Let's be frank – most of us looking to purchase a dive watch aren't going to be doing our best Jacques Cousteau impression thereafter. The advent of the desk diver means that there's more chance of most dive watches being drowned in a Starbucks than the sea.
We've seen that trend affect watch design too. Recently, I got hands on with the Christopher Ward C60 Pro 300 Bronze, which pairs a none-more-diver Bronze case and 300m water resistance rating with a distressed leather strap.
Now, I've got the pleasure of using its stablemate – the Christopher Ward C60 Atoll 300. Where some divers can talk the talk, this one also walks the walk. It's got a sweet spec sheet filled with dive watch credentials, paired up with a simply stunning dial. Let's dive in and see if it's any good.
Let's start with some specs. The Atoll 300 comes in a 40mm case, with a 47.4mm lug-to-lug. That's pretty perfect as a middle ground for a lot of wrist sizes, and should be a good fit for most people.
The case also sits just 11.3mm tall. If you're a Christopher Ward fan, you might gloss over that, but take note because it's mighty impressive – particularly with 300m of water resistance on offer, too.
The review unit I had utilises the metal Bader bracelet, but you'll also find a matching rubber option on offer. The bracelet features a micro-adjustment clasp too, for fine tuning of the sizing on the fly.
On the face, you'll find a sandblasted, 120-click dive bezel. The numbers are then raised and polished for added legibility, giving the whole thing a bit of a Rolex YachtMaster vibe.
Inside that bezel, you'll find one of the most stunning dials on the market. Using a gradient based on the appearance of the Indian Ocean, the lacquered dial gives a stunning sense of movement.
That's topped with applied indices and a brushed, applied logo. You'll find a colour-matched date wheel at the 6 o'clock position, while the hands and indices are all slathered with a healthy dose of Super-LumiNova Grade X1 BL C1 for glow-in-the-dark goodness.
Inside, you'll find a Sellita SW200-1 movement with a 38 hour power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate. Plus, take a glance through the display case back and you'll see it in all its glory, complete with a stylish branded rotor.
What's the Christopher Ward C60 Atoll 300 like to wear?
I've spent a good amount of time with the Christopher Ward C60 Atoll 300 now, so I feel well placed to give you a comprehensive rundown of just how good it is. If you're a regular reader, though, some of this may be covering old ground, because there's a lot of the Christopher Ward DNA which is always superb.
Their case sizing, for example, is exquisite. 40mm isn't exactly a behemoth size for a watch anyway, but this one feels especially petite when needed. Their cases just hug the wrist beautifully, too, giving users a really comfortable wearing experience.
Then there's the dial itself. The blue on my review unit is definitely the more gauche of the two options, but it's not overbearing. In fact, in use, it's absolutely stunning. The lighter shade in the centre of the dial is in the same realm as Tiffany blue, with the gradient offering a really interesting dimension. It's great to look at, and looks even better in your photos.
The movement is solid and reliable, too. You'll find this calibre in a host of great watches, and it's not hard to see why. It's just drama-free, with an in-built anti-shock system which resists any shocks or jolts. Rated tolerance is +/-20 seconds per day, though my experience here – and with this movement in general – is much better than that.
There's not too much else to talk about here. It's a devilishly simple watch, really – three hands and a date window. Oh and no, I haven't tested the water resistance. I'm confident in it, though, and I sure as heck wasn't breaking a sweat doing the dishes wearing it.
Is the Christopher Ward C60 Atoll 300 worth the money?
To purchase the Christopher Ward C60 Atoll 300 on the Bader bracelet, you'll need to fork out £915. That drops down to just £760 if you opt for a rubber strap. And let me be very clear – that is an insanely good deal for a watch of this calibre.
Look, Christopher Ward continually punch above their weight in this arena, so it shouldn't come as too much of a shock. These guys have always made watches which defy their price point, and this is no exception.
But the sheer scale of it here is astounding. I can't imagine anyone disputing its place among the best watches under £1,000. Sure, you could put just about any Christopher Ward watch in that bracket, but this one just has an air about it. There's just enough going on to showcase some personality, without being overbearing.
If you snag this on the rubber strap, I'd go as far as saying you might be getting one of the best bang-for-the-buck watches in existence. If it were down to me, though, I'd opt for the metal bracelet. Sure, you'll pay a bit more for the privilege, but the bracelet is really fantastic – particularly with that micro adjustment on offer.
It's definitely a crowded market segment. But if you want a watch which has some stellar credentials and manages to retain its own personality, this one should definitely be on your list.