Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow Review
In 2023, the moon phase complication may be a bit of an outdated one, but it sure is one of the most eye-catching, at least to mine. I've pretty much always loved the idea of a watch with a moon phase, although the traditional interpretation of them offers a complication that's exactly that, with a stereotypical yellow and blue representation of the Moon.
What if you want a modern take on the moon phase then? Enter the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, a watch from the Swiss-British brand that offers the gorgeous looks of a photo-realistic moon phase complication and a whole lot more in an amazing value package.
Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow Design - Some especially gorgeous looks
The Moonglow, in its varying forms, has been part of CW's lineup of watches since 2015, and this latest iteration I've got on my wrist is a small revision, offering their brand new logo in the centre of the dial. Apart from that, it's pretty much the same watch as previous years, with that eye-catching moonphase, complete with a pair of photo-realistic moons that really draw attention.
As much as this may seem like I lament the lack of change and innovation in this particular watch, you couldn't be more wrong. The Moonglow looks absolutely fantastic. It is more of a dressier watch, working well when paired with all manner of suits and jackets, although works equally well with a pair of decent jeans and t-shirts. For the few weeks I had the pleasure of using the Moonglow, it became my everyday piece, as opposed to simply using it as 'just' a dress watch. You may choose to do things differently, but the appeal of the Moonglow is so universal which means you can wear it with almost anything.
For the price, its case finishing is exceptional, opting for a brushed and polished stainless steel case that really catches the light when out and about on a sunny day. Combine that with the unobtrusive nature of the black shell cordovan leather strap, and you've got a watch that oozes class and quality for what is, in the grand scheme of things, quite reasonable money. I should also say that the Moonglow is also available on a mesh bracelet, which looks classy, although the black leather is the standout for me.
In delving deeper into the dial, it's worth discussing what makes the Moonglow stand out from the crowd. It's particularly hard to ignore its two large photo-realistic moons that bring an age-old complication firmly into the twenty-first century. Ever since I got the Moonglow through the door, I can't help but just keep looking down at them. They look fantastic, as do the small stars also present on the dial. It shows that you certainly can revive older features and bring them to a new audience when executed in an innovative fashion. My only criticism with the moonphase though is that the darkened bottom half where the secondary moon lives arguably isn't dark enough, and it may have made sense to make it especially tinted, so you're only ever seeing one moon at a time.
Alongside the two moons comes a set of understated silver and white hour markers, as well as a red date wheel around the edge of the Moonglow. Initially, finding the date was a bit of a challenge, just given how small the marker is, but after a few minutes, it was easy to spot. It's a nice take on adding a date to a watch, with it arguably offering a less obtrusive form than a more traditional date window. The second hand also features a small splash of red on its end, just making it pop a little more than it if it had been left in silver, like the rest of the handset. The designating of the date and tip of the second hand in red also makes the Moonglow appear more as a pilot's watch (similar to the Hamilton Khaki Field, for instance) than a dress watch, too, reinforcing its positioning as a utilitarian, yet understated timepiece.
I know a lot of people have an issue with the Christopher Ward logo, and it's arguably the most divisive component of any of their watches, apart from the Bel Canto. It's taken on many forms over the years, including simply spelling out 'Christopher Ward' on some of their newer timepieces. However, the twin flags logo present on this iteration of the Moonglow looks an awful lot better than some of the brand's older logos and brings a further sense of refinement to the Moonglow.
Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow Performance and wearability - suitable for virtually anywhere
A 41mm case diameter may put this on the bigger side for men's watches, especially if you're used to wearing small timepieces like I am. For reference, the Hamilton Ventura I usually wear is only 32mm in diameter. With this in mind though, the Moonglow doesn't feel overly large on the wrist and wears exceptionally well. Its 88g weight isn't too heavy either, but there's enough heft there to reinforce that the Moonglow certainly is a quality product from a respected brand.
In putting the watch on for the first time, it felt a tad heavy, but within a few minutes, I was used to the weight of it. At 12.35mm in height, it isn't the slimmest of timepieces, but the Moonglow is still slim enough to fit neatly under shirt and jacket cuffs, if you choose to pair it with more formal clothing. With that in mind though, as it wears so well, you could easily pair it with more casual wear, too, as I did for the majority of my time with the Moonglow.
Leading on from this, the Moonglow features a modified Sellita SW220 movement (the same featured in The Twelve) with the Calibre JJ04 module added to provide a moonphase. Four extra wheels were added to drive the movement's moon disc, and two more to allow it to be set. Setting the moonphase is as simple as pulling the crown out once, and rotating it anti-clockwise. It's quite fun to set the moonphase if you haven't worn the watch for a few days, as you spin it round. Turning it clockwise sets the date, by comparison. Christopher Ward rates the C1 Moonglow's movement to have a 38-hour power reserve. This means that if the watch is wound, you should be able to take it off for a day or so, and come back to it, and the Moonglow's movement will keep on ticking.
As well as offering a solid power reserve and the added fun of an in-house developed complication, the C1 Moonglow's movement is also estimated to be accurate for up to +/-20 sec per day, which makes it a reasonably accurate one. The addition of 30m of water resistance is also handy for ensuring the Moonglow survives day to day usage, although this is perhaps the minimum expectation for a watch at this price.
The C1 Moonglow from Christopher Ward is an excellent dress watch that brings the moonphase complication firmly into the twenty-first century. It's absolutely gorgeous, with some sublime case finishing for the price, and a fresh take on an age-old complication. What's more, it's a comfortable wear and works well with a wide range of outfits, as well as offering an accurate movement with a good power reserve.
You can purchase the C1 Moonglow from Christopher Ward for £1995 here. Christopher Ward provided a sample for this review.
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