When you think of the best watches under £1,000, there are probably a handful of brands that spring to mind. And, chief among them should be Christopher Ward. The British brand have been going from strength-to-strength of late, with a range of top models hitting the market.
One of my favourite releases from the brand last year was the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase. Among a host of bits to like, that packed in a stunning Aventurine dial. That's a Venetian glass with flakes of copper oxide in it. When the light hits the dial, it sparkles like the night sky. Magical.
Still, that Moonphase was more a work of art than a watch. Which is why the introduction of this Christopher Ward C63 Celest really interested me. That same sumptuous dial on a small, everyday watch you can actually read? And under £1,000? Count me in.
Let's kick off with some specs. The C63 Celest is a 36mm watch, with a 42.87mm lug-to-lug width. That all sounds like a really great wear, which should be perfect for the majority of wrists.
That's a stainless steel case – pretty standard fare for Christopher Ward – and in the case of my review unit, a matching stainless steel Consort bracelet. It also comes on the Bader bracelet or an Italian leather strap. For me though, the Consort is the pick of the bunch.
Sitting just 11.4mm thick, the watch should also be nicely unobtrusive on the wrist. That thickness houses a SW200-1 movement, as well as that stunning dial. Here, it's topped with beautifully polished hands and indices, while an applied logo showcases the Christopher Ward heritage.
Perhaps slightly unexpectedly, there's also 150m of water resistance on offer here. That's almost dive watch levels of resistance, and ensures this watch is far more hardy than its dainty appearance may suggest. Top marks.
What is the Christopher Ward C63 Celest like to wear?
This watch comes in a 36mm case size. That's an absolutely perfect size for the majority of wearers – slightly smaller than most, but never feeling too small. The sizing definitely helps lend a more dressy feel to this watch, making it a perfect middle ground.
If you need something which can effortlessly traverse the lines between dressed up and casual, this is the one for you. It's just as comfortable slid under the cuff of a dress shirt as it is alongside a t-shirt and jeans.
None of that is really a surprise. The Sealander range has always been pretty much the perfect everyday wear, so there's nothing to suggest that wouldn't have been the case here.
No, the pièce de résistance here is that dial, and it's every bit as spectacular as it was on the Moonphase. That struggled with a lack of indices, though, making it tough to read. There's no such issue on this model, though.
The C63 Celest is just perfect as a daily driver. Sit under low light and that magnificent Aventurine dial turns almost jet black. Only when you get it under the light do those copper oxide flakes really work their magic. But goodness me is that a spectacular sight.
It's the kind of dial you'd expect to see on a watch with a five- or six-figure price tag. That makes seeing it on a sub-£1,000 model even more impressive.
Is the Christopher Ward C63 Celest worth the money?
The C63 Celest comes in across three different price points. On the leather strap it costs just £750, while the Bader and Consort bracelets cost £895 and £905 respectively.
That is a really competitive band of the market. You'll find a whole range of classic brands and microbrands offering some really compelling watches – including great swathes of the remainder of the Christopher Ward range!
I'm here to tell you that this is worth every single penny. Twice. Buy it on the Consort bracelet and enjoy one of the best sub-£1,000 options on the market. You'll never look back, particularly with that fantastic dial.
Alternatively, opt for it on the leather strap and bask in one of the best value for money watches on the market today. Whatever you go for, you won't be disappointed.