We’ve been fortunate to have a couple Christopher Ward pieces come in for review here at worn&wound. With both the C8 Pilot and C5 Malvern dress watch, Christopher Ward has displayed clearly that they are capable of bringing their customers well designed, high quality watches at very reasonable prices. For the past several weeks we’ve been putting the C10 Aviator through its paces, Christopher Ward’s modern take on the classic pilot watch. So, at $515, does the C10 live up to Christopher Ward’s reputation?
Case: Stainless steel w/ matte finish
Movement: 26 Jewel Sellita SW200-1 automatic
Lens: Anti-reflective sapphire
Strap: Italian calf leather
Water Res.: 50M
Lug Width: 22mm
Crown: Screw down
Warranty: CW360 Care Program
Christopher Ward designed the C10 in the image of the classic B-Uhren pilot watches, but with wearability and versatility in mind. As they note on the product page, a “triangular reference point at 12 O’clock and the large, diamond shaped crown are dead give-aways” of the C10’s heritage, but the watch’s more modest size “hits the sweet spot for most wearers.” This is certainly the case, however we found there to be a number of other design cues throughout the piece that also lend to a broader commercial appeal. Some refined detailing on the dial and soft case design suggest that the C10 is intended to be the pilot watch for those who aren’t interested in the completely rugged, no-frills aesthetic of many classically styled pieces.
The case of the C10 is quite nice, albeit very simple, even toned down. Made of stainless steel and featuring a matte finish, the C10 case measures 42mm in diameter, 50mm lug to lug and 10mm tall. Certainly modest for todays standards, and even on the small side for a pilot watch. The matte finish is smooth, and contrasts nicely with the C10’s slightly more ornate dial, which we’ll discuss shortly.
On the back of the case, you’ll find an etching of the Sopwith Camel bi-plane, a British plane first introduced in WWI. Also etched are the Latin words “mea anima est in caelum” or “my soul is in the sky.” Some nice detailing for sure, but a part of me wished Christopher Ward had included a display case back with this watch. Given its more dress styling, I think a bit of flash on the back of the case would have gone well. And who doesn’t like to show off their watch’s Swiss pedigree whenever they get the chance? As noted, the C10 is powered by a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement. A unique serial number is also etched on each of the C10’s, which is a nice touch, but if a watch isn’t being made in limited quantities, this seems to be a moot point. UPDATE: As pointed out by reader Pete, these unique serial numbers will prove valuable many years down the road when dating the watches, providing a reference point to match with manufacturer records.
Lastly, the C10 also features a large onion crown and the 3 o’clock position, which is common to many B-Uhren watches. Its proportions are quite nice and it fits aesthetically with the rest of the C10, but we did find it a bit uncomfortable at times as it protrudes from the C10 case a bit more than you may like it to.
Moving to the dial of the C10, it very effectively harkens back to the B-Uhren watches of years ago, with a large triangular 12 o’clock indicator, oversized 3, 6 and 9 numerical markers, and large sword style hands. The inclusion of a internal minute register also reminds us of observer style pilots watches, which typically feature the hour index along the inner circle, and the minute/second index along the very outer edge of the dial. It doesn’t’ seem to have been the intention of Christopher Ward to rethink the observer watch, and the internal register included on the C10 is well implemented. It’s nevertheless worth noting that this watch does, to us, seem to pull design cues from across the pilot watch spectrum.
For a pilot watch, the C10 features a significant amount of detailing. It also includes off-white markings throughout which, partnered with the slightly more ornate detailing, provides a distinctly vintage, classic aesthetic.
Starting along its outer edge, you will see hash markers for each second/minute, as well as smaller markings for each 5th of a second. Moving inward, we see the hour markers, which are filled with lume and are actually applied to the dial. They are further outlined in polished steel, making them visible in both high and low light.
The internal minute/second register is a railroad shape, with numerical markings every five seconds/minutes along its internal side. The 60 marker is colored red for distinction, however there are no lumed markings. At 3 o’clock, and intersecting with the internal second/minute register, there is a date window displaying an off-white numeral on black background, matching the rest of the dal. Polished stainless steel around the date window helps it to stand out from the rest of the dial.
Looking now at the hands of the C10, you’ll note that the hour and minute hands are sword shapes, typical to the pilot watch. These hands also match the styling of the hour markers and date wheel on the dial, with lume filling and stainless steel trim. Meanwhile, the second hand is needle shaped with a lume filled dot that matches up with the internal second/minute register on the dial.
As has been the case with the other Christopher Wards we’ve reviewed, the C10 is accompanied by a very nice strap with quick release function for easy strap changes. The strap included is made of black italian calf leather and features off-white contrast stitching throughout. It also includes a signed deployment clasp that feels very nice when adjusting.
Given its size and more refined finishing, we found the C10 to be a great watch for regular wear in the office or on the weekend. Its classic military styling provides some ruggedness, while dial design, polished steel accents and leather strap with deployment clasp give it more formal overtones. Further, the modest size of the case and relatively low profile (10mm tall) make it fit well with most cuffs.
At this point, it almost goes without saying that Christopher Ward watches are well made and feel great in your hand. Swiss made, these pieces really do meet your every expectation for build quality and thoughtful design. Speaking specifically of the C10 Aviator, we found it to be a more refined pilot watch, appropriate for regular wear. In modifying the classic pilot look, the C10 also stands out from the crowd without being ostentatious. So, at just $515, the C10 looks like a winner for anyone in the market for a versatile, attractive pilot watch.
by Blake Malin
Thanks to Christopher Ward for providing the C10