Dive Your Worries Away, aka The Happy Watch: Going Hands-On with the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic
Disclaimer: Christopher Ward generously sent us the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic that we are reviewing today. Since we had it for a while, we may have gone a tad bit overboard and the resulting review is now a mini-thesis, an over 7000-word review. For those who may not have the patience for it, spoiler alert, the verdict is yes; yes, the Christopher Ward C65 is a stunning watch that comes at an incredible price. For those who wish to find out more about it, like where it sits amongst a sea of other dive watches, or our unboxing and on-the-wrist experience, here’s Watch Ya Gonna Do About It’s first at home/office, long-form, we-spent-a-fortnight-with-this-watch review. PS The following opinion is solely ours, this is neither a sponsored post nor were we paid for it.
Aristotle once said that “happiness depends upon ourselves”. To me, the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is a feel-good watch. My first gut reaction on opening the parcel and looking at the Christopher Ward C65 that we are reviewing today was that it is a youthful-looking, appealing watch. Not only did it put a smile on my face as I wasn’t expecting something this well built at entry-level costs — I have included a photo of it below with an entry-level fashion watch — the vibe of the watch is happy.
Emotions are not something I encounter in watch reviews too often, which is a shame in my opinion as true watch enthusiasts will attest emotions are a big part of buying a particular watch. Besides pandering to the mine’s-bigger-than-yours syndrome, the fun in buying watches lies in acquiring something that’s not only useful — watches as a concept may not be useful in today’s technological environment but they sure are fuel for the soul — but also brings you joy. And if that joy can come in a wallet-friendly avatar, then there’s the winning lottery ticket for you. The Christopher Ward C65 is one such watch; it pleases, ticks all the right boxes and doesn’t quite hurt your pocket.
When it comes to acquiring your right of passage to the world of luxury Swiss watches, CW watches are a sure shot entry point.
The Blue To Chase The Blues Away
Technically it’s just another dive watch, bearing the familiar ‘Swiss Made’ logo and the ever-repeated blue colour dial. This year I have had a fair overdose of blue watches to review, about which I have ranted in a previous article here, and yet when asked by Christopher Ward which watch I wanted to review, I chose this blue C65. Why? Because it’s a beautiful shade of blue that made me happy. Simple as that.
“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life,” said William Morris, a British textile designer, poet, and novelist.
And for me, true happiness was brought on by the myriad details the Christopher Ward C65 brought to my wrist over the course of two weeks I have had it for.
The Trident is Christopher Ward’s signature diving watch collection, and this offering sits comfortably in this high selling collection. Currently, it is offered in two dial colour options, blue and black.
The blue version has three strap options to choose from: camel vintage oak leather (1’035 AUD), black vintage oak leather (1’035 AUD), or brushed steel that comes at a premium of 150 Aussie dollars (1’185 AUD). The black version comes on the above three and also a fourth strap option, called the ‘black hybrid’ that again retails for A$1’035.00. In looks, the latter strap resembles the JLC Polaris Date straps.
Old vs New
The design and specs of the Christopher Ward C65 have gone through some changes in the recent couple of years, notably the change from a manual-winding movement — Sellita SW210 with a 40-hour power reserve — to an automatic calibre.
Aesthetically, it’s also changed, as the manual-winding versions featured various coloured dials with stylised ‘12’ and ‘6’ Arabic numerals alongside baton hour markers. Personally, I liked those as well, not any more or less than the current ones with circular indices, as I think they looked pretty different from other divers, say from an Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five.
Since we spent some time with it, we figured it was also a good opportunity to describe how the package arrived and what the unboxing felt like.
We should be releasing an unboxing video soon but in the meanwhile here’s a summary of it.
The watch box-carton comes inside a standard shipping packaging, nothing special about it though, which is expected of any brand really. It took more than a week to arrive here in Sydney — left 27th July and reached 07th August — and the parcel tracking showed it went from the UK to Germany to Japan before arriving here in Australia. Germany made sense due to being DHL’s hub but shipping via Japan was a bit odd.
Inside this parcel is a black outer cover sleeve that presents the watch box in a nice, sleek, modern look. Inside this is a solid black box with subtle branding that hides the watch. More than a mechanical watch’s box it looks a lot like something that would bring the latest technology item or a smart watch, reflecting CW’s intent of pursuing millennials. It can also appear to be like a wine bottle box too. It has a good reveal with a wooden portion but beyond that the box comes off with a clunk. It’s a small detail but they should make the coming off the box a bit smoother.
