Once upon a time, mechanical watches were a truly crucial tool for many people. These devices represented some of the only ways to tell the time, making accuracy and reliability crucial.
Fast forward to the modern age and things aren't quite the same. While many still enjoy mechanical timepieces, the advent of digital watches and uber-accurate quartz watches means that the humble mechanical watch is not the must-have tool of days gone by.
Still, that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them. As luxury pieces of jewellery, mechanical watches are still the top dog. And, as luxurious, opulent watches go, this one might just take the cake. It's called the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase, and I've been wearing it for the past week, to get a feel for what it's all about.
Let's start with some specs. The C1 Moonphase features a 40.5mm case, with a lug-to-lug measurement a hair shy of 48mm. It sits just 13.3mm tall, too, even with a box sapphire crystal on top. All of that makes for a very nice, wearable size, which should suit all bar the slimmest of wrists.
Inside, you'll find a Sellita SW200-1 movement. That's loaded with Christopher Ward's in-house JJ04 on top, for controlling the moon phase complication. You can see all of that goodness from a display caseback on the rear, showcasing the movement offset by a classy blacked out rotor.
You'll have the option of either a leather strap or the Christopher Ward Consort bracelet here. The bracelet is the same stainless steel as the case, and both strap options come with quick release spring bars for easier strap changes.
But okay, I've stalled long enough – let's get to the pièce de résistance. The dial on this watch is absolutely magnificent – you might even say, the star of the show. It's made from aventurine, which is a glass fused with copper oxide flakes. Those reflect light to give the appearance of stars shining in the night sky.
The same material is used for the moon phase, which is set below the rest of the dial. A duo of highly detailed moons adorn that plate, which smoothly turns to mimic the phase of the moon in the night sky. Otherwise, the dial is left unspoiled, with no indices or text except the Swiss Made logo at the 6 o'clock position. Hands for the seconds, minutes and hours are simple silver-toned examples, too, leaving your eye free to explore that sumptuous dial without disturbance.
What is the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase like to wear?
As mentioned, I've been using the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase for the last week or so, to really get a feel for how it wears and what it's like to use. That's given me enough time to try it in a few different scenarios – from casual office wear to formal dinners and more.
First things first, this is a watch which is going to fit in pretty much anywhere. My review unit comes on the Consort bracelet, which definitely lends a sportier edge to the design. That helps out in more casual scenarios, but don't think that comes at the expense of formality.
While a watch like this isn't a traditional dress watch, the minimal appearance and audacious nature of the dial ensures you'll fit in. In fact, you'll do a whole lot more than fit in – it's the kind of watch which will turn heads, even among non-watch enthusiasts.
The overall wearing experience is very pleasant, too. The Consort bracelet is a joy, offering one of the most comfortable bracelet experiences you'll find on any watch. It's just effortless. The watch itself isn't too heavy, either, so you don't find it sitting awkwardly on the wrist. Size-wise, it's pretty perfect too, sitting nicely on my 6.5-inch wrists.
Look, it's not perfect. While that dial is stunning it's not exactly the easiest thing to read. The lack of indices makes it hard to tell the specific time – you'll know it's about quarter past three, for example, but try telling whether it's actually 13 or 14 minutes past.
Then there's the moon phase. Again, it looks stunning – Christopher Ward's take on the form is arguably one of the best looking on the market. But setting it is a bit unusual, with a smooth rotation rather than one in notched increments. It's another scenario where you'll get close, but probably not perfect.
I certainly don't think either of those points are bad ones, though. Personally, I think far too many watch enthusiasts are over concerned with the pursuit of perfection. How many of us really need accuracy down to the second? With a watch like this, you're free of those kind of stresses, and I've found that really enjoyable.
Is the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase worth the money?
Okay, so let's get down to brass tacks. The C1 Moonphase is going to set you back £1,995/$2,325 on the leather strap, and £2,120/$2,475 on the bracelet. That's not cheap, by any stretch, but I still believe it represents good value.
What you're getting here is a truly luxurious watch. It's exuberant, lavish – throw the whole book of adjectives at it, they probably all work. Of course, being a Christopher Ward, it also packs absolutely top notch build quality. You'll instantly get the feeling that you're wearing something worthy of the price tag.
Ultimately, the value it holds for you comes down to your use case. Because look, no-one is suggesting this will replace your Rolex Oyster Perpetual as a daily driver. I'd say the chances of this being anyone's only watch are slim.
But if you've read this far, I also doubt you're a one watch kind of person. No, dear reader, I suspect you've got a small collection of carefully curated timepieces. Something for every style; something for every outfit. One for doing the gardening and one for the garden parties.
Well, if that sounds like you, this is great addition to your collection. Don't expect it to be an everyday wear, but for those days when you do, there really is nothing that will compare.