Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

There is no denying that the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve is a lot of watch for the money. At under $2,000, you get a pretty decent in-house made movement, elegant dial, skillfully designed case, and some welcome character. This is all part of a quickly evolving London-based Christopher Ward brand, which is rapidly shedding some of its former skin as a maker of less expensive lookalike pieces hanging on the popularity of other designs, and truly coming into their own.

Christopher Ward has been trying to reinvent what the British dress watch (for regular people) is over the last few years. The design language that the company has been experimenting with is clearly evident in the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, including the style of the hands, hour markers, and overall theme which is clearly classic, but with a bit of a modern twist that the brand hopes will be increasingly associated with the Christopher Ward name.

The C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve is actually the first product in the still new C1 watch family. As mentioned above, Christopher Ward has come far enough along to have a unique case, movement, and dial for this collection. Even the "C" shape of the power reserve indicator on the dial is meant to stand for "Christopher."

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward's lead designer Adrian Buchmann (who is from Switzerland, of course) says that he is proudest of the C1's case. It is indeed a good design that cleverly does a few things well. If anything, the slick case design prevents the watch from seeming dull when viewed from angles. There are a lot of watches out there with very boring cases. More and more, I judge even simple watches such as this, which are meant for formal to business casual wear, not only on their dial and movement, but also the visual interest of the case that they are housed in. Starting at about the $500 price point, a consumer should expect interesting case designs for their watches.

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve case is 40.5mm wide, but actually rather thick at 12.8mm (water resistant to 30 meters). The thickness is due to the inherent size of the caliber SH21 movement which is inside of it. What Buchmann did so well was to design the elegant steel case so that it actually looks thinner than it is - especially when worn on the wrist.

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Look on the side of the case and you'll see a long swooping line done in a brushed versus polished finish. The line extends through the length of the lugs, and creates a visual sense that the case is longer than it is, while at the same time distracting from the height. The case also flairs a bit at the middle, which means the back of the case is a bit narrower, which also leads to the sense that the case is thinner than it is. You also need to take into account the design and size of the lugs, as well as the steeply sloped polished bezel. Together you get a look which is familiar and satisfying, but upon close inspection is something which you can only get from Christopher Ward.

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

With widely spaced lugs and the thickness of the case, the 40.5mm size wears a bit on the larger size, making it good for a wide assortment of wrist sizes. You can see the movement through the rear of the case via the sapphire crystal window, which helps you realize that the movement really is taking up most of the case. The SH21 is a good looking mechanism for the money, and its tech specs are easily enough to wow most consumers at this price point.

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward still insists on calling the SH21 the exact same thing no matter what complications it has. "SH21" is really a base movement which various modules are built on top of. For the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve (as the name implies) the main complication aside from the time is a power reserve indicator. According to Christopher Ward, the addition of the power reserve indicator required 28 additional elements to the base movement.

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Operating at 4Hz (28,800 bph), the automatic SH21 is most impressive for its 120 hours (five days) of power reserve. Back in 2014 I reviewed the Christopher Ward C9 Harrison watch which actually debuted the SH21 movement overall. At the time, I believe that I mentioned how a power reserve indicator would be a nice feature to add to the movement. Now a few years later I finally got it, and in a watch that the C9 Harrison eventually evolved into (the C1 Grand Malvern). It is important to further mention that the SH21 in the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve is a COSC certified Chronometer (with a label to indicate as such on the dial).

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (47)
  • Interesting (23)
  • I want it! (15)
  • I love it! (12)
  • Classy (3)
  • Chaz

    Other than the borderline narcissistic branding on the dial, this is not bad at all. Perhaps a subtle date at 3 instead of the SHOUTING branding?

    • JE Bailey

      I can’t think of a watch company off the top of my head that doesn’t plaster their name on the dial.

  • Yan Fin

    Wasn’t it reviewed already in November last year?

    • ???

      It was a “Watch release” at that time.

  • Phil leavell

    Nice write-up. Really nice offering from Christopher Ward . It has a very interesting movement reluctant to wear price point is about $ 300 High. It’s funny that in your article you mention seiko here’s a comparable offering from seiko https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/acc1f039b6f05843603ed8ece8bbdb2ce73896b20935f13b6276be54ed9e24dd.png for $1,160 to your door

    • error406

      One thing the watch crowd, the laptop crowd and the smartphone crowd have in common: they constantly come up with “comparable” alternatives as if good design is a) free, and b) irrelevant. Only the internals matter, as if we buy watches for practical reasons…

    • IG

      It’s a Seiko.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Nice watch. But not enough to buy it ( even if it is British ) Here are the varieties. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/35428b1bd511f23d21c42f99fcd4e1528367d4ef217767bf76d7a673b1d3f97e.jpg

  • BNABOD

    had a jump hour once from CW and the glare was absolutely awful so it seems they haven’t “invested” in AR coating yet. at 2k that is pretty lame and otherwise detracts from a reasonably good offering.

  • CW is in dire need of a redesigned brand logo. This particular watch shows this need. I really like everything but the branding about this latest issue.

    • Tony NW

      Or going back to their original logo.

