Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow Review


Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow money shot

“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.

Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow in Merc

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.

Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow naked in the bathroom

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.

C1 seen em all

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.

C1 Batman

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.

Moon watch side on

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.

Ward strap

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.

Timegraph on C1

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.

Christopher Ward C1 Moonglow glowing

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.

Ward watch low light

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
Price: $1935


Size: 40.5mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Height: 12.35mm
Lug-to-Lug: 48.55mm
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.


  1. I love moon-phases, but (most) watchmakers have no sense of whimsy when it comes to design. The exception to this rule is Breguet with their “face” moon. It could be something that’s fun, but often they just try to make it look like the moon. I do like the Christopher Ward one and Ball has one that’s nice too.

  2. 5 out of 5 stars for a 2000 Dollar watch with >13 seconds deviation per day? What would a Chronometer certified Tissot PR 100 for 500 bucks get? I know this has an in-house module and a more elaborate dial but giving it 5/5 on accuracy is preposterous!

  3. You perfectly detailed all my stylistic objections to CW so succinctly!

    I never thought of moon phase watches as boring, but more so as whimsical and antiquarian. This is the first one I’ve seen that doesn’t look like it was inherited from some Edwardian tycoon, so that is a bit of an accomplishment, really.

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