Storming through the sands of time are the new C65 Sandstorm and Sandstorm Blackout Chronometers
Editor’s note: This is a shorter Mind (stats), Body (design features) & Soul (what’s special) review of the new C65 Sandstorm and Sandstorm Blackout watches. For our detailed reviews, please head to our dedicated review section here.
Why: To celebrate a decade long relationship between the two, and it also happens to be in the middle of Worn & Wound’s virtual Windup Watch Fair currently live
When released: 17 November 2020
Where: Available exclusively through the Windup Watch Shop, and in limited numbers of 200 and 100-pieces (C65 Sandstorm and Sandstorm Blackout respectively)
Who is it for: For anyone in the mood for a bargain, these releases — especially the C65 Sandstorm Blackout version as that’s the one I prefer personally — with their stunning use of ‘toolish’ sector-dial are too good to be missed out for both seasoned enthusiasts/collectors and newbies to the Swiss-made watch world. I can also see these as an excellent starting point for anyone who wishes to dip their toes in the insanely confusing and addictive waters of watch collection. For a little over thousand Aussie dollars, they punch well above their (63g) weight
How does it do: The watches essentially use Christopher Ward’s existing and as a matter of fact quite handsome C65 Trident Vintage or the C65 Sandhurst watches (that retail for £740 and £840 respectively) as a base and build upon them.
But instead of resting on their laurels, CW (along with Worn & Wound) it seems has ended up adding a number of distinctive features to the above watches that the new C65 Sandstorm and Sandstorm Blackout Chronometers stand out due to their own accord.
COSC-certified, limited edition, sector-dialled handsome timepieces for only £818.46 (C65 Sandstorm) or £852.41 (C65 Sandstorm Blackout) are a steal. And that Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow inspired inner date circle is a winner.
Missing: It’s winding up to be the same critique every-time with CW watches – the dismal 38-hour power reserve. I personally also miss having a display case-back. But more importantly, I think there should have been a stronger distinction between the two versions (and more on that in a bit).
The movement is the same as a lot of their offerings including the C65 Trident Vintage I referred to earlier. Both the new C65 Sandstorm and Sandstorm Blackout use the outsourced calibre Sellita SW200 that is a self-winding movement beating at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) offering a timing tolerance of -4/+6 sec p/day (well within COSC-certification parameters). It comprises of 26 jewels, Christopher Ward’s twin-flag engraving over ‘Colimaçoné’ finish on the rotor, features a low 38-hour power reserve and central hacking seconds mechanism along with an anti-shock system.
Even though the movement can not be admired through the screw-down exhibition caseback, one can still appreciate the inclusion of the screw-down deep-stamped 3D backplate with a unique engraved serial number, the branding of both the collaborators and the vortex motif representing the Sandstorm concept. The watch also features a screw-down crown stamped with twin-flag motif and featuring a red ring. The entire package is also dive ready with a 150m water-resistance.
The movement for the C65 Sandstorm Blackout is encased inside a 38mm diameter — only 43.6mm lug-to-lug — and 11.6mm sandblasted black diamond-like carbon (DLC)-coated marine-grade stainless steel case.
The case for the C65 Sandstorm has the same dimensions but boasts of the presence of nicely brushed and polished marine-grade 316L stainless steel.
These ‘light-catcher’ cases encompass the beautiful sector dials that come either in the sand/black colour scheme for the Sandstorm Blackout version or the grey/silver for the C65 Sandstorm version.
They are pretty much the same dials barring the colour coding and the type of lume used.
The former uses the Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 BL Pantone 7527C lume while the latter deploys the Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 BL C9 lume. The latter (perhaps) due to a different lume has a distinctive blue touch to it that really helps the C65 Sandstorm version achieve some legibility.
Talking about legibility, I think the C65 Sandstorm Blackout version is exceptional. I love the use of cut-out Arabic numerals and indices and the overall depth this dial appears to have.
The brand describes these as “concentric rings of raised metal alternate with valleys of matte colour and the metal rings match the cases around them, bringing industrial materiality into the dial. Punched out numerals in a military-inspired type mark the 3, 6, 9, and 12 hours, while lume plots at every hour and on the robust metal hands make sure there is clear visibility in low light as well”.
I also like the use of C1 Moonglow hands with a red tip for two reasons: one, they don’t feature the trident counter-weight, and two, on the Sandstorm Blackout version, the use of red integrates really well with the red of the date wheel and the red in the outer minute track text.
This red also complements the red on the crown of the new C65 Sandstorm Blackout watch and its presence is missed in the C65 Sandstorm version.
I understand that CW only has a few dress/field watch offerings in their current C65 catalogue, the primary ones being the C65 Trident Vintage ref. C65-38ADA2-S00K0-VC and the C65 Sandhurst ref. C65-38A3H2-S00K0-VC.
They have essentially modified these for this partnership — the C65 Sandhurst even has the same red ring about the logo on the crown and is also COSC-certified — but in my opinion, perhaps a newer, larger 41/42mm variation for one of these versions would have been ideal. This is what I meant earlier when I said that there should have been a stronger distinction between the two versions.
They already have the C65 Cranwell ref. C65-41A3H1-S00K0-B0 in a 41mm case retailing for £840 that features the similar ‘light-catcher’ case, the same branding text on the dial at 12’o clock, and the same movement. The only difference is that lug-to-lug it is 47.1mm and that would be a better fit for larger wrists.
Having a different size would have not only brought about a solid distinction between the two, it would have also perhaps given collectors/enthusiasts a chance to buy both the pieces. It would have definitely catered to people with different wrists sizes as this particular 38mm will wear smaller anyway.
Also, the C65 Sandstorm judging by the press photos is a bit too much on the ‘dark side’, and due to apparent low legibility, I don’t feel the ‘force’, positive or negative.
The C65 Sandstorm Blackout, however, ironically despite its nomenclature, is simply a stunner and if I had the spare change right now, this would have been added to my collection without even giving it as much as a second thought.
Suffice to say, I am in love with the Sandstorm Blackout version but not so much with the other offering. My main beef with it is the choice of colours and the lack of perceivable legibility, but that’s something that is not only subjective — the colour part that is — but also because I haven’t seen these timepieces in person and natural lighting can do wonders to a timepiece.
Japanese author Haruki Murakami once wrote: “Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts”.
This year Christopher Ward has been like a sandstorm, releasing hard-hitting timepieces one after the other. No matter what your tastes or horological collection direction maybe, they seem to have something for everyone. You can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape Christopher Ward in 2020.
If you wish to find out more about these or purchase them, please head to the Windup Watch Shop. If you wish to find out more about CW watches in general, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are © 2016 Christopher Ward (London) Ltd.