I tried to reassure him that all was well and good with the Buying Department, but it wasn't long after my friend rang off that I wondered if he might be right. I have bought more than a couple of CW’s in the last year or so, and the most recent arrived just a couple weeks ago. Nonetheless, I’ve given each CW top marks, with just a few minor down-checks here and there along the way, and, in the final analysis, they’re neither cheap nor inexpensive; or, for those of you in Rio Lindo, they’re well-made watches that command an appropriate price that not everyone is willing – or able, for that matter – to pay.
But what about that most recent arrival, Mort? I can almost hear you asking. Well, my latest arrival from across the pond isn’t too bad, either; the good folks at Christopher Ward have a remarkable way with watches, and this one thus far appears to be no exception. Its official name is the C5 Malvern Slimline, model # C5-SLM-SBT, which doesn’t provide much by way of a detailed description, so we’ll start here:
- Swiss made
- Hand-wound mechanical movement
- 42 hour power reserve
- Hand-finished 316L stainless steel case
- Unique engraved serial number
- Transparent case back
- Screw-in back plate
- Anti-reflective sapphire crystal
- Single-piece dial with galvanic sun-ray effect
- Embossed alligator pattern Italian leather with standard buckle closure
- Diameter: 40mm
- Height [sic]: 8.70mm
- Calibre: ETA 2801-2 (Hi-Beat)
- Vibrations: 28,800 VPH
- Case: 316L Stainless steel
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: 20mm brown leather
- Dial Color: Blue
Now that that bit of fun is over, let’s have a look at it, shall we? Why, yes, let’s do:
As is the case with most other CHR. WARD watches, this C5 Malvern Slimline is easy on the eyes, especially with the choice of slate blue* dial and brown leather strap. The two look superbly well together, and it’s a color combination that has certainly been successfully used by a number of other watch manufacturers over the years. The Slimline does come in other dial/strap color combinations (see http://www.christopherward-usa.com/men/dress/slimline.html for more details), but this is the one that ultimately caught my fancy – and didn’t let go.
*Note: C. Ward refers to this color simply as blue; the term ‘slate blue’ is my attempt to name the color in a manner closer to its actual appearance.
It ultimately does live up to its naming convention, given its interesting-to-say-the-least case thickness of 8.70mm. As a mechanical vice automatic watch, it may have its detractors, but I’m a fan, either way. I suspect that, in order to retain such a thin case measurement, the choice may have come down to building an automatic with no seconds hand (and thus a shorter canon pinion) or a thinner mechanical movement with said seconds indicator in place. I think they would have done a great job with either choice, but I happen to like their final decision a great deal.
In the matter of comfort, CW again makes all the right choices; the 40mm case is neither too wide nor too weighty, and the leather strap and standard buckle give you a perfect – and again, light weight – fit each time you wear it. Of course, it’s here that I need to reiterate from previous introductions and reviews that I am absolutely no fan of faux exotic patterns pressed into leather to decorate straps and make them look like, well, something they’re not; in this case, alligator. To my way of thinking, it cheapens the look of both the strap and the watch as a whole; better to have kept the original color and eschewed the pattern, as the result would have been a simpler-yet-more elegant look to this otherwise superb piece.
My only other complaint with this – and just about every other C. Ward I own – is the generally poor lume quality; it takes a lot of exposure to get it going, and it’s all but gone after only a few minutes. This is definitely not going to be your ‘chick-flick endurance watch,’ gents.
I have yet to conduct a full out, down-to-the-tenths-of-seconds accuracy check on this piece, with the full and almost frighteningly accurate U.S. Naval Observatory and my bedside quartz-electric alarm clock from the Peoples’ Republic of China; nonetheless, with a few quick checks here and there, it seems to be doing quite well in the accuracy department. Given that its ETA-3801-2 movement is a 28,800 VPH hi-beat, this comes as no surprise. Additionally, its advertised 42-hr power reserve has been surpassed during two IDGC’s (Informal Dead Guy Checks), clocking in at 43H:27M and 43H:31M, respectively.
In the end, this is yet another of those fine Christopher Ward watches that tickles not only your fancy, but whatever else it is that makes you a WIS or just a casual collector. The dimensions – 40mm case X 20mm leather strap – the color schemes, and even the weight of the final product makes this one of the most elegant – and comfortable – CW’s yet. No buyer’s remorse here; this one’s a keeper for the Dead Guy.
Thanks for stopping by!