Editor’s note: Starting our 2022 novelties hands-on review season is the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is NOT a sponsored post.
What Is It: This is the 2022 fresh and revamped new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine Collection in exciting colourways, appealing dimensions of 41mm diameter, less than 13mm in thickness, only 46.68mm lug-to-lug spaced, and 200m water-resistant. It is now launched as of 21st April with three different variations: two time only but in either steel or bronze, and one as a GMT (dual-time).
Where: Buy online on the CW website – though you can see it in person at the Worn & Wound’s Windup Watch Fair in San Francisco from Thursday 21st April – Sunday 24th April 2022.
Why: This retro new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine Collection offers a different direction following the discontinuation of the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic earlier this year. It is a part of the brand’s quest to ever-evolve and fine-tune their offerings. The Aquitaine also finally distinguishes itself from the C60 Trident Pro family.
C60 and C63 Get A Friend In C65
Christopher Ward currently has a few GMT offerings in their catalogue, but none in the C65 family.
The C63 Sealander GMT measuring 39 x 11.85 x 45.8mm starts the series at £850, followed by the C60 Trident GMT 600 measuring 42 x 13.8 x 49.3mm retailing for £1’030. Then there is also the C63 Sapphire GMT COSC LE, or the C60 Anthropocene GMT.
Long gone are the Christopher Ward C65 GMT Worldtimer or the C60 Elite GMT 1000. The C65 GMT Worldtimer in particular was one of my favorite CW watches, retailing in 2020 for just £995 and measuring in at 42mm diameter with 47.1mm lug to lug spacing. The modified Light Catcher™ case of the new C65 Aquitaine, however, provides its own persona, with the fairly raised box-type sapphire crystal nicely flowing onto the curved bezel insert of the same material. The insert from the sides is framed by a nicely grooved and easy to grip bi-directional rotating bezel, that sits atop the polished and brushed surfaces of the case.
The Three Variations of Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine
- The steel Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine Automatic with Marine Blue, White Sand or Seamoss (a dark green shade) dials retailing from £895/1’075 USD/ 1’150 EUR. Powering it is the Sellita SW 200-1 movement featuring a colimaçon finish (25.6 x 4.6mm, 26 jewels, +/- 20 sec p/day accuracy, 4Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve)
- The steel Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT with White Sand dial paired with a Marine Blue bezel retailing from £1’120/1’350 USD/ 1’450 EUR (and we have gone hands-on with this one on a supple brown vintage oak leather strap). Powering it is the Sellita 330–2 movement featuring a colimaçon finish (26.2 x 4.1mm, 25 jewels, 4Hz frequency, improved 50-hour power reserve over the previous generation SW330-1 with the 42-hour power reserve).
As a side note, this is not a ‘true GMT’ movement. It is also used in other more high-end watches such as the new TAG Heuer Autavia GMT in the form of the Calibre 7 COSC GMT (which essentially seems to be based on either the ETA 2893-2 or the Sellita SW330-2). The new Ming 22.01 GMT also uses a modified Sellita SW330-2
- The Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine Bronze with Marine Blue dial and bezel retailing from £1’095/1’325 USD/ 1’425 EUR. Powering it is the COSC-certified Sellita SW 200-1 movement featuring a colimaçon finish (25.6 x 4.6mm, 26 jewels, -4/+6 sec p/day accuracy, 4Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve)
So What’s New (and old C65 Trident vs new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine)
There was technically nothing wrong with the existing C65 collection, but the brand decided to inject it with an additional dose of nostalgia and vintage-retro vibes. Along the way, Christopher Ward has also brought about some changes that make the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine collection an appealing package.
- Those who find themselves prone to losing sleep over — or writing nasty comments about — the 9’o clock branding placement and the 3’o clock date window placement will now have to use a microscope to find any fault (if any) given Christopher Ward has moved the date aperture to 6’o clock and the appliqué twin-flags logo now boldly sits at 12
- Visually, the ceramic bezel insert — or the thin Aluminium unidirectional bezel of the discontinued CW C65 Trident Automatic — has performed a disappearing act, and is replaced by the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms inspired bezel with a curved and highly polished sapphire insert
- Staying in sync with the classic ’50s and ’60s dive watch vibes and the sapphire bezel, the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine also features a glass box crystal that warps the dial under certain angles
- Bracelet fanatics will appreciate that the C65 Aquitaine now comes with a more tapered new steel bracelet with screwed links and an updated quick-change mechanism
- Enthusiasts who actually use dive watches outside their office or home workstations will also find relief with an increased water resistance from 150m to 200m — CW C65 Trident Automatic vs C65 Aquitaine — and the inclusion of the new Nomos-style ‘Dry Marshal’ safety feature that features an orange ring designed to remind you when Aquitaine’s screw-down crown isn’t fully secure.
