We don’t try to hide the fact that we are fans of the Christopher Ward brand here at w&w. We’ve reviewed a few and tend to mention them in guides here and there. Simply put, they are affordable and well designed watches…Exactly what we like to talk about. But one thing we rarely say about the brand is that their new releases are terribly unique. They usually are distinct variations on known styles and vocabularies that succeed by being well executed. And that’s fine, great even…Well, every now and then they go ahead and do something very unexpected, the C9 jump hour, for example, and now the C11 Makaira Pro 500.
This is a weird watch. It’s a diver based on their C11 modern aviator case and dial design, which we reviewed the chrono version of here. In fact, it maintains some of the tell-tale “aviator” language, like the large roman sword hands and oversized 3, 6 and 9 numerals. The major design differences are in the details of the dial, the hex screws on the body (they are flat on the other model) and of course, the rotating internal bezel. Internally, the watch is sporting a Selitta SW200-1 automatic movement, which seems to be the staple auto of the brand. On the dial, they replaced the large rectangular hour markers with small pill shapes, creating a more subtle and numeral focused dial. They’ve also clearly replaced the 12 with a more ominous 0. Overall, still very aviator in feeling. The internal bezel then adds a bit of something different.
Rather than elapsed time, the internal bezel here is a “countdown” bezel. So, you might notice that the numbers are essentially running the opposite from what you typically see on a dive bezel, though the end result is about the same. Have 35 minutes of air? (or 35 minutes left in your Monday morning meeting) then align 35 with the minute hand and watch it count down to the 0 triangle, simple as that. The internal bezel is controlled by the large crown at 2, which may or may not be screw-down (it does not say on the C Ward site as of yet). Visually, this is the detail that most greatly distinguishes the watch from an aviator, which rarely have bezels or secondary crowns. The oversized crown design also adds an industrial feel, which translates to the nautical aspirations of the watch.
While the look is a definite departure from typical divers, and more importantly a bit of a shocker from the fairly conservative brand, I think they still played it a bit safe. A highly domed crystal would have been a welcome addition that could have given the design a little more of a submarine quality. Also, C. Ward has yet to release bronze watch, and this seems like it could have been an ideal opportunity. Regardless, it’s still a cool and unique 500m diver offering, and a nice beginning to a revitalization of their divers, which have remained the same for sometime. Currently, the C11 Makaira Pro 500 is available for Pre-Order (shipping in October) for $685.00.
By Zach Weiss