If you need a quick pilot watch fix and don’t want to shell out four digit amounts on an IWC or something like that, then Christopher Ward’s C8 Pilot collection is a good option. Their newest version offers that slick vintage look with a tan strap and tan lume that seems to go equally well with shorts and jeans. This isn’t a new watch per se as the C8 has been in Christopher Ward’s collection for a bit, but this new version is among the most appealing.
The case is sandblasted steel and 44mm wide. I would love to see them offer a PVD black version to offer more of that Bell & Ross BR Vintage 123 look that I find so very sexy. Yea, sexy. Perhaps CW will offer that in the future. The dial of the C8 Pilot Mark II Vintage has both Arabic hour numerals and hour markers. This makes for a very tool-like look and a high degree of legibility. The 12 o’clock hour indicator is applied to keep the dial from looking too flat. This style doesn’t emanate excitement at first glance, but is visually neutral and will not stress the eyes after looking at it for a while.
Note how Christopher Ward offers their own version of the pilot watch “onion” crown. It sorta of has that look while looking modern and neat. The tan leather strap is a necessary touch, but where are my beloved pilot watch strap rivets? The hands on the dial are pretty much the right size, but can look smaller in certain lights. This is due to the black edge of the hands matching the color of the dial. This is a common issue and I have actually thought a lot about how to resolve it. One idea I have had is to have the black color of the hands a slightly different shade (say a bit more gray) than the dial. Alternatively, the hand edges and dial could have a very different texture or finish – those ideas will likely help the hands stand out more, but still preserve that iconic pilot watch look. One brand that does it pretty well is IWC.
Inside of the C8 Pilot Mark II Vintage (a rather unnecessarily long name if you ask me) is a Swiss ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. One design feature that is pretty satisfying is the insertion of the case via a small, round window. Not only does CW properly use a black date disc, but the window does not interfere with the 3 o’clock hour indicator. Price in England is 365 Pounds. The US price won’t be that exactly, but less. Due to UK VAT taxes (I assume) the prices outside the UK are a bit less. Figure in the $450 – $500 range for this Christopher Ward C8 Pilot Mark II watch when it is available soon.