Hands-On With The Christopher Ward C65 GMT Worldtimer Say hello to the new travelers’ watch by Tomas Rosputinsky March 27, 2020 MIN READHands-On With The Christopher Ward C65 GMT Worldtimer
This is the first Christopher Ward watch ever to combine GMT and worldtimer functionality. It also happens to be the first watch in the C65 divers’ range with a screw-down crown.
Having to wait to share this news with you for a couple of weeks has inspired me. One day, I will name my dog EMBARGO. I love the word. It’s the sound of it. When you say it out loud, your mouth is full of the word. I’ve become fond of the word since I started writing for Fratello and began encountering news releases with a publishing EMBARGO. While embargoes can be frustrating, being on the press side of them is a real privilege.
It’s a unique feeling to know about a watch before the entire world learns of it. The highest level of an EMBARGO release is to get the watch prototype to test in the flesh before its release has even been announced. Today I’m happy to share my first impressions about the new Christopher Ward C65 GMT that landed in my hands for review just a few days ago.
Christopher Ward C65 lineup
Let’s frame it first. The C65 means this timepiece belongs to the busy CW Retro Dive line of vintage-inspired divers’ watches. As it happens, we’ve already reviewed two watches from this collection. Both of those ranked high on my list of CW favorites. Check out Gerard’s opus on the Trident Automatic. How did he feel after spending 25 days with those big fat lume dots? More recently, I reviewed the C65 Trident enriched with a power reserve complication. It made for a surprising experience…
Christopher Ward C65 GMT Worldtimer
If you’ve ever seen the variety of their portfolio, you know Christopher Ward has proven itself to be a creative brand. The new C65 GMT Worldtimer struck me with its black and yellow colorway. As a vintage nerd, I immediately saw a bit of the Enicar Sherpa Guide in it. That’s no bad thing. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Green and yellow are my favorite colors, so I understandably reached out to CW and asked them to send a prototype for closer inspection.
Those familiar with the CW color pallet will agree blue and orange are more typical for the brand, so o see such a vibrant yellow so generously deployed was extremely refreshing. “While it could be seen as a classic combination in some areas, I’ve always loved the IWC dive watch that had the same color scheme — it’s an unusual combination but it’s even more striking because of this,” Mike France, Chris Ward co-founder, unveils his inspiration.
I can’t swim and I wore it. Nothing happened to me.
More important than the color scheme is the fact that this release is not only the first C65 to combine GMT and worldtimer functionality, but it’s Ward’s first watch to ever do it, period. Who is it for? You probably won’t cross time zones while diving (that would actually be another achievement in itself), so don’t feel guilty if you like it and don’t go diving every weekend. I can’t swim and I wore it. Nothing happened. You should feel guilty and stay away from the watch only if you have no idea where Midway or La Paz are.
City selection fun
So, honestly, how many of the 24 marked cities on the bezel would you be able to locate precisely on a blank map? I have to admit my guess rate wasn’t 100%. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this idea, but I always wondered, who selects cities to be placed on a worldtimer bezel. It’s the perfect opportunity for designers or high ranking execs sitting on boards to slip in their personal association or micro-story without you knowing. Which brings us to another beautiful thing about the Christopher Ward brand. You can get any piece of information you need from the leader and co-founder within minutes. I could not resist, and I asked Mike France about the bezel. “There is no “official” list really, these cities have been driven by personal preference as well as having fun with it to surprise people.” Well, NOUMEA really surprised me and I like Mike France a bit more now.
What cities would you put on a worldtimer bezel if you were allowed to?
Now, with many of us in isolation, this is the perfect opportunity to slow down and spend a bit of time getting back to how the worldtimer actually works. It was the brilliant mind of Canadian railway engineer Sir Sandford Fleming that proposed that the world be divided into 24 time zones in 1878. Not a bad idea if you just try to imagine that travelers back then had no other point of time reference except for the local town hall clock in the destination of their arrival. In other words, imagine that you are going somewhere, and you don’t know what time it’s going to be there until you actually arrive.
How the worldtimer works
It’s pretty easy. First, pretend that the extra GMT hand is not there. You work with a 24-hour scale and worldtimer bezel. If you are in Geneva and it is noon, you turn the bezel so that GENEVE meets the 12 on the 24-hour scale. You can now read the time in other major cities. Remember, if you want to check the Tokyo time while enjoying your Geneva dinner, you first need to re-align the bezel to Geneva time again. Notice that a few cities have an additional horizontal line next to them on the right. They indicate which cities have summer-time and adjust their time accordingly.
Contemplation over the bezel
If you have ever considered a worldtimer watch, you know you can go for a model with a worldtimer bezel rotating around or one under the crystal. I was always a fan of outside rotating bezels that don’t need an extra crown to be operated. CW did a great job here with the C65. I like the angling, I like typeface, and I like the black and steel styling. What you won’t see in the pictures is the plasticity of the printing. The outer city ring gives the feeling of being engraved, while the inner-city ring looks debossed.
