Inside & Out: Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600
How I Got This Watch: I contacted Christopher Ward to obtain a watch for review. My initial choice of watch, the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, was unavailable so I chose the C60 Trident Pro 600 instead. I wore the watch for two weeks. This is not a paid review.
The Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 is part of the new collection of dive/sport watches at an incredibly affordable price.
Last year I reviewed three Christopher Ward pieces (the C60 Trident Chronograph, the C9 Moonphase and the C8 UTC World Timer) and each one impressed me. They were well built and attractive watches that offered great value for money and now the C60 Trident Pro 600 continues this trend. An automatic movement, titanium case, black DLC and 600 meters of water resistance for only $970. It's one hell of a good deal.
Let's get the first thing out of the way. Unless you're reading this article on an offshore oil derrick or in your Submarine bunk then you will never need to go down to 600 meters/2000 feet. That being said, it's nice to have a 1995 foot 'buffer zone' of water resistance when you're jumping in the pool. The watch doesn't have a Helium release valve but as Jason Heaton pointed out in 2013, you don't need one, stop worrying about it. (Unless you're the aforementioned offshore diver or Submariner skipper)
There are two dial and case variations of the C60. Variation 1 has a brushed titanium case with black numbers set against a black bezel ,grey hands and hour markers. Variation 2, the one I wore for two weeks, has a black DLC treated case with white numbers against a black bezel, brushed steel hands and white hour markers. Whilst color schemes are often a matter of personal preference, I believe the variation 2 is the superior design as the contrasting markers are incredibly legible. Even across the room you can read what time it is. I actually tested this out by getting my wife to set the hands to a random time and show me the watch from about 15 feet away. Does anyone have 15 foot long arms? Will anyone use watch as a wall clock? No, but you get my point.
The lume on the hands, hour markers and bezel is incredibly bright and was strong enough to cast a shadow against my wall at night time. I can't attest to how long it lasts, as soon as I hit the pillow I'm out for the count, but you would have no problem reading this late at night or underwater.
It's hard to judge the case design of the C60 because this style of dive watch design is so ubiquitous. Watch companies have been making dedicated dive watches for the last fifty years and during that time the accepted form has become more and more consolidated. Does this design look kind of like a Rolex Submariner? Yes it does, but so do a lot of other watches. It's not a bad design per say, just a little boilerplate.
The C60 does not have something as eye-catching as the C9 Moonphase, but it still have its fair share of little details. The most obvious is the namesake trident counter balance on the center seconds. It's a fun little touch and something that is an instant point of difference from the legions of dive watches available to the customer. The hands themselves are well proportioned and well finished for the price of the watch ($970). At first the teardrop and sword combo looks mismatched but over time I appreciated their distinctiveness. The brushed finish is nice and the generous amount of lume looks good as well.
As I'm talking about the design of the watch, I need to talk about dial balance.
Most watches have the brand name and logo at 12 o'clock. Through centuries of timepiece design, we've learned to look at the top of a dial/face and expect to see a name there. There are exceptions to this 'rule' of course, usually when the dial shape is unusual or there are complication sub-dials getting in the way. Most chronographs will use a 3-6-9 layout for registers which allow the brand name and logo to remain at 12. If a different layout is used, say 6-9-12 for example, usually the logo will be placed at 3 for visual balance.
Humans like symmetry. It's pleasing to our eyes and I'm sure somewhere deep down in our lizard brains there is a deeper evolutionary meaning behind it. What is so pleasing about a logo placement at 12 o'clock is that it creates a vertical line of symmetry down the dial. This is why you'll see people complaining on forums about a date window at 3 or 4.30 'ruining' the symmetry of watch. A lot of the greatest watches ever designed ( The Royal Oak, Submariner, Tank, Reverso, etc) all have one thing in common. Vertical Symmetry.
All the new models from Christopher Ward's new dive/sport collection have their new longer logo replacing the abbreviated Chr. Ward. All the watches, except the new C60 Trident Chronograph, have the name placed at 9 o'clock, not at the traditional 12.
This is worth bringing up because finding lines of symmetry become a larger harder. Even with the date window at 3 o'clock, the full length text at 9 o'clock tips the balance of the watch to the left . There is of course a horizontal line of symmetry created across the middle of the dial but that's not what our brains are used to seeing on a watch.
When the hands are between 12 and 6, the watch looks really good as the large sword hands balances out the text but the problems happen as the hands continue around after 6. The blank space above the central pinion becomes more pronounced the closer the hands get to the left hand side of the dial and the worst time for balance is between 8.40 and 9.50. The large hands that before provided balance now weigh too much on the right, sometimes blocking out the name altogether. This is only a problem for 70 minutes every 12 hours but for that time, the dial is painfully empty.
Over watches in the same family don't share this problem, for example the C60 Day Date as whilst the logo is in exactly the same place, the larger white day and date apertures create a stronger horizontal line of symmetry to my C60. It should be remember that this is a slight failing of design, not the end of the horological world. Don't let it bother you if you don't care about it.
The 43mm titanium case wore well during my time with the watch and at 76g, it should be easy to forget the watch was there. However I struggled to forget about the watch because of the rubber strap that was a constant reminder that I was wearing a watch. Perhaps I've got odd shaped wrist, perhaps I'm used to a leather strap, but either way I did not get along with the simple black rubber strap.
Throughout my two weeks wearing the watch I could never get it to fit as it would always be too tight or loose for my tastes.
The inside of the strap has a repeating criss cross pattern which is the new Christopher Wards new logo/motif; it represents the combination of the "pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit of the British with the precise, functional Swiss mindset". Honestly, I would have liked to have seen this pattern on the exterior side of the strap, rather than the interior. It's something different and a little odd and could have helped the watch stand out a bit more (As if the all black look wasn't distinctive enough).
The black case is something I found myself liking far more than I thought I would. As you know from the disclaimer at the start of this article, I was fortunate enough to chose which C60 I reviewed and I went with the all-black color scheme to try something different. To my genuine surprise, I ended up liking the look quite a lot. It's not versatile or subtle and it's sure as hell not timeless but sometimes you want a Big Mac rather than haute cuisine.
Inside the watch is either the Sellita SW200-1 or the ETA 2824-2 with the change differing on stock levels at the time of production. The 2824 is a movement that used in hundreds of watches every year for a reason, it's very reliable and easy to service. The watch has a lower than average 38 hour power reserve and beats at 28,800 bph. It might sound like a minor compliment, but I really appreciate Christopher Ward's openness when saying what their movements actually are. Considering they now make several in-house calibers, it would be all too easy to rename these movements to the Caliber CWsuchandsuch but they didn't. They say Sellita and ETA. Does the name of a movement change the way it runs? No, but sometimes it's the thought that counts.
What I like about Christopher Ward, and the C60 Trident in particular, is that despite any flaws the watch may have, it's still one of the best deals you'll get when buying a watch in this price range. The TAG Heuer Aquaracer with a black DLC coated titanium case and powered by their Caliber 5 (Actually an ETA 2824-2) costs $3000. That is more than three times as much as the Christopher Ward. You may get a nicer box and a more recognisable name, but they are near-identical watches at vastly different prices.
$970 for an automatic dive watch, water-resistant to 600 meters with a titanium case? I struggle to think of another company that would offer the C60 for as low of a price as Christopher Ward has. The C60 is imperfect, as many things are in this world, but at that price, those minor quibbles are easy to overlook.