Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

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Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:57 pm

What is cool? An Aston Martin DB5 is undoubtedly cool. A Lotus 79 is cool. James Bond is cool (well mostly anyways). Bond is most famous for wearing either a Rolex or an Omega (sorry, not sorry to other watches worn by Bond). But, does anyone remember a single watch worn by a Bond villain? In fact, has a Bond villain ever been cool? Why am I rambling on about “what’s cool”? I think my Speedmaster is cool. It’s my favourite watch, but is it really “cool”? Probably not. Since their founding Christopher Ward (CW) have made many different watches. Most of them have their proponents but have they ever made a cool watch? Then, in October 2019, they showed and released a cool watch; the C65 Black and Gold (C65 B&G).

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

A prototype of what would become the C65 B&G was worn by Mike France at the first CW get together. It was a C65 with a bronze case and a dressy style. Apparently, it was well liked but the GTG audience thought that patina would ruin it. Then, like a mirage the watch was gone and forgotten until its rebirth a few months later.

What is it:
The C65 B&G is based upon the bronze version of the C65 case. It is handwound with no date. There is no phantom date position on the crown which is as it should be. It has a black, unidirectional, 120 click aluminium bezel. The case has been PVD treated to give a red gold colour. The relevant dimensions are:

Case diameter 41mm (from CW website), 22mm lug to lug, height = 11.85mm and lug tip to lug tip = 46mm.

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

I have mine on a CW leather strap with a Bader deployant mechanism which is not one of the standard offerings. It also has a box sapphire crystal and good lume too. The caseback has the traditional Trident markings.

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

Why, oh why, did I buy…
I first saw the C65 B&G at WindUp NYC in late October 2019. On the CW stand it was competing with the C60 Apex, the C1 Moonglow, the C60 Abyss and the C65 Anthropocene. I only had eyes for the Black and Gold. I was entranced by it’s red-gold colour, it’s diminuitive proportions and how the white word mark and miute ring worked together. For once the narrow C65 bezel made sense as did the simple hands without the C60’s Seiko-copying, nasty, broad hour hand. This was ‘60s cool at it’s coolest.

I have a number of watches, which is probably not unusual for someone posting a watch review on a watch forum. I have nothing which really looks like this. The red gold colour – It’s definitely red gold not gold (see later) is unique and well integrated into the overall design. I’m pondering putting it on a nice glossy aligator pattern black strap to add even more style to it. I can see this watch poking out from under the glove of Dr. No or on th wrist of Scaramanga. It’s a villain’s watch, definitely a villain’s watch. The box sapphire crystal can create a lovely halo effect when the light catches it in just the right way which it often does when driving. Having no date and being handwound it is easy to start up and can be a grab-and-go watch par excellence particularly as it’s lack of height means it can fit easily under the cuff of a shirt.

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

Quibbles
It’s not really a black and gold watch. Even the images on CW’s website show it as a black and red gold watch. This is a much deeper red colour than the golds offered by Rolex (Everrose) and Omega (Sedna). It is a fetching colour for a watch and an unusual colour for a modern watch too. I can’t help but wonder if the difference between the colour of the actual watch and its name have put some people off. Would it, in fact, have been better as a plain, patinating bronze watch? Or maybe, a lacquered/surface coated bronze which would not patinate would have been more popular. More popular perhaps but not as “cool”. I think there are bronze alloys that don't really patinate too, but as I'm not a metallurgist I couldn't begin to tell you what those might be (or even if they exist).

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

The C65 Black and Red Gold has the CW twin flags logo on the crown. Since this is a handwound watch you interact with the crown on a daily basis. The logo is recessed within the crown and I find that my fingers often brush against the sharp edges of the logo. These edges are sharp and feeling them produces a tactile dissonance. The rest of the case is smooth but the crown isn’t. I wish the logo were embossed rather than raised as then there would be no sharp edges to disturb your fingers as they wind the watch. I notice this much more on this watch than I do on my other CWs with the twin flags crown mainly because I have to wind the watch every day.

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

And it seems to attract fluff to the crown too :-(

The second hand is very delicate with a gold coloured tip. It can be hard to see at first. The narrow second hand is an important part of the overall design aesthetic though and not a deal-killer either.

Conclusions
I suspect that everyone develops their own ideas over features and what visual traits their watches should have. If I look at my watch collection a pattern emerges. My watches are:
Automatic
Have a date window
The dials have indices not numbers

The C65 Black and Red Gold breaks all of my rules. That’s why it’s cool! Rules? Surely you’re joking, Mr. Bond? Rules are made to be broken… Especially when it comes to the C65 Black and Red Gold.