The watch is still hidden underneath an owner’s manual, which is very nicely presented. It’s retro-chic in look, and shows with diagrams and photos of everything you might need to know.
Underneath it is a welcome letter with the warranty card and my name on the letter. Nice personal touch I admired.
Underneath still is a paper case with a cleaning cloth.
So far, besides the clunk of the outer solid box, everything else feels more luxurious than what I would have paid for had I purchased this. Now finally we see the watch, and yes, it is a beauty.
Flip it and even though you can’t see the movement — that features the typical Christopher Ward ‘Colimaçoné’ finish — owing to the closed case-back, you can see the finely executed screw-down backplate that is engraved with a unique serial number and a (very prominent) “Trident” motif.
The overall feel is that of a luxurious, good looking package, and to borrow and modify words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “(With the Christopher Ward C65) happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product”.
That Lovin’ Feelin’
Allow me to start detailing this watch with a revelation: I am not the biggest fan of dive watches. I don’t even own one. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy one ever, it’s just that dress watches and racing-inspired chronographs pique my interest. I rarely swim, never dive or snorkel, and only occasionally visit the beach, and owning a dive watch and not using it for the intended purpose is kind of a moo-point — credit Joey Tribbiani from F.R.I.E.N.D.S — for me. In the same vein, I don’t have pilot’s watches in my collection either. See neither can I fly or pilot a plane.
The reason why I am stating this is that with the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic for once I actually wanted to wear a dive watch. And that’s rare for me. I know that the horology enthusiasts globally seem to love diving and pilot’s watches, and fair enough, whatever floats your boat, but more or less they ain’t for me.
That feeling of relaxed happiness that I got from the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic when I first opened up the box is unprecedented for a dive watch — barring once when trying on the Rolex ‘Kermit’ Submariner for I really liked the black/green look on that — and given we actually had this watch courtesy Christopher Ward for about two weeks to play with, I am at the end of those two weeks happy to borrow and modify a phrase from The Righteous Brothers in that “I’ve NOT lost that lovin’ feelin’, Whoa, that lovin’ feelin’, I’ve NOT lost that lovin’ feelin’, Now it’s NOT gone, gone, gone, whoa-oh…”.
The First Impressions
These are purely my first impressions; some retained, some dissolved after spending about a fortnight with this watch.
I will be harping on this again and again, but for a watch that costs £695, I wasn’t expecting luxury. The Christopher Ward C65 however, proved me wrong. Until you look at the strap, it stands tall amongst a sea of traditional luxury watch brands. Though to give credit where it’s due, the aged lume on the dial works well with the camel-inspired strap colouring. The ocean blue colour of the dial reminded me of a drive I once undertook between Cairns and Port Douglas alongside the Great Barrier Reef; the colours of the water seemed to have been poured onto the dial of this watch. Though after wearing it for a while I realised that this nice shade of blue only comes out in sunlight or strong internal lighting. Otherwise, it’s a constant blue, not bright, not dull, just blue. Under night lighting it almost becomes navy, and I guess if CW ever decides to go with the idea of introducing sun-burst dials to these watches, they can perhaps maintain a much more vibrant blue throughout.
But man, that blue in the sun, it’s a breath-taker. Legibility of the overall dial is excellent from the start though the second’s hand needs work. If it didn’t have a faux-patina coloured tip that matched the aged lume on the indices, it would indeed be hard to see it ticking.
The most important thing I realised after wearing it for so long is that it is not a timeless watch; it’s a very modern, in the moment watch, despite being influenced by vintage 1960s dive watches. Which in my opinion is a good thing. If I want a timeless watch, I will buy a Cartier Tank in gold. Even though that would be seven times its price, I would have a classic dress watch for life that I can even pass on. But in my opinion, the CW offering is not meant to be that; I think it’s meant to be a watch that you put on to embrace the moment, and go on and have fun with your life without worrying about hurting it. In that, it makes for a very cool beater.