The discontinued C65 Trident Automatic featured a 41 x 11.55mm case with 47.1mm lug-to-lug spacing and 22mm strap lug width, and the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine Automatic retains the diameter and the lug interhorn spacing. The thickness is now 12.45mm. A welcome crucial feature here is the decrease of the lug-to-lug spacing to only 46.68mm, courtesy a modified Light Catcher™ case.
The 3 and 9’o clock hour markers’ designs has changed, and also the font used. There are some other subtle nuances as well, and we look at them below as part of the hands-on experience with the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT.
Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT Hands-on Experience
The new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT is our favourite out of the three simply because the colour combination used presents the best blend of modern and retro aesthetics. That cream-ish White Sand dial base with blue bezel and beige fauxtina hour markers along with the deep brown leather strap is a stellar mix, one that in person is rather charming.
The brand has included certain small details that further enhance the appeal, such as the beige fauxtina being coherent in its presence on the bezel, hour markers, and all hands even including the fourth GMT hand. The polished frames of the hour markers and the hands catch the light nicely, and bring in a sense of light and shadow interplay.
In regards to other attention to detail, I like that the GMT hand tip has been coated in the same blue colour as that of the bezel insert. A nice touch that ties the design in quite nicely. I also appreciate that the date aperture sits in line with the rest of the hour markers. I also liked that not only are the appliqué markers raised to provide the dial with more depth, the incorporation of beige faux-lume filling in the indices brings in a strong sense of nostalgic character.
Besides the laid-back aesthetics reminiscent of say a memorable Brunello Cucinelli muted earthy tones campaign, it is the short lug to lug spacing ratio in regards to the case diameter that further elevates the appeal. Take for instance the revered Tudor BB58; it measures at 39mm x 12.5mm x 47.2mm. Then take the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT with the smaller 46.68mm lug-to-lug spacing but a much larger 41mm diameter case.
The watch opens up a bit more, offers more of a presence on the wrist, and also doesn’t overpower a slim ~16cm wrist like mine.
The fairly curved sapphire crystal insert on the bezel also glides along the visual line of sight and the light masterfully, allowing one to be captivated by the overall design.
On the watch we were sent for reviewing, we were also impressed by the quality and feel of the supple leather strap, which coincidentally features a bronze buckle that worked very well with the overall muted earthy tones theme.
In regards to more entry-level offerings compared to the Tudor BB58, I also compared the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT with the more affordable Melbourne Watch Company Chelsea Blue, which incidentally also features a very similar sapphire bezel in blue. The latter for all intents and purposes could be considered as a fabulous homage to the Blancpain’s iconic Fifty Fathoms Barakuda and the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Navy Blue (and for a fraction of a price).
The MWC Chelsea measures at 40mm in diameter and only 46mm lug-to-lug, so is the smallest of the lot. As you can see from the pictures, the ‘main dial face’ presence of the new C65 Aquitaine is the most prominent, and despite all these three being quite similar, the CW manages to shine bright on its merits.
The power reserve of 50-hours is also decent, and considering one should be wearing this while travelling, the juice should last anyway.
The bezel action could be better and more loud, and the embossed logo would perhaps been better in the same matching blue as that of the bezel, and the date wheel cream rather than white to match the main dial. But to credit where due, at least the black colour matches that of the minimal text at 6, the date lettering and the minimalistic peripheral minute track. Other than that, no complaints whatsoever.
Extra Feel Good Factor
The brand informs that “5% of the sale of each Aquitaine will be donated to Blue Marine Foundation, a charity dedicated to restoring the ocean to health”.Press release
That’s All Folks!
The new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine is named after the historic French coastal region — legendary undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau called it home — and pays homage to the first modern dive watches of the 1950s.
By relaunching a collection, Christopher Ward has managed to provide enough updates and changes to warrant a buy from even those who might have the existing C65 Trident Automatic. There is a range of options, ensuring there is something for everyone.
Overall, there are five different variations of the Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine collection to choose from, spread across different styles and colourways. The entry-level Automatic gives enthusiasts the most to work with, with Marine Blue, White Sand or Seamoss dials to choose from. Again, personally, the White Sand version is my favorite, given it’s just a somewhat lesser seen offering.
I like how CW has demarcated it from the GMT version, with the use of a green sapphire bezel insert. It is clean, clutter free, and simply handsome.
The blue or green offerings are all mono-coloured, with the former providing a more versatile option and the latter an in-trend colour segue. I like the subtle use of red accents on both these models.
The bronze is the luxe offering, and should appeal to those who would like their C65 to be more on the high-end side of things.
As for me, I still find the GMT offering to be the best bet, given it’s also just in time as the world gradually reopens for global travelling.
For anyone looking for a reliable, handsome and sturdy no-nonsense travel dual-time watch, the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine GMT is a welcome offering that also doesn’t break the bank. It’s smaller lug-to-lug spacing also means that it doubles up as a unisex timepiece.
But it is the visual showmanship of the sun-soaked White Sand dial paired with a Marine Blue bezel that really captures the essence of this new updated C65 collection and wins the heart.
To find out more about the new Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine collection and other CW timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.