Afterword
This is officially called the C65 Black Gold and it was linked to the John Player Special (JPS) Lotus formula 1 cars. These cars were painted black and gold. The watch is black and RED gold. The JPS sponsoring of Lotus began in 1972 and this is a watch of the 1960s’ so I guess we’re lucky that it’s not in the red, white and gold colours of Gold Leaf tobacco. Thinking about it Black Gold normally refers to crude oil so I prefer Black and Gold.

In reality, whilst the linkage to the JPS Lotus cars is rather strained. As if to make up for this, the video that CW made for this watch is very, very good (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eDK6kmnsZc). The music used makes a strong linkage to the past and it could have been the theme tune to a Bond movie. The music is Gold dusted sky (instrumental) by Base Collector and can be heard in its entirety here (https://www.marmosetmusic.com/browse/62 ... strumental).

I am continually surprised by how little comment and “love” is directed towards this watch on the forum. It has been lost in the noise of the Anthropocene and the Stealth (there are puns lurking in that phrase…) which is a pity. This is not CW’s most important watch of the year but it is their coolest.

ImageChristopher Ward C65 Black and Gold by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr

ImageMario Andretti's Lotus 79 driven by Duncan Dayton at Limerock Park by Mark Wheeler, on Flickr
Mark
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Bahnstormer_vRS » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:16 am

A great review Mark, very witty and easily read. Perfect to relax to just before bedtime (23:10hrs here in UK).

Thank you.

I agree with you that the link to the JPS Lotus is a degree tenuous and, not to cheapen your description of the case being Red Gold, having seen the watch at the Bristol GTG and then CW towers, my description of the colour is Copper.

Nonetheless, its an attractive watch. Enjoy it.

Guy

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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:28 am

Thanks Guy. Copper is a good description of the colour too.
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Kip » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:36 am

Excellent and enjoyable review.

Thanks for taking the time to put it together.
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by clayton94 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:14 am

This is exactly why I just joined this community. Great review, thank you for this!


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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:14 am

Super review, Mark. Well done. A great read.
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Viognier » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:42 am

Fantastic and thorough review Mark. I enjoyed the read. Candidly I've spent more time looking at your watch and your pictures today than I had in the many weeks since it's launch by CW. Well done!
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Thu Jan 09, 2020 12:59 pm

Thanks Lance, Kip, Steve and Clayton 94. I'm glad you liked the review.
It might be a while before I write another as I tend to write these on new watches and there's nothing on my radar at the moment. Since Guy suggested "copper" as the colour I'm going to see what I can come up with in terms "Black Copper" jokes but I fear this might not work as intended.
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by timeonourhands » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:20 pm

I’ve admired this watch for a while, but so far I have managed to abstain from loosening the purse strings.

Great review and one that I wish I hadn’t read to be honest! Oh well, it’s only money.

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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by GTC854 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:26 pm

Thank you for the taking the time to write this excellent review and publish these photos. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Gordon

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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:36 pm

timeonourhands wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:20 pm
I’ve admired this watch for a while, but so far I have managed to abstain from loosening the purse strings.

Great review and one that I wish I hadn’t read to be honest! Oh well, it’s only money.
As you say, it's only money. This is a watch I don't regret buying but would regret selling. I'm glad you liked the review vut I won't be taking any of the blame if you buy one...
Mark
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:37 pm

GTC854 wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:26 pm
Thank you for the taking the time to write this excellent review and publish these photos. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Glad you liked it. I wish more people would review their watches but I know it's a lot of work.
Mark
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Devarika Woulf » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:06 pm

timeonourhands wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:20 pm
Great review and one that I wish I hadn’t read to be honest! Oh well, it’s only money.
Yeah. I wasn't gung-ho on this watch but this review made me want one! :-x I'm supposed to be saving for a C60 Mk III. :thumbdown: :-s

It was very well written and enjoyable. :clap:
-Joseph

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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by albionphoto » Thu Jan 09, 2020 11:10 pm

Thanks Devarika Woulf. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. This watch seemed to get lost amongst the Anthropocene and Abyss hype. I'm guessing it's going to stick around a while on the CW website even though it's a 200 piece limited edition. Given that, I suspect that these will show up in a sale at 30% off at some point in the future and that might be the time to buy.
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Re: Christopher Ward C65 Black Gold Review

Post by Devarika Woulf » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:16 pm

Hey, Mark. Since there's not many pictures or videos online I can't tell so I have a question. I was looking at some C65 Diver videos on YouTube as they were in the recent sale. The beauty of the light-catcher case is obvious in these videos. My question: Does the red-gold coating block the shine of the polished bits at all or is it about the same from the other C65s you've seen? I can see the different finishing in your photos but the coating makes it a bit dark. Thanks. :)
-Joseph

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