As expected, 2019 is seeing a run on watches released to commemorate the moon landing in 1969. British brand Christopher Ward has joined the party. With the release of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, the industry is treated to yet another “big moon phase” watch. This model, however, stands out from the crowd. With the kind of astuteness necessary to separate oneself and one’s products in an incredibly competitive price bracket, the C1 Moonglow offers a surprising combination of luxury features and genuine affordability.
Shooting for the Moon
The very last Christopher Ward we reviewed on aBlogtoWatch was the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Moon Phase watch. It is a remarkable testament to the design of this new piece to acknowledge that both models are powered by the JJ04 caliber. While internally similar, the overall aesthetic could not be more different.
The JJ04 uses an ETA 2836 as its base, before being fitted with an in-house lunar module that also features a peripheral date indicator. The result is a neat, modern, engaging dial that blends 3D elements, flashes of contrasting color, and superb Super-LumiNova Grade® X1 GL C1 on the moons, hands, indices, numerals, and outer date ring. Throw in polished indices set around a smoked dial, and you’ve got a potent list of attributes.
The Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow watch measures a refreshingly petite 40.5mm across. With a 12.35mm height and 48.55mm lug-width, this is a relatively slim and elegant stainless steel watch that is perfect dress attire. Its more contemporary dial, however, could see it carried off with casual wear,c too. At just 61 grams, it is light and wearable. And although it is water resistant to just 30 meters, it is not the kind of watch one would be tempted to take for a dip.
The watch comes on either a 20mm leather strap or a stainless steel mesh bracelet. Both look perfectly at home on the watch, but for me, a moon phase always sits more comfortably against a classic leather strap (even a design of such modernity).
The JJ04 caliber has a timing tolerance of -10/+20 seconds per day, an operating frequency of 28,800vph, and a 38-hour power reserve. The rotor is engraved with the Christopher Ward twin-flag logo and finished with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating.
Learning from the Best
It’s never easy to say for sure where the inspiration for a model comes from, but for me, this piece is reminiscent of the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase Lumen. And I couldn’t mean that as anything but an immense compliment. Not only has the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow managed to evoke the same sense of style as a watch almost 100 times the price, but it has also done so in a crowded field that doesn’t really offer a direct competitor. There are plenty of watches in the same price bracket that use the same style of movement and the same layout, but it seems so many of them are focused on a classical style that comes across as massively passé next to this watch.
The moon phase complication has long been a favorite of mine. That said, I do not believe that it is a particularly easy function to integrate into a modern timepiece. When A. Lange & Söhne did it, I rejoiced (until I saw the price). The release of the Hermès Arceau L’Heure de la Lune earlier this year set my heart racing once more (until it stopped dead upon learning the cost). And now Christopher Ward has caught me completely unawares with a release that satisfies the same aesthetic desires with so many pleasing design elements it may have no choice but to end up in my collection.
I rarely get this excited about a release I could actually afford, but this one has me going back to the press release time and time again, in utter disbelief. Although it certainly won’t be to everyone’s taste (especially those who don’t want to see a complication as venerated as the moon phase brought up to date with luminous material, three dimensional moons, and smoked crystals all over the place), there are so many nice design decisions made here that, for £1,695 retail, I really struggle to fault it as a value proposition. When budding watch fans ask me for a good first luxury watch, I’m pretty sure this one will be near the top of my list of suggestions from now on. Learn more about this watch and others at christopherward.co.uk.