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Hands on with the Christopher Ward C1 Moonphase

Chris Ward goes a little “luney”

In the Autumn of 2022, Christopher Ward stole the headlines for breaking barriers regarding complications at a more affordable price when they announced the Bel Canto. Looking at the Maidenhead brands’ back catalog, they’ve frequently utilized complications to highlight high-craft watchmaking on a level not seen from more mainstream luxury brands.

As well as the chiming Bel Canto, Christopher Ward has utilized jumping hour complications and moon phases. We’ve seen two iterations of the Moonphase so far. In 2015, Ward delivered the C9 Moonphase, and in 2019, we saw the C1 Moonglow.

Well, Christopher Ward are at it again, with their third lunar focused watch, the C1 Moonphase.

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Christopher Ward unveiled the watch at an event in the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, which I was lucky to attend. Opened in the late 1600s, the Observatory is perched atop a hill in the gorgeous Greenwich Royal Park and was the perfect setting to announce the constellation-themed piece.

The event included a presentation in the planetarium, all about our glowing celestial being, and an introduction of the watch by founder Mike France.

The starry aventurine dial is the show-stopper in the C1 Moonphase. To call this dial blue would be doing it a disservice. Instead, Christopher Ward has captured that midnight blue-black depth beautifully. Aventurine is a glass imbued with shimmering flakes of copper oxide, resembling the starry night sky. Christopher Ward states that because every piece of aventurine is different, each watch of this open series is unique.

C1 Moonphase 2

Notably, Christopher Ward have taken a significant departure from their previous moon-themed watches, by removing all indices, giving a wider expanse of that sky like dial. During the presentation, we were treated to a video presentation by Jorg Senior, who described that the brand decided to remove all branding and logos from the dial as they did not want to compromise on the design of the dial.

Set within the aventurine rises a silver Globalight moon. Globalight is made from a mixture of ceramic and Super-Luminova and gives a three-dimensionality to the moon phase. Seeing the watch in the metal, the Globalight moon grows brightly and boldly when the lights go out. The Globalight moon and starry aventurine dial combine to create an astronomical-themed piece that doesn’t feel like a gimmick.

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Beating inside the clean lines of a 40.5mm stainless steel case is the Calibre JJ04. This is an in-house modular movement in which the moon phase is linked directly to the hour hand in constant motion. Christopher Ward claims that if the watch is kept wound, the JJ04 can accurately track the moon’s phases for 128 years. If you were to ask a one watch guy, this would be one of those great one watches to keep wound to watch that moon wax and wane throughout the month. During the presentation, Mike France pointed out that, unlike many moon phase watches where the moon will shift each day, the moon within the C1 Moonphase gradually, progressively.

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Christopher Ward are offering the C1 Moonphase on either a supple leather strap, or on their new bracelet, The Consort, made from 127 individual links, complete with a discrete butterfly clasp.

In hand, while the dial leans more dressy, the case still has a reasonable heft and presence, creating a moonphase that feels special but not overly ornate. While it’s hard to highlight in photos, the box sapphire crystal also creates this feeling of peering through a telescope at a clear night sky, bringing your focus to the center of the dial and that prominent moon. Christopher Ward are very proud that they made the moon the focal point of the C1 Moonphase, rather than being an additional complication tucked away at 6 o’clock.

Over the last couple of years, we have seen aventurine used in other brands. The Timefactors 25th anniversary aventurine is one that I have had hands-on time with, but I feel this has a slightly darker dial and is still very much a sports watch with a unique dial. Regarding stand-out moon phases from more accessible brands, I think of the Echo Neutra Averau 39 Moonphase. I liked this one and felt it did well to balance the aesthetics between a field watch and the moon phase complication. In both of these examples, though, both the aventurine and moon phase was just part of a whole; these were still sports watches in their own right, regardless of the material and complication that had been used additionally.

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The C1 Moonphase however is a bold design by the British brand, and along with watches like the Twelve and Bel Canto, Ward are proving how they can take a style of watch or complication, and make it their own. At the event, some commented that they’d like to see this watch come in at a smaller scale, given the dressy dial and handset. But a part of me thinks that’s maybe because that’s what we usually see with moonphase watches. With the C1 Moonphase, on the other hand, I don’t think it is trying to just be a dress watch. It wants to be a moonphase, and a moonphase it most wholeheartedly is.

Check out more Christopher Ward reviews at the Watch Clicker here

Check out the Christopher Ward website here

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