There are few times when you open a watch box and simply go “wow” and immediately fall in love with the watch. I love it when it happens, but has only happened to me a couple of times. This happened to me again when I opened the box to my new C11 chronograph.
When I was deciding what my next CW was, I was surprised about how little there is on this watch. I did some serious searching and there’s not even a proper review of it anywhere! The only thing is a review on the PVD version on Worn and Wound. Obviously there’s loads of info and pics on the auto version, but this beauty has seemed to have been overlooked somewhat! So I thought I’d write a review and take some decent pics (which there are also hardly any of!) to help any others who are interested in this watch or are thinking of buying one.
Christopher Ward C11 Chronograph Watch Review
The case on the C11 is a masterpiece. I can understand why it would be too much to have the 2013 FLE based upon it.
It fits incredibly well due to the fact that it is rather thin. It also wears slightly smaller than a full on square shaped watch (like a Bell and Ross) thanks to the tapered corners. This makes the watch stand out for me as the shape is quite unusual and unique. I also love that the only polished part of the whole watch is the top edge corner going all the way around, about 1mm thick. It’s hard to photograph but is another thing that makes this great watch stand out when wearing it.
The case back is also very nice. Is is screwed in by 4 screws, and the “reach for the stars” icon is deeply engraved. The “Swiss Made” and serial number is laser etched.
Personally, I like the 4 screws in the corners too. Many people are a bit anal and don’t like them because they don’t line up like, for example, an Audemars Piquet would. But I think it looks fake if you have screws and they blatantly aren’t used for their real purpose.
The chrono pushers and crown are very nicely machined. the pushers give a real nice ‘clunk’ when you push them in.
The crown is also a fine piece of machining, with a textured grip and “CW” on the end. This is not a screw down crown.
The museum grade sapphire is truly stunning. This is my 5th Christopher Ward watch, and I can tell you that this crystal simply knocks all of the others out of the water. It is so clear it’s unbelievable! The anti reflection coating works the best I’ve ever seen – pretty much on a par with my friends Omega Planet Ocean! When I have it side by side with my C60, I was surprised with how much better it actually is. The only thing you can see is a light if you are reflecting it directly. This is the main thing that makes this watch seem more expensive than it actually is. Top quality.
“Excuse me, CW, you seem to have sent me a C11 without a crystal…”
The dial is matt black. The main hands also have this matt black on the base, giving them the appearance that the tips are floating. You can see this on some of the pictures. The base of the hands seem to disappear because the black on black is so accurate they just blend together. Lovely!
The lume is better than usual for CW, but is still pretty average, not a touch on Seiko for instance. Only the main time hands and hour markers (including the 12, 3, 6 and 9) are lumed, none of the chrono hands or subdials are.
The movement is a Ronda 5030.D (13 Jewel Swiss quartz movement). It is very similar to the C3 Malvern (Ronda 5040.D), but with a very slight change in how it works. The hands are all the same- chronograph seconds are on the big second hand, running seconds on the right subdial, chronograph minutes on the left, and chrono hours on the bottom. The unusual thing is this: rather than the hands incrementally and slowly going around the dial, they take steps. So, when the seconds reach 60 seconds on the big hand, the minute hand on the left subdial will ‘step’ to the next minute. Also, when the minute counter reaches 30 minutes, the hand on the hour subdial will flick to the next half an hour mark. I believe this is to make it easier to read due to the fact that there are no markings on the hands, and I can honestly say it does! It’s easy to look straight at the hours and minutes hands to see exactly how much time has elapsed. Especially being that this is a 12 hour chrono, which in some cases could be a difficult ‘quick’ read.
The strap is thick and lovely brown leather. It squeaks a little still, but hopefully will supple up. It is incredibly soft and very nice to wear. I think this also is a step up in quality from the normal straps you get with a C60, C3 or C5 etc. The strap tapers from 22mm at the lugs to 20mm at the buckle. This is done by a very subtle step-in about an inch into the strap. It has the quick release tags, which I have used already and are very helpful indeed. No accidental scratching of the lugs trying to remove the strap!
I love watches with texture and small amounts of detail. For me, the buckle is something that CW have really worked hard on. To be honest, it’s just a buckle, so they didn’t have to, but it shows the attention to detail they have given this watch. The buckle, like the case, also has a polished top corner edge running around the section that shows when you are wearing it. the Christopher Ward London engraving is very deep too. I also love the screws in it- which are indeed real and not fake- just look at the picture of the underneath where you can see the ends of them! All of these small things make this watch extra special.
This is one of the few watches which hasn’t been effected by the recent price rise on all CWs. I don’t understand why. It is just stunning value for money. Simply put, it is one of the best value of money watches I have ever seen. Would I recommend it? Absolutely! Grab one before the price increases! My favourite CW to date without a doubt.
One last thing, which is one the favourite sayings on the CW forum: the pictures on the CW website do not do this watch justice. Looks so much better in the flesh. But we already knew that…
15 September, 2014 at 5:38 pm
Hey Joshua, I couldn’t seem to find the watch on the official website of Christopher Ward. Is the watch discontinued already? I am really interested in buying this watch. Please reply as soon as possible. Thanks.
18 September, 2014 at 2:58 pm
Hey, I’ve just had a look too and can’t find it. It could be that they’re out of stock. I’d recommend emailing them to see what the situation is. Thanks for reading!
Robert Neil Minter
13 October, 2015 at 7:36 am
I can confirm they have stopped making these, recently they had a sale on their site.
As beautiful as the C11 is, I have had nothing but trouble from mine. The leather straps seem fragile and I have had 2 replacements so far. The first was under warranty – it just fell apart, the second lost its hoops after a few weeks. Finally I bought a cheap one from Ebay which still looks like new after a year. The watch is also unacceptably inaccurate, mine lost up to 5 minutes a month. I questioned CW and was told that this is normal for an automatic watch. Really. A week ago it gave up the ghost and stopped. No amount of special winding etc could bring it back. Sadly I’m not sure it’s worth the inevitable £xxx’s it would cost to get it mended by CW so it’s bin time unless someone out there wants it.
The sad thing is that you buy a (relatively) expensive automatic watch and hope it will outlast you, not be scrap after 3 and a bit years (coincidentally just outside warranty).
3 November, 2020 at 4:06 am
Do you still have it? Because YES I still want it .
4 November, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Sadly not anymore! ‘Twas a cracking watch!