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Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic 36mm Review

The best gets better

Someone lit a fire under the development team at Christopher Ward because they have been on an epic run of releases. From the new Trident (review here) to the recently announced Military Collection V2, there seems to be no stopping them from filling up your calendar with new releases. 

The one that caught my eye was the 36mm C63 Sealeander Automatic. The C63 Automatic is one of my favorite watches, period. It checks so many boxes for those looking for a reliable and attractive explorer-style watch that I couldn’t help from buying one myself. However, the only thing holding this watch back was the size. At 39mm, it felt large as the fixed bezel made room for a large dial. Christopher Ward has answered the prayers of not only myself but many who were looking for a watch in an under-the-radar size.

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On the Wrist

36mm watches are getting new life, thanks to the trend-setting folks over at Rolex. The 36mm Explorer set the stage for a slew of new watches to embrace the smaller size and also work to keep toughness and functionality at the top of the list. The C63 (or as we like to call it, the C36) is sized perfectly at 36mm wide, 10.75mm tall, and 42.87mm lug-to-lug. I’ve worn the notable 36mm releases in this price range (Vaer A3 and Traska Summiteer 36mm), and this is the first one that brings every dimension into perfect harmony. 

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While some 36mm watches can feel dainty, the C63 uses the lightcatcher case to its full advantage and never appears too small on the wrist. The lugs aren’t tapered too heavily, and as with the 39mm variant, the dial takes up a good portion of the face of the watch, giving it a wrist presence more akin to that of a 38mm watch. Even with the short lug-to-lug, it doesn’t feel tiny. I’ve worn watches with 44 and 45mm lug-to-lugs that feel smaller than this. 

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Something I like about 36mm watches is their ability to get out of the way for daily use but remain large enough to be readable at a glance. This is true of the C63, primarily because of the wrist-to-crystal. This watch is nearly 8mm tall while on the wrist, and it sinks in and almost becomes an extension of your wrist rather than something floating on top. The dial is large enough to be legible, but the monochrome color scheme gives it a no-nonsense layout designed for utility. I liked the red accents on the 39mm version, but I don’t miss them here. 

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Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic 36mm Specs

Case Width

36mm

Lug-to-Lug

42.87mm

Case Thickness

10.75mm

Lug Width

20mm

Wrist-to-Crystal

8.5mm

Weight

53g (Watch head)

Water Resistance

150m

Strap

Leather Strap

Crystal

Sapphire

Lume

Super-LumiNova Grade X1 BL C1

Movement

Sellita SW200

Price

$765

Dial Details

As I mentioned in my review of the Trident Pro 300, Christopher Ward has ditched the text logo and embraced the twin flag logo. They’ve used this logo on their watches but not at the forefront of their branding. On the previous Trident models, it was embossed into the dial and barely visible. The twin flag logo makes perfect sense; I like it, you should like it, and it looks great on a monochrome dial like the C63. 

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Complementing the logo at 12 o’clock is the text that reads Automatic and 150m/500ft. Aside from Swiss Made below the date window, that is it for branding and specs on the dial, just how I like it. 

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The applied markers are brushed on top with a polished bevel as they stretch toward the inside of the dial. Numerals flank the markers, and despite their small size, I could still read them at a normal viewing distance. The handset is carried over from the 39mm C63 and works exceptionally well on the 36mm version. They provide excellent legibility and modern looks. The markers and numerals are all filled with plenty of lume. It won’t blow your socks off, but it lasts a long time and has a great initial bloom. 

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Case & Strap

The overall look and feel of the lightcatcher case have stayed the same since they first introduced it several years ago. Christopher Ward has made improvements in realizing that this case works best with smaller case sizes, both in width and height. As they improve the dimensions of their cases, the lightcatcher case looks better and better. The multiple facets, brushing and polishing transitions, and angles are further accentuated in a case like this one at 36mm. 

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Something that goes unnoticed with their case design is how they implement the crown guards. Some think crown guards are 100% necessary, and those that like the clean look of watches without them. You’re almost getting the best of both worlds here. The crown guards are angled down slightly and entirely polished, allowing them to reflect things slightly off to the right rather than directly in front of it (like your face). This creates an effect where the crown guards disappear. The first time I wore this watch, I had to do a double-take to see if they were actually there. Take a look at the second wrist shot above to see this effect.

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I have a small bone to pick with Christopher Ward. Of the last two watches I’ve reviewed, both featured new bracelets, and I didn’t get either with my review sample. So…I won’t be able to tell you about the new bracelet on this watch and its taper to 16.5mm. If you’re selling a watch with a new bracelet, send it to reviewers with that bracelet. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. 

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The Italian Leather strap they include is the nicest non-bracelet strap I’ve received with a review watch from Christopher Ward. The leather is comfortable, barely required any break-in, and looked great with the watch it came on. The strap length is shorter than the other straps I’ve received, and I wonder if that is because it came on a smaller watch. If so, that is a nice touch. It is likely that people wearing this watch have a smaller wrist and don’t want a strap tail that comes all the way around their wrist.

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Final Thoughts

Christopher Ward often has coupons that knock off $125 from the MSRP of their watches, and if you buy this watch on a strap, it is a touch above $600. That is a steal. If 36mm is too small for your wrist, buy the 39mm version and be just as happy. 

I said it about the 39mm Sealander, and I’ll also say it about this watch. This is the best automatic sports watch you can buy for under $3,000, and I will die on that hill. 

Check out more Christopher Ward reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Christopher Ward website here

More Images of the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic 36mm

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  1. I’m torn between the 36mm and 39mm, I’ve a 6.75” wrist so both sizes wouldn’t be an issue. Decisions, decisions.

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