Christopher Ward is a British luxury watch company which have slowly grown to be something of a serious competitor in the mid to high-end spectrum of watches. Having been the first on-line only retailer to sell luxury timepieces to the consumer, they are able to cut costs and deliver beautifully made items for cheaper prices. That is not to say that the elements they utilize is cheap but rather their position in the market allows them to manufacture watches on the top of their price-performance curves. 

Christopher Ward C9 Watch

An example of just this is their latest release – the Christopher Ward C9 Moonphase watch which starts at an asking price of £1295. Mike France, co-founder of the brand, had claimed that a Moonphase model was highly requested by fans and so the decision to make and build such a piece took over 3 years with in-house movement designer Johannes Jahnke stepping up to deliver a spectacular new movement. The model itself comes in two color schemes, midnight blue & silver and white & gold with the dial being 40mm wide.

The Packaging

The C9 Moonphase arrived in an elegant box that really showed off the brand image. For a modest company, the sturdy and well-equipped white interior of the product’s packaging oozed sophistication and class; the mark of a well-established watch-maker.

The Case & Crown

The case of the C9 Moonphase borrows the same design from within its own C9 family. It measures in at 40mm diameter with a 51.5mm lug to lug length. The height of the case is 13.3mm which is on the larger side of a dress-watch. However, some may find this to be part of the C9’s charm and appeal. This along with its stainless material makes for a sturdy timepiece which weighs in at 93 grams. The polished bezel and horizontally brushed case adds another layer of complexity to this watch model along with the CW branded crown.

While the case is not the most breath-taking design I have ever seen, it is one that certainly works well with the midnight blue dial. On the underside of the case, the heart of the JJ04 movement can be seen with a “swiss-made” logo embossed underneath

The Straps

The choice of straps is currently limited in-house to either an alligator, leather or stainless steel bracelet. While not the most abundant of choices, the straps Christopher Watch do sell are high-quality and work extremely well with the case and dial. My favourite of the bunch is the blue alligator Louisiana strap which features a deployant buckle with 2 buttons that ties in nicely with the midnight blue and silver patterned dial of the watch. The brighter blue contrast stitching also makes the strap more aesthetically pleasing and further brings out the blue element of the watch into the forefront.

The Dial

Now the dial of the C9 Moonphase makes the watch come to life and is in my opinion, the most arresting feature of this watch. Unlike many other moonphase watches which feature a small discrete moonphase element, the C9 makes it a focal centrepiece which produces a truly stunning result.

At the core of the watch, lies the moon itself in a stamped nickel material which is somewhat representative of the real moon with its textures and crater impacts. Underneath, Christopher Ward have introduced a guilloche tidal wave pattern that is inspired by the moon’s gravitational pull of the sea. Together with the star-embossed patterns, the watch pays an awe-inspiring tribute to the beauty of our natural surrounding world. This watch has evoked many compliments and part of the reason for that is the way that the moon reflects natural sunlight making the piece not only luxurious but visually striking.

Along the borders of the watch, the C9 Moonphase employs stylish roman numerals in a sans-serif format with sharp needle hour and second hands that give off a past-era vibe. The date window fits in with the overall midnight theme of the watch being the same colour as the rest of the dial. The only nit-pick I would have with the dial itself would be that the Christopher Ward logo within the guilloche pattern could have been reduced in size to keep the design more minimalist and yet still dramatic. 

The Movement

The C9 Moonphase straddles a 25 jewel Calibre JJ04 module which is their first ever moonphase complication. The custom-built JJ04 movement adds upon the ETA 2836-2 base allowing 2 separate gear systems to run continuously and with accuracy compared with other jump indicators. As expected, the movement is automatic with hacking second hands and hand-winding capabilities. The JJ04 also delivers a fast 28.8k bhp sweep which is said to be accurate to an impressive one day every 128 years.

Behind the case, as mentioned, is the JJ04 calibre module which features CW initials in blue along with blue-screws to emphasise the midnight blue version of the timepiece. The movements are made in Switzerland with Johannes Jahnke being the head-designer and concoctor of this reliably durable and quite remarkable movement. 

The Competition
The closest competition to the C9 Moonphase watch is Frederique Constant’s slim-line Moonphase watch. The latter of which bears a more restrained design which exudes much of the same sophistication and class as the former. Unlike the C9 Moonphase, however, the FC Moonphase starts at an asking price of a significant €2695. While both watches place a higher emphasis on the moonphase element, the C9 Moonphase makes it much of a more an exhibition piece while still retaining composure and grandeur. The FC, on the other hand, places the moonphase just above the 6 hour mark in a small window that takes up less than half of the total display size.

The most visually alike model to the C9’s Moonphase is Arnold & Son’s ‘HM Perpetual Moon’ watch which also showcases the moonphase element as a centrepiece. Comparatively speaking, the Arnold & Son watch puts more attention to details to create an even more realistic moon amidst a more classically handsome look. With that said though, the C9 Moonphase represents outstanding value for money with the Arnold & Son watch costing many times more the asking price of the C9 Moonphase. 

Final thoughts
Christopher Ward have masterfully given their fans a taste of experience with their first ever moonphase watch. A truly stunning product by any sense of the word, the C9 Moonphase is a distinctive and attractive dress-watch. In my opinion, it is well designed and would not look out of place with much more expensively priced competitors. While £1295 or $1780 may seem like a high starting price it still is relatively low for the type and style of watch you are presented with. Thus, I highly recommend this watch to those who are looking for something eye-catching while still wanting to retain sophistication and class. 

  • 25 jewel, 128 year moonphase complication by Johannes Jahnke - JJ04
  • Modified in Switzerland from ETA 2836-2 by Johannes and his team
  • Self-winding movement with 38 hour power reserve
  • Date display at 6 o'clock
  • Central hour, minute and second hands
  • Stop-second hacking mechanism
  • Large moonphase disc with 3-dimensional deep-stamped moon in nickel finish
  • One-piece metal dial with tidal pattern guilloche, raised indexes and nickel finish hands
  • Hand finished, surgical grade, stainless steel case and crown
  • Museum-grade sapphire crystal with AR08 anti-reflective coating
  • Screw-down transparent case back
  • Genuine Louisiana alligator strap with Bader Deployment
  • Luxury presentation case and owner's handbook.

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Height: 13.3mm
  • Calibre: JJ04 - modified ETA 2836-2
  • Vibrations: 28.800 vph
  • Case: 316L stainless steel
  • Water resistance: 5 bar
  • Strap width: 20mm
  • Dial Colour: Midnight-Silver

Where to buy?
You can get the watch in Christoper Ward's Official Website here.

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