This really is turning out to be a banner year for moon phase watches. There have always been a few, but it really seems like there are a lot more being announced this year. It could simply be that I’m noticing them more due to a friend’s interest in the complication, but I don’t think that’s the whole story. Earlier this year I went hands on with a Christopher Ward moonphase watch, and they’re back with another, more luminous one – the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow.
When it comes to the moonphase display on a watch, brands go one of two ways. Either it’s a smaller window (ie, the classic route), or they place it in a rather large-and-in-charge position on the watch, generally with a more realistic depiction. For this, CW has definitely gone with the latter choice, placing not one – but two – realistic and fully-lumed moons on the dial. It’s not that Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow is some hidden Star Wars homage. Most watches actually have two moons, so they can get the disc rotating around showing the phases correctly. It’s just that, here, you’ve got a semi-transparent layer for the dial that allows you to still see the second moon. It’s a smoked layer, so it’s not super obvious, but it’s still there. And when the lights go down, since it’s translucent, the second moon gets to give off a glow as well.
After the large moon(s), the luminous properties of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow are probably what grab most folks attention. You’ve got the glowing moon, of course, which calls to mind those stickers most kids (myself and my own) end up with on the ceiling or walls in their bedroom. Over that, you’ve got the handset lumed (as expected), the hour indices glowing, and somewhat surprisingly, the date track around the chapter ring is luminous as well. An interesting choice, but hey, why not. In the past, I’ve not particularly been a fan of dates indicated at the edge of a dial. This is due to the use of another hand indicating here. Here, CW has done something I rather like, with another disc rotating and visible through a slot in the dial. For the correct date, there’s a red block indicating the date. Nice, slick, and clean. Definitely my favorite implementation of this style of date display to date.
Zooming the camera out a bit, you can see that the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow is intended to be a dressier piece. The 40.5mm case has brushed and polished surfaces, and the watch comes paired to either a leather strap ($1,935) or a milanese bracelet ($1,970). All that shine, plus a 30m WR rating, as well as the fact that moonphases rarely (if ever) appear on sports watches, adds up to this being a dressier piece. Sure, one with a bit of flair with the glowing moons, but still, not one that’s going to feel at place, say, at the volleyball game.
With the release of the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow, that makes for two very solid options from CW when it comes to moonphase complications in their C1 lineup. While the prior one I looked at felt like it hewed more to the traditional look and feel, this latest entry feels like it might be hipper younger brother. Still looks mostly the same, but dressed up a little differently, and definitely flashier. If you lament the lack of luminous paint on your dress watches, the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow could definitely rectify that situation for you. christopherward.com
- Brand & Model: Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow
- Price: $1,935 (leather strap) / $1,970 (milanese bracelet)
- Who we think it might be for:
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The translucency is interesting, but really, we should only see the current moonphase glowing – the second moon is a distraction
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: There isn’t a thing wrong with a glowing, orbiting moon on a watch in my book
Tech Specs from Christopher Ward
- Diameter: 40.5mm
- Height: 12.35mm
- Weight: 61g
- Calibre: ETA 2836 with ‘JJ04’ module
- Case: 316L stainless steel
- Water resistance: 3 ATM (30 metres)
- Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
- Timing tolerance: -10/+20 seconds per day
- Lume: Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL C1
- Strap width: 20mm
- Lug to lug: 48.55mm
- Swiss made
- Self-winding 25 jewel movement with ‘JJ04’ in-house Moonphase module
- 38-hour power reserve
- Lumed date ring with shaded section
- Diamond-like carbon (DLC) finished rotor with twin-flag engraving
- Brushed and polished marine-grade stainless steel case
- Push-down crown with twin flag motif
- Anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal
- Polished and smoked finish dial
- 3D stamped luminescent Moonphase disc visible through unique wide and curved aperture
- Raised and polished indexes
- Super-LumiNova Grade® X1 GL C1 moons, hands, indexes, numerals and outer date ring
- Brushed, polished and curved steel hands
- Exhibition backplate with unique engraved serial number