The latest release from Christopher Ward is among their most ambitious, a fully skeletonized dive watch with a five day power reserve that has been finished in a style meant to evoke some of the most well regarded brands in contemporary independent watchmaking. The C60 Concept takes Christopher Ward’s in-house-designed SH21 base caliber and, essentially, blows it up, putting it on full view from both the front and the rear, while simultaneously pushing the limits of the the movement’s performance, which has now been featured in one form or another in a total of 21 references. Importantly, it’s also been produced over 8,000 times, as Christopher Ward is proud to tell their customers, a statistic that bolsters the reliability of the caliber, and should breed confidence among the CW curious.
The theme of the C60 Concept seems to be bringing the concept of haute horlogerie down to earth a bit, and exploring what can be done to emulate the sometimes avant-garde movement finishing techniques used in the highest end of the independent sphere to a more approachable, consumer friendly package. To do this, Christopher Ward has once again partnered with Armin Strom on the design of the skeletonization of this flavor of the SH21, a brand that they first collaborated with on the equally daring C60 Apex back in 2019. Finishing of the SH21 is handled by Chronode SA, a Swiss movement maker founded by watchmaker Jean-François Mojon that typically specializes in exotic complications and has worked with brands such as MB&F, Czapek & Cie., and HYT (RIP, HYT). Here, Chronode has contributed fine detailing to the bridges and baseplate, in a process that Christopher Ward tells us requires at least 6 hours per watch.
From the front, the C60 Concept’s two massive barrels that together yield 5 days of power are both visible, while a skeletonized rotor has been used on the backside for a largely unobstructed view of the SH21 from behind. The finishing is of a very high quality for the $4,370 price point, and Armin Strom’s influence can certainly be felt on the dial side in particular, where legibility remains fairly clear in spite of the inherently complex dial design. There’s a great sense of depth to this dial thanks to the use of contrasting finishing techniques and a bright blue chapter ring perched over the movement at the dial’s perimeter.
The case measures 42mm in diameter and is 15.85mm tall. In the brief period of time I was able to sample the C60 Concept, I found that it wore much better than the dimensions might let on, and wouldn’t have guessed that it was nearly 16mm thick. It’s chunky, to be sure, but Christopher Ward has done a great job of disguising this dimension by designing a subtly complex case full of facets and unexpected angles. It’s surprisingly sleek, and the contrast in finishing techniques on the movement is carried over to the case as well, which makes for a hunk of titanium that is aesthetically pleasing with a lot of visual interest.
While the C60 Concept certainly has what anyone would describe as a design forward look, it’s still meant to be a capable and robust sports watch, and the specs don’t disappoint in this regard. It has a full 300 meters of water resistance, a ceramic bezel insert, and an anti-shock system on board. The SH21 movement is also chronometer certified, with timekeeping rated at -4/+6 seconds per day. The extended power reserve and unique finishing of the movement make this watch a compelling option at a sub $5,000 price point.
For more on the C60 Concept, be sure to check out Christopher Ward’s website, where the watch can be purchased beginning today.