There is something elegant about a simply executed three hand watch. And the new Christopher Ward C5 Malvern Slimline Squared (or Slimline² for the mathematically inclined) is certainly elegant. Now available for pre-order (watches will ship in mid-February) for $549 on your choice of straps, this is a dress watch for everyone from a recent graduate to the executive that cares more about the watch than the brand.
I see a lot of super slim, minimalist, three hand, Bauhaus inspired watches, many of them for well below $200. Heck, you can’t swing a metaphorical cat around Kickstarter without running into one of these projects. But those are generally quartz watches, sold by a someone just getting into the watch-making business. The GT&FQ Rider M005, on the other hand, is an automatic being sold by an established retailer who is building their in-house brand.
The brand gets its name from the British horologist, Thomas Earnshaw, who made improvements to chronometers in the late 1700s. This is a polished, stainless steel chronograph powered by a Swiss quartz movement.
I know we keep saying that we are going to limit our coverage of minimalist quartz watches, but it seems that the limit on what can be done with this simple formula has not yet be met. Take the Santis and Berg Vertice, a two hander that uses Eastern Arabic numerals for the chapter ring. Here is a watch design that truly is hard to find on the market, at least outside of the Middle East, and something that should appeal to quite a number of people.
I see quite a few watches that come out of China, anyone who looks at a lot of watches under the $1,000 mark is bound to see them, but I have not yet had the chance to check out a watch that is being sold by a Chinese brand. My chance came when Sea-Gull Watch Store reached out to us and asked if we would review their first in-house watch. The GT & FQ (the brand owners’ initials) M0001 Rider Automatic is quite an accomplished first effort for this brand, which is already expanding the line.
We are fans of Christopher Ward here at WWR, I think that is pretty evident. I purchased my CW before I started writing reviews, and it is still one of my go to watches when I am not wearing a watch for review. If you are not familiar with the brand, they are a London based company that sells Swiss made watches direct over the internet, with no brand ambassadors. They have recently starting flexing their watch making chops, creating a new in-house movement. The Christopher Ward C9 5 Day Small Second Chronometer uses the in-house SH21 hand wound movement to produce a COSC certified dress watch.
Crowd funding a project can be hit or miss. There are a lot of watch projects out there, and it is tough (even for us folks who look at a lot of projects) to predict which ones will make it, and which ones won’t. I know of a few watches that I thought were sure fire hits that never made it, and others that I thought were just average that blew up (no names in the latter), and then even more that either deserve their success or obscurity. Lionstone has tried to launch a couple of times, and never quite hit the mark, in spite of what I think is a pretty intersting campaign. They are at it for one final go, with the Lionstone SuperSlim and Ceramic Watches, currently on Indiegogo.
We get a lot of notifications of crowdfunded projects crossing our virtual desks here at WWR, and the honest truth is that we don’t always have enough time to feature all of them. So for you readers out there, check out the various platforms and search for watches, and for you budding watchmakers, don’t be discouraged if we can’t get to your project, and keep sending them in. One bit of advice I would give to a new brand is to make an attractive and unique (or at least somewhat unique) watch, and make it a value. Those categories fit the Stewart Dawson Belgravia Automatic, a new watch from a new watch company in London.