Five years ago, Anglo-Swiss watchmaking brand Christopher Ward revealed its first in-house movement to the world, the Calibre SH21, in the traditional, elegant C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic.
Not only had the upstart brand produced its own movement (buy merging with its Biel-based movement house, Synergies Horlogères) but that movement was capable of passing COSC’s chronometer tests, came with a hugely useful 120-hour power reserve via twin barrels and was designed using a modular approach with future complications in mind.
To say such a bold move was something of a shock at the time would be a huge understatement, given that the brand had only been selling watches for just ten years.
Since then the SH21 has been embossed, coated, and skeletonised, featured ‘jet turbine’ barrels and seen the addition of a power reserve indication complication. To mark the brand’s crowning achievement, Christopher Ward announced its Apex concept in 2018, a planned series of four SH21-powered watches sitting at the top of each of its Diving, Dress, Motorsport and Aviation collections.
The first, the C7 Apex, a DLC-coated, high contrast 50-piece limited-edition even made it onto the shortlist of last year’s GPHG awards.
Now is the turn of the C60 Apex, the new 100-piece flagship of Christopher Ward’s diving collection, which leans into the same blue and orange colour scheme of the collection’s former range-topper, the limited-edition C60 Trident Elite 1000.
There are definite similarities with the C7 Apex, its movement picked out using a high contrast, anodised colour scheme.
Contemporary skeletonisation, the kind of modern technical aesthetic, is also vital to the ‘Apex’ look and as such Christopher Ward called upon the services of Armin Strom, a marque that specialises in this approach, whom the brand inform me helped in the production of the C7 Apex as well.
The mixture of cutout sections, both in the dial and the mainplate revealing the movement beneath, and the architectural bridges introduces a sense of depth to the SH21 not seen before.
Whereas the C7 Apex was handwound, the C60 Apex opts for an automatic version of the SH21, as is pretty much standard for dive watches, with a heavily skeletonised aluminium rotor with orange tungsten rim, set off by the vivid blue ribbed bridges beneath it. While on its dial, the 42mm C60 Apex draws sharp focus onto the SH21’s five day power reserve with a power reserve indicator mounted on a bridge, again in orange aluminium.
To show off all of this extra work, the C60 Apex is also the brand’s first dive watch with an exhibition caseback, achieving water resistance to 300m. The watch also features a ceramic bezel and helium escape valve.
All of these features don’t come cheap though, the C60 Apex is the most expensive watch Christopher Ward has ever made at £3,495 on fabric/rubber strap or £3,595 on a steel bracelet.
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