I’m very excited to provide the very first hands-on review of the two new Christopher Ward C8 models. Because of this, my time with them has been rather limited (less than a week) so these reviews are more succinct than my other in-depth reviews.
After re-releasing the C5 and C65 ranges with the new logo on, the C8 family is the next to get attention. But these aren’t just existing models with the new logo; these are completely new watches that are extremely impressive in their own right and continue to elevate CW as a luxury manufacturer without the price tag. Personally, I love the C8 aviation range and I’m happy that it’s been given some love as it’s been a while…
Here we’re looking at the C8 UTC Worldtimer. It’ll cost £899 for the stainless steel case, or £950 for DLC coating (the model reviewed), which is right on par with the market. Traditionally known as a GMT function, this watch is labelled UTC “universal coordinated time” – which basically means we have another hand which displays another time zone.
I’ve never had any doubts with Christopher Ward’s quality, and this is no different. Perfectly machined, well designed and a competitive price means this will be another popular option in their ever growing collection.
Let’s take a closer look to get to know it a bit better.
Please note: these are the only available watches at the moment, so they aren’t brand new or the finished product (in fact, they’re samples). And yes, the hour hand is misaligned. Don’t worry about that.
- Case dimensions: 44mm diameter x 11.5mm height x 53.2mm lug to lug
- Lug width: 22mm
- Weight: 88g
- Movement: ETA 2893-2
- Water resistance: 50m / 5ATM
- Price: £899 – £950
The case is available in either DLC coating or standard stainless steel, and is a standard barrel shape. It’s the same as the entire C8 range – classic “big pilot”.
I personally really like a double crown on a watch, so I was particularly drawn to the C8 UTC with its onion shaped crowns with wind turbine engravings on the end. The top crown at 2 is to control the movement, and the bottom crown at 4 is for the internal rotating bezel.
Sitting a top the case is a flat sapphire crystal with really good anti-reflective coating. It’s incredibly clear and excellent at eradicating any reflections.
The screw-in caseback is deep stamped with a wind tunnel turbine. Nicely manufactured and a nod to the aviation theme of the watch, although personally I would have preferred an exhibition window to view the movement.
As you’d expect, and as I’ve come to appreciate with all Christopher Ward’s, the case in general is very well machined and finished – pretty spotless.
Both the new C8’s have a vintage feel thanks to the brown printing and coloured lume. This lume is SuperLuminova “Old Radium” and it glows bright, charges quickly and lasts a good long while. It’s a step up from the standard CW lume which is good to see.
The new logo, which has been such a major talking point since it’s made its first appearance, looks in place on these watches – and I think they are the first ones to really look the part with them. Maybe I’m just getting used to it – but it really does suit this watch in my eyes.
The dial has a surprising amount of intricacies. Firstly it’s an unexpected sandwich dial – the hour markers located everywhere except the corners are at a lower level, filled with lume. There are applied numerals at 12 and 6, and applied batons at 3 and 9. These are all very nicely done. What you don’t realise is that the tiny red arrow at 12 is also applied, and is a really nice touch.
The rotating world timer inner bezel means you can figure out the local time in any timezone: just rotate it until your time zone is at the hour hand, and then refer to where the desired location is to see what the hour is there.
The hour and minute hands are an unusual shape, and have been referred to as “condom” hands. Which is quite humorous, and actually pretty accurate.
We have a big and bold red arrow on the UTC (second time zone) hand, which is filled with lume. Simple to read and has great legibility.
The date window is located at 3 and features a matching black date wheel. The border surrounding this is well finished.
The leather strap is 22mm wide for its entirety. The leather is thick, and this one is a light, rustic tan brown colour.
It has open sides and is very soft to the touch – although it starts off being quite stiff and squeaky. This is probably due to the thickness of it, and most likely will soften up once it’s been worked in for a while. It has thick cream stitching, and a nice detail at the base of the strap.
The strap has come with a DLC tang buckle to match the case. It has the left aligned CW logo etched on the top bar, and is pretty standard and nothing too exciting.
I like the quick release pins that come with CW watches – so changing the strap will be a quick and easy job.
The movement used is the ETA 2893-2, which is basically the same as the popular 2824 but it adds a 24-hour hand that can used to track a second timezone.
Just a quick note: setting the normal time will also move the 24 hour time. It’s not completely independent.
To set the movement: pull crown out to first position. Spinning the crown clockwise advances the second time zone by an hour, and spinning the crown counter clockwise changes the date. Pull the crown out to the second position and you can set the normal time as usual.
Specs include: 21j, runs at a high beat of 28.8k bph, 42 hour power reserve, and has a hacking seconds hand and hand winding capabilities.
I’ll admit that I have a soft spot for CW. But they do consistently create excellent watches for competitive prices. For the first time, I feel the new logo looks at home and matches the design; maybe I’m just getting used to it. Or, maybe, it’s a very well designed watch that is visually very pleasing to the eye.
The price is spot on, too. The Hamilton UTC offerings are exactly the same price but don’t look quite as modern in my eye.
All Christopher Ward watches are made to such a high standard that it’s hard to knock them. It’s the same for the C8 UTC Worldtimer. A reminder – don’t forget you get a 5-year movement warranty with all Christopher Wards too.
24 September, 2016 at 12:24 pm
Real shame they can’t get the hands to properly align.
24 September, 2016 at 3:59 pm
This is a sample so it won’t happen on production watches.
17 October, 2016 at 4:51 pm
A really nice dial design. The case is just too large for those of us with smaller wrists. Lug to lug of 53mm is frankly ridiculous.
11 January, 2020 at 10:21 pm
I just purchased this watch and patiently awaiting its arrival. I’m hoping the the hour hand aligns properly. I would hate to have to send it back!
19 January, 2020 at 2:02 pm
I have received the watch and I am absolutely astonished at the craftsmanship and detail of the watch. No hand alignment issues as so stated because it’s a production model.
I have just placed an order for the C7 Rapide Chronograph as well. These watches are fabulous!!