Home Watch Types Automatic Christopher Ward Picks Up Where the C1 Grand Malvern Left Off

Christopher Ward Picks Up Where the C1 Grand Malvern Left Off

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The new C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III

Christopher Ward ushers in a third-generation today, updating their entry-level automatic dress watch (the C5 Malvern Automatic MK III) and their dressy quartz chronograph (the C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III). After reviewing the flagship C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, I was excited to see what was next from Christopher Ward. With these two updates, I think the excitement was warranted. CW has taken the C5 Auto and C3 Chrono from stuffy to modern in one jarring generational leap. If you liked the MK II versions of these watches you may well hate the MK IIIs. This is design revolution, not evolution. Sadly, though, the changes are only skin-deep and nothing like the technical showmanship of the C1 is offered here.

The design source: C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve

Design wise, they share a case, dial, and handset that follow in the footsteps of the C1, representing a dramatic modern facelift of the current MK II versions. Internally, the upgrades are more modest. The C5 keeps the same Sellita SW200-1 movement but adds CW’s new twin-flag Colimaçoné-finish on the rotor. The C3 gets something of a downgraded movement, swapping a Ronda 5040.D three-register for a Ronda 3520.D two-register. Both stay affordable at £499 (~$615USD) for the C5 Auto and £349 (~$430) for the C3 Chrono.

C5 Malvern Automatic MK III

The new C5 Malvern Automatic MK III

When Christopher Ward called the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve a flagship watch, they were deadly serious—the current MK II C5 Malvern is the first casualty. Visually, the new MK III has much more in common with the new C1 than with the MK II C5 it replaces. The case follows the same sweeping vocabulary of the C1, polished all around except for brushed sides, but it is smaller at 39 mm. The handset looks identical to the new C1, and my quibble about legibility probably carries over: the all-chrome handset on the dark-dialed models can make the minute and second hands tough to distinguish at a glance. The dial mimics the alternating applied batons and dash minute register of the C1, but adds some visual interest in two ways. The date window is framed on either side with small depressions; it is the same semi-circular shape of an over-large date window that reveals three numbers, but here the extra numbers are hidden. Second, the dial has steps just inboard of the minute register and the batons, which fit nicely with that curving date window and 9:00 logo. The only callback to the MKII I can see is the double baton at 12:00; even the crown is changed, now flatter and fatter.

The leather strap gains quick release spring bars, which should be standard equipment on all straps. The base leather strap comes with a pin buckle, or you can opt for the C1’s excellent Shell Cordovan quick-release strap with Bader deployant or a Milanese mesh bracelet.

The old C5 Malvern Automatic MK II

With the Sellita SW200-1 you’ve got nothing to complain about, but nothing too exciting either. It’s about as mundane technically as the old MK II was visually. That’s a shame, since CW has really made a push to become a legitimate manufacture with its in-house 5-day power reserve chronometer-grade SH21 movement. I’m not expecting that level of precision at $600, but it would be nice if CW could adapt the SH21 to this price point. Maybe a non-chronometer version or a more modest single-barrel power reserve?

C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III

With the C3 Chrono, we see all the same influences of the C1 in the dial, case, and handset. Apart from a pair of vertical subregisters and pushers in the usual spots, the MKIII watches released today are essentially identical. Even the strap options are the same. CW claims automotive inspiration for the C3, but I usually find that claim cheap talk from a watchmaker. Yes, both cars and watches have dials. No, you’re not likely to be timing hot laps with this chronograph. Given that it’s the same design as the C5, the automotive shenanigans are especially thin.

The old C3 Malvern Chronograph MK II
The new C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III

Beyond all that nonsense, the C3 looks like a thoughtful if traditional chronograph. The stacked sunburst subdials keep things svelte and modern. The allegedly “piston-inspired” pushers are fairly standard and I actually think the oval MKII pushers were more interesting and fitting for the modern styling of the MKIII. It’s not a bad package, and it is a welcome refresh from the dated MKII.

Both MKIIIs are available today, exclusively from christopherward.co.uk

C5 Malvern Automatic MK III Tech specs from Christopher Ward

  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Height: 9.9mm
  • Lug to lug: 45.8mm
  • Strap: 20mm
  • Weight: 45g
  • Case: 316L stainless steel
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
  • Movement: Sellita SW 200-1
  • Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
  • Timing Tolerance: +20/-20 seconds per day
  • Anti-reflective double curve top sapphire crystal
  • Price: £499 (~$615USD)

C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III Tech specs from Christopher Ward

  •  Diameter: 39mm
  • Height: 10.8mm
  • Lug to lug: 45.8mm
  • Strap: 20mm
  • Weight: 46g
  • Case: 316L stainless steel
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
  • Movement: Ronda 3520.D
  • Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
  • Timing Tolerance: +10/-20 seconds per day
  • Anti-reflective double curve top sapphire crystal
  • Price: £349 (~$430)

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