Simplicity is hard to do. Features and flash move product. It takes courage to market a watch based on what it lacks. But that is the essence of the Christopher Ward C5 Malvern 595—a watch that is great for what it leaves out.
The most prominent thing the 595 leaves out is height. Christopher Ward managed to stuff a manual ETA 7001 into a slender 39 mm x 5.95 mm case. And that 5.95 mm is no marketing fudge—both my testers came in at 5.95 mm on the calipers. This watch isn’t dramatically thinner than, say a Stowa Antea, but it looks much thinner. The slender Malvern lines trim a lot of visual height off of a watch that didn’t have much height to begin with.
The crown is diminutive and delicate too, but, like the rest of Christopher Ward’s new Malvern crowns, its bulbous shape is easy to grasp. That easy turning crown is a welcome feature since the manual 7001 only has 42 hours in the tank.
The 595 also comes with a skinny price tag. At around $700USD, this is one of the most affordable ETA 7001s you can buy, and thinnest by a hair. Comparably slim watches from Stowa or Nomos cost hundreds more. Examples from both German brands use a close cousin of the ETA 7001, but neither claim to hit the sub-6 mm mark that Christopher Ward has achieved with the C5 Malvern 595. You give up a fair amount of finishing on the movement to get the price break; there are no blued screws or beveled edges, although the bridges are nicely stripped.
In keeping with the minimalist aesthetic, the dial is sparse. Either domed pearly white or light grey, it has simple printed indices and polished black hands to match. There is nothing extra here, not even the 7001’s usual small second hand. The black and white contrast of the lighter dial fits the simplistic aesthetic best, but the grey gives the 595 a modern twist. The grey also suggests something even better: color. This watch would be fantastic in a rainbow of bright colors, à la the custom dials from laCalifornienne.
I’m disappointed to see Christopher Ward’s fantastic Bader deployant isn’t standard, but that makes sense. The pin buckle that comes on the leather strap fits with the simple-is-better approach of the 595. I also got to try out Christopher Ward’s mesh bracelet and I found it comfortable, though a bit tight—make sure to measure your wrist and order the right length.
As a graduation present or intro to mechanical watches or just a nice dress watch to add to the collection, the 595 fits the bill. I’ll be hanging on to the white one you see here, and if my Technicolor dreams come true, maybe I’ll add a few pops of color to the collection, too. christopherward.com
Christopher Ward C5 Malvern 595
- Price: $680USD (leather); $775USD (stainless bracelet)
- Who’s it for? Celebrators of simplicity.
- Would I wear it? I am.
- What I’d change? I’d love to see a broader range of color options for the dial.
- Standout feature? Thin case with a thin price.
Tech Specs from Christopher Ward
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Case Dimensions: 39 mm x 5.95 mm
- Lug Width: 20 mm
- Movement: ETA 7001
- Crystal: Anti-reflective flat sapphire
- Strap: Oak leather strap with pin buckle