Sure, we have all seen a moonphase before, but it is not the kind of complication one would necessarily expect from English watchmakers Christopher Ward – especially not something this jewelery-esque. Christopher Ward has made a name for himself producing honorific homages to many of the watch industry's best-loved brands and their best-selling models. His watches are well made, sympathetically designed, and competitively priced. Crucially, the brand has, through consistently good reviews, managed to convince the buying market that a Christopher Ward is not an imitation, but rather a popular icon re-imagined. What we have here is a design one might more readily associate with a Piaget or Ulysse Nardin, rendered without diamonds or mother of pearl, and instead with affordable materials that make such a piece more accessible to the masses – kind of the Christopher Ward way.
I must say, the brand has definitely grown on me in recent years – but, as I say, it took a while for me to reach that opinion. I was always comfortable arguing that every brand should offer something unique. Although I stand by that in principle, I came around to accepting that the uniqueness of Christopher Ward is the design and build quality combo one gets at their price point. It's a humble brand expanding in an interesting fashion. Rather than blasting the socks off the market with something totally left-field, Christopher Ward is steadily adding choice and complication to its ranges.
The growing appeal of this English brand hinges on what you get for your pound: A market-tested case silhouette, readily digestible designs that have a classic feel, a twist of originality, overall build quality, and the chance to buy into an up-and-coming name that already boasts its own movement, and several in-house modifications to existing base calibres. In the case of the Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase watch, head watchmaker Johannes Jahnke has successfully added a moonphase module to an ETA 2836-2 base. The ETA 2836-2 is a solid workhorse automatic that carries a date at 6 o'clock, a power reserve of 38 hours, an operating speed of 28,800vph, central hour, minute, and hacking seconds hands.
The modified calibre is referred to as the JJ04 and has 25 jewels in all. The moonphase complication is accurate to within one day for every 128 years of the movement's accuracy (which, in layman's terms, is accurate enough for your bog-standard werewolf to keep things under control). Interestingly, Jahnke has geared this complication in a way that allows the moon disc to "creep" throughout the day. By accurately following the progression of the hours, the moonphase is able to achieve a better-than-average accuracy AND, quite crucially for a watch at this price, provide a constant source of visual interest throughout the day (and night). The watch case, measuring 40mm, is based on the C9 range and is made from surgical grade 316L stainless steel. The lugs are 20mm apart, and the luxury leather strap is available in either black, blue, or brown leather, can be upgraded for an alligator strap (each with a Bader deployant clasp), or can be replaced by a stainless steel link bracelet. Additionally, the Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase watch is water resistant to 50 meters.
The most interesting stylistic thing about the Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase watch is most certainly its dial. The moonphase disc itself is 3D-stamped and sports a semi-matt galvanic treatment, which creates a surprising amount of depth and texture for such a slim component. Beneath the moonphase disc, a bespoke guilloche pattern evokes thoughts of the tide that is bound to the movements of the moon. A good deal of chromatic balance is added to the dial by the marriage of polished hands and raised indices. The Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase Watch is available in two dial variations: a white and gold version and a midnight (dark blue) and silver version. The Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase watch has a price of £1,295 on the luxury leather strap, £1357.50 for the alligator upgrade, and £1,395 for the stainless steel bracelet. The watch will be officially released during Salon QP weekend, held at the Saatchi Gallery in London, in November. christopherward.co.uk