I’ve always felt that the under $1,000 dollar watch market was lacking in dress watch options, particularly mechanical ones. Sure, there are some out there, but they rarely stand out, and those that do, end up becoming very popular. One that I’ve always thought was a great option was the Christopher Ward C5 Malvern Automatic. Simple, modest, handsome and very affordable, at $550 it’s a great watch for someone in need of a versatile dress watch on a budget. C Ward has continued to grow that line over the years adding colors, finishes, some twists and turns, and now a new model that is an exciting departure.
Following up on their previous C5 Malvern Slimline, released in 2014, C Ward is taking the watch in a bold new direction with a square case. The so-called C5 Slimline Square (or squared if you’re reading the dial) is an elegant interpretation of the platonic form, dropping the 90 degree angles for rounded edges and bowed sides. It comes across a bit art-deco and mid-century adding a retro feel with out overtly being a vintage styled piece. A modest width of 37mm, short lugs and a thickness of 8.25mm make this truly dress sized as well.
The case back features a display window that shows off the new Sellita 210-1 hand wound movement. This is essentially Sellita’s answer to the ETA 2801, which C Ward used in their previous Slimline watch (40mm, round). The 210-1 has been decorated to a nice degree with Cote De Geneve and blue screws. This is a great movement to find in a modestly priced watch, especially with the bonus of nice decoration. I think the choice of a hand wound movement was smart in general. They are a bit uncommon, help keep things slim and make one interact with the watch more regularly. Call me old-fashioned, but I like the act of winding a watch in the morning.
The dial is styled after the other Slimline watch, with sunburst surfaces and applied batons for the hours. It doesn’t get much simpler, and while a bit plain, also speaks to the C5s being versatile and understated watches. That said, I like how they dealt with the irregular shape, extending the batons out to meet the edge, rather than creating a circle in the square. The Slimline Square will be available initially in white and blue. Both look good, though I would love to see them do a gray or silver to contrast with white and blue shirts.
The Slimline Square will come on blue, black or brown faux-croc leather, or milanese style mesh. Both options appear to work quite well with the design. The leather softens things up a bit perhaps feeling more mid-century, while the mesh brings out the boldness in the shape. The mesh on the white dial is particularly striking.
Coming in at $549 on leather and $655 on Milanese the Slimline Square stays true to the value offered from the line and the brand. For someone looking for an elegant dress watch that is conservative enough for any formal occasion, but stylish enough to add some intrigue, the Slimline Square is a great option.