Recently Swatch announced that in the near future they would only supply movements to members of the group. This news has turned the world of horology into disarray as many brands rely on ETA SA as a principle source of mechanisms. Although there are many other manufacturers like Selita, Soprod, Technotime and Inter T SA, they can’t necessarily handle the ever-increasing volume of orders. This has prompted quite a few watchmakers to develop their own Calibres in house. To accomplish this incredible achievement normally involves a substantial amount of money, research and development. UK based company Christopher Ward have taken this monumental leap and devised the superb Calibre SH21.
Christopher Ward was established in 2004 by close friends Chris Ward, Mike France and Peter Ellis. Prior to establishing the business all three of the partners were complete novices. Chris was previously involved in the sportswear industry and importing. Mike and Peter owned an Early Learning Centre and a chain of educational toy stores. This retail experience has proved invaluable in the company’s long-term marketing strategy and has ensured they are well known within the watch industry. Within a decade they have been very proactive and offer 149 different models for males alone. The fantastic C9 Harrison Automatic is their latest creation and the first model equipped with the new Calibre SH21.
On Wednesday July 2nd 2014 Christopher Ward celebrated their 10th Anniversary by unveiling the C9 Harrison Automatic at Charlotte Street Hotel, London. I didn’t personally attend the event but I have heard first hand that it was a rip roaring success. In fact the company has achieved so many advance orders it was questionable whether I would be able to review the model I wanted. Fortunately I did get my hands on one of these fine watches and I certainly wasn’t disappointed when it finally arrived. Dimensionally the watch exudes classical proportions and measures 43mm x 13.5mm. Even though it feels smaller than a lot of timepieces I review it sat comfortably on my wrist and there was no extrusion from the lugs. Realistically I feel this watch would be a practical option to wear for both casual and formal occasions.
Visually the C9 Harrison Automatic has a really elegant and high quality appearance. What makes this timepiece so attractive is the stylish hand finished 316 stainless steel case. Currently the watch is available with black, white and (my favourite) blue galvanic sunray dials. I love the raised nickel Roman numerals and indexes. Other details include the delicate hour/minute hands and discreet date window positioned at 3 o’clock. Overall the composition is really understated and I feel that is integral to the success of the design.
Beneath the refined exterior lies a self-winding twin barrel (COSC certified chronometer) movement devised by Christopher Ward’s master watchmaker Johannes Jahnke. The Calibre SH21 comprises 31-jewels and oscillates at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This mechanism including the tungsten rotor is visible through the sapphire crystal exhibition case back. Functionally the C9 Harrison Automatic features hours, minutes, continuous seconds and date facility. The watch also has an impressive power reserve of 120 hours and is water resistant to a depth of 50 metres.
The C9 Harrison Automatic has ethically sourced premium black Louisiana alligator strap with matching steel deployment clasp. Priced competitively at: £1,500 (approximately $2,548).
For more information visit the company’s website: http://www.christopherward.co.uk