Christopher Ward is a brand that is going from strength to strength, with new watches that are being favourably compared to much bigger – and more expensive – brands. We take the new C65 Trident for a spin.
Christopher Ward C65 Trident Review
The Christopher Ward C65 Trident sits between their tool divers (the C60) and their dress watches. They are vintage-inspired watches in a more modern size, and are not designed as “true dive watches” but rather as a stylish watch with the looks of a diver. The closest comparison I could draw was to the Tudor Black Bay – indeed the C65 Trident brings to mind the first-generation Black Bay more than anything else, and actually improves on some of the issues I had with that watch – namely its thickness and lack of a date function.
I usually review watches that have been lent to me by the brands, but in this case, the watch is from my own personal collection. I do not often buy myself watches to keep these days, so my expectations were high.
Christopher Ward has redesigned its boxes. Gone is the huge cube of old, and in comes a two-piece sliding box with a wooden inner and rubberised cardboard outer. It feels “premium” and takes up a lot less space in the wardrobe/loft/bin – wherever you choose to keep them!
The case is what attracted me to the Christopher Ward C65 Trident in the first place. I enjoy the look of a dive watch, but I wear a shirt at work and very few will fit comfortably under a dress shirt sleeve. At just under 12mm thick I was left scratching my head as to how Christopher Ward crammed a Sellita SW-200 inside this thing. There are some clever design features that don’t just keep it thin, but make it look thin too – namely the crystal protruding above the bezel, which gives the look of a vintage Plexi crystal as well as shaving a few millimetres (literally and visually) from the size. The edges of the watch are neatly chamfered to make it appear thinner in profile. The case back is deeply stamped – everything feels solid without being too chunky. Surprisingly, the crown does not screw down. It still has 150m of water resistance but I’d have expected it in a dive watch. Not a deal-breaker so much as an observation.
I love the narrow bezel, which allows the dial to dominate and makes my other watches seem poorly proportioned, and the tolerance that allows the crown to overlap the edge of the bezel is extremely satisfying to the eye. This all adds up to a watch that looks, feels and wears a lot smaller than its 41mm case size would suggest and, for me, strikes the perfect balance. It is an absolute dream to wear with not a sharp edge in sight and everything balances perfectly.
Dial and Hands
Unlike its predecessor and the C60 series, the Christopher Ward C65 Trident has applied circular markers instead of sticks. The brand says this harks back to the Rolex Submariner, and it is this more than anything that reminded me of the Tudor Black Bay – also inspired by vintage Rolex divers. The blue colour changes in the light, from a close match to the bezel to a much lighter shade in the sunlight. The applied markers are all well finished and the black date wheel does not look out of place against the blue dial (my blue Trident also has a black date wheel).
The stick hands look far better to me than the fussy hands of the old Tridents and the arrows of the C60. The only negative of the dial is that the Old Radium lume is very poor, barely glowing at all – if you like your watches to glow then you’ll be disappointed. I am not too fussed about lume anyway – and a real vintage watch would not be very bright by now either – so I will forgive this.
It’s impossible to mention Christopher Ward without a large, vocal, faction of watch fans complaining about the logo. For what it’s worth, I do not mind the logo being at 9 O’clock, nor do I feel the font, or its white colour detracts from the appearance of the watch. I love the debossed English/Swiss flag design. I know some people don’t and suggest that you move on if you think this could be an issue for you.
The C65 Trident’s bracelet is a revelation. Previous Christopher Ward bracelets have been good but this one adds some features that elevate it to “great” status: the quick release mechanism and the ratchet micro-adjustment. These make the two things you are most likely to do with the bracelet – take it off or adjust it – absolutely simple, and should be a feature of every luxury watch.
If I have to pick faults, the bracelet is a bit squeaky and could do with a bath in baby oil and the pin system makes it a bit fiddly to remove links when compared to screws. As part of the overall package, and considering the price point, these are nothing more than minor niggles.
Christopher Ward C65 Trident – Video Review
What I Liked
- The watch wears beautifully thanks to some clever design tricks to make it look and feel thinner
- I love the vintage design and blue colour
- The bracelet’s quick-adjust feature is perfect for people like me who like to fiddle with the fit of their watch
What I Didn’t Like
- Christopher Ward took almost two weeks to dispatch the watch, which spoilt my enjoyment somewhat
- The lume is very poor, if that matters to you
- The bracelet is a bit gritty and squeaky, although that only stands up when compared to the absolutely superb finishing of the watch case.
Christopher Ward C65 Trident – the WRUK Verdict
It’s been a big year for dive watches, but we’re into November and I have picked the watch that is my favourite of the year and voted with my wallet. This is the watch that has overtaken my TAG Heuer Aquaracer 500m as my daily wearer. It looks good, feels great and – at less than £800 – represents absolutely superb value for money. The only real negative for me was the length of time it took for Christopher Ward to dispatch my watch – two weeks versus their aim of two days – but I suspect that the brand’s recent upturn in quality has increased their sales significantly. And remember that if you do buy a Christopher Ward watch you get 60 days to change your mind and send it back, so it is relatively risk-free. Highly recommended.
Buy a Christopher Ward C65 Trident
Christopher Ward famously sell direct to the public from https://www.christopherward.co.uk/ – I recommend signing up for their Loupe magazine which is not only a good read but also usually arrives along with an envelope full of discount vouchers. If the brand is not having one of their regular sales, eBay is a good place to find Christopher Ward watches (they have a 5 year movement warranty so it’s pretty risk-free to buy a used recent model). Aim to spend no more than half RRP.