Christopher Ward knows a thing or two about making reasonably priced, high-quality quartz chronos—but the C7 Rapide Chronograph Quartz takes the value proposition to a new level. For a few hundred bucks, you get the new C7 four-part case, a highly detailed dial, a crisp set of pushers activating a Swiss-made movement, and terrific proportions for everyday wear.
The standout feature among many highlights is the detailed dial. It has a simple bi-compax layout, but look a little closer and details emerge. Raised indices soften the transition from the milky white dial to the matte black subdials. The tachymeter picks up on the 3-D theme with a sunken register sitting in-between the hour markers and tachy scale. Those hour markers are simple applied polished sticks that are nicely lumed, if a bit flat. The Arabic 12 gives the whole face a sporty flair befitting a chronograph.
The C7 Rapide Collection uses a brand new four-part 42 mm case, and the chrono is no exception. The four-part case allows for many texture/color mash-ups by way of a mid-case ring—in this case we’ve got a classic brushed lugs/chrome mid-case combo. Short lugs make for a compact package that doesn’t wear as big as the calipers might suggest.
That chrome mid-case is home to a trio of exceptional controls. The pushers are snailed and have a spongy bit of pre-travel before clicking into action. But the screw-down crown is the star here, with crosshatched knurling and the double flag logo. Unscrew the crown to get access to the real treat—amazingly firm clicks between setting functions. The accuracy of the Swiss quartz movement is beside the point because setting this thing is half the fun.
That Swiss movement is a gold-plated Ronda 5021.D featuring 10 jewels. The movement is efficient, with nearly five years in tank—70% longer if you click out the fantastic crown when it’s in the watch box. The red chrono second counter has a firm travel that lands on point at each minute mark. The matching red 30-minute counter is not as accurate, landing in-between the markers. Reset isn’t instant, but the hands travel home plenty quick and very smoothly.
No quartz is going to match the romance of a mechanical—and you can have all the great style of the C7 Rapide Chronograph Quartz with a genuine Valjoux 7750 in the C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic—but you’ll pay more than $1,000 extra for that cam and balance wheel and it will add 4 mm to the case height. I hate to say it, but the quartz might be the better option here. christopherward.com
Christopher Ward C7 Rapide Chronograph Quartz
- Price: $565USD (leather); $635USD (bracelet)
- Who’s it for? Racers with a sensible budget.
- Would I wear it? Yes, it’s a pleasure to wear and use.
- What I’d change? More precise alignment of the hands and subdials.
- Standout feature? Simple yet detailed bi-compax dial.
Tech Specs from Christopher Ward
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Case Dimensions: 42 mm x 10.35 mm
- Lug Width: 22 mm
- Water resistance: 100 meters (with screw-down crown)
- Movement: Ronda 5021.D quartz
- Crystal: Anti-reflective flat sapphire crystal
- Strap: Piccari leather strap with marine-grade stainless steel pin buckle