The More Noticeable Features
There were a couple of aspects that stood out from the start that I really liked. I loved the shape and finish of the crown, that is embossed with the Christopher Ward twin flag motif logo. To complement this they have also debossed it on the dial at 12’o clock.
Other things I noticed were the presence of the crystal and the strap buckle. The former is a beautifully curved sapphire crystal that adds to the charm of the watch and is reminiscent of vintage timepieces. Surprisingly it is also similar in aesthetic to the crystal Omega has used in its new James Bond Seamaster in titanium.
The latter is perhaps the weakest part of the watch package; this buckle from the word go felt too lightweight and plasticky. It in-fact for me made the watch go from a luxury watch to a mall shop offering, and that’s a big dive (pun intended).
Though what I do like is that CW has included 11 holes in this strap, and that is a big plus because often I find myself questioning the sizing of many straps that brands include with their watches. This 11 hole approach pretty much takes care of people with relatively smaller wrists, as small as 14cms, to quite larger wrists. As a point of reference, I am wearing this watch on my 16 and a half cm wrist, and I ended up using the second or third holes. This is also beneficial as the watch wears larger owing to a thinner bezel and the chunky strap will definitely find a more welcoming home on larger wrists.
The Congested Waters
There are a number of vintage-inspired watches out there in the market, and also a plethora of dive watches. For Christopher Ward C65 to be able to stand out in congested waters is worth kudos. But how well does it do at that?
Truth be told it’s a dive watch with dive watch features and aesthetics. In this category, countless watches exist. From Armani quartz to entry-level Seiko to Citizen to Oris to Tag Heuer to high-end Seiko to Tudor to Rolex to Blancpain, there are more watches than one can imagine. In that sense, the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is swimming in not only congested waters but also ones that are more gridlocked than a 6’o clock evening jam on the roads of Delhi.
If I really wish to pin-point how similar it looks to other watches, I could go on ranting about how similar it is to Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five range — they use similar Sellita outsourced movements too — or what Omega elements may have inspired it, but that’s irrelevant. I mean if that was the case then let’s all just buy a Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and call it a day. After all, it is pretty much the father of all luxury mechanical dive watches, including the quintessential diver, the Rolex Submariner.
It doesn’t yet, and yet is the operative word here, compete with the 70-hour power reserve, COSC chronometer-certified, and 200m water-resistant Tudor BB Fifty-Eight. The fantastic Tudor offering is also smaller at 39mm and besides featuring an in-house movement, has a stronger heritage and Rolex’s backing to it as well. But I for one am curious as to how CW watches might compare with Tudor in the coming years.
If CW C65 manages to catch on, it would then become a force to reckon with within any price point.
So to understand its relevance, more importantly we need to look at dive watches in its price range. There are a few watches that I felt were needed to place the CW C65 into context. Below are the base specifications of some of the competition, price ascending order. Please note that I wanted to create this so that you can see where the CW C65 sits when compared against set parameters, and I have chosen the watches below because I personally like them and it gives me an opportunity to understand all of them better too.
- Orient Mako II USA ref. SAA0200BD9
- Royal Blue dial
- 41.5 x 13mm steel case size
- 22mm strap lug width
- Orient in-house Cal. F6922 automatic movement with -15 second – +25 seconds accuracy per day
- 3Hz frequency and 40-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- 120-click unidirectional bezel
- Amazon has it listed for 205 to 351 AUD
- Not Swiss Made
- They only ship within USA & Canada, and provide only 1 Year Orient Watch USA Warranty
- Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver
- Matte blue dial
- 40 x 14.8mm 316L stainless steel case
- 22mm strap lug width and 45.7mm lug-to-lug
- Seiko Caliber NH35 automatic movement
- 3Hz frequency and 41-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- 60-min inner rotating bezel and a screw-down crown
- Sapphire coated double domed mineral glass
- The official website has it listed for 290 USD
- Not Swiss Made
- Free worldwide shipping, only one year warranty
- Limited edition
- Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto ref. H82345341
- Navy blue dial, blue bezel
- 40mm diameter stainless steel case
