Christopher Ward Puts Value Back in the Spotlight with the C63 Sealander Line

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For fans of Christopher Ward, there are many aspects of the brand to cherish, though one that has always been fundamental to their charm is their value. In the early days of the brand, they sold Swiss-made mechanicals at almost unheard of prices, something they could achieve through a direct-to-consumer model. Over the years their watches have gotten more complex, featuring better specs and finishing, so prices have gone up, to the chagrin of some. Today, with the launch of the C63 Sealander line, the brand aims to bring back some first-class bang-for-your-buck.

Of course, the goal of this new line isn’t just to be a good value, it’s to create a series of versatile everyday timepieces. A sort of “go-to” line for those who don’t want something as specific as a diver or pilot. Something that is as welcome at dinner with the in-laws as out with friends at a beer garden. While I might argue many of their watches already fit that bill, the exercise has certainly led them to some new, enjoyable, and, you guessed it, well-priced designs.

Let’s kick off with the C63 Sealander Auto, the entry to the collection. Starting at $695 on one of the brand’s “Hybrid” straps, it’s a pretty straightforward, contemporary sports watch. Still a part of their “Trident” line of dive-inspired watches, it features similar hands and dial furniture to the current C60s, but the date is at six and the logo is at twelve, which is sure to make people happy. The case comes in a 39mm x 45.8mm x 11.25mm, which is a new size for the brand and one that makes sense for the “everyday” concept. It still features their Light-Catcher design, a screw-down crown, and sapphire crystal, as well as a respectable 150m of water resistance. Available in black with red highlights of white with orange and powered by the Sellita SW-200, these are smart, sensible watches, and certainly a solid deal.

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Next up is the logical extension of the previous model, and an even more striking value, the C63 Sealander GMT. For this version, they essentially took the previous model, added a black-filled 24-hour index to the fixed steel bezel, a fourth hand to the dial, and kept the same 39mm x 45.8mm case, just increasing the thickness to 11.85mm. Powered by the Sellita SW330-2, which is a newer version of the 330 featuring a 56-hour power reserve and refined GMT mechanism, the C63 Sealander GMT has a starting price of $950, making it one of the most competitively priced GMTs right now. Sure, the bezel and large orange GMT hand make this model clearly derivative of a certain watch by a certain brand, but just ask yourself, which is available, which is 39mm, and which is under $1,000?

Last up is by far the most surprising of the group, the C63 Sealander Elite. Whereas the last two models clearly seem like watches designed for broad appeal, the Elite is more in line with Christopher Ward’s other recent releases, which push into stranger and more evocative territory. The Elite is a 40mm x 46.9mm x 10.7mm titanium chronometer that takes lightness and comfort to heart. The matte black dial, which keeps some of the C60 styling, adds in an aggressive index around the edge of the dial, which is separated from the central surface by a ring of elliptical gaps. In an effort to lighten the watch, they’ve removed material at various points, so these gaps provide a view straight through the watch, as the movement holder has been skeletonized as well.

While looked at in front of a white void, such as in press shots, it gives the watch an airy quality that immediately speaks to the fact that this is, indeed, the brand’s lightest watch ever at 45g (presumably head only). How this will look on the wrist is TBD, but a review sample is inbound so hold tight. Another, and perhaps more significant feature is that the crown has been recessed into the case side, nearly disappearing altogether. This is actually a push-button mechanism that was engineered in-house, and you’ll only see something similar to on a $40k Omega. Inspired by Mike France’s love of biking, the recessed crown prevents it from digging into the wrist. It also makes the watch ambidextrous, and likely a touch slimmer in appearance.

Add in the chronometer-rated SW-200, and C63 Sealander Elite is a very compelling and unique sports watch. Starting at $1,395, this model is on par with CWard’s more technical and high-spec watches (it is called “elite” after all), which is to say more expensive, but very fair for what you are getting. In the context of the line, the Elite feels less like it was designed to please a large audience, and more to solve the same problem of creating a true “everyday” watch for people with a real need for something capable. As such, it’s a bit stranger, and certainly more technical, and almost seems like a lightweight sibling to the tank-esque C60 Lympstone.

With the C63 Sealanders, Christopher Ward has released a line that I’m sure fans of the brand will be eager to see. On paper, they appear to mix a lot of what Christopher Ward does well with prices that are very competitive. With the Auto and the GMT, they’ve achieved a sort-of versatile, everyday, casual-but-not-too-casual sport watch look, that while not groundbreaking, is certainly appealing. With the Elite, they’ve continued to demonstrate that they can innovate and create watches in line with larger luxury houses, but at prices that are far more approachable. Christopher Ward

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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