Everything you need to know about Christopher Ward Everything you need to know about Christopher Ward

Everything you need to know about Christopher Ward

Fergus Nash

Although Christopher Ward will come up often in conversations about value brands, microbrands, or otherwise high-quality independents, they still don’t quite receive the recognition that they deserve. Not only are they a force for delivering luxury quality at affordable prices, but they were also among the first brands to thrive from an online sales model all the way back in 2005. If you’ve been wondering exactly how to get the most out of your money, here’s everything you need to know about Christopher Ward.

The story

While on a boat trip on the Thames in 2004, Peter Ellis, Mike France, and Christopher Ward were considering changing paths from ethical toys and imported t-shirts. Watches were suggested in lieu of football or music, and they set upon forming their new business. These days, it’s no secret that most of the major Swiss watch brands share suppliers, outsource components and mark up the prices by staggering amounts, but back then it was a bit more hushed. The new brand, named after Christopher Ward for sounding the most English, was based on avoiding markups wherever possible to keep prices affordable for consumers. Their tagline was “the cheapest most expensive watches in the world”.

Christopher Ward C60 tide
Christopher Ward C60 #tide

Launched online and running out of a converted chicken shed, Christopher Ward’s first two models were the C5 Malvern Automatic and C3 Malvern Chronograph. A single ad in The Independent was all the marketing they placed, while word of mouth spread organically through watch forums such as Timezone. One fan even set up a dedicated Christopher Ward forum, which is still independently operated and going strong. They started working with the movement makers Synergies Horlogères in 2008, creating calibres for them with interesting complications like jump-hours and single-pusher chronographs. In 2014, the two companies merged, effectively creating an in-house movement for the brand in the Calibre SH21.

christopher ward bel canto blue dial
Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto

In all that time, Christopher Ward continued to expand their catalogue with attractive and innovative models. The man himself Christopher Ward left the business in 2020, and in recent years the brand have removed the name from their watch dials in favour of a Wood Pencil award-winning logo which represents the Swiss and English flags. And speaking of awards, the Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto has recently been nominated for the ‘Petite Aiguille’ category of the prestigious Grand Prix d’Horlogerie, thanks to its gorgeous openwork dial and hourly chiming module affixed to a Sellita SW200 base. Other than their value for money, Christopher Ward are also loved for their 60/60 guarantee, allowing for free returns within 60 days and a movement warranty for 60 months (five years).

Key models

C1 Moonphase

Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase

Moonphases are one of the most-loved complications in watchmaking, not because of utility, but sheer beauty. The C1 Moonphase is one of Christopher Ward’s best-sellers, having expanded the complication to occupy the entire dial. The aventurine dial replicates the sparkling stars of the night sky, while a photorealistic moon travels across the upper half of the dial. After dark, it’s revealed that the moon is also luminous. The watch is powered by an automatic Sellita SW220 with Christopher Ward’s in-house JJ04 module, which maintains the moon’s accuracy for 128 years.

The Twelve

christopher ward the twelve titanium blue dial closeup
christopher ward the twelve titanium blue dial closeup

With the current obsession over integrated-bracelet sports watches, it should be no surprise that Christopher Ward’s The Twelve has rocketed to the top of their best-seller list. First released earlier in 2023, the collection has already expanded to include models in both 40mm and 36mm sizes, stainless steel or titanium, and a wide variety of dial colours covering the logo-motif pattern.  There are also the Halo editions with black or brushed silver dials, surrounded by an 18k gold bezel for an extra touch of luxurious flair. The Twelve gets its name from the dodecagonal design of the bezel, throwing in some more Genta-inspired ‘70s charm.

C60 Trident

Christopher Ward C60 Trident

The C60 is really what put Christopher Ward on the map in 2009, and continued to flourish throughout the subsequent decade. The watch world’s love affair with dive watches is endless, and the C60 in any of its configurations will always be a great choice in both ability and bang-for-buck. The Pro 300 is the classic value option priced at £750, in a 42mm case with a ceramic bezel and Sellita SW200 movement. It’s a 300m diver, and only 11.5mm thick with attentive case finishing and neat design. There are also GMT versions, smaller diameters, bronze or titanium cases, and the Elite 1000 which is rated for 1,000m depths. The C60 Sapphire features a translucent dial, and the C60 #tide recently made it onto our list of the top 5 wave dials.

C65 Aquitaine

Christopher Ward C60 Aquitaine

The Christopher Ward C65 Aquitaine started out as their retro-flavoured diver with inspiration from the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, but it has since taken on a life of its own. Resistant to 200m, the cases generally have a shorter lug-to-lug length than their C60 cousins which make them a more versatile choice for smaller wrists. There’s also a plentiful range of colour options, and the C65 Dune variations which do away with the rotating dive bezel for a more casual, field-watch vibe.