- 20mm strap lug width
- Calibre H-10 automatic movement (a modified ETA 2824, it’s the same specs as the Certina watch below)
- 3Hz frequency and 80-hour power reserve
- 100m water-resistance
- 695€ incl. VAT on the official website or A$733.37 + tax on Jomashop
- Swiss Made
- 2-year warranty
- Certina DS PH200M ref. C036.407.16.050.00
- Black dial with aluminium bezel and Hesalite NEX Scratchguard treatment instead of sapphire crystal
- 42.8 x 12.9mm 316L stainless steel
- 20.00mm strap lug width and incl. quick-change strap system and customers receive a second additional strap for free
- Powermatic 80.611 automatic movement ETA calibre C07.111 that is based on ETA 2824-2 which in turn is similar to C65’s Sellita SW200-1
- 3Hz frequency with 80-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- 695 CHF including VAT on their site, or A$816.63 + tax on Jomashop
- Swiss Made
- 2-year warranty
- Baltic Aquascaphe
- Blue Gilt sun-burst dial
- 39 x 12mm 316L steel case
- 47mm lug-to-lug spacing and 20mm strap lug width
- Miyota 9039 automatic movement with -10～＋30 sec per day accuracy
- 4Hz frequency and 42-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- Sapphire unidirectional bezel, screw-down crown, vintage-style “box” sapphire crystal
- Retailing for ~A$953.41 (without VAT) on their website
- Not Swiss Made, assembled and adjusted in France, case housing parts and movements from specialty manufacturers in Hong Kong
- 2-year warranty and a 14-day conditional refund policy
When it comes to matching the aesthetic looks and dimensions — similar thickness and lug-to-lug spacing — of the CW C65 Trident and capability of transforming from a dive watch to a dress watch, out of the options I am listing, the Baltic Aquascaphe comes closet, followed by the Oris Diver’s Sixty-Five.
- Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic
- (Ocean) Blue dial
- 41 x 11.55mm stainless steel case that wears even thinner and weighs only 65g yet has a feeling of decent heft to it on the wrist
- 47.1mm lug-to-lug spacing and 22mm strap lug width
- Sellita SW200-1 automatic outsourced movement with +/- 20 sec p/day accuracy
- 4Hz frequency and 38-hour power reserve
- 150m water-resistance
- Aluminium unidirectional bezel
- Sapphire crystal
- Retailing for £695 or 1’035 AUD on their website
- Swiss Made
- 5 year warranty and 60 days return policy
- Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80 ref. T120.407.17.041.00
- Blue gradient dial
- 43 x 12.7mm 316L stainless steel case
- 21mm strap lug width
- Calibre Powermatic 80 (base ETA C07.111) – same as Certina DS PH200M above
- Decorated display case-back, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, anti-clockwise rotating ceramic bezel ring (Certina doesn’t have a sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel)
- 3Hz frequency with 80-hour power reserve
- 300m water-resistance (higher compared to Certina’s)
- AU$1,125 on their website
- Swiss Made
- 2-year warranty
- Glycine Combat Sub Automatic ref. GL0094
- Black dial, blue bezel
- 42 x 10.6mm stainless steel case
- 22mm strap lug width
- Calibre GL224, based on SW200-1 or ETA 2824-2
- 4Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- Uni-directional rotating silver-tone stainless steel with a black aluminium bezel and a screw-down crown
- Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
- 1’045 CHF on the official website; A$1’543.00 on catch.com.au
- Swiss made
- Doxa Watch Sub 200 ref. 7220.127.116.11
- Caribbean blue dial
- 42 x 14mm diameter 316L stainless steel case
- ETA 2824-2
- 4Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve
- 200m water-resistance
- Uni-directional bezel and screw-down case-back
- Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating
- 1’550 AUD
- Swiss Made
- Only buy it in Australia through one source, and has a 14-day return policy but not for change of mind
- Oris x Momotaro Diver’s Sixty-Five
- Light blue/green dial
- 40mm diameter multi-piece stainless steel case
- Calibre Oris 754, again a derivative of Sellita SW200-1 that measures 25.60mm in diameter and features a bi-directionally rotating red rotor
- 4Hz frequency and 38-hour power reserve
- 100m water-resistance
- Uni-directional rotating bezel — including a black anodised aluminium insert with a 60-minute diving scale — with 120 clicks and a bronzed edge
- Bubble curved sapphire crystal
- Retailing for 3’200 AUD
- Swiss Made
- 2-year warranty and an additional 1 year if you register
Compared to Christopher Ward, Oris is, however, a much older and more respected brand due to its history. The stalwart that began its ride in 1904 and perhaps inspired the Christopher Ward C65 already commands a well-deserved chunk of this entry-level, Swiss-made diver market, though with time it would be interesting to see how they respond to CW’s lower watches with a similar aesthetic and movement features.
