The inability to travel has forced me to live vicariously through GMT and worldtimer watches. I have been obsessing over them, shortlisting the models I think I might purchase when we are allowed to travel for leisure again. And one particular model that caught my eye was the C1 Worldglow from Christopher Ward. I think you’lll find that it does some really interesting things and ticks a lot of the boxes that people want from a travel watch.
The C1 designation means this watch is part of Christopher Wards’ collection of dress watches. And actually, the C1 Worldglow is a spinoff of the C1 Worldtimer — the difference being the lumed dial (more on that later). The stainless steel case is elegantly sculpted with gently curved lugs, polished surfaces, and a slightly concave bezel. However, as classic-looking as it may be, it’s large. At 43.5mm in diameter, 11.55mm in height, and with a lug-to-lug measurement of just under 52mm, this watch is probably a bit too big to be considered a true dress piece — unless you have a really thick wrist. Size considerations aside, this is a very high-quality case with excellent hardware. One standout feature is the onion-style crown. It’s very well-machined and it’s probably a little oversized but that also means it’s easy to grasp and operate (crucial because you’ll need it to make full use of the watch’s world-timing capabilities).
The C1 Worldglow can be ordered with a Milanese mesh bracelet or a black cordovan leather strap. I opted to review the one in leather. Like most cordovan leather straps, it is a little stiff at first but softens up quickly with use. The strap has that attractive glossy finish we’ve come to associate with cordovan straps, and the stitching seems decent. According to Christopher Ward, its cordovan straps are handmade in Italy. Overall, it’s an appropriate strap for the money. It comes on what Christopher Ward calls a Bader deployant. The deployant itself is well-made but it can be hard to size at first because of the stiffness of the leather. Another thing worth noting is that the buckle is considerably wider than the strap. I measure it at 26mm — 28mm if you include the push buttons.
The watch has a slightly domed sapphire crystal — a feature present on many Christopher Ward models. The layout and general dial design are similar to the older C1 Worldtimer but with a monochromatic look and loads more lume. You have an outer ring with the cities of the world, an inner 24-hour ring, and a small red wedge. And within all of that, a map of the northern hemisphere where the seas and oceans are black and the landmasses are, in fact, negative spaces for the lume to shine through. There’s a large lumed disc below and, in the dark, not only do the landmasses light up, the 24-hour markings do, too — as do the hands. It’s a great look when it all lights up. Christopher Ward uses Super-LumiNova Grade SLN X1 BL C1, which has a vibrant soft bluish glow that is very bright but unfortunately doesn’t really stay bright for long.
Like most worldtimers, there’s a lot to take in. Fortunately, the C1 Worldglow’s large sizing means text on the dial remains quite easy to read and overall legibility remains passable. However, since there aren’t prominent hour markers, it can take a while before you can tell the time quickly and confidently.
At this point, it’s probably best to describe how the C1 Worldglow works and what makes it so special. To begin, pull the crown to the third position to set the watch to your local time. Next, pull the crown to the second position to align the 24-hour ring with your home city. The ring moves as time advances so you’ll be able to tell the time around the world. If you keep the crown in its second position and turn it in the opposite direction, that moves the small red wedge selector. You can use it to highlight a particular city so that the next time you glance at the watch, you’ll be able to quickly tell the time in your current location and the highlighted city.
In the example above, I’m in Hong Kong and it’s 10am. By looking at the cities ring, I can instantly see that it’s 2am in London and 6pm in Los Angeles. My red city selector is set to New York and I can see that it’s 9pm in NYC. However, it must be noted that these conversions are only correct if daylight saving time is not observed. For the times when daylight saving time is being observed, you’ll need to mentally make your own adjustments.
Essentially, it’s a very clever tweak of the typical GMT functionality that you see in movements like the ETA 2893 and Sellita SW330-1. The movement inside the C1 Worldglow is the Sellita SW330-1 that’s been modified with an added JJ03 module. Beat rate is your standard 4 Hz and the movement has a power reserve of 42 hours. The movement is visible through a display caseback, but there’s really nothing much to see save for the custom DLC-finished rotor. Christopher Ward claims an accuracy of +/- 20 seconds per day, which is a little modest in my experience because my piece was about seven seconds slow per day.
While accuracy was adequate, I do, however, have some concerns about alignment. If you look at the photo above, it’s apparent that the 24-hour ring and cities ring don’t line up perfectly. If you have OCD, this can be irksome.
All things considered, the C1 Worldglow is a handsome watch with a genuinely useful complication. I know some might be put off by the fact that it is a 43.5mm dress watch. But there are benefits that come with the large sizing — the dial doesn’t appear cramped, and the watch has wrist presence. The only thing that bothers me is the alignment of the 24-hour and cities rings. The lume effect is a nice touch, but if that’s not your thing or if you prefer a less monochromatic colorway, the original C1 Worldtimer is available for $245 less. Either way, this is an interesting take from Christoper Ward on the worldtimer complication. Price of the Christopher Ward C1 Worldglow start at $1,995. For more information, visit christopherward.com.
>Brand: Christopher Ward
>Model: C1 Worldglow C01-43AWT3-S00K0-CK
>Price: $1,995 USD
>Size: 43.5mm-wide, 11.55mm-tall, 51.9mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: For traveling, if there’s a requirement to keep track of multiple timezones
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Anyone who is looking for an interesting worldtimer watch
>Best characteristic of watch: The lume, implementation of the worldtimer complication
>Worst characteristic of watch: The alignment of the 24-hour and cities rings