I was engaging in one of the most dangerous activities a watch collector can engage in: no, not auto-erotic closet-dangling…we’re talking internet surfing here. And not just any internet, either; we’re talking about watch internet surfing (the other WIS). Without really thinking about the possible financial consequences, I found myself pointing-and-clicking my way through the Christopher Ward online offerings. I felt like the proverbial adolescent male whose homemade fake ID somehow got him access to the local adult bookstore; there, stretched out like an extended collection of porn, were these beautiful watches, some with bracelets, some with straps, some gold-filled, others just plain old 316L steel. Ward’s collections had names like Makaira, Harrison, Trident and, my personal favorite, Last Few Remaining. So there I sat, pondering all of it, like a greasy-fisted teenage boy over a stroke-mag, trying to figure out the best way to, er, spend it without making too big of a mess.
And there it was: the C5 Malvern Automatic, MK II. (Yeah, Baybee, yeah!)
- Swiss Made
- 25-jewel, self-winding Swiss movement
- Date indicator
- Silver-tone sunray dial
- Sapphire crystals, front and back
- Water resistance to five ATM
- 38-hour power reserve
- Screw-in crown
- Hand-polished stainless case, each with its own serial number
- Incabloc anti-shock system
- Milanaise-style mesh bracelet
- Large, well-made presentation box
- Hand-signed papers by Mr. Ward (his own self, aw-huh)
- Case Width: 39mm
- Thickness: 10.8mm
- Calibre: Sellita SW-200
- Vibrations: 28,800 per hour (4 Hz)
- Est. Accuracy: +20 / -10 seconds per day
- Strap Width: 18mm
All that cool stuff packed into one cool watch, and the price was a not-at-all bad $535 USD, with free shipping; like Chaz Bono’s dick, this deal just can’t be beaten…
As are so many things in life, appearance is highly subjective; one wearer’s masterpiece is another’s beater, etc. Still, there are certain standards of appearance that manage to meet just about everyone’s idea of what is attractive, or even beautiful. This Malvern is of that same general category; its clean lines and curves provide such a classic appearance that it might be considered iconic by some. In other words, and putting aside the 24-karat terminology, this damned watch is just plain beautiful. Gorgeous silver sunray dial, high-polished case, beautifully made mesh strap.
Not long before I set out to write this review, I was watching the “new” SHQP, and I heard everyone’s favorite convicted felon say something to the effect that he likes “the reassuring feel of a heavy watch on [his] wrist.” He didn’t specify what exact measure of weight felt “reassuring,” but given his proclivity for ever- larger and ever-heavier wrist wear, the sine qua non (if you will) of IWG excellence seems to be the old “bigger is better” meme. Another oft-heard Mongoism is “this thing weighs in at about a pound before it’s sized.” Well, okay, then…a pound. Is that really meant to impress, or does the average 50-52mm hyper-thyroidal watch have so little else going for it that size and weight become more important than comfort? Okay, enough digression; this CW watch, at 128 grams, feels great on the wrist. Ditto the 39mm case and the 18mm mesh strap.
We could debate the whole ETA 2824 vs. Selita SW-200 question, since Ward used both movements in the Malvern at different times, but why? My other watches with the ETA work superbly. Same result for those with the SW-200 onboard. The quality of the fit and finish for this Christopher Ward? Outstanding. Hey, we all know what excellence feels like when we strap it on; just ask Billie Jean King…er, uhm, nevermind… The same is true for knowing quality vs. less-than-quality. This Malvern doesn’t rattle or squeak like a Stuhrling; it doesn’t sound like a half-full key ring when you move your wrist, the way the original Invicta Ocean Ghost did. Hell, put it a winder and it still keeps time within a few seconds each day…seriously! Damn thing works like a charm and, miraculously, all the hands stay firmly in place.
Everyone has their own idea as to what an expensive watch is, or should be, anyway. But dollars spent isn’t necessarily an indicator of a given watch’s level of quality. (Anyone who’s ever bought an Invicta Reserve or Stuhrling Prestige knows this first hand.) $535 USD isn’t chump-change to be sure, but there’s a huge difference between laying out 535 bones for a known high-quality watch, as opposed to a company with known QC problems, not to mention a CEO who lives in a fantasy land where Russian admirals know the name of a company your grandmother never owned… And yes, in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of those gullible know-nothings who dropped a lot more than a McKinley and change on some seriously infected-