Whatever your opinion of the brand is overall, it’s difficult to argue that Christopher Ward isn’t ambitious. The British firm has built their reputation on taking risks, whether with wild and unique designs, in-house moonphases, or through radical rebranding efforts. They might not connect every time, but they always swing for the fences. Christopher Ward’s newest release is no exception to this. The C5 Malvern 595 is a handsome, minimalist mechanical design that measures in at just under six millimeters (5.95 millimeters, to be precise—hence the name).The C5 Malvern 595 achieves its svelte stature with a simple profile and an unadorned bezel and lugs. Only the light-catching bevel along the outer case and lug edges breaks up the lines of this super-thin stunner, which features all polished surfaces for a simple, old school look.
The dial of the C5 Malvern 595 takes this philosophy of restrained simplicity even further, with the Malvern collection’s trademark black stick hands on a nearly sterile background. Even the second hand is omitted here. The only markings to speak of are identical printed line hour markers, along with the Christopher Ward logo at nine o’clock. The trick to minimalism is in the quality of the details, and these hour markers are a perfect example. Just long enough to almost brush the hour hand and just bold enough to be easily legible from any angle, these markers ride the balance of austere design very well indeed. With so little in the way, the surface can take center stage here. Matte finished to contrast the polished case and presented in even muted tones, the dial presents well in either opaline white or an almost-granite medium gray.
In order to build a mechanical timepiece under six millimeters thick, you’d obviously need a movement even thinner than that. Christopher Ward turned to ETA to handle the challenge with the ETA 7001 hand-cranker that has seen service in everything from Tissot to Montblanc and Omega. The movement is nicely finished here with beveling and Côtes de Genève, and after 45 years of service in the industry it still performs exceptionally well even by today’s standards.At $680 starting price, you get an attractive minimalist timepiece with a proven Swiss manual movement and an overall thickness under six millimeters. That’s a solid package, and it’ll be exciting to see how these fare in the months to come. Christopher Ward