Until the Christopher Ward Bel Canto was released, the C1 Moonglow was far and away the best-selling single model in the brand’s catalog. Not the Sealander, not a Trident diver. A moonphase. While the C1 Moonglow isn’t going anywhere (though I do hear it may get an update next year), Christopher Ward is doubling down on its success with a striking new moonphase, aptly named the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase that leans into the complication with a sterile aventurine dial that pairs a starry sky with the luminous oversized moon.
The new Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase takes the same form factor as the Moonglow, but the dimensions have been tweaked. The stainless steel 40.5mm case still has the same mix of brushing and polishing, keeping the watch from feeling too dressy. It’s a bit thicker at 13.3mm and a bit shorter, with a 47.9mm lug-to-lug. Those shifts may sound like they’d make for a squat (or squatter) watch, but the watch wore beautifully on the wrist, never once feeling too bulky in any direction. The box sapphire glass gives the dial plenty of room and makes for crystal-clear viewing. While the 30m of water resistance may be untenable for some, it’s certainly appropriate on a watch like this. I found the quick-release leather strap in its deep blue to be a perfect complement to the dial’s hue, while the folding deployant clasp was easy to use and comfortable against the wrist. The C1 Moonphase is also available on the brand’s 7-link Consort bracelet, which features a butterfly clasp, though offers a look that I feel is a bit too sporty for this watch.
I cannot think of a better way to do an aventurine moonphase. Aventurine’s dazzling starry appearance begs to be uninterrupted and allowed to show itself off without being marred by indices or dial printing. Here, the relative clutter of the C1 Moonglow is gone, with an almost entirely sterile dial ceding the spotlight to the brilliant aventurescence (yes, that’s a word) of the dial. The simple polished hands receive only a bevel for character, and that leaves them in a supporting role, as they should be. The overall effect in person and on the wrist is absorbing, the depth of the shimmering specks in the aventurine pulling you in at even the briefest of glances.
In photos and in person, it is honestly hard to decide which element of the dial deserves the most attention: the aventurine dial, or the enormous moonphase. Taking up fully a third of the dial (maybe a bit more — it’s 25% bigger than the Moonglow’s), the moon is made of luminescent Globolight overlayed with a print of the moon and sits on a rotating plate of aventurine. When the new moon comes around, you get an entire aventurine dial, a faint outline of the window offering the only hint of the moonphase’s presence. From the waxing to the waning crescent, the enormity of the glowing moon, which is coated in Super-LumiNova, is what immediately catches the eye when glancing at the time. To be sure, the hands — and therefore the time itself — are tertiary here, taking a backseat to both the aventurine and the moonphase. In the dark and at some lighting angles, they all but disappear, though a slight tilt of the wrist is all it takes to bring them back. This occasional absence of a watch’s main purpose didn’t bother me in the short time I handled the C1 Moonphase.
The new C1 Moonphase uses an elaboré grade Sellita SW200-1 as its base. Without the date function of the Moonglow, the SW220 was no longer necessary, but like that watch, the C1 Moonphase receives CW’s in-house JJ04 moonphase module that converts the three-hand SW200 into a proper moonphase. The movement also gets a custom black rotor with the brand’s twin flag motif. Quoted accuracy is -20/+20 seconds per day, with 38 hours of power on a full wind and a beat rate of 28,800 vph.
The only surprise here is that this watch didn’t happen sooner. When you consider the success of the C1 Moonglow, the popularity of aventurine, and the nascent resurgence of dress watches, I would’ve expected this watch to have debuted sometime less than 4 years after the Moonglow. Better late than never, though, and I’m glad it’s here because it’s a beauty. The Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase is priced at $2,325 USD on strap (the same as the C1 Moonglow) and $2,475 USD on bracelet. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.