Christopher Ward

F1 has always been synonymous with fine time pieces. They have always been involved in the sport and sought after by F1 fans. The staff of F1B are no different.

Periodically we like to do a product review here at F1B. You’ll recall our Sena iPhone case review for F1 fans and now I have another review. This one is a bit different thought…I am an owner of two of these!

If you want to know who has nice watches at F1B, you’ll have to speak with SJ Skid (Steve Cahn) who owns some seriously nice race-centric watches like Oris, Panerai and even Paul Charsley has a very nice TAG Monaco (Gulf) model that I am very jealous of. In fact, almost everyone had a nicer watch than I did. I felt I needed to up my game.

I owned one watch. An Omega reduced Speedmaster Schumacher edition that I bought way back in the late 90’s. It has served me well for many years but is in serious need of a servicing and that’s darned expensive. Omega stolidly told me that it was a $560 process. I thought about that for a minute and decided that perhaps this was the time to look for a new watch. I searched and found thousands of option but then landed on Christopher Ward’s website.

Christopher Ward was founded in 2004 – from the outset the mission was to make luxury watches affordable by slashing both margins and overhead. The small British based watch company is the first luxury watchmaker to sell directly to its customers online.

The thing I love about Ward is their dedication to quality materials and components while not costing a fortune. I kept reading the website and spec’s and was befuddled how a sapphire, anti-reflective crystal could be teamed with an ETA or Valjoux 7750 movement for this price! I was a tad reticent and after considering it for weeks; I decided to email the company to see if it was for real.

Amazingly, my email was promptly replied to by none other than Christopher Ward himself. He, also being an F1 fan, was very friendly and accommodating with some questions I had. I decided to jump in and purchase my first Ward watch.

C3 MalvernMy first Ward Watch

Malvern C3

I got the watch from the UK and I have to say I was amazed at the quality of the case, face and sapphire crystal. The ETA movement is beyond criticism and I was bowled over by what I had just purchased. Seriously folks, it’s not a $5,000 watch. It’s a $300 watch and I can’t find anything to complain about.

Comparing it to my Omega, which is an automatic, is not exactly apples-to-apples but it is just as nice and a fraction of the price! I was so impressed with Christopher Ward that I ordered a second watch, on sale, and the price of both of these watches is still less than the price of servicing my Omega.

C70 Ad AstraMy second Ward watch

If I am honest, I would really like to get one of their newest watches, the C90 Beckett’s. It is one of the newest, fantastic watches at Christopher Ward and If I get one, I think it will be a truer comparison to an Omega Speedmaster. Here is a little information on the new watch:

The news that Silverstone will be staging the British Formula 1 Grand Prix for the next 17 years prompted the petrol-heads at Christopher Ward to think of a way to celebrate. Chris and the design team in Maidenhead disappeared into their studio for a while and came up with what many believe to be their finest design yet.

For anyone who knows about motor racing, ‘Beckett’s’ was an obvious name for a watch that combines precision, power and extraordinary performance. The Beckett’s complex at Silverstone is one of the most demanding sets of corners on any Formula 1 track in the world. It also provides heart-stopping views for spectators as cars flick left, then right, and change down two gears, before making a fast right exit reaching speeds of more than 180mph (290kph). Drivers experience close to 3G of lateral force first one way, then the other.

The design of the C90 Beckett’s has a subtle retro feel – more Stirling Moss than Lewis Hamilton. It features a superbly crafted, multi-layered precision dial, incorporating the 45 hour power reserve meter which is the outward expression of the complex Valgranges ETA A07.161 Automatic movement. The power reserve movement has been specially customised by ETA for the C90.

The watch will appeal to anyone who lives life in the fast lane and demands total commitment to quality.

C90 Beckett's

For those of you who are fans of one of the most famous British marques in the world, then the new C70 Aston Martin DBR1 is for you. It is a limited edition watch celebrating Aston Martin’s famous victory at Le Mans in 1959. Details inspired by the winning Aston Martin DBR1’s livery, have been faithfully incorporated into the design of the watch, which is limited to just 500 pieces worldwide.

The two co-drivers, Roy Salvadori (British) and Caroll Shelby (American), completed 323 laps (about 2,700 miles) in the 24-hour race – finishing just ahead of a second Aston Martin DBR1, and some distance ahead of four Ferraris 250 GTs an AC Ace and a Lotus Elite. Of the other 45 entries only 13 cars finished the race. Although Aston Martin has never managed to win Le Mans again, the marque renewed its quest for a second victory in 2009.

The striking design of the C70 DBR1 reflects many of the details of the winning car. The British Racing Green bezel mirrors the colour of the car and the dark charcoal trim of the winning Aston Martin provides the background colour for the face and three dials. Even the watch’s hands pick up on the DBR1’s white needles on the speedometer and fuel gauge and its red rev counter. The large numbers on the dial reflect the giant numbers in white circles that were on the side of every 1959 Le Mans car.

