Christopher Ward Has a Busy January
To say that British watchmaker Christopher Ward has had a banner 2022 is an understatement. They drew accolades for their very first major release of the year, the C65 Aquitaine series, and continued to do so with each successive release, be it a major revamp (such as the Military series), a new line (the Trident Pro 300), or something that was an absolute thunderbolt out of the blue – the C1 Bel Canto.
With a slate of such frequent and significant releases, it would be perfectly understandable if CW were to sit back and take a breather, perhaps hold off on its cadence of new releases for a little while. Clearly though, that’s not the plan over at the company’s Maindenhead, England head office.
The C1 Bel Canto Gets a Slate of Open-Edition Siblings
Yet even that left thousands on waiting lists who’d expressed interest in the Bel Canto. So the watchmaker decided to do what it does best: give the fans exactly what they asked for. On January 19, 2023, CW introduced a slate of new colors for the Bel Canto, this time with no restrictions on numbers. That means that, as long as they are willing to wait, anyone who wants a Bel Canto can get a Bel Canto.
The new colors are Cielo, Nero, Viola, and Rosa. Or, as I think about them, Light Blue, Black, Purple, and Gold. Each features the same movement (SW200-1 with the FS01 module on top) and the same Grade 5 titanium body. CW has also introduced a few color-matched leather straps to go along with the new dials, though the titanium bracelet sold as an option with the original Bel Canto is still available as an option.
The Bel Canto can be ordered here, though be forewarned: the company is currently quoting December 2023 as a current delivery date.
A New Field Watch Series is Born
The C65 series already had a few field watches in its ranks. The C65 Sandhurst, for example, and, arguably, the C63 Colchester already exhibit plenty of characteristics we expect to see in a field watch. Yet CW has not had a definitive lineup of field watches, complete with multiple dial options, for example.
That ends now. This past week, the British maker introduced the Dune series, bringing three distinct models to market. Named after the Dune du Pilat in Aquitaine, France, the tallest sand dune in Europe, this series takes the case from the C65 Sandhurst and makes it much more civilian-grade, adding an exhibition caseback and polish to what was previously a primarily brushed finish.
The first is the C65 Dune Automatic. Available in four different color dial options, this series screams “field watch” more than any other watch in Christopher Ward’s collection. From the slim bezel to the skinny 11.7mm height, the boxed sapphire crystal, the Dune pulls loads of vintage cues into a rugged timepiece that looks pretty stunning – especially in that white sand dial on a camel canvas webbing strap.
Next up: the C65 Dune Bronze COSC takes the Automatic and replaces the case with one made of bronze and swaps the standard SW200 movement with one that’s a COSC-certified chronometer. The case thickens up marginally to 11.9mm (presumably because of the bronze material) and adds a bronze bracelet to the mix that will patina in the same way the case does. On the bracelet, it is priced at $1465 USD.
Finally, adding an interesting twist to the lineup is the limited-edition C65 Dune GMT. This is perhaps (to me) the most interesting of the lot, since it pairs one of my favorite watches (the C65 Aquitaine GMT in Orca Black) with the aesthetics and build of the Dune series. The dials of the two watches are very similar in appearance; the big difference is that the Dune, lacking an external bezel, uses a fixed raised outer ring on the dial to provide the 24-hour scale. On the bracelet, it is priced at $1380.
As of the writing of this post, that’s about it for Chris Ward thus far. Given how much they have been iterating, I have no doubt this won’t be the last post I write about them even in the short-term future.
You can read more about the Dune series in this great article from their in-house magazine, Loupe.