“Most moonphase watches are unforgivably dull.” I guess I’m more forgiving than Christopher Ward co-founder Peter Ellis. I don’t find Jaeger-leCoultre’s Master Control Calendar dull as much as expensive, for example. Still, point taken. Most moon phase complications are one-dimensional discs playing peek-a-boo in a small window. The C1 Moonglow puts the Earth’s satellite front and center . . .
Pictures can’t convey the full effect. The Ward watch’s nickel plate-based satellite disc is three-dimensional, standing slightly proud of its starry background. And it’s BIG – completely dominating the dial. If you consider a moon phase complication a nice design detail on a traditional watch face, this is not the
droid timepiece you’re looking for.
If you’re a lunatic, your timepiece is at hand.
I was lucky enough – fated? – to wear the English-designed watch during a full Buck moon. Seeing the lunar orb and the watch’s Super-LumiNova-slathered lunar representation in sync was stirring, in a strange kinda way.
I’m another one of those crazy people who feels out-of-sorts during a full moon. Yes I know: bullsh*t. As Wikipedia reminds us, “several extensive literature reviews and meta-analyses have found no correlation between the lunar cycle and human biology or behavior.”
As a hypnotist, I understand the power of suggestion. Equally, I’m not alone in the “feeling” that I’m subject to lunar influence. For those of us susceptible to pseudo-science, the C1 Moonglow is a welcome warning device for lunar weirdness.
Enabling the twin moons’ progress in and out of the smoked glass refuge at the bottom of the dial required serious modification to the Caliber JJ04 (Sellita SW220 base). Christopher Ward’s Technical Director Frank Stelzer added four extra wheels to drive the moon disc, and two more for the setting mechanism.
You can see the wheels through the C1 Moonglow’s transparent caseback, semi-obscured by a jet black Christopher Ward branded rotor. The movement lacks obvious decoration, but there are subtle textures on display.
It’s not so easy to see the date circumnavigating the C1 Moonglow’s dial. A lightly colored red tab rotates around the outermost rehaut. It’s effective if you’ve got great eyes and aren’t red-green color blind. If not, not. Which brings us to the issue of legibility.
There are people who can’t stand the way the watchmaker’s name looks on their watches – to the point where they cross Christopher off their shopping list. They’re put off by the text’s positioning at the 3 o’clock, its size, flush left layout and bland typeface.
Christopher Ward sells watches with their name centered at the top of the dial (e.g., the C65 Sandhurst and the C3 Grand Tourer). That layout eliminates the negative space at the top of the dial. I don’t mind the 3 o’clock roadblock as much as, say, Marmite.
My problem with the script on the C1 Moonglow: the white text competes with the white lumed hour and minute hands for attention, making it difficult to read the time at a glance. This “issue” could be the dictionary definition of a quibble (or a first world problem). But again, I’m not the only one.
I think we can all agree that the C1 Moonglow’s brushed and polished steel case is beautifully sculpted. Its short lugs emphasize the dial’s circularity, as does the case’s gentle curve towards the glass, sitting on the case with unobtrusive elegance. A moonwatch should be unrelentingly round. This one is.
The C1 Moonglow stands tall (12.35mm), but its John Lobb-quality cordovan leather strap keeps the 3.1 ounce timekeeper comfortably secure. The polished steel push button deployant clasp (branded on the inside) is equally luxe, equally reassuring.
Accuracy-minded buyers may be less impressed by the C1 Moonglow’s +13 seconds a day variation. Which, to be fair, exceeds the watchmaker’s +/-20 sec per day advertised estimation.
As long as you and your inheritors wear the C1 Moonglow every other day or keep it on a watch winder (38-hour power reserve), it will accurately track the moon’s 29.5 day cycle for the next 128 years without any further futzing.
As you’d expect, the Moonglow C1 glows in the dark. Glows, not shines. Unless you charge it up with a 320 lumen Surefire G2X flashlight (or similar). And then, well, it all makes sense.
Properly charged, the Christoper Ward C2 Moonglow is an astrological phenomena in its own right. It’s a mystical light show that entrances and delights – worth the price of admission for horologists with an astrological bent.
Mr. Ellis’ mob have well and truly solved the old ennui problem re: moon phase complications. Setting aside high horology, the Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow is the watch for well-heeled lunatics. As long as they have a high-powered flashlight.
Model: Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow
Case Material: Stainless steel
Weight (including bracelet): 3.1 ounces
Movement: Christopher Ward Calibre JJ04 (base Sellita SW220 base)
Functions: Hour, minute, second, date, moon phase
Vibrations: 28,800 p/hr (4Hz)
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Water Resistance: 30m
Strap: 20mm Cordovan Leather
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * * *
It does exactly what it says on the tin, putting the moon front and center. The emphasis on round forms was the right answer.
Legibility * * *
Dinged by the Christopher Ward text at the 9, and too dimly lumed (unless blasted with a flashlight).
Accuracy: * * *
Well within +/-20 s/d spec but nothing to write home about.
Overall * * * * *
The horological lunatic’s ideal solution.