Christopher Ward’s C70 DBR1 is powered by a three eye ETA 251.272 movement and has the year of victory and the name of the winning car and both drivers engraved on the reverse of the case.

C70 DBR1

The brand is becoming increasingly confident and determined to challenge established brands at a higher and higher level – by introducing more intricate movements as well as a host of other features normally reserved for watches sold in high-end retailers (with alarming overheads).

There is very little the luxury watch world can do about Christopher Ward other than spend even more on marketing to try and shore up the brands they have created. Ultimately they know that there is a limit to how many people will happily pay £2,200 for a watch when they could pay £550 for a Christopher Ward with an almost identical or even higher specification. All watches come with a 60-day no quibble return policy and a 60-month warranty.

If you are in the market for a new watch, definitely check Christopher Ward out and right now, as in this weekend, they have a sale going on. Make sure you tell them that F1B sent you and I will keep you all posted if I do find enough coin to get a Beckett’s. Right now, all that coin is used for server hosting. ;)

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D-E-M
Guest
D-E-M

Obvious first question…are you getting paid for this?

Second question – and far more importantly – those cufflinks? If I put those on then my skin would have the same reaction that Dracula had to holy water.

BoogWar
Guest
BoogWar

Yah, NC, even if you really like the watches, U don’t do your credibility any favours by doing a piece like this. If you do this, don’t do it on your blog.

Royce Amatique
Guest
Royce Amatique

I don’t see a problem, NC isn’t the sort of guy to do some dodgy marketing stunt.

I’m not a watch person but these do look good; nice find NC.

I remember this magazine I read on an airline recently which was all about ultra-expensive watches. I’m talking stratospheric prices in the 100s of $k. Its unbelievable what some people will pay for exclusivity.

Royce Amatique
Guest
Royce Amatique

yeah and I forgot to mention … your watch looks really cool but it is definitely made low rent by those cuff links.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

Watches are SO last generation… What are you? like, over 25 or sumthing? jeez, just look at your phone for the time. Now a smartphone in the shape of those cuff links would be the BOMB for a nite or two.

modoc
Guest
modoc

All in all it looks fine,I’m sorry that everyone is ragging on your cufflinks Todd. looking closely it doesn’t look like your wearing that fine of a suit, so the cufflinks are fitting.

Anyway, thanks for the review, I’m starting to fall in love with these watches they are quite nice!

Jack Flash
Guest
Jack Flash

Thanks NC.
Appreciate the ‘heads up’ on this Brand. CWL – Quality for Less.

I need a new watch. My TAG-Heuer Chronograph 200m (2001 model SEL) is still going as strong as ever, but a new wrist timepiece (or two) for the wardrobe is about due. Variety and all…

I have my eye on the CWL Gold/Tan version of the C3 Chronograph myself. We’ll see after that about something from the sports range.

Thanks again. Product blog appreciated.

F1 Kitteh
Guest
F1 Kitteh

Looks interesting will check them out. Definitely beats paying $1k for a quartz watch of which $800 probably goes straight to Bernie’s pockets to have their logo put on the timing screens…

Noddy93
Guest
Noddy93

i have a ’94 Tag Senna and a ’01 Tag Senna Link (neither one to ever see the light of day beyond my safe room). outside of those i’ve an ’87 swatch diamond, an ’87 swatch X, and a ’95 swatch Kurosawa. then there’s the ’06 comedy central ‘towlie’, and finally the 2010 iphone 4.

this doesn’t bring into account my pocket watch collection… which is distrubingly extensive.

Tim
Guest
Tim

Thanks for the heads up NC. Always looking for unique watches at a reasonable price. I will definitely give them i look.

Christopher Oliver
Guest
Christopher Oliver

I like the watch AND the cufflinks

Christopher Oliver
Guest
Christopher Oliver

and I love the commemorative peices, such as the brietling for Bentley (which is highly over priced and the BRM watch for OAK Racing http://flawlesscrowns.wordpress.com/2010/09/21/brm-oak-racing-24-hours-chronograph-watch/

Sami
Guest
Sami

Wow…I think I just found where I’ll be spending some of my bonus money this year! There’s a lot of good variety. Nice find, and I’ll definitely mention you!

PNWBrit
Guest
PNWBrit

All a bit Home Shopping Network isn’t it?

Nash
Guest
Nash

Thanks for the review Todd. I saw the C70 DBR1 on a flight magazine ad and fell in love with it. I only once bought a watch in my life before, and being ambitious, I wanted to only buy a Patek Phillipe once I made the big bucks. But I couldn’t resist and just purchased the C70 – looks very tasteful and eye catching. i am not brand-oriented but this watch looks stunning.

Kelly Rogers
Guest
Kelly Rogers

You know, I like your article. But I was more entertained reading the replies of your post! Anyway, it’s great to buy Omega watches Australia if you “fall in love” with the right kind. I hope you get my meaning.