It’s a Knockout – Sparring with the new C60 BLUE
Editor’s Note: The new C60 BLUE was graciously loaned to us courtesy Christopher Ward. We spent about a week wearing it, and here’s our honest hands-on review and please also note that the following opinion is solely ours, this is neither a sponsored post nor were we paid anything for it. If you wish to read a shorter (and not hands-on review of this watch) check it out in our ‘Mind, Body & Soul’ review section here.
The light blue seconds hand swept across the waves that danced the song of time, bouncing against the dark blue walls of the crystal; and I stood there, with this wrapped around my wrist, gently caressing the 15-minute light blue marker on the bezel, knowing the watch’s 600m water-resistance was good enough to keep me company should I ever need to gaze deep into the depths of the ocean.
The new Christopher Ward C60 BLUE Marine Foundation LE is a poetic expression of pure time. It’s a beast of a watch, all set to knockout its competition. But more than the rest of the brands out there, the C60 BLUE competes more closely with its own lineup, aka the C60 Sapphire and C60 Trident Pro 600. So what happens when you have a showdown with someone from your own corner?
Let’s go tackle it head-on, hands-on.
Round 1: Sizing it up aka the Set-up
Mike Tyson is making a much anticipated foray back into the ring on November 28th in an eight-round exhibition fight against another legend Roy Jones Jr.
Known to be two of the best boxers of all time, these light heavyweight champions —Tyson probably weighed around the 215 lbs mark in his prime, so is not really a ‘heavy’ heavyweight though boxers weighing over 200lbs are generally classified as heavyweights, and Roy Jones Jr. has also always been on the lighter-side — are no stranger to beating the odds, and successfully dominating opponents much larger than themselves. Just like the two, is Christopher Ward.
But unlike them, CW didn’t retire; it’s been in supreme form this year with the release of C65 Sandstorm LE, C65 Chronograph, C65 GMT Worldtimer, C65 Super Compressor, C60 Sapphire, and C60 Elite GMT 1000.
Now, the watch king of punching above its weight is returning for another bout to dominate over the Swiss-made entry-level watch market with the new C60 BLUE.
Round 2: Stick and Move aka Waves, Shades & Strap
From the first look, glimpses of blue waves are teased against a naked movement. This wave pattern of this beautiful blue sapphire dial is inspired by BLUE Marine Foundation’s logo, with the contrasting dark and light blue aesthetic symbolising the clean water the charity is working to preserve.
But it’s not just about the waves; it is the integration of a number of elements that really works here. First off is the light blue line streaking across the dark blue strap that matches the colour of the bezel.
Then the same light blue repeated on the bezel between 12 and 3 as the 15-minute dive marking; the same light blue then is taken inwards, with it repeating on the seconds hand with the signature trident counterweight and the text under the word Automatic (though the latter is hardly visible unless you go looking for it).
To me personally, the presence of waves on the crystal elevates the appeal, making the new C60 BLUE much more interesting than its older brother, the C60 Sapphire it is based on. The C60 Sapphire had a completely nude movement visible through the sapphire crystal, and nothing wrong with the latter, but Sellita SW200-1 ain’t exactly the Miss Universe when it comes to movement architecture or finishings.
Also, much less prominent on the new C60 BLUE are the four screws at 3 and 9’o clock that in the Sapphire versions without the waves were in-your-face visible. Though I got to admit, I really wish those screws were also the same light blue colour as the rest of the light blue touches.
Waves and shades of blue are what impress you up close; from a distance though, the first thing that draws you in is the Blue #tide ocean material® strap made from reclaimed and recycled ocean plastic sourced by TIDE. It’s got a very NATO meets single loop leather strap feel, and on this timepiece looks particularly handsome.
If you look closely, the strap actually has mixture of four colours overall. The main strap body is dark blue, with a black inner layer that acts as the backdrop for the light blue stripe.
This black of the slim inner layer matches the two black loops.
On the reverse, there are the logos in white of both the BLUE Marine Foundation and Christopher Ward.
The 20mm strap is also very comfortable to wear — after breaking it in of-course — something that doesn’t happen too often for me I am afraid when it comes to CW watches I have handled. Barring the C1 Moonglow strap, I haven’t really enjoyed the C65 Trident leather, the C60 40mm rubber, or the C60 42mm steel bracelet options.
But the lightweight 25g strap with a silver 316L steel dress clasp on the new C60 BLUE is a beaut.
For those thinking about its fit on different wrist sizes, its worthwhile to note that the strap ref. 20-TIDE-01-SXB-DC-ST comes in the length of 124mm but has eight holes that will fit most wrist sizes.
For reference, I usually prefer leather straps measuring 115×75 (190mm) because of my small-ish ~6” wrists, but the strap here fits me comfortable on the last hole though I think it can go one hole down as well.