There you go; so some options are cheaper, some costlier; some have high water-resistance or power-reserve, some don’t. So where does the Christopher Ward C65 score?
It sits in the middle in terms of overall pricing and thankfully for the brand at the lower end of the ‘Swiss Made’ tag price spectrum. At its price point, the watch is a bargain. This specific Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic in blue on a leather strap that we are reviewing today scores amongst its competitors due to the following main reasons when keeping the pricing in mind:
- Swiss Made tag – that usually comes at a premium
- 60/60 guarantee – that’s one of the watch’s central redeeming qualities. The 60-day return and a 60 month — same as Rolex and Omega — warranty is the key highlight. I would say for £695.00 that’s a pretty awesome deal and as far as my knowledge goes, no other brand at this tier offers such a deal. Even Omega and Rolex don’t just offer refunds as far as I know. I feel for people who are just getting into watches and are testing the ‘Swiss Made’ stamp, this assurance of 60/60 is a pretty amazing comforter. Lots of times people, including myself, can have second thoughts about a watch post-purchase, but this guarantee really is a tool to put one’s mind at rest.
- High level of finishings – whether be it the curvaceous ‘light catcher’ case, the detailing on the crown, or the nicely engraved caseback, high attention to detail (and finishing) rule this watch.
- Great versatility – another leading scoring point of the CW C65 is its chameleon-like ability to go from a dive watch to a dress watch to a casual watch. CW likes to say that the design of the C65 Trident Automatic has been inspired by the subaquatic explorers of the 1960s but that the watch is engineered for today. As much as the brand wasn’t around in the 60s, I do agree with their reasoning: its design codes and use of lume and vintage aesthetics of the strap all harp back to the 60s, but the ‘light catcher’ case design, slim profile and 22mm strap spacing all make it reunite with the modern age. It’s versatile enough to have something for everyone: multi-purpose use and different vibes.
The CW offering with a relatively uncommon thin profile for a dive watch — it has a more subtle wrist presence, owing to the thinner bezel which I personally prefer — and surprisingly decent comfort level, is a winner from the word go.
If I look at Oris, Tudor or TAG Heuer among others, they all have thicker bezels. This thick bezel with a thick crystal look that exemplifies a dive watch has been done to death. And if I want that look I will buy the king, the Rolex Submariner. But in this case, to me, a thinner bezel is more of a fresh breath of air. It also lends to it a more dress watch aesthetic, which as you would know by now, is something of a plus for me.
The lyrics to MC TAB’s song from the movie Rocky V go as follows: “Competition is none… It’s no competition”. While that’s not entirely true, and as much as it sits squashed amongst a sea of dive watches, because of these innate redeeming qualities, it stands firm on its credentials, and for the buck provides an immense bang.
The Engine In More Detail
We have mentioned the Sellita SW200-1 a few times above, but is it good?
In short, yes.
The Sellita SW200-1 used in the CW C65 is a 25.6mm diameter and 4.6mm thick movement that is comprised of 26 jewels. It’s a pretty common and trustworthy movement, being used in watches by brands such as Baume & Mercier, Oris, Eterna and Bell & Ross to name a few. So rest assured it’s meant to tick to satisfaction.
This stock standard Sellita movement can come in four grades, starting from a movement that’s been adjusted only in two positions to a top-grade version that’s COSC-certified. Since there is this possibility for COSC-certification, honestly, if Christopher Ward can upgrade their versions to a more top-grade movement, their watches at the price points they sell them for, will become unbeatable. I am no market expert, but in my humble opinion and experience I have found that a more accurate movement (or in-house) usually helps elevate a brand’s credibility. Tudor is an excellent example of this.
Currently, CW’s website states that the timing tolerance for C65 Trident Automatic is +/- 20 sec p/day. Not bad for anyone wanting to buy a nice watch and who doesn’t really care that much about precise accuracy. But for chronometry pursuers, imagine what monumental difference it could make if collectors can buy a Swiss-made, handsomely finished — which it already is — COSC-certified timepiece for give or take 1000 AUD?
