Now THIS is a watch that can be classified as a “feast for the eyes”. Christopher Ward has just released the C60 Concept – an extravagant skeletonised rendition of their best-selling dive watch.
Christopher Ward claim it’s comparable to the workmanship sufficient to satisfy luxury watch Maisons Czapek and MB&F. Why? How? Well, Armin Strom was consulted for the skeletonising, while the SH21 is finished at Chronode, including the detailing of the bridges and base plate, requiring at least six hours per watch.
I’ve been keeping a beady eye on how it’s received. So many people wrongly say “I’d rather have a Tudor BB58” or a second-hand Omega. Yes, those watches are available at that price point, and yes – they’re brilliant watches. But, it’s like comparing apples to pears. The watch this should be compared to is the Oris Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, with an RRP of £5950. Is it worth nearly double the C60 Concept? We’ll find out (but spoiler alert: the answer is a hard no). It could even, at a stretch, be compared to the Zenith Defy Classic, with the outstanding skeletonised version starting at £6700. These are the watches it needs to be compared to – and once we do, we start to realise that the price tag is as reasonable as ever.
Without further ado, let’s check it out.
Christopher Ward C60 Concept Video Review
Christopher Ward C60 Concept Specs
- Dimensions: 42mm diameter x 15.85mm height x 49.3mm lug to lug
- Weight: 71g
- Water resistance rating: 30ATM / 300m
- Movement: in-house Calibre SH21
- Accuracy: +1.8 sec/day
- Lug width: 22mm
- Warranty: 60|60 60 days of free returns worldwide / 60-month movement guarantee
- Price: £3495
- Buy here: https://www.christopherward.com/dive/c60-concept/C60-42A5D3-T0BG0-HBO.html
I’m going to get some boring bits out of the way first (as I know what you’re here for). First up: the case. It’s titanium, with a very respectable 300m water resistance rating – this is a proper tool dive watch that can and should be used. It’s also Christopher Ward’s wonderful “light catcher” design, with flowing arcs, bevels and an array of finishes.
The 42mm diameter might put some off, the over 15mm height even more so; but, thanks to the ingenuity behind the case shape, it neither looks nor wears that large. As it’s titanium, it’s also extremely light – 71g on the wrist, for something this impressive, is ultra-comfortable.
It’s loaded with Christopher Ward’s well-received Cordura® and rubber hybrid waterproof strap. The C60 Concept also has a titanium bracelet as an option, which would no doubt be pretty impressive. It has the logo neatly engraved on the buckle and quick-release pins for easy changing if you want to. It’s exceptionally supple and malleable for a rubber strap, and certainly aids the comfort of the entire watch.
Sitting atop the case is a flat sapphire crystal with a very effective anti-reflective coating – perfect for gazing at what’s below. It’s flanked by a 120-click unidirectional zirconia ceramic bezel. I love the reflective glossy insert; providing colour, glitz and glamour; the design being ultra-modern and quite different too. The bezel action is precise and tight as you’d expect, the sound is reassuringly deep signifying quality bearings.
Enough of all that – let’s just get on with it and talk about the hand-finished movement. The SH21 in itself is still a remarkable movement, albeit slightly industrial in its initial form. I love how Johannes Jahnke – who was the key designer for the movement lovingly refers to it as a “tractor”. Sturdy, strong, purposeful, and functional. This is completely detached from that original version though. Functional and strong yes, plain and boring? No.
I’ve seen many, many skeleton movements in my time, but none compare to this. I mean, come on – this is finished by the same people who work on MB&F, HYT, Harry Winston, Czapek. These are proper Haute horology brands, costing tens of thousands of pounds. This SH21 is like getting a Fiat but made in the Ferrari factory.
It contains rhodium and grey ruthenium (both of which are rare metals in the platinum family), increasing the value of each movement.
So who did what? Christopher Ward explains:
- Armin Strom, the leading specialist in skeletonising movements, manufactured the ‘ski-slope’ styled bridges that echo the Trident aesthetics.
- Chronode, whose work has adorned watches from brands such as Czapek, Cyrus and MB&F, hand-polished the chamfered edges of each movement for more than six hours – under a microscope – to dazzling effect.
- Xenoprint created the three-dimensional lumed triangle at 12 o’clock using their unique Globolight XP© process.
When you consider that each movement has elements from multiple manufacturers, it’s little wonder the price is what it is. To top it off, it’s COSC certified (which alone costs £100).
Let’s talk specs. It has a whopping 120-hour (5 days) power reserve thanks to the double-barrel. As it’s chronometer-certified, the tolerance should be -4/+6 seconds per day. This one is coming in at a very impressive +1.8 sec/day. The movement houses 31 jewels and has everything else you’d expect: a high beat rate of 28.8k bph, hacking seconds hand, hand and automatic winding.
There’s still one thing left to mention: the lume. It’s fantastic, which is a refreshing upgrade from the standard Christopher Ward level. The key design feature is the sandblasted, brushed and polished blue ring with Super-LumiNova® filling and orange Globolight® Triangle. You don’t see a design like this too often, which is why it’s rather welcome.
I’m surprised they opted against hour markers. It would certainly increase legibility in the dark, but that huge thick arrow at 12 is a delight and fairly easy and quick to use as a focus point.
Super-LumiNova® white lume can also be found in the hands, dial and bezel – plus the lovely little touch of being in the twin flags logo at 3.
Christopher Ward C60 Concept Final Comments
Who will the C60 Concept appeal to? Solely Christopher Ward fanboys? Newbies to the brand? To be honest, Christopher Ward won’t care. Will it sell? Hell yes. Only 210 pieces will be produced, and enough will realise the impressive nature of this watch.
They claim the hand-finishing is to standards found only in wristwatches above £10,000. My experience in that bracket is limited, so I can’t say for sure – but I feel it has some weight to it rather than it just being marketing spiel.
Yes, there are other watches for the same price. Funny that. But people should stop comparing this to watches that are not on a relative plane. The Oris ProPilot X is only £500 less than a Submariner – but we wouldn’t compare them, as that would be utterly pointless.
The fact is, Christopher Ward has created a watch with specs and that is finished to a standard never seen before at this price point. Maybe Christopher Ward is starting to target the higher end market. Maybe they did all this just because they could. Whatever the case, it’s a tremendous watch that looks fantastic, with impeccable craftsmanship.
13 November, 2021 at 10:57 am
“So many people wrongly say “I’d rather have a Tudor BB58” or a second-hand Omega”.
I don’t think you can really say that. Different people will have differing viewpoints on how they’d rather spend nearly £4k regardless of whether that’s on a different style of watch, a bicycle or a mortgage payment- it’s not for us to say that their views are incorrect or invalid.
13 November, 2021 at 4:35 pm
You didn’t really talk about why this is better than the Oris. You started the conversation with telling us the Oris was not as good, hut failed to explain why. I like both, but I’ll say that the Oris has a bit more class since it does not have a weird orange triangle distracting you from the wonderful skeletonizing. If I was to buy this CW, I would ask them to take out the interior blue ring and orange triangle and allow me to enjoy the lovely ski slopes instead of being distracted. Second, the Oris has a 10 day power reserve which is double the CW. Third, the Oris is hand wound which allows the viewer to enjoy more of the skeletonization. Lastly, you didn’t discuss the elephant in the room which is the CW C60 Apex. Why did CW decide to do another C60 skeleton instead of using a difftcase like the C65.
I would have loved more if a comparison discussion. You write well and I did enjoy the review.