Aesthetically, it reminds me a lot of the fabric straps Tudor uses.
Round 3: Blow-by-Blow aka Macro Testing
Getting back to the dial, in terms of geometry on the dial, I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a day-date version of this as then the day-date window at 3 can balance out with the length of the text at 9. Or they should make the Christopher Ward text in two lines, like they have in the recent Christopher Ward x Worn & Wound Limited Edition.
On a macro level — and I am not talking about the font, I personally have no issues with that — something feels off about the symmetry, especially given there is a fair bit going on with the dial owing to the waves pattern and the date wheel/movement components exposed underneath.
But despite so much going on, I must acknowledge that the legibility has not been compromised. The top-brushed indexes with diamond polished facets, and the sandblasted and polished hands all work as a team to ensure the wearer knows the time in an instant.
What I don’t like though is that their logo at 12 is hardly visible; with the C60 Sapphire, CW made it a point to emphasise the contrast of orange with blue; I kind of wish that the Christopher Ward text at 9 and the ‘Automatic’ text along with ‘Swiss Made’ text at 6 were in orange instead of white. Technically, if I am being too pedantic about this, then the white rectangle framing the date window should also have been either orange or light blue.
Talking about macro features, for those of you on the fence as to whether to choose this or the regular production C60 Sapphire, let me list out the differences between the two (and some of these we expand on as the review continues):
- C60 Sapphire has a steel seconds hand with a orange tip while the C60 BLUE has a light blued hand. They both work with their respective dial designs but I prefer the latter for bringing in an extra sense of coherency
- C60 Sapphire has a display case-back which I personally prefer over C60 BLUE’s closed case-back, primarily because having a display case-back for a 600m water-resistant watch is an excellent talking point. A point to note here is that the pictures we took have a slightly different caseback than that of the actual watch. The one we had was a media sample and was without the the Limited Edition text and the numbers xxx/500.
- C60 Sapphire has a different lume, SLN X1 GL C1 while the C60 BLUE features the SLN X1 BL C1. Note the difference here is in GL (Green Line) vs BL (Blue Line) and we will be talking about this in a bit more detail further on
- C60 Sapphire’s bezel material is in steel and the use of lume is rather spare being only in the center of the triangle at 12 and in the groove for the first 15-minute markings; whereas the C60 BLUE has a zirconia (ZrO²) ceramic bezel that is not only more shiny but also has a much more vibrant lume that is extensively present on the entirety of the triangle at 12 and also on all minute markers on the bezel
- C60 Sapphire retails from $1’230 AUD while the C60 BLUE from a slightly dearer $1’380 AUD. Between the two, for a 150 bucks more, I would prefer the C60 BLUE especially since it’s also limited and proceeds go to charity
Round 4: Toe-to-Toe aka Sum of Three Watches
When I first previewed this watch on 12th November upon its release, I wrote – “The new Christopher Ward C60 Blue Marine Foundation LE essentially takes the C60 Sapphire watch from April 2020, adds a few cool subtle features to make it distinctive enough, and believe it or not but ends up improving upon the C60 Sapphire in a way I didn’t think possible”. This was of-course based on press pictures sent to us, and as it happens more often than not, the actual watch in person usually sings a different tune. The new Christopher Ward C60 BLUE Marine Foundation LE is an anomaly; it doesn’t prove me a liar by drifting miles apart from the C60 Sapphire, but it also has more than just a few subtle different features. It is perhaps the best of the C60 line-up yet.
The new C60 BLUE wears smaller than a 40mm diameter watch, something which obviously wasn’t apparent from the press photos. But the layering of the dial makes it wear even smaller than its exact same specifications cousin, the 40mm C60 Trident Pro 600. In fact, when I wore it alongside the Tudor BB58 Navy Blue, visually it is smaller even though it is bigger by 1mm.
Now if we compare it to the C60 Sapphire, there is more light on the dial here. Umm, scratch that. There’s more play of depth and a visual breakage from the expansive transparent dial of the C60 Sapphire. I would say that even though the new C60 BLUE is a modified version of the C60 Sapphire, there is a nonetheless a stark difference; think of it more in Star Wars terms of light side and dark side.
The light blue accents on the C60 BLUE and the blue bezel make it look more youthful, more vibrant; whereas the steel bezel is very industrial and the blue dial sans the waves looks duller compared to the new version. Don’t get me wrong, the C60 Sapphire is a phenomenal timepiece, that we have reviewed in much detail here. But this new limited edition version is a bit more quirky, and that’s something that I like personally.
We also recently went hands-on with the C60 Trident Pro 600 40mm ref. C60-40ADA3-S0KW0-HK in a white dial, black bezel on a black hybrid strap for $1’145 AUD and the 42mm ref. C60-42ADA3-S0BB0-B0: Blue dial, blue bezel on a brushed steel bracelet for $1’305 AUD.
