Master of its Domain: New Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire is the antidote to your blues
Are you down in the dumps because of this whole Covid-19 pandemic? Feeling the blues? Fret not watch lovers, introducing the new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire.
Before we begin this review, allow me to warn you in advance; somehow my love for 90’s TV shows, pop-culture songs and art got the better of me and I have been inclined to throw in a few references throughout this review. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion but I figured a heads-up would be nice.
TV references also make sense as we will be sharing below the exciting news of Christopher Ward launching its first-ever TV advertising campaign!
Let me begin by referencing my third-favourite TV show of all time. Any fans of the TV Show Frasier? There’s an episode in Season 7 where Martin creates a jingle for Frasier’s Radio show. It goes something like:
Feelin’ blue? I’m listenin’… Feelin’ sad, feelin’ mad, feelin’ bad, feelin’ glad, I’m listenin’!
Looks like Christopher Ward was listening.
I am going to sound like a used-car salesman, but nonetheless, here goes. So if anyone of you watch enthusiasts are reeling under the pressure of the pandemic lockdown, or simply want a new watch, to cater to your blues is the brand’s latest release, the new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire. And what’s more, in characteristic CW style, you can buy them online from the comfort of your home without risking going out.
True Blue Baby I Love You
While Madonna’s lyrics may not be about this watch, I somehow felt compelled to mention them as that’s the first song that popped in my head when I started to write down this review.
Unwavering in my opinion for the beauty of this watch, I say it’s time to be swept across the blue tides of your imagination with CW’s new C60 Sapphire.
“Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true,” eloquently put Judy Garland.
The colour blue indeed makes one feel better. And with the release of the new C60 Sapphire it is time to be swept across the blue tides of your imagination. Featuring a stunning see-through blue sapphire crystal dial that reveals the movement in all its glory is the brand’s latest horological achievement.
We have said this before, Covid-19 has nothing on the brand. The British brand is on a roll this year: first they release the C65 GMT Worldtimer that is hands down the most bang for your buck watch of recent times, and then the C60 Elite GMT 1000 that so intricately marries the opposing worlds of deep diving and world travelling.
While the former is my personal favourite of their watches, the latter is a prime example of the perfect all-rounder.
Not content here, they launch the new C60 Sapphire. But they aren’t resting here. In our recent interview with Mr Mike France, CEO & Co-founder of Christopher Ward, he drops the news on yet another watch being released very soon. Head to our interview here to find out more.
Coming back to the new C60 Sapphire.
It is the latest addition to the Trident 3 series. To put it into context, the Trident 3 collection is the brand’s emblematic dive watch collection that was released to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their namesake bestselling diver range.
Spread into three variants, the C60 Elite 1000, C60 Trident Pro 600, and C60 Trident GMT 600, it has come to be known for its ‘Light-Catcher case’ — case featuring multiple brushed and polished facets that create a slimmer profile with clean sides that play on the light — increased lume compared to Trident 2 series, increased responsive bezel click, quick release mechanisms for easy strap changes, and bold and directional triangular hour hands with hand-brushed and polished facets.
Master of Its Domain
There are numerous transparent luxury watches out there. To name a few, Jacob & Co. Astronomia Flawless, Bovet Récital 26 Brainstorm Chapter One, Bell & Ross BR-X1 Tourbillon Sapphire, Blancpain L-Evolution One-Minute Flying Sapphire Carrousel, Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillon 30º Technique Sapphire, MB&F Horological Machine No. 6 SV, etc, etc.
None of them are in the price range of C60 Sapphire.
If we look at the above images, it is safe to say that Hublot is the master of material — especially sapphire and ceramic — innovativeness.
The Spirit of Big Bang Special Edition Rockies, Aerofusion Chronograph UEFA Champions League, Big Bang GMT All Black Yohji Yamamoto or MP-11 Red Magic, they all feature an exposed movement in some form or the other. But like we said, their watches are nowhere in the entry-level price range or daily wearable wrist size range.
The new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire really shines through here.
It is simply without peer, quiet like Seinfeld’s George Constanza, the Master of its Domain.
Ingeniously English, Unsurprisingly Swiss
Talking about TV references, here’s another bit of positive news coming from the brand that’s got to do with TV. Christopher Ward launches its first-ever TV advertising campaign tomorrow, May 1.
Precision! Precision! Precision! The cry goes around in this new CW TV advert.
Complemented by a witty script, read by British writer, producer and radio presenter John Lloyd, this new TV advert will also attempt to change-up the brand’s verbal and visual identity.
Harping on its Anglo-Swiss identity is this new advert airing on UK Sky TV channels such as Sky1, Sky Atlantic and Sky Witness. We have seen the ad, and it’s the quintessential definition of British humour.
For a brand that listens to its customers it comes naturally that this bold display of confidence on TV has been created using audience insights based on behavioural traits of its customer base.
Coming back to the watch, let’s be honest here. In the price range of 1200 to 1500 AUD, you would be hard pressed to find Swiss luxury watches that feature a transparent dial. This CW watch, it retails starting from only £795.
Within the same price range, one competition does come to mind, that is also Swiss Made and features a transparent dial that also exposes the movement, but the material used is acrylic and not sapphire.
It is the new Mido Commander Gradient retailing from 1’325 AUD.
It is a 40mm diameter and 10.84mm thick watch stainless steel with black PVD coated case watch with a polished bezel that features a low 50m water-resistance but an impressive 80-hour power-reserve with central hours, minutes and seconds, and a date at 3’o clock. The beautiful black acrylic dial is transparent in the centre and gets increasingly opaque towards the edges providing with the gradated smoky effect. The Mido uses the calibre 80 with an ETA C07.611 base module movement that beats at the 3Hz (21’600 A/h) and comprises of 25 jewels.
