Launch Review : Christopher Ward Is Calling You To The Dark Side.

Christopher Ward has a history of leaning towards the dark side. The C60 Titanium and last year’s C60 Abyss have shown that Christopher Ward know how to make a stealth watch. Now they have launched two new C60 Abyss watches, the C60 Abyss SH21 using their in-house SH21 movement and a C60 Abyss GMT.

The Christopher Ward C60 Abyss SH21

The C60 Abyss SH21 uses the flag ship in-house SH21 movement which features COSC certification and a 120 hour power reserve. It’s been placed in the C60 light catcher case with a sapphire dial and a stealth theme which develops the Abyss/stealth theme they introduced last year.

Specifications (from CW website)

Diameter                             42mm

Scottish Watches and TOCKR Watches

Lug tip-to-lug tip               49.3mm

Height                                   16.3mm

Weight                                 192g with bracelet

Water resistance              600m/2000ft

Lug width                            22mm

Movement                         Christopher Ward SH21, COSC certified, 120 hour power reserve, small seconds and power reserve indicator

Design

The C60 Abyss SH21 is part of the successful C60. It is a watch with a blacked out dial, hands and power reserve and small seconds wheel. Splashes of colour are restricted to the bezel makers between zero and fifteen minutes, the pointer for the blacked out date window, the pointer for the power reserve indicator and the less than 1 day marker on the power reserve dial. This is a seriously stealthy watch. It also features the next application of the sapphire dial introduced on the C60 Sapphire. In this case the sapphire dial has a smoked grey colour which matches the aesthetic of the watch. Turning the watch over you’ll find a sapphire case back allowing a clear view of the SH21 movement. This means that everything is visible but hidden.

The handset is the current C60 version with a baton minute hand, triangular hour hand, stick like and almost invisible small seconds hand and a skeleton hand for the power reserve. The hands are also gunmetal grey and coated with SLN black lume so don’t expect it to glow like a normal C60 in the dark. In fact the power reserve hand might be the only hand you can read.

The case is the current 42mm C60 light catcher case made from brushed 316L stainless steel and coated in a combination of grey PVD and black DLC. It has a 600m water resistance rating. With all the brushing and coating the subtle way this case design manages reflections is going to be lost. The crown features the twin flags logo and is a screw down crown. For those that don’t like the normal word mark it is present at the 12:00 o’clock position but has been presented in dark grey to match the overall theme.

The sapphire dial and case back allow you to see the SH21 as never before. Even the two Apex models haven’t given the watch fan as good a look at this movement as the C60 Abyss SH21 does. The movement is COSC certified with the usual -4/+6 seconds per day accuracy. There are a number of versions of the SH21 movement and this is the 33 jewel variant, automatic with hacking and hand winding, power reserve on the dial and a small seconds at 6:00 o’clock.

The watch is available on the excellent CW bracelet with quick release pins and gunmetal grey finish and on a black or black with red stitching hybrid strap.

Price and availability

The C60 Abyss SH21 on the bracelet is £2,120/$2,420 and £1,995/2,280 on the hybrid straps. It is available for pre-order on the Christopher website (www.christopherward.com).

 

The Christopher Ward C60 Abyss GMT

The second Abyss watch launched today is a GMT which shares the Abyss/stealth design language with the C60 Abyss SH21.

Specifications (from CW website)

Diameter                             42mm

Lug tip-to-lug tip               49.3mm

Height                                   13.8mm

Weight                                 190g with bracelet

Water resistance              600m/2000ft

Lug width                            22mm

Movement                         Selitta SW 330, 28,800 VPH, automatic, 25 jewel, 42 hour power reserve.

Design

The design of the Abyss GMT is similar to the Abyss SH21 but there are some important differences. The handset is the now familiar C60 Mk 3 handset but now has a central small seconds hand with the traditional Trident counterweight. The GMT hand features a red, skeleton pointer. The case is 42mm and features a screw down crown.

The dial is black with applied indices. The index at noon is a double baton whilst the remainder are single batons. They have black SLN lume between each of the stick markers. The Christopher Ward word mark has returned to the controversial 9:00 o’clock position and the twin flags logo is at 12:00 o’clock. The stealth treatment means that the logo is much less visible than normal.

The bezel has two stainless steel inserts to indicate whether it is day or night in the second time zone. One half of the bezel is coated with black PVD whilst the other half has been tungsten brushed to provide some contrast between the two halves of the day. The hours are filled with lume but this won’t glow like a conventional C60. The case back is stamped with the trident logo and has been coated with black PVD.

The Abyss GMT is available with a three piece bracelet fitted with quick release pins. It is also available with a black and a black with red stitching hybrid strap both of which are also fitted with quick release pins.

The movement is a Selitta SW330. This movement is not a so-called “true GMT” as the hour hand cannot be independently adjusted. The advantage or disadvantage of the true GMT could be debated for hours. If you are crossing multiple time zones in a day there may be an advantage to the true GMT used by Rolex, Omega and others but for normal mortals the independent GMT hand is easy to use and very useful.

Price and availability

The C60 Abyss GMT on the bracelet is £1,175/$1,340 and £1,050/$1,195 on the hybrid straps. It is available for pre-order on the Christopher website (www.christopherward.com).

Conclusions

The C60 Abyss of 2019 was a popular watch with the CW community. These two new watches expand the Abyss range and should be popular with fans of the Abyss special edition. These are larger watches which won’t appeal to some. They share the C60 design language but add more functions and a distinctive style.

With the Abyss SH21 Christopher Ward has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this watch. It has the sapphire dial in a new colourway, it has a small seconds, power reserve and a sapphire case back. The details on the power reserve hand are a demonstration of what CW can do. All of this is housed within the light catcher case now covered with gunmetal PVD and black DLC coatings. The SH21 is a great movement and this watch highlights it in a subtle and stealthy way.

The C60 GMT is a more classic design. The high points may be the two tone bezel and the GMT hand. The GMT functionality is great for travel. Neither of these watches will ever be famous for their lume, quite the opposite in fact.

Then there’s the price. The basic C60 range costs from £845/$965 on a bracelet. The Abyss SH21 is over twice that. Is the Abyss design worth that to you? The Abyss carries a small premium over the normal C60 GMT and so may be more attractive. Of course there are often vouchers and sales which help reduce the cost. The expansion of the Abyss range provides a wider range of choices in the C60 range and the look is distinctive. The question is do you want to switch to the Dark Side?