Exclusive First Look: The Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow

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In 2015, when Christopher Ward first released their center-dial moonphase complication, I recall being quite impressed. A semi-uncommon complication to begin with, moonphases are rarely seen about the center of the dial, which increases their scale and puts them at the forefront of the watch. In order to achieve this unexpected task, Christopher Ward developed an in-house module that, when combined with an ETA 2836, became the JJ04 caliber. Accurate to one day per every 128 years (of continuous operation), this was quite the accomplishment for the relatively young brand, and one that was made even more pointed by the sub-$2,000 price tag.

It’s 2019, and a lot has changed since the first release of the Christopher Ward C9, now the C1 Moonphase (it got an update a few years back). The brand’s aesthetic has evolved from neo-classical to modern, and their designs have become far more unique. With the 50th anniversary of the moon landing happening later this year (July 20th), it’s the perfect time for Christopher Ward to revisit the moon, so to speak — introducing the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow.


Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow

  • Case Material: Stainless steel
  • Dial: Multi-layered dial design
  • Dimensions: 40.5mm x 48.5mm x 13.3mm
  • Crystal: Sapphire
  • Water Resistance: 3 ATM
  • Crown: Push/pull
  • Movement: JJ04 Caliber
  • Strap/Bracelet: Shell cordovan leather strap on deployant; Milanese
  • Price: $1,935 on shell leather; $1,970 on Milanese
  • Expected Release: Available now for pre-order

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Representing a new direction for the brand, the C1 Moonglow is a thoroughly contemporary take on the complication. Less dressy than before, the Moonglow is now a masculine, business-casual watch that puts even more of an emphasis on the moonphase than previous incarnations did. And, as the name suggests, it uses an abundance of Super-LumiNova to bring the watch to life in the dark, bringing back memories of glowing-star-stickered-ceilings from your childhood.

The wide dial is rendered mostly in black, consisting of an outer ring with a date and hour index and an inner moonphase region. Jumping right to the star of the show, the massive moonphase complication is fully visible, with the current phase shown through a typically scalloped aperture from 10:00 to 4:00. In a unique move, the rest of the moonphase disk is also observable, but it’s positioned behind a smoked surface, darkening it just enough to let you know what’s in focus. The result is striking.

The disk itself consists of a black surface with stars printed in lume-white and two massive domed moons. Rather than an abstract moon-like surface, actual depictions of the moon are printed on top of lumed surfaces. When charged up, the display is very appealing and a lot of fun, with the exposed stars and moon glowing at a different intensity than those behind the smoked surface. The realism of the moons adds to the more contemporary feel of the watch.

On the ring just around the moonphase are fairly small, applied hour markers that are polished and lume-filled, each with four printed hash marks in between for the minutes. It’s an understated approach, especially when compared to the original’s large Roman numerals. It gets the job done and doesn’t take away from the obvious star.

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Continuing outwards, there is a date complication executed in a novel fashion. Rather than a standard date window, there is a rotating disc with a red marker on it. This aligns with a date numeral on the outer edge of the dial, thus creating a sort of sub-dial pointer-date. It’s a smart design that is easy to read at a glance and adds a feeling of greater complexity to the dial without having to have a fourth hand. Sticking with the nocturnal theme of the watch, the index is printed in lume, and the pointer disk is fully lumed. At night, the red mark appears as a void in the ring, thus still indicating the date.

For the case, Christopher Ward utilized their 40.5 x 48.5mm dress design, here at 13.3mm to the top of the domed sapphire. This is the case found on their current C1 Moonphase, and the one featured on the C1 Grand Malvern I reviewed back in 2017. An elegant design, it features swooping case sides with mixed finishing and clever concave cuts, effectively helping to break up the case’s height. Flipping the case around, you are treated to a wide view of the JJ04 caliber, which includes a textured, black rotor.

The combination of the layered, contemporary dial with the flowing lines of the case creates a watch that rides the line between formal and casual. It has the sophistication expected from a complication-forward watch, but it lacks the classical pretension many cling to, thereby making it more sensible on the wrist of a younger generation. The case adds some masculine style, rounding out the watch as a whole. The result is a supremely wearable watch that is a contemporary take on a traditional concept.

While the utility of a moonphase is debatable, its elegance is not. Suddenly your wristwatch is expanded from merely a way to track earthly concerns to a way to track the motion of celestial bodies. Accuracy is discussed in centuries or more, giving them a cloud of existential consideration as well. Such a task deserves a poetic display, not a measly sub-dial that requires a magnifying glass to enjoy. In the world of haute horology, a handful of makers have done intriguing things, but in the realm of the affordable watch, only Christopher Ward has tackled this challenge.

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The new C1 Moonglow represents yet another strong offering from the brand, one that is not only built and finished to compete with more established Swiss houses, but designed to stand out from them as well. The Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow is $1,935 as shown on shell cordovan. 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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