The turning effect is nice. Instead of hard rattling, you can expect a slightly suppressed clatter. I expected I would have to put more pressure on the bi-rotation bezel than it actually needs. As a vintage nerd, I always ask myself the question, what will this watch look like in 50 years? While playing with the bezel now, I would appreciate a bit more resistance for the sake of longevity.
As we went the extra stretch to explain the worldtimer, we don’t want to leave the GMT behind. By turning the crown clockwise in the middle position, the GMT hand moves independently from the central handset. This way, you can set the juicy yellow hand to show you what time it is at home while you travel. Since a lot of my colleagues work in different time zones, I set my GMT to see what time it is in Kansas City or Istanbul. A simple rule — never try to link a worldtimer bezel with a central GMT hand. Unless you want to come up with a new watch complication…
The more Christopher Ward C65 models come in, the more I like the case. The reason is simple. In comparison to other 41mm watches, dive watches especially, the C65 looks much slimmer and feels lighter on the wrist. See the profile shot and you will see where I’m coming from. It was not so long ago when we introduced you to the Farer Aldrich World Timer that surprised us with a Louboutin-like twist on the red rotor. As we can see, the Brits are turning out to be eccentric trendsetters as well (we probably should have seen that coming…). What I was not expecting to see was the black DLC screw-down backplate. I wanted to ask “Why?”, but I instantly answered my own questions, “Why not?” But Mike France offered an answer anyway. “As the bezel edge is black, the backplate is a perfect complement to this. It also has a slimming effect on wear.”
Market turns on the crown
I was surprised to see that the new C65 GMT Worldtimer comes with a screw-down crown. My inner suspicious devil emerged from his cave and instantly started to bug me with thoughts such as, why would CW do that when the case seems the same? Any water resistance problems? Mike France explains simply, that, “it’s not necessary for CW watches to have screw-down crowns to remain watertight. We know that, particularly on divers’ watches, people want to have that extra security and so for this watch we’ve done that. We may well fit it into future C65s as well.”
I don’t mind screw-down crowns. But I do find this new feature a bit odd. To implement an extra solution you don’t need seems like more trouble than it’s worth. But, I suppose, France and his team have assessed the market conditions and decided that consumers feel more comfortable with a screw-down crown.
That little smudge of yellow in an undefined shape on the bezel is definitely a nice detail. However, it would make me happier if it were more triangular, which I believe was the original idea. The subtle twin flag emblem stamped into the dark black dial under 12 seems executed with better precision. You can also find the twin flag on the bottom part of the black hybrid strap, where it intertwines nicely with the rubber waves. I prefer the black hybrid for the looks but would limit it to water use only. I find the gentle leather strap a better choice for my wrist. When you pull out the crown into its third position to set time, it looks unprecedently far from the case. Not important, but an interesting and likable fun fact that press pictures won’t convey.
With many countries currently on COVID-19 lockdown, I do not expect herds of globetrotters to be purchasing new worldtimers. What I see is a bunch of managers sitting down on telco conferences with other 15 people around the world, each looking for a sophisticated way of killing unproductive minutes while the person from NY or Paris speaks. In a head-to-head civil war of British Worldtimers, I think the Farer Aldrich would, by and large, win out over this Christopher Ward C65. The Farer strikes me as more creative and in possession of a “younger” vibe. The quality of execution and prices are comparable. With 2mm less in diameter, the Aldrich presents itself as a dressier option. Yet, the Christopher Ward C65 would be my personal choice thanks to its strong vintage reference and more tool watch characteristics. Learn more about this model here.
Brand Christopher Ward ModelC65 GMT WorldtimerDialMatte finish dial with twin flags debossed at 12 o'clock, bi-directional steel bezel with printed international cities and brushed steel/black diamond-like carbon (DLC) finishingCase MaterialBrushed and polished marine-grade stainless steel caseCase DimensionsDiameter: 41mm, Height: 12.05mm, Weight: 71gCrystal"Glass box" sapphire crystalCase BackBlack diamond-like carbon (DLC) "Trident" motif screw-down backplateMovementSellita SW330, Timing tolerance -20/+20 seconds per dayWater Resistance15 ATM (150 metres)StrapLugs width: 22mm, optional with a bracelet, leather strap or hybrid rubber strapFunctionsDual-time GMT function, Date calendar, Central hacking secondsPrice£995 for the hybrid and leather, £1,095 for the bracelet Watch of the Week
Japanese watchmaking at its best Partner Content March 01, 2020
Smaller, creative, and affordable by Tomas Rosputinsky March 04, 2020
Omega's Most Versatile Watch by Robert-Jan Broer March 04, 2020
Does Zenith know what a girl wants? by Karina Kwiatkowska March 02, 2020
by Robert-Jan Broer February 26, 2019
by Robert-Jan Broer October 12, 2018
by Robert-Jan Broer September 29, 2018
About the author
During the day time, Tomas is an entrepreneur in the advertising, automotive and IT software industries. At night he turns into a watch enthusiast searching for quirky movements or vintage pieces with strong stories behind. Tomas was born and bred… read more
Watch reviews in your inbox.
Even when it’s not Speedy Tuesday. This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.Original Article