Canto doesn’t fully account for, and that’s versatility.

        I’m not sure there’s a watch fan alive that would disparage the Bel Canto for what it is at its price point by now. Personally, I was a little sceptical when it was released, finding myself underwhelmed by the aesthetic despite never doubting its credentials and tangible value. My fears that the watch would look as affordable as it is were swiftly allayed the moment I got it on my wrist. It’s quality defies logic. The design is far from underwhelming — it is thoughtful and supremely well-executed. Every visible component is finished to a standard way beyond what one could reasonably expect for the retail price, and its functionality a joy to experience.

        With the Bel Canto, Christopher Ward threw down a gauntlet to the rest of the entry-level luxury brands. Since its debut, very few watches have come close to matching the proposition, with only the SpaceOne Tellurium and the Atelier Wen Perception deserving a mention in the same category (the former for the same, horologically grounded reasons as the CW, and the latter for the use of genuine guilloché dials at an accessible price point). 

        The most exciting thing? This is just the first chapter for Christopher Ward in this arena. Although no stranger to movement modifications in the past, the Bel Canto set the bar very, very high. We can only imagine what the brand will be capable of in the coming years as award-winning models like this continue to burnish its reputation as a creator of high-end complications that many more of us can afford. 

        1. Christopher Ward Twelve X (Ti) 

          Christopher Ward Twelve XChristopher Ward Twelve X - Credit WatchGecko

          The Twelve concept has been one of the most talked about for the past couple of release cycles and the brand seems unlikely to step away from it any time soon as it continues to establish itself as a major sales and traffic driver for the British maker.

          While the regular models with their colourful dials are worthy of respect, it is the most recently released Twelve X that elevates the line to the level it truly deserves. By further modifying a calibre that has already featured on this list in the CW Skeleton Diver, the Twelve X overtakes even the Bel Canto as the most desirable watch in the catalogue in my opinion.

          Although it’s fair to say the Bel Canto still out-punches a time-only redo of an existing movement horologically speaking, few releases that have elicited such satisfaction. The Bel Canto was a phenomenon that still stands atop the bang-for-buck mountain, but it remains a niche piece that may not be as suitable for daily wear as the versatile Twelve X. It’s easily arguable that the Bel Canto deserves a spot in any watch-lovers collection, but the area in which the Twelve X betters it is as a one-watch collection that ticks all the boxes. 

          Christopher Ward Twelve XChristopher Ward Twelve X - Credit WatchGecko

          It is slim, stylish, horologically stunning for the price point, and capable of excelling in both harsh environments and high-society soirees. Seldom is it that a brand of Christopher Ward’s size and business model is able to drop a piece that compares favourably to much higher priced models, most obviously in this case, the Czapek Antarctique Revelation released in 2023 to much acclaim itself. The Twelve X retails for around 11% of the cost of that model. Despite the obvious gulf in finishing, component refinement, and brand prestige, this is an extremely credible option for anyone who aspires to one day own an Antarctique or similarly regarded model in the Haute Horlogerie sphere, but is more focused on the sub-5K bracket for now.

          Simply put, it is the cleanest strike of the ball Christopher Ward has swung for in its history. It’s not just a home run hit; it’s exited the car park and is streaking down the freeway to even greater success in the future.

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          Rob Nudds

          About the Author: Rob Nudds

          Rob started working in the watch industry for the Signet Group, aged 17. Following university, he undertook the WOSTEP course at the British School of Watchmaking, developing a keen interest in watchmaking theory. After graduating, he worked primarily for Omega and Bremont before leaving the bench in 2015 to become Head of Sales for NOMOS Glashütte in the UK. After three years of managing an international retail network that grew to encompass 17 countries, he began writing full-time.

          Since then, he has written for aBlogtoWatch, Fratello, Time & Tide, Grail Watch, SJX, Get Bezel, Borro Blog, Jomashop, Bob's Watches, Skolorr, Oracle Time, and Revolution USA.

          He currently co-hosts The Real Time Show Podcast (www.therealtime.show) with his friend and long-time collaborator, Alon Ben Joseph of Ace Jewelers, Amsterdam, as well as working with several brands as a consultant in the fields of brand building, product development, global retail strategy, and communications. Follow him on Instagram @robnudds.

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