In the listings of various watches above, on paper, lots of them had either the same ETA 2824-2 or its clone SW200-1 movement. By default enthusiasts might assume that these movements will behave in the exact same way across all the watches. That’s not the case though. Depending upon which grade of movement these brands use, there will be differences; and if CW can start using a COSC-certified movement in its entry level watches too, perhaps even increase the price a bit, I think more and more collectors rather than simply enthusiasts will start taking their offerings more seriously.
I say entry level too because their C65 Trident Bronze Ombré COSC Limited Edition does have the SW200 upgraded movement. This 500 pieces only model retails for about 50% higher price of A$1’480.00, but for my money, if I had to choose I would go for this any given day over the entry-level C65.
Im)possible – The Recommendations
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness,” said Carl Jung, the imminent Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology and partly inspired the character of Niles Crane in the hit US sitcom Frasier.
Honestly, there is no point in doing a hands-on review without including some suggestions because let’s face it, no watch is perfect. If there were such a thing, I would buy it, and marvel at its beauty all day long. So the truth is, as wonderful it is as an overall package, CW could implement a few changes to make it even better.
The Branding – Logo
The obvious and intensely debated one is the branding text and font. I am not going to go into it as I don’t think I have anything new to add to the debate raging on online forums and Instagram comments sections. Giving my two cents worth though, I couldn’t care less what the logo was. It’s branding on a product and some may like it, some may not. If it’s an issue about it being someone’s name, well so are Patek Philippe and Jaeger-LeCoultre.
If it’s the location, I think in the case of this particular watch the branding balances out the dial: there is something on all four cardinal points with the flags logo at 12, the date aperture at 3, the ‘Automatic’ text at 6 and this branding at 9. One of the charms of this watch is the overall balance and symmetry of the dial that brings to it a cleaner, less cluttered look.
That said, I wouldn’t mind the colouring of the text and branding changing from white to match the old radium lume colouring; this way it should bring in more harmony to the dial. Other than that, no issues with the logo or branding.
The aspect that bothered me the most was the strap and buckle. See when I first opened the box and looked at the watch, it looked like a watch from any other higher end luxury watch brand. There was nothing about it that said it’s from an entry-level, up-and-coming micro-brand. Then I picked up the watch and the blue dial worked in perfect harmony with the ‘camel vintage oak leather’ strap. It was only when I looked at the dimensions of the strap and the pin-buckle it came on, did it hit me that this was actually a less than 1000 dollar watch.
The quality of the strap itself is not being contested here, but the quality of the buckle and the thickness of it all really jarred compared to the thin case and finesse of the watch itself.
The strap has had somewhat of a love-hate effect on me. Why I disliked it is already mentioned above. But the way the camel colouring complemented the added lume on the dial made me keep on falling in love with it, off and on. I think the choice of colour is great, but the execution could need improving. Perhaps CW can taper the strap towards the buckle end a bit more? Or use a 20mm spaced strap with a deployant buckle? Or introduce an alligator option like we paired it with. In any case though, the vintage oak leather strap comes with a quick-release pin for easy changing, and I give them extra points for that.
The Seconds Hand
Next up is the seconds hand. Here, I do have a preference, and I genuinely feel that it should be more legible. It just doesn’t contrast well enough with the blue dial and anyone who has read our work here at Watch Ya Gonna Do About It will attest, we give very high marks for legibility. Including a designed counter weight is a great touch though, not only it makes the hand more legible, it also adds character to the dial.
Additionally, I know it may not possible at the price point but many luxury brands have now graduated to ceramic bezels while CW, like Chopard in their Mille Miglia models, is still using aluminium bezels. Not a deal-breaker by any standards, but again something for them to work on should they choose to. It’s also a bit stiff to use/rotate compared to some other divers I have handled.
Other than that, I like the design elements of an outwards slope, the 12’o clock lume pip and the refined, small teeth.
The Power Reserve
We have already placed this watch in context with others above, and while in majority of the aspects Christopher Ward C65 is a very good option, a low 38-hour power reserve kind of drags it behind. I realise for them to increase the power-reserve they will have to perhaps change or substantially modify the movement, but I reckon higher reserve of say even 48-hours should go a long way.
