Christopher Ward makes two kinds of watches: Well-made, well-finished dive watches under their Trident collection, and more elegant watches organized under the Grand Malvern heading. If our mission at WWR is to drag watches out of the fashion ghetto through education, appreciation, and support, we have to talk about the Grand Malvern C1.
But first let’s get a broad overview of what the brand does. Historically, the Tridents tend to be quartz or automatic (ETA 2824 or Sellita SW-200). They’ve been around, and are arguably what the brand is best known for. The dress watches are a little less well-known. The Grand Malvern divides up under a series of collections named C1, C5, C9, and so on.
As they say on their website, “in the beginning, all watches were dress watches,” and so it is. They’re elegant, minimally cluttered faces, on leather straps. The C5 and C9 collection are slimline, and the C9 is housed in a square case, if you’re into that sort of thing. A few things have been brewing recently in the short history since Ch. Ward was founded. The most important is, the SH21 movement.
It wasn’t that long ago, back in 2014, just two and a half years ago, that Christopher Ward debuted the SH21 movement. SH21 was a remarkable achievement, something that many wouldn’t have thought possible. They built a genuine, in-house, automatic movement. More than that, it’s not just a three-hander, it has 120 hours power reserve, with a power reserve indicator for the dial. Had they just made a manual wind 40 hour movement, that would still have been an accomplishment, but this? THIS? To put it mildly, the Swiss were reportedly a little shocked, being said to have asked, “What gives you the license to do that?” Making mechanical watches, moving works of art, in this day and age, isn’t something for which you stop and ask permission of your betters – you just damn well do it.
And the latest update is the launch of the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, a new premium dress watch that will define the identity of Christopher Ward’s entire collection. No fooling. The C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve will replace the current C9 Collection entirely over time. Between the extreme power reserve, the rotor that is skeletonised to show off the movement, and the 40.5mm case using domed and polished nickel indices, you end up with a watch worthy of steering the brand’s ship.
The hands are blued, and the movement is decorated with CW’s flag engraving pattern. Dials are available in opalin white, sunray-blue and sunray-black options. The C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve is available on Italian Shell cordovan leather, or stainless steel Milanese mesh. Both the crystal and the exhibition caseback are sapphire. Pricing begins at $2060 USD, and is available from www.christopherward.com.
- Brand & Model: Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve
- Price: $2060 USD
- Who we think it might be for: You respect watches as technological artifacts, tools, and works of art, and while the face isn’t showing it, the caseback displays the SH21 in-house made movement
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: It’s not wrong. I like a timeless 12-6 dial
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: I’d be interested in a skeletonized version that might show off more of the movement.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Understated elegance.
Tech Specs from Christopher Ward
- Case size: 40.5mm
- Height: 11mm
- Case material: steel
- Crystal: flat, sapphire
- Strap: leather, pin buckle clasp or stainless steel mesh
- Movement: CW SH21 in house chronometer