September 10, 2017
by Ariel Adams
The power reserve of the movement is supplied through dual mainspring barrels, and winding it up all the way manually is a long process and winding it results in a “whining” sound akin to some Seiko movements. This is just a sound and not related to healthy operation of the movement. The power reserve indicator is not designed to be all that conspicuous, more a feature to be there when you need to look at it. At the same time, Christopher Ward didn’t want to overly minimize the design of the power reserve indicator. The result is a light-colored “C” dial on the face with a tiny blue arrow which is used to mark the power reserve. While there are no numbers, there are five markers to represent the five days of power reserve.
I am a fan of the overall design, which continues the “sleek and thin” look previous Christopher Ward dress watches have focused on. The needle-style hands are either blue-colored steel or polished steel depending on the dial color, which is available in opaline white, sunray blue, or sunray black. For the most legibility, I recommend the opaline white dial versions of the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, with your choice of strap color.
The dial proportions are well-done with nicely sized hands and decent legibility. With that said, the dial materials suffer from a bit too much reflectivity (polish). Adding to this problem is the fact that the domed sapphire crystal doesn’t have an anti-reflective coating applied to the top. This means that the C1’s crystal has a large volume of undesirable glare. I’ve brought this issue up to Christopher Ward (as well as many other brands), who promise to look into working with their supplier on better sapphire crystals in the future. The goal, of course, is to have a good amount of AR-coating on both sides of the crystal. In addition to railing brands about issues with hand size, I’m increasingly trying to push brands to focus as much attention as possible on the production of their sapphire crystals (and the coating thereof).
Christopher Ward currently offers the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve on a choice of four straps or a Milanese mesh metal bracelet. As I said above, in my opinion, the watch comes alive the most on the handsome leather strap – which looks particularly nice in honey-colored brown. The blue strap should also look pretty nice. Christopher Ward uses a well-made fold-over deployant clasp that hides the excess strap inside, rather than outside – which is what we see on most higher-end watches these days.
For guys whose wardrobes are a bit more conservative, the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve is a very decent daily wear. It comes from a growing brand that still has a good “boutique operation” story, has a distinct British-personality (for those keen in England-based brands), and houses a capable movement which continues to be an excellent value for the money. The watch isn’t perfect, but it does have what it takes to make a lot of watch lovers happy. With less glare on the crystal, the watch even has what it takes to compete with a lot of other watches that cost two or three times as much.
Price for the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve watch is $1,935 on a leather strap and $1,970 on the mesh metal bracelet. christopherward.com
>Brand: Christopher Ward
>Model: C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve
>Price: $1,935 USD
>Size: 40.5mm wide, 12.8mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: British-brand loving watch lover seeking a budget-friendly daily dress watch with a very capable movement that horological nerds will enjoy.
>Best characteristic of watch: Case, movement, and dial design work together in a very harmonious manner. Wearing comfort is very high and overall case design is great.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Lack of top-applied AR-coating results in far too much dial glare, which holds the watch brand from being as nice as it could be. Some dial materials and finishes could be a bit more high-end looking, though overall, it is a nice looking piece.