Sure there are visual and size similarities between the two, but given the added dive watch capabilities, the C60 Sapphire sails in its own waters.
Not only the diving part, but the use of a sapphire dial instead of an acrylic dial is another noteworthy achievement.
Sapphire while being translucent, strong and durable, is also notorious for being extremely fragile to machine. While sapphire’s scratch resistance has made it popular as a glass in industrial design — in everything from bar code scanners to new generation iPhones to protect the camera lens — the complicated shape, water resistance and finish involved in watch cases and dials pose challenges of their own. To overcome those and have the watch retail for just £795 is no mean feat.
The Internal Comparisons
While this is the brand’s first transparent dial watch, its design codes are resonant of the architecture of the C60 Trident 316L Limited Edition from 2017, the C65 Trident 316L Limited Edition (Yellow) and the C60 Apex Limited Edition. You could in-fact go on to say that the brand takes the best of those watches and creates a new masterpiece.
The striking C60 Trident 316L LE features a contrasting black and steel theme along with electric yellow detailing while the C65 Trident 316L LE features a slimmer bezel along with a yellow dial.
While the Trident 316L Limited Edition was bold and simple with its two-tone look, on the other hand, the C60 Apex Limited Edition was blue on blue with orange accents and having been engineered in partnership with Swiss skeleton watch pioneers Armin Strom, had a somewhat skeletonised dial.
The new C60 Sapphire is similar to these as it takes the restrained charm of the 316L Limited Edition and its steel bezel and pairs it with the colours of the Apex Limited Edition.
Essentially, it features a blue and steel theme, with the bezel being sleeker and more sportier, and the dial being naked.
The Movement of the new C60 Sapphire
The heart used — Sellita SW200 — is a self-winding bespoke movement beating at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) offering a timing tolerance of -20/+20 seconds per day. The movement is encased inside a 40mm diameter and 12.95mm thick brushed and polished marine-grade 316L stainless steel case that measures 47.46mm lug to lug and weighs only 83g.
In its architecture the movement is fairly similar to above mentioned Mido’s ETA 2824-2 that is a base for ETA C07.611. Long story short, while the Sellita SW200 movement may not be an in-house movement, it has been substantially modified and is a reliable, trusty workhorse movement. To put it into more context, it has been previously used in the brand’s own C65 Trident Vintage Mark 11 and also used in comparatively priced other Swiss luxury watches such as the Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date.
It comprises of 26 jewels, Christopher Ward’s twin-flag engraving over ‘Colimaçoné’ finish on the rotor, features a 38-hour power reserve and central hacking seconds mechanism along with an anti-shock system.
The movement can be admired through the screw-down exhibition caseback with blue crystal that features a unique engraved serial number. The watch also features a screw-down crown stamped with twin-flag motif. The entire package is dive ready boasting of an impressive 600m (60 ATM) water-resistance.
The blue sapphire dial with twin flags at 12’o clock and the translucent and tinted blue screw-down exhibition caseback help reveal the movement and the traditional functions of hours, minutes and seconds along with a date at 3’o clock.
Sapphire dials are not easy to produce. The complexity of the dial is illustrated by its lengthy production process involving 20 different steps. This includes slicing from a pillar for the right thickness and lapping. The latter is a machining process in which two surfaces are rubbed together with an abrasive between them to achieve its glossy finish. Also included in the process are chamfering by grinding and polishing, applying a degrading varnish and ensuring a perfect finish on the applied indices after the diamond cut.
This only 0.6mm thick translucent sapphire crystal dial is truly a work of art in its own right.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
The watch is a stunner, no doubt about it. Take the price point into consideration, and it’s really a no-brainer.
The dial of-course is the real hero here.
Just like recently released C60 Elite GMT 1000, the blue and orange combination is very sporty and eye-catching, and the legibility appears to be high thanks to the Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL C1-filled top-brushed indexes with diamond polished facets, and the sandblasted and polished hands. Adding to the charm of the dial is the signature Trident counter-balance on the seconds hand.
“There is no blue without yellow and without orange,” said Vincent Van Gogh.
The dial is a beautifully transparent blue, but the orange accents — featured on the tip of the lollipop seconds hand, the separate indices joining the hour markers on the outer minute track, the text at 6’o clock, and the strap sticking on one of the variations — really introduce a quirky feel to the dial.
Externally, the unidirectional stainless-steel bezel with white and blue Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL hand-filled countdown hour markers adds to the C60 Sapphire’smodern aesthetic.
Like Breitling, the year so far also belongs to Christopher Ward as well. Both these luxury watch brands have braced the onslaught of the pandemic and released watches that are sure to be fan favourites.
I might come off as a broken record by now repeating the same thing over and over again, but one of the key defining features of the new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire is the amazing value for price proposition that’s only enhanced by the diver capabilities of a watch that has beautifully three colours — blue, orange and silvery-steel — on a daily wearable size of 40mm, and thrown in a hearty amount of lume to sweeten the deal.
We’ll leave you with a self-chopped-and-assembled medley of the three TV references we have used here. Let’s see if you were paying attention and can figure out which line is from whom?
‘What’s new? C60 Sapphire;
Feelin’ blue? CW’s listenin’;
Want Precision? CW’s listenin’;
Want an Ingeniously English watch? CW’s listenin’;
Want a watch that is unsurprisingly Swiss? CW’s listenin’;
The new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire is truly the Master of Its Domain.
Watch out for our detailed hands-on review coming soon.
The new Christopher Ward C60 Sapphire is available from 30th April 2020. For more information on this watch and other Christopher Ward watches, head to their website here.