Popping up with another attractive (and exceptionally British) release is Christopher Ward, which has unveiled its first military collection, comprising the Cranwell, Dartmouth, and Sandhurst models. Each model is designed to honor a different branch of UK Armed forces (the Airforce, the Navy, and the Army respectively), taking their names from the training academy for each service branch. With this release, Christopher Ward joins a rather exclusive list of brands permitted to brand commercial products with the insignia of the UK Armed Forces.
Although the Dartmouth (with an appropriate timing bezel in place) looks quite different from the Cranwell and the Sandhurst, all three of these models fall within the C65 family, with all of the new models sharing the vintage DNA of the Christopher Ward Trident model and all three employing the CW “light-catcher” case, which uses contrasting finishes to produce a dazzling display on the wrist.
Christopher Ward has previous experience when it comes to making bespoke watches for UK Armed Forces personnel. To ensure these models are up to the task of serving the services, Christopher Ward has installed chronometer-certified Sellita SW200 movements in this range.
The Christopher Ward C65 Dartmouth is inspired by an old Omega (the Seamaster 300 “Big Triangle”), which launched way back in 1967. That piece was specially commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and was, at one time, known as the Royal Navy 0552. Taking cues from that classic model gives the Dartmouth a pleasant vintage vibe, brought up-to-date by the application of modern manufacturing abilities.
The applied indices on the dial are treated with T-C1 Super-LumiNova, with a sizeable chunk of lume applied to the enormous “wedge” marker at 12. The unidirectional timing bezel is similarly lumed at 12 o’clock so the model is more than capable of being used in low light conditions and underwater, thanks to its 150-meter water resistance. A sapphire box crystal completes the throwback look and works very nicely with the light-catcher case, which affords the 41mm-wide stainless steel watch a relatively low-lying profile at 11.5mm. The model comes on either a vintage oak leather strap, a canvas webbing strap, a Cordura and rubber waterproof strap, or a marine-grade stainless steel bracelet with a micro-adjustable ratchet clasp.
The Sandhurst model is tailored to life in the field. Designed with the Army in mind, the Sandhurst design has its roots in Smiths W10 watch, issued to ground forces in 1967. A textured black dial printed with Arabic numerals offers superb legibility while the faux-rad lume taps into the watch’s origins. This model is available on multiple strap options also, with a camel-colored leather, a canvas option, or a bracelet to choose from.
Named after the less internationally famous Airforce training base, the C65 Cranwell is quite similar in design to the Sandhurst, with the biggest immediate differences seen in the larger 12 o’clock marker for better readability at a glance and the substitution of regular hour markers with white, double-digit minute markers recalling classic pilot watches of old. The Cranwell and the Sandhurst share the same base case as the Dartmouth, measuring a very wearable 41mm. Both canvas and bracelet options exist for this model, along with an aged-leather strap. The Sandhurst is 11.6mm-thick, while the Cranwell sits a shade lower at 11.55m. Each model has a deeply stamped caseback bearing the symbol of the relevant service branch, as well as a unique serial number. Each model in the Christopher Ward military collection retails for £795 on the straps and £895 on the bracelet. To learn more about this series, visit christopherward.co.uk.