Hands-On With The Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase
At a lunar-themed launch event last night at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, Christopher Ward unveiled their sublime new timepiece, the C1 Moonphase.
It joins the highly-regarded C1 Moonglow as a piece with a photo-realistic moonphase complication, although the moons here are 25 percent larger than on the Moonglow, and glow bright white when the watch is in the dark. Combined with that, its unique aventurine dial offers a sparkle reminiscent of the night sky. We had the chance to get briefly hands-on with the C1 Moonphase, and are definitely impressed by what we've seen.
In the preceding presentation, Jorg Bader Sr. referred to the watch as being a piece of art, and that's certainly true. With no defined markers or indices, the C1 Moonphase focuses all of your attention on its gorgeous dial. The aventurine glass used is unique on every iteration of the watch, given that every piece of the glass is different, and it catches the light beautifully. The fact the dial isn't lumed either apart from on the revolving moons is also a nice touch, given it helps to keep your attention on the whole reason the watch exists - the moonphase complication made possible by the JJ04 module that the C1 Moonphase packs inside.
The lack of any branding on the dial also presents how confident Christopher Ward is in letting the watch do the talking. To even get a sniff of the manufacturer, you have to look at the C1 Moonphase from the side, where the twin flags logo is present on the crown. On the underside is an exhibition caseback, complete with a branded rotor that proudly displays 'Christopher Ward'. Apart from that, however, things are kept nicely minimalistic.
The samples present came on the Italian leather strap, whose dark blue colour matches well with the dial colour underneath all its sparkle. It's a supremely comfortable strap with seemingly similar leather to that of the C1 Moonglow, while also featuring a deployment clasp for easy take-off. The C1 Moonphase is also available on the brand's new Consort bracelet if you want something a little more regal, but for me, the leather strap helps the watch look even dressier. Both straps come with quick-release tabs if, for whatever reason, you want to change things.
Its 40.5mm thickness is identical to the C1 Moonglow, but the new option appears to wear a little smaller than that size would suggest, at least on my wrist. The 47.9mm lug-to-lug gives it plenty of presence on a smaller wrist like mine, although, at 13.3mm in thickness, it is quite chunky. It'll still be slender enough to get under jacket cuffs and the like, although, with such a gorgeous watch, I could see myself rolling my sleeves up simply so it was on show as often as possible. A total weight of 92g, strap included, also provides it with some nice heft.
The Light Catcher case on offer rounds off the dressier and classy looks nicely, with sublime finishing. As much as I've waxed lyrical about the case before, it perhaps works best in conjunction with everything else on the C1 Moonphase, sparkly dial and three-dimensional moons included. Others at the event bemoaned the lack of indices or any further dial details, but it was pretty much love at first sight for me here.
Inside, the C1 Moonphase packs in the tried-and-tested Sellita SW200-1 movement, which is a reliable Swiss-made choice which Christopher Ward has used a lot in the past. It's a 26-jewel movement that offers solid accuracy with a tolerance of +/- 20 seconds per day, as well as a 38-hour power reserve.
As much as that's all well and good, adding the JJ04 module to allow for the moonphase is where things get more exciting. The JJ04 module adds a moonphase that tracks with the hour hand, so the moon can slowly move across the dial (and night sky if you will). Set it right, and Christopher Ward says it'll be accurate to one day in 128 years. On this point before unveiling the watch, Christopher Ward CEO Mike France stated that if after that time you have an issue with your moonphase watch, then you can go to the brand for a full refund. He may have been joking, but it's clear to see there's a lot of faith in the JJ04 module, and the C1 Moonphase itself.
So, how much does all this cost? Well, with any other brand's logo present, it could easily fetch into the high five figures and possibly even more. However, the C1 Moonphase doesn't go for anywhere near that. On the leather strap, it's £1,995/$2,325/€2,495, and on the Consort bracelet, it's £2,120/$2,475/€2,655, which to me is quite reasonable for the overall quality on offer. It's a toss-up between this and the C1 Moonglow for me, but Christopher Ward's latest offering might just take it.
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