I usually spend weeks or even months deciding on a new watch before reaching for my credit card. They don't tend to be cheap purchases and I always try to seek justification, albeit often only from myself, before going ahead. A new job, a new client, a big birthday perhaps.
28 July 2022 was no such day. I wasn’t aware of the new limited edition Christopher Ward C63 Sealander until its announcement appeared. It’s a good looking watch, I thought, and I especially liked how the C63 case had been shrunk down to 36mm, better suiting my slim wrists than larger timepieces. The yellow, red and green options looked good, with more than a passing resemblance to similar shades of dial used by the Rolex Oyster Perpetual.
But then I saw the turquoise model. Christopher Ward calls it Lucern Blue after a Swiss lake, but we all know it’s a riff on Tiffany Blue (or Fortnum & Mason green, perhaps?). Whatever you call it, the colour was having a bit of a moment in the summer of 2022. A Tiffany exhibition was taking place at London’s Saatchi Gallery, complete with a gift shop packing purchases into green/blue bags, and a whole host of watch companies were making dials with their own spin on the famous colour.
The C63’s compact ‘Light-catcher’ case – paired with the automatic movement visible through a sapphire exhibition back – plus the iconic colour, the inclusion of a matching leather strap and the fact each colour was limited to just 200 units meant I had to have one.
Before the working day was over, every Lucerne Blue model had sold out. Within a month the red, green and yellow versions had gone too, as Christopher Ward clearly had a hit on its hands. Case number 013 (not-so-unlucky for me) arrived a few days later and I’ve worn it for much of the year since.
I mostly use the more conservative stainless steel bracelet, saving the bold leather strap for more infrequent use during the summer. Paired with a casual white shirt it makes for a fantastic beach watch in sunnier climes. The iconic dial colour gets the occasional glance from watch fans no doubt hoping to spot a Tiffany-dial Rolex, but for me the multifaceted case is equally beautiful, its many sides perfectly catching the passing light.
The case has picked up its fair share of scratches over the last 12 months. Some I’m a little disappointed by, but I know the stainless steel can always be restored by a professional if I ever feel the need. The C63 has otherwise been an absolute joy, keeping perfect time, achieving its claimed 38 hours of power reserve, and attracting compliments everywhere it went.
I love the little details too. Like how the leather strap has a small tether to keep the loop in the right place, and how the quick-release lugs make swapping the strap easy without tools. The steel bracelet has a quick-adjust system that means it can be quickly lengthened or shortened by a few millimeters – really handy for when the wearer’s arm swells slightly on warmer days.
Christopher Ward doubled-down on the watch’s popularity, releasing a larger 39mm version a few months later, limited to 300 pieces. I was a little disappointed to see the exclusivity of my watch fall slightly, but am still happy to know I have the original, the rarer of the two and, for me at least, the more comfortable size.
A British watch brand founded in 2004, Christopher Ward has been on my radar for well over a decade, and I’ve always been a fan of its links with cars and motorsport. I’m also thrilled to see the company expand and earn a great deal of much-deserved success in more recent years, especially with the launch of the C1 Bel Canto chiming watch.
In fact I’ve just spent the morning looking lustfully at the baby blue C1 Bel Canto ‘Cielo’ and am now desperately trying to justify the price tag. It won’t be as spontaneous a purchase as the Lucerne C63, but if Christopher Ward could keep that colourway in production for another year or so, I can see it becoming the flagship of my collection.