Christopher Ward's chiming C1 Bel Canto is great value – but good luck finding one

The watch marks every hour with an audible chime

Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto
(Image credit: Christopher Ward)

We're big fans of British watchmaker Christopher Ward, and it looks like other horologists are too, as the company's latest timepiece has sold out in under 24 hours.

Called the C1 Bel Canto, the mechanical watch features a hammer that chimes every hour, like the bell of a church tower clock. It's what the Swiss call a Sonnerie Au Passage complication, and is pretty rare when it comes to watchmaking. Although perhaps not so rare at the moment, as Omega announced a new model of Speedmaster with its own chiming complication just a few days earlier.

Unlike the Omega, which uses a pair of gongs attached to the stopwatch of its chronograph movement and is priced at around £400,000, the C1 Bel Canto is somewhat more affordable. Christopher Ward priced its chiming watch at £2,995 with a leather strap and £3,305 on a titanium bracelet.

Limited to 300 examples, all sold, the C1 Bel Canto is powered by an in-house movement called the Calibre SH21, which features 50 new components over the SW200-1 automatic movement on which it is based.

Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto

(Image credit: Christopher Ward)

The 41mm case is made from grade five titanium and has a height of 13mm and a lug-to-lug measurement of 48mm. The watch is water resistant to 3ATM (about 30 metres) and has a power reserve of 38 hours.

A button at the four o'clock position can be pressed to turn the chiming complication on or off, so not to disturb at night, and a red hand at the same position on the dial indicates if the watch is muted or not.

“Bel Canto is an extrapolation of the C60 Concept, in that we’re taking the best hand-finished components and putting them within reach of many,” says Jörg Bader Junior, head of product at CW’s Biel atelier. “But in terms of technological challenge, it’s taken us into uncharted territory. We had to figure everything out for ourselves.”

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.