The C60 Concept shows just what Christopher Ward can do with their in-house calibre...
Christopher Ward are a brand that always like to push the envelope of what’s achievable at a given price point. However, their latest release takes this to a whole new level.
They’ve christened it the C60 Concept and, as the name suggests, it’s a limited-edition concept watch that celebrates both the C60 Trident range and the brand’s in-house SH21 movement.
Christopher Ward feel that their in-house movement has remained fairly under-appreciated by the wider community. Which is something of a shame given the movement’s impressive specifications. With a twin-barrel construction, the SH21 has a whopping 120 hours (or 5 days) of power reserve, which is one of the longest in the industry. Plus, all SH21’s are COSC certified chronometers, so they are accurate to -4/+6 seconds per day.
It’s little wonder then that Christopher Ward are so proud of their in-house calibre. It’s a feat of mechanical engineering that’s unheard of at the price point Christopher Ward operate at. It’s also been a fair while since the calibre’s launch back in 2014, so the brand felt it was high time that they produced a watch that really showed off what they could do with it.
The C60 Concept is limited to just 210 units and in addition to being a concept watch, it’s also full-functional dive watch with all the specifications that requires. In order to keep the watch lightweight, the case is made from titanium, whilst the bezel uses a scratch-resistant ceramic insert. The crystal is naturally a sapphire with anti-reflective coating, and the watch has a solid water resistance of 300m.
All in all, the C60 concept is clearly a capable tool watch. But the main focus is the SH21, and in the words of CEO Mike France - “to celebrate it, you need to see it.”
This meant taking the C60 design to the next level by fully opening the dial to reveal as much of the movement as possible. However, this was a process that’s easier said than done. Which brings me on to the watch’s cost…
The C60 Concept is available from £3,495 / $4,370 / €4,440, which on the surface might seem to be an outrageous price, given that most of the brand’s models are priced at under £1,000. However, as soon as you start to delve into how the C60 Concept was manufactured you realise that, if anything, it’s actually cheap.
Creating The Skeletonised SH21
So, let’s delve into exactly how Christopher Ward went about building the C60 Concept. The company wanted the watch to not just be technically impressive, but also to be a feast for the eyes. Which is why during the design process the emphasis was placed on 3-dimensional shapes and depth. The idea was that when you saw a C60 Concept in person, you’d get a next level of sensory feedback.
To achieve this Christopher Ward have once again partnered with Armin Strom to help produce an incredibly well-finished skeletonised SH21. They started by remaking the main plate of the SH21, rather than reworking it, in order to open the movement up as much as Christopher Ward wanted.
The movements were then passed over to Chronode, who have worked with the likes of Czapek, Cyrus and MB&F. They hand-finished each SH21 movement, and each chamfer took six hours of painstaking work in order to achieve the desired finish. This is a level of detail usually reserved for watches whose price well exceeds the £10,000 mark, so to find it on a watch costing £3,495 is truly remarkable.
Getting The Lume Just Right
For the distinctive three-dimensional lumed triangle, Christopher Ward approached Xenoprint, who used their unique Globolight XP© process. This involved injecting the specialised luminous ceramic material into a mould and then machining the basic triangle into the final shape. The final product is exceptionally tricky to get right, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s well worth the effort.
Whilst I appreciate that skeletonised watches aren’t for everyone (and to be honest, they aren’t usually my own cup of tea), there’s no denying that the C60 Concept is a very impressive watch. For £3,495 you can get a dive watch with a lightweight titanium case, 300m of water resistance, and a hand finished skeletonised in-house movement that’s COSC certified. Oh, and don’t forget that hefty 5-day power reserve!
Whilst other brands like Oris and Zenith have produced skeletonised watches before, neither have offered the level of specs and finishing found on the C60 Concept at a similar price point. But that’s not really surprising, because Christopher Ward’s main USP is showing that they can not only do better than their competitors, but that they can do it cheaper.
The C60 Concept is currently available for pre-order from Christopher Ward’s website, with delivery scheduled for mid-November. You can check it out on their website here.
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