  • Nice execution. Good value proposition. Anyone have data on how well the movement holds up with average daily wear? Any known weak points? Does the regulation stay consistent with daily wear?

  • error406

    I everything about it, except that the branding makes it look like a cheap fashion watch.

    The difference between this and the old logo is that while I really don’t like either, this one devalues the appearance.

    • Larry Holmack

      Totally agree with you. I do not like their dials with the name on it at all! Might as well have a giant crystal filled CW on the dial!!!
      If I was in the market for a nice dress watch, the Orient 2nd Gen Bambino would be on the top of my list. I love the rose gold and black combo on this one!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/00e86536be7f05474993340967fdc32c3550b64e789e41a0f33ebf398a1fef47.jpg

      • SuperStrapper

        Too small for you. Isn’t it 39mm?

        • Larry Holmack

          Actually this one is 40 mm’s. I do have some nice dress watches that are 40 – 42 mm’s, for when the wife and I have to attend her company functions.

  • sfbaydawg221

    Perhaps in the next iteration Christopher Ward can try to fit a middle name on the dial.

    • HectorAsuipe

      His middle name is “Muthaflubba”

  • SuperStrapper

    It’s a nice offering, but I do echo the sentiments of many here in the branding being poor. I’m actually interested in tryingone on, as the thickness is nice. I don’t like bulky watches but I don’t like overly thin ones either, and this case design does look comfortable.

  • cluedog12

    Nice daily wearer. Bit bulky and thick, but it’s a good looking watch. Even with the logo, a logo that nobody has nice things to say about.

  • Elijs Dima (@x2eliah)

    Okay the movement looks nice. Good that they’ve chosen to go with a unique decoration, instead of the same-ol-same-ol geneva stripes that you see everywhere.

  • Timestandsstill

    I like it. I’d wear it

    Probably wouldn’t buy it tho

  • egznyc

    Why all the discussion about the ugly branding? It’s not that terrible. The “C” shaped power reserve on the other hand seems too cute to me. I find it distracting.

  • Framlucasse

    Nice watch, and very nice movement, at a good price, a job well done.

    See Bremont? That’s how it’s done.

  • Ian john horwood

    the movement is VERY dissapointing, might look decent but its performance is extremely bad and all over the place and accuracy is VERY bad, and any sudden wrist action the movement gains 10-20 seconds a second. Anti-shock is none existant and doesn’t work on these movements, its very poorly. My seiko automatic spb039 is amount +1 second a day and never more than +3 seconds a day, hows that for £500 it cost me new.

    • Ranchracer

      If you actually OWN this watch (which I highly doubt), and it loses 10-20 seconds with “sudden wrist action”, then there is something very wrong with the movement and you should immediately send it back to CW for servicing. This is a COSC certified chronometer so I GUARANTEE you that it is more accurate than your £500 Seiko.

      • Ian john horwood

        Ive had and tried a couple of their sh21 movements, both had same problems. They both went back. Also tried other of their watches with problems too. Will never buy from them again. So to your bullshit comment ive never owned them, i have, and never again, their quality control is crap for their so called automatic chronometer watches.

      • Ian john horwood

        My seiko spb039 is VERY accurate. It averages +1 second a day and no more +3 at very worst. Its on my wrist 24/7 including sleeping in bed on my wrist. So u can stuff your bullshit where the sun dont shine, u dont know what your talking about. Ive got through a lot of watches from cheap to expensive. Lots of them dont live up to their so called hyped up crap of lies, including swiss bullshit lies.

  • Ranchracer

    40mm case, beautiful white dial, 5-day power reserve, power reserve indicator, and in-house movement all for under 2k? I approve.

  • Mark1884

    I like it. Good value for the money, and a good looking watch.

  • Ross Diljohn

    Crown looks odd to me. No character.

  • #The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

    Well done!
    Nicely assembled and a beautiful classic timepiece.

  • HectorAsuipe

    Replace the 12 with double sticks and the 6 with a wider single stick. Or add a 3.
    And somehow make it look less bulbous – a flaw with the Cartier Drive de Cartier, as well.

    Any chance of ever getting a lug-to-lug length measurement in a review? No? OK, I went to the site and they (mercifully) post it as 48.55mm. And 3ATM of water resistance.

    For the money, a nice piece.

  • Pete Pete

    I am kinda wondering if the real “>Best characteristic of watch” might be the fact that christopher ward is one of the very best customers of abtw which keeps paying for sponsored posts almost every month.

  • Rob D

    I don’t quite get the power reserve indicator on an automatic watch, if they had it as a hand wound version of the movement, and lost a couple of millimeters of case height as a result, then this would appeal, although I prefer the pilots watch power reserve for overall style. Still, it’s pretty attractive and at the price it is it’s hard to find much to fault.

  • commentator bob
    • commentator bob

      I should note that the C5 Malvern Automatic Mk III also has the profiled, brushed side-case design that Chris Ward created/knocked-off from Omega to make the cases look less tall. It does work well, both on Omegas and on the Chris Ward watches.

  • Dave Pryor

    Excellent value for the money.