The new C60 BLUE is essentially a mix of these three, a sum of different parts from these, and delightfully the best of those parts.
I remember critiquing the blue 42mm version because it felt a bit flat, there was a considerable lack of colour contrast and surface depth. The white 40mm version felt better suited to my wrist size but I wasn’t a huge fan of the colour segue. And the C60 Sapphire was a bit too sapphire for my tastes if you know what I mean. But the new C60 BLUE, that’s the perfect member of the C60 family in my opinion.
Before I got my hands-on with this new release, I only liked the C1 and C65 families; they sat better on my wrist and somehow felt a bit more premium (definitely true for the C1 Moonglow, reviewed here). But the press pictures of the new C60 BLUE piqued my curiosity, and CW was generous enough to loan us this beauty. In person, honestly, it does have what it takes to compete alongside the others, and for me that’s a big win as I hold the C1 and C65 families in high regard when it comes to Swiss watches under 5k.
The new C60 BLUE is also linked to a charity — the new Christopher Ward C60 BLUE is designed in collaboration with Blue Marine Foundation in celebration of the charity’s 10th anniversary and ‘the gate’ (or all profits) from this limited-edition of 500-pieces only watch go to that charity — so it is also a feel good watch. Even the bezel makes for a sneaky smile in the photo below!
Round 5: Ring Generalship aka The Movement
The movement used is the Sellita SW200-1 that is a 25.6mm diameter and 4.6mm thick movement comprising of 26 jewels, beating at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 vph) and offering a (rather low) 38-hour power reserve. It’s a pretty common movement, being used in their other watches such as the C60 Sapphire, C60 Trident Pro 600, and by other brands such as Baume & Mercier, Oris, Eterna and Bell & Ross to name a few.
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.
Though for this limited edition offering, I wish CW had used the top-grade version of the movement here, just like the recent Christopher Ward x Worn & Wound Limited Editions.
Round 6: Mr Lume & Mr Bezel Spar
We talked earlier about how the lume is different in the C60 BLUE. The Sapphire version features the GL (Green Line, emission at 515 nm) option vs BLUE’s BL (Blue Line, emission at 485 nm). Based on my experience with both these kinds of lume, I prefer the C60 BLUE option, simply because it works better for viewing when one comes directly from sunlight into the dark.
Owing to the fact that the human eye has greater sensitivity to the green emission compared to the blue, after adapting to darkness, the blue lume is better visible to the human eye. Also, just for peace of mind, it is also worthy to note that on paper the Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 used usually has a better performance over a two hour period compared to standard lume, but to date I haven’t really met a watch who’s lume lasts for hours.
Another reason why I wanted to talk about different kinds of lume is that even though the press release and the press photos both only mention the one kind of lume, the Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 BL C1, on this one, as a matter of fact the C60 BLUE actually deploys both the GL (Green Line) and BL (Blue Line) lume.
Now perhaps the media sample we were sent had it wrong or perhaps the press pictures, but whatever the case maybe, I actually preferred the watch with two different colours of lume.
The bezel and the hands feature the blue version while the dial indices feature the green version.
Talking about the bezel, there is of-course the 120-click bezel action that like most recent CW watches almost hits a symphonic note on the new C60 BLUE.
The use of a blue unidirectional zirconia (ZrO²) ceramic bezel is preferred over its steel counterpart as in the C60 Sapphire. Also, if you look carefully, there is a very thin steel frame in between where the blue ceramic bezel finishes and the teeth grooves of the bezel start. This part is polished. The case side profile and the lugs that meet this bezel part are also polished. This is an impeccable amount of detail that at this price point, are simply remarkable.
Round 7: KO aka How It Fares
I know what you are thinking; the November 28th fight is scheduled for eight rounds. We only got up to seven. Well, was much respect as I have for both Tyson and Roy Jones Jr, given Tyson is involved, it ain’t lasting the full eight rounds.
In a nut-shell, like these two fighters, the new C60 BLUE sure punches hard. The brushed and polished surfaces of that beautiful light-catcher case play with each other, and perhaps the most striking feature about the case is presence of the scalloped undersides of the lugs.
One of the design features of the C60 range that I don’t like so much is that unlike the C65, the hours/minutes/seconds hands look like a mix match of different styles rather than maintaining a sense of coherency; however in the case of the new C60 BLUE, even though they haven’t changed the hands, due to the sapphire crystal and the waves pattern, you don’t really notice this.
I would have to say, with the clever use of light blue accents on the dial, bezel and strap, CW has managed to direct the visual attention towards the watch’s best features. The C60 BLUE, like a person’s best side face profile, is C60 family’s best foot forward.
And the winner, still undisputed heavyweight champion of the entry-level Swiss-made watches is…
For more information on these and other Christopher Ward watches, please head to their website here. All images unless stated otherwise are ©Watch Ya Gonna Do About It.