The design revolution continues apace at Christopher Ward. The new C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III checks a lot of the same boxes as its automatic cousin, the C5 Malvern Automatic MK III. That means it has a nice slim case (but with some extra finishing), an uncluttered dial (even with two extra registers), and a solid swiss movement (although here it’s quartz).
That quartz movement is a Ronda 3520.D. The running seconds tick on the 6:00 subdial, while the 12:00 subdial does double duty as a 30-min and 12-hr chrono register. The center second hand starts moving with a click of the top pusher, as you might expect. The button has a bit of springy pre-travel and then a nice audible click. The alignment on the second hand is impressive. If a hand isn’t going to sweep, it needs to hit each index just right—and this one does.
Every tick of the second hand lands exactly on one of the chrome hour markers or white minute dots. It almost makes me glad this is a quartz movement—but then there’s the reset. This is not a flyback chronograph, so when you click the bottom pusher (with the same quality feel as the top pusher) the hands turn and turn and turn, back home. That means if you’ve timed a one minute event, the 30-min and 12-hr hands spin urgently – but not exactly quickly – all the way around the subdial. It seems to take forever.
While you’re waiting for the chronograph to reset, you can stare at the lovely,understated, dial. Here it is black and chrome, but like the C5 and C1, the same handset can be spec’d with a blue face, or a white dial/blue-hand version is available. The sunburst detailing on the dished subdials is very subtle, as is the ring etched just inboard of the hour markers. That makes the dial very simple from certain angles, but interesting from others. Just as I’d hope. The color-matched date wheel completes the look.
The 39 mm case is very similar to the C5, but one subtle difference on the C3 makes it match the flagship C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve more closely than the C5. The sides of the C3 case are brushed, which doesn’t seem like much, but it gives the case a lot more dimension along its most interesting axis. Everything else is polished, just like the C5. The solid caseback is a neat engraved interpretation of the double flag logo.
The slim case wears comfortably on the quick change strap and it looks great on either black or tan, although I preferred the sporty look of the latter. I enjoyed my time with this svelte little chrono, timing a few barbecues and a few toddler bike races but mostly just clicking the pushers for my own amusement and to marvel at the perfect alignment of the second hand. christopherward.com
Christopher Ward C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III
- Price:$400 (leather/pin buckle); $460 (cordovan/Bader deployant); $495 (mesh bracelet)
- Who’s it for? ISO a dressy chronograph that’s at home in more casual settings, too.
- Would I wear it? I would, I have, and (until CW makes me send it back), I will.
- What I’d change? An instant-reset movement would be nice.
- Standout features? Precision construction in a sexy thin package.
- Diameter: 39mm
- Height: 10.8mm
- Lug to lug: 45.8mm
- Strap: 20mm
- Weight: 46g
- Case: 316L stainless steel
- Claimed Water Resistance: 3 ATM (30 meters)
- Movement: Ronda 3520.D
- Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
- Claimed Timing Tolerance: +10/-20 seconds per day
- Anti-reflective double curve top sapphire crystal