Christopher Ward calls the C65 a “retro dive watch.” The C65 has about as much in common with a traditional dive watch as speedboat has with a lobster trawler. Your basic dive watch is a bezel-heavy behemoth. And for good reason. Scuba diving requires large print legibility and brick shit house construction. This ain’t that . . .
For one thing the C65’s bezel is Keira Knightley thin. While the five minute markers on the slim blue metallic insert pop, they’re too small for quick and confident underwater inspection. The tiny teeth around the edge of the unidirectional 120-click bezel aren’t glove-compatible. The C65’s great for timing eggs, a poor choice for monitoring diminishing air supply.
The C65’s circular indices – the British watchmaker’s ode to the Rolex Submariner – are also too small for scuba. The orangey-tan dots don’t ding the C65’s legibility on a terra firma – the arrow-straight hands put paid to that – but they hardly hold forth the promise of a voyage to the bottom of the sea.
What we have here is failure to submerge. In fact, the Christopher Ward C65’s 150m water resistance rating is slightly more than swim and snorkel-compatible – as opposed to the C60’s 600m dive-ready capability.
All of which makes the Christopher Ward C65 a lousy dive watch – and an excellent dress watch. The same diminutive hour markers and tiny date window that remove the C65 from sea duty create a 41mm watch with soothing acres of blue dial.
And quite the blue it is too, wandering on the border between a “b’dazzled blue” Crayola crayon and Air Force dress blues. In shadow, the dial pales to a lovely soft turquoise. In all lighting conditions, the C65’s dark[er] blue bezel defines and refines the central hue.
In terms of keeping a lid on the XL C65’s perceived size, the watch’s short, brushed-steel lugs and slimline high polish case are a saving grace. The watch stands 11.5mm tall, but sits flat. Well, kinda.
The convex caseback perches on your wrist, masking a good portion of the C65’s height. The watch slips a bit on the wrist, but nothing the next hole down on the leather band can’t cure.
Flip the script and you’ll find CW’s “high definition” trident logo embossed on the caseback – screwed in sideways to annoy OCD watch reviewers.
A standard grade Sellita SW200-1 shelters under the Sea God’s three-pronged spear. Operating at 28,800 bph (4Hz), the self-winding Swiss engine propels the trident-festooned second hand at a super-smooth eight ticks a second.
Incabloc protects that sweep from bumps while hacking seconds helps owners keep track of the C65’s not massively impressive -20/+20 seconds per day accuracy.
The C65’s camel-colored (a.k.a., vintage oak) leather strap suits the timepiece’s blue dial and landlubber mission profile. Those who disagree can swap out the band via handy-dandy quick release pins.
The OEM strap has a rougher texture than the one found on the Tudor Black Bay 41. Which is roughly the same watch – a minimalist masterpiece from the House of Rolex – for a lot more money.
Like the BB41, the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is not a retro-styled dive watch. It’s a reliable, smooth-running Swiss-made watch with a funky fresh dress watch vibe. C65 – British understatement, Swiss made fun or a Tudor wanna-be? Yes! And at $795, a bargain besides.
Model: Christopher Ward C656 Trident Diver
Case: 316L stainless steel
Movement: Standard Grade Sellita SW200-1
Crystal: Box sapphire
Lume: Old Radium Super-LuminNova
Strap: “Vintage Oak Leather,” signed buckle and quick-release spring bars
Weight: 2.9 ounces
Water Resistance: 150m
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
A sporty dive-watch flavored dress watch for any occasion. Final star withheld for trying but not being a Tudor Black Bay 41.
Legibility * * * * *
Flawless. I’d give it an extra star for lume, but it doesn’t work that way.
Comfort * * * *
Slides around a bit due to the convex caseback, but light enough with a strap that’s sufficiently pliable to afford a tighter hold.
Overall * * * * *
A cheerfully elegant, legible and tough everyday watch priced to sell.