The Shock absorbers
This is speculative as I haven’t confirmed this with the brand.
The watches do have an in-built anti-shock system to maintain accuracy when faced with any sudden jolts, but since CW hasn’t mentioned what type, I am assuming (for the price point and the accuracy) that they are not Incabloc shock absorbers but rather the entry-level Novodiac. Not an issue, just something to consider for by highly active watch enthusiasts.
Learnings from the first impressions
Besides the strap I feel none of these aspects are especially bothersome for me. They are definitely not deal breakers. And the strap I can always change and get an after market one. So these minor shortcomings aside, the CW C65 is one hell of a bargain, and like Roy T. Bennett, the author of The Light in the Heart once said, “Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy,” there is no point in stressing too much over these recommendations.
They are but minor hiccups, and for anyone who simply likes watches, the CW C65 Trident Automatic is a wonderful wrist companion.
Aesthetically, if you wish to have a luxury watch feel, along with dive watch capabilities, at this price not many brands can boast of presenting that unique blend of elegant dress watch meets dive watch persona.
Coming full circle where we began, on happiness, there is a quote by an Indian-American entrepreneur and investor, Naval Ravikant: “Happiness is the default state. It’s what’s there when you remove the sense that something is missing in life”.
When you are wearing the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic, happiness is an automatic response and the default state.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Few aspects of this release remained with me from my first impression, others faded into oblivion and some new ones got cemented as I spent time with the watch. But after spending two weeks with it, I can comfortably say that the following are the highlights from a daily wear perspective.
The summery, ocean blue of the dial under lighting is just exceptional. Even though I am personally fed up with the use of blue on dials, I think it’s execution here is simply exceptional, and like I said earlier I hope CW introduces a sun-burst pattern to it. I can only imagine how wonderful it will look. The blue is also exceptionally framed by a darker blue bezel, and I appreciate the choice of colour differentiation here. It reminds me of the new Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight “Navy Blue” that when I reviewed I kept on thinking to myself how cool would it have been if there was a stronger demarkation between the dial colour and the bezel?
Something that caught my eye early on and demanded appreciation from then onwards were the raised, polished, and bevelled vintage-style roundels or circular indices with the Old Radium Super-LumiNova®, and the paddle-shaped hour and minute hands that complemented those on the clean, refined dial. I also liked that the tip of the seconds hand had matching lume as well.
The dial is youthful yet elegant, subdued yet sporty, and from a daily wearing perspective, it’s does an excellent imitation of someone living in the moment.
The ‘Light Catcher’
There is an anonymous saying that “Let light shine out of darkness”. Under not bright circumstances, the dial does lose its lustre a bit, hence the desire for a sun-burst patterned dial. But even in low lighting, the watch manages to shine, and that’s thanks to its case design.
In the course of two weeks the so-called ‘light catcher’ case gained its adoring effect on me. This brushed and polished marine-grade stainless steel case is sleek, it’s sexy, it reflects light on its various curves, and when sitting on the wrist, becomes even more slim due to the inward recessed base of the case-back. I have a Rolex 36 Oyster Perpetual and honestly even though I am unashamedly in love with my Rolex, the ‘light catcher’ case ends up looking pretty freakin’ amazin’ too.
The Protean Watch
The C65 is exceptionally versatile, and that’s something it scores big on. Whatever I wished to wear it for, I found it very adaptable to my lifestyle. In a way it is easily malleable, and what’s more, I found it good for both men and women (more on that in a bit).
In terms of what you would wear this with, that’s easy, it’s a daily wear watch that will be at home whether be it the beach, the mall or the office. The thin profile especially helps it slip comfortably under the cuff and if paired with a darker, alligator leather strap, will most likely also call a formal event its home too. When it comes to versatility it hits the sweet spot.
The watch looked best when I paired it with a white t-shirt and blue jeans, or navy-blue toned — a blue matching the dark bezel would be ideal — jumper (sweater for non-Australians). Add a pair of suede or leather chukkas that match the strap colour and you are one dashing bloke.
But that’s the ideal look; what about if we wish to just pair it with anything? Especially considering the somewhat unusual camel strap colour.
Frankly I did find the strap colour to be a bit strong, and not too common, but at the same time it really brings out the old radium lume. If it’s not your cup of tea, this is where the quick change feature really plays a big role. Like I said earlier, a thinner dark-brown alligator strap will convert this into a nice dress watch.
