Christopher Ward is largely known for dive watches. The Trident series has been the main staple of the brand for a number of years. Flying somewhat under the radar are their dress watches. Last year I reviewed their moonphase dress model, the C1 Moonglow and was just as impressed with it as I was with their dive watches.
The Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern is a flagship piece in their lineup and for good reason. For starters, it is chronometer-certified and boasts a movement with an impressive 5-day power reserve. Let’s take a closer look at what makes the C1 Grand Malvern a watch worthy of being at the top of their lineup.
On the Wrist
If you have tried on any of Christopher Ward’s releases from the past 2 years, the case on the C1 Grand Malvern will seem somewhat familiar. Christopher Ward brands their new style of cases as light catcher and the overall design of the case gives it its name. I’ll cover more on the design of the case in a moment, but even at a width of 40.5mm wide the case doesn’t wear that large. Cutouts that slope in toward the wrist on each side of the case drastically reduce the real estate the watch takes up.
The Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern feels like a dress watch. What I mean by that is it doesn’t feel bulky or heavy. It is light enough to not weigh down your wrist and the overall profile is slim enough to easily be covered by any long-sleeve shirt. Given the power reserve complication and the 5-day power reserve itself, I’m surprised Christopher Ward was able to cram it into a case 12.8mm thick.
I have seen a lot of debate in the watch community recently over what should be considered a dress watch based on its size. There are those who say anything over 39mm can’t be a dress watch, that they are just too big. While I tend to agree with that sentiment, I also believe there is another subgroup of dress watches that fit more into a modern dress watch segment. These are usually over 40mm and tend to have more contemporary styling. Think Junghans Chronoscope or Oris Big Crown Pointer Date (review here).
This watch falls into that category. While it barely squeaks over 40mm, you can’t deny that this watch could fit in easily at a black-tie event. I’m a strong believer in wearing what you want but those who don’t feel that way shouldn’t have any hesitation wearing this watch from the boardroom to the ballroom.
Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern In Motion
The dial on the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern is drop-dead gorgeous. The domed opaline dial looks like a pearl when in direct, bright lighting and fades to an off-white gray in the dark. The bottom line is it looks great no matter how you look at it.
The applied, polished elongated numerals at 12 and 6 give the watch both a modern feel and a little bit of vintage flair. The rest of the markers around the dial are long enough that they stand out to allow the wearer to easily read the time.
Christopher Ward loves to move their logo around the dial depending on the watch’s design. They get a lot of flak online for their sans serif logo, but I believe it works well with their style and they implement it well. On the C1 Grand Malvern, it is at 3 o’clock which provides symmetry to the power reserve gauge at 9 o’clock (where their logo is on most of their other watches).
With all of that said, the star of the show is the hands, specifically the hour and minute hands. The seconds hand is a simple silver baton. The blued hour and minute hands add an extremely nice pop of color to the watch, complemented by the pointer on the power reserve gauge. When any direct lighting hits the hands, they light up beautifully and captivate the wearer.
Case, Strap & Movement
As I mentioned above, the case on the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern is in their light catcher line of cases. I’ve discussed the case in my other Christopher Ward reviews, but the case works extremely well on this watch. Various edges, chamfers, and cutouts combined with a mix of brushing and polishing give the case its name. As the wearer moves, light reflects off all these surfaces in different ways, creating a dynamic effect that really is nice to look at.
Thankfully, Christopher Ward attached an ample-sized crown as it takes a good amount of winding to get the 5-daypower reserve full. The exhibition caseback shows off the movement behind these 5 days of power reserve and Christopher Ward has done an excellent job on the movement.
A custom rotor and a custom pattern featuring the brand’s twin flag logo are the first things that will pop out at you. Christopher Ward says the movement has been slightly modified to allow visibility of the twin barrels. It is a finely decorated movement and one that I found myself staring at quite a bit while taking photos for this review.
As one would expect with a dress watch, a leather strap is included with the Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern. The leather strap was a little stiff out of the box but broke in quickly after just a few wearings. I was a big fan of the deployant clasp they included with the strap. It is similar to the Omega-style deployant clasps and should cut down on wear and tear of the leather strap.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with a few Christopher Ward watches now and after every one of them I see, I can’t help but wonder why Christopher Ward isn’t at the top of more buyers’ lists. When it comes to watchmaking, they know what they are doing. Every watch I have handled has been impeccably finished, contained solid movements with many customizations, and most importantly, their watches all wear great.
The C1 Grand Malvern is no exception to those things. I found it to be a little more comfortable than the C1 Moon Glow, mainly due to the slimmer profile. This watch is competing in a tough space of sub-$2000 dress watches. However, I feel this watch offers enough in terms of looks and technology to make it a viable candidate in that segment.
Check out more Christopher Ward reviews from The Watch Clicker
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|Lug-to-lug Height||48.5mm||Lug Width||20mm|
|Crystal||Domed Sapphire||Strap||Leather Strap|
|Water Resistance||30 meters||Lume||None|
|Movement||Christopher Ward Calibre SH21||Price||$1,935|