After being at this for over a decade, sometimes I’m just looking to be surprised. It’s very rare that a watch we get in for review is not well made these days. If anything, we occasionally can say that at X price we wish the finishing were better, or that a certain feature was present or not. But ultimately, the watches we review are very solid and reliable. So, reviews come down to aesthetics, fit, experience, value, etc. In other words, subjective topics that are fair to disagree with. Thankfully, in the last few months, I have indeed been surprised by some releases. Brands have started to innovate with movement functionality and case design in a way that feels like it’s been missing and speaks not to a lack of creativity, but rather an industry that is now able to meet those ideas with relatively affordable solutions.
This brings me to the topic of conversation. When Christopher Ward released the C63 Sealander Elite, I was indeed surprised. It wasn’t that they made a titanium chronometer at a compelling price, or even that they went out of their way to lighten it, which is always great, it’s that they made a recessed, push-button crown.
That’s it? You might be saying. To which I’d answer, yes. For the most part, watches are basically the same thing, if you were to ignore the aesthetic elements. Three hands, a crown, a strap, a steel (usually) case, maybe a complication, etc. So, something as simple and novel as a crown that works differently is, well, exciting. It was a challenge that the brand didn’t need to take to release this watch. Had they just put a screw-down crown, we’d have been none the wiser, and it still would have been a cool watch. But this is that extra little thing, and it took good old-fashioned r&d to make, which comes at a cost. Whether or not it was worth it, is the question I’ll try to answer in this review.
Please note the sample reviewed is pre-production, with production having the following changes: Orange print on the dial will be stronger, 45g on the case back instead of 00g, 15ATM – Titanium on the case back instead of Titanium 15ATM