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Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

Christopher Ward is nothing if not ambitious when it comes to their flagship pieces. From the C9 Jumping Hour to the C900 Single Pusher Chronograph, and now, the new Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer, CW has seen their partnership with Johannes Jahnke give birth to a number of innovative and appealing pieces. With this new C9 model, Christopher Ward is mixing traditional British marine chronometer aesthetics with an appropriately romantic hand-wound caliber – all for a price that may surprise you.

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

One year after the release of the automatic calibre SH21 in the C9 5 Day Automatic, Christopher Ward has expanded the C9 5 Day line up with a new and somewhat more classic Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer. This new hand-wound model has a 40mm hand-finished steel case that is 12.2 mm thick, with anti-reflective sapphire crystals front and back. The metal dial is white with black roman numeral markers and a railway minute scale. Completed with blued steel hands, small seconds at six, and a date display at three, the Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer is legible, well proportioned, and nicely reserved.

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

The overall aesthetics are nothing new, but the movement within is definitely noteworthy. A hand-wound iteration of Jahnke’s SH21 calibre that offers 120 hours of power reserve via two series-connected barrels, the SH21 movement is 100% Swiss made and has 27 jewels, a 4Hz rate, and can be viewed via a sapphire display case back. The Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer is assembled and finished in Biel, Switzerland and, being a chronometer, is also certified by the COSC. Given the 5 day power reserve, it’s hard not to question the decision to forgo a power reserve indicator of some sort.

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

With 120 hours of power reserve and an in-house movement, Christopher Ward is looking to disrupt the usual value proposition offered by most luxury Swiss watch brands. With a list price under $2000 USD, the Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer is undoubtedly a lot of watch for the money and a huge value to watch buyers that place cost and features ahead of more nebulous concepts like branding, prestige, and Veblen economics. The value equation of a watch purchase, especially as watches edge towards functional obsolescence, is a very personalized metric. Some buy for story, some for technology, some for exclusivity, status, or brand.

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

While I’m not sure Christopher Ward will take many customers from the big market players, the value proposition to a watch nerd is undeniable. If you zoom out, to see market tiers rather than just competing brands, what Christoper Ward is doing with some of the qualities typically reserved for luxury watches (in-house, long power reserve, hand finishing, etc.) is not that different from the way brands like Montblanc challenge the brands inhabiting the upper tiers of the watch market – like Jaeger-LeCoultre and A.Lange & Sohne. To illustrate, have you ever driven a Hyundai Equus? Sure, Hyundai can’t match the brand cachet or the finer elements of an S-Class, but it’s 30% less money, a lovely way to get where you’re going, and the Equus’ value isn’t diminished by the existence of the S-Class. You may scoff at the idea of the Equus, but I’d argue it was never meant to appeal to someone who saw value in the list price of an S-Class – those buyers are already locked in, and they aren’t necessarily gear heads.

Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer Watch Watch Releases

The way I see it, Christoper Ward is appealing to those who like the idea of a $10,000 watch but probably can’t see their way to actually spending 10k on a watch (a reality that likely speaks to many of us). Available directly through their website for $1,785 USD, the Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer can be had on a blue, black, or brown leather strap and is backed by Christopher Ward’s five year warranty. With a classic appeal, watch-nerd approved movement, and a seriously impressive value proposition, the Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small-Second Chronometer is yet another market-defying piece from Christopher Ward. christopherward.com

About the Author

James (@jamesstacey) is a writer, dilettante photographer and part-time adventurer. An obsessive fan of many things, he loves watches for their breadth of style, historical connections and raw technical design. James has tendency for diving with dive watches, obsessing about case thickness and, despite owning a vast collection of leather straps, he lives by the adage - "when in doubt, just nato". He also wrote this entire bio himself and is pretty sure it's not a cry for help.

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  • Peter Weady

    I have a couple of CW watches and when I saw the preview picture of this watch in their magazine I knew it would be only a matter of time before I bought one. This may be my Xmas present. You can’t beat the value you get with this brand.

    • BIG CHRONO

      Best purchased now, rather than risk having the psycho hordes grab them all in a few months.

  • I really appreciate what Chris us doing. Though I disagree with the automotive analogy, his new line of watches surreal to me because if the in-house movement. In the last year, I decided to only buy watches from manufactures, so such offerings should my interest.