Okay so I didn’t stare at the case-back all fortnight, but it was nice to know that it is decorated and can be personalised.
The high definition “Trident” motif screw-down backplate is impressive from the stand point of seeing a brand make the extra effort of decorating it. Buyers can also choose to add personalised engravings of max. 25 characters at an added cost of £30.00 and that’s a great touch as well. If I choose to buy this or any other CW watch in the future, that’s definitely a plus for me, though given brands like Cartier & Tiffany offer this engraving service for free, I wouldn’t mind not paying for it. But it’s good to know that the option is there.
Men & Women
The other interesting thing that happened while I was wearing this is that my wife liked the watch, especially the blue colour. She is someone who wears smaller wrist watches, but the watch felt comfortable to her as well. This made me wonder if there was a substantial amount of women followers of the brand or not? I realise it’s a brand targeted at males primarily, but based on my wife’s reaction, I wonder if it is time for CW to branch out and seek the female watch enthusiast market? The only thing she would change would be the strap colour. My wife doesn’t particularly wear dive watches too, but she did like the idea of ‘playing’ with the rotating bezel.
Bits & Bobs – The Extra Mile
I said at the beginning of the review that the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is a happy watch, one that you can dive your worries away with. I stand by it; after two weeks on the wrist I still feel that way.
The built quality is exceptional for the price; heck I would even pay twice its asking price just for the build quality. True, the movement needs refinement and improved accuracy, but it’s still a stable workhorse that’s time tried and tested. The watch can be used for water-sports activities (even without a screw-down crown) and that’s a big plus too. It comes in an environmentally conscious — the package is no longer big and bulky like their packages prior to last year — package as well, and a box size that’s easy to store.
Test Drive Results
On Wrist Performance
It takes a bit to wear in I must admit. Again that’s due to the strap, and it took me about a week to have that comfortable feeling. But once that was there, it wore like second skin.
How it feels when I am typing with it
That’s a problem area, though again due to the buckle and strap. I found myself taking this off very frequently.
How it feels when I am out and about
It didn’t feel like a car watch; it felt more like a biking watch. It’s not sporty enough in my opinion, but as a jogging companion it works. I enjoyed the light bouncing off the case and the blue of the dial in natural lighting. If and when I did need to glance at the time, due to the strong contrast of the lume and the blue dial, that ticked that box.
Legibility in the dark carpark
The good news is that there is lume. The slightly disappointing bit is that it’s a little weak. Not at first, but it dims out pretty fast. I would say it’s more of an aesthetic presence than a functional presence, and for a diver that’s not a very good aspect. Like the new C60 Trident Ombré COSC Limited Edition, if they could use the SLN X1 GL C1 lume on this one, it would only shine better.
One of the best parts of having this watch in my collection briefly was that I found myself grabbing it very often compared to other watches when I was in a rush. I realised the overall package is attractive and it’s just easy wearing it.
Not that I had many occasions to wear a suit amidst Australian winter and Covid-19 lockdowns, but the watch is slim enough to fit under the cuffs and with the bright strap it doesn’t shout ‘dive watch’ in a formal setting.
Just like Leo Tolstoy once said, “if you want to be happy, be”, so to anyone looking at buying this one, don’t overthink. The CW C65 Trident Automatic is a great package, if you like it, don’t worry about the exact preciseness of the movement or the placement of the branding or if the strap is feeling not too plush, if you want to wear it, wear.
To wrap this rather lengthy thesis of a review of the fascinating and fantastic Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic, I would like to leave you on the same note of happiness that I started this review on.
The famous 1970s sitcom Happy Days title track by Pratt & McClain has the following lyrics. I have very slightly modified them to suit the watch I fell in love with:
“Goodbye grey sky, hello blue dial; ‘Cause nothing can hold me when I hold you; It feels so right, can’t be wrong; Rockin’ and rollin’ all fortnight long; With the C65 this day is ours; C65 won’t you be mine? (Oh Happy Days); This day is ours; Oh, please be mine (oh Happy Days)”
To find out more about this and other Christopher Ward watches, please head to their website here. All images are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It, unless otherwise stated. We would again like to thank Christopher Ward watches for sending us this watch to review.