    Chris saves not in the cost of materials or if assembly, but in machine process. Neither does the movement has an elaborated finish not dues the case. It doesn’t mean that they are poorly finished, quite the contrary, just that the finish types were ones that take less machine time than guilloche and mirror polish. Still, the result is gratifying and at a terrific value.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    just lovely

  • You could explain a car to me by comparing it to a watch, but not the other way around. Cars are lost on me, though I know I’m in the minority.

  • Sevenmack

    Lovely. Just plain gorgeous. The Roman Numerals are especially nice.

  • DanW94

    An attractive watch, I really like this classic marine deck watch look. This movement is a good illustration of why the in-house designation is hard to define. CW essentially back doored its way in by merging with a company that manufactures movements and then worked with different suppliers to make this one. At least they’re transparent about it. Anyhow, they offer great looking watches at reasonable prices.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    In my opinion, a PR indicator would violate the beautiful aesthetics of this dial face.

    • Hopefully they could find a way to nicely integrate it.

      • WINKS

        Yes indeed. On the back for instance.

        • That wouldn’t be my first choice, but it would do since you have to pick up the watch to strap it on, you could glance at the PR indicator on the back then. But on the dial is better I think as you might notice it more often (while reading the time). Cheers.

          • Fady 337

            Getting the PR on the back is also a great idea but PR, besides adding the utility also adds up to the beauty of the watch. At least for me, it looks like a fuel gauge Telling the amount of fuel left

        • Boogur T. Wang

          Perhaps so.

    • Sevenmack

      Agreed. In the case of this watch, it would be superfluous.

      • Superflous on a 5 day manual wind watch? So what is a case where you think it is needed then?

        • Sevenmack

          Almost no case. More than likely, you’ll reset the watch long before it winds down. Have no problem with power reserve indicators in general. But in the case of this watch, it would disturb the look of the dial.

        • Boogur T. Wang

          Fair question – Personally, while I usually like the inclusion of a PR indicator, I think of them as a bit superfluous(sp?).

          Sometimes a nice ‘add-on’ to a technically oriented piece – but I tend not to think of this complication as something mandatory.
          Nice – but not usually required.
          And here, again IMO, I think it might well go against the beauty of the dial. (I was never one who liked “beauty-marks” either)

    • pkansa

      Perhaps if they snuck it in as a secondary hand on the running seconds sub dial…

  • sfbaydawg221

    Overall a good effort. The size and overall look is desirable. But I hope C. Ward does something about that logo. A simple CW would suffice. Also the movement isn’t all that well decorated (compared to Stowa) so I don’t see a need for a sapphire crystal in the back. The power reserve is great if one wears this watch once every three/four days, but for a daily wearer that shouldn’t matter since it would be wound once before wearing and once while putting it away for the night.

    But if it comes to buying one, I would probably save some more money and get a Nomos.

  • Being a manual wind, I would have expected it to be a bit thinner. I think the movement finishing looks fine given the price point for this in-house item. I would prefer it it had either automatic winding or a power reserve indicator, but overall a nice watch at a very fair price.

  • Ulysses31

    Pretty but plain. Full-size movement is great but damn, that colossal bridge is depressing to look at.

    • egznyc

      I totally agree. The front is far more appealing because of what the back doesn’t reveal.

  • SuperStrapper

    Bit of a snoozer.

  • Fady 337

    The dial appearance is superb. Most low prices watches do not have Lume on them.

  • spiceballs

    Though not always to my specific tastes I think that CW produces very nice watches with quality movements at fair prices, and this watch is a continuation of that direction, altho yes, a PR indicator (on the back) would be a good addition.

  • Sam Anderson

    I often find CW to be very close but just a little off. This, however, is lovely. Well proportioned. No need to clutter the dial with a PR. Contra another opinion, I think their branding is old school class and shouldn’t be changed.
    Only slight niggle is that “colossal bridge” as noted by Ulysses31. A little more cut away would have been nice, but I could deal with it.
    This may have to go on the list

  • egznyc

    Nice dial, though a little flat. Not usually a fan of Roman numerals but it works here. The blued hands work great with the blue leather band.

  • Larry Holmack

    If I was still in the workforce, I would have one of these. I really love the Roman Numerals and the blue hands with the blue leather strap. I would, of course, have to order a blue XL alligator strap in order to actually wear the watch….most companies do not provide a leather strap long enough for my 23 cm wrist! But it would be worth it, this is a really great looking watch. Thanks for the very nice review James!!

  • stuart h

    very tempted.. looks classy

  • stuart h

    the big day /date version is also half price:

    http://www.christopherward.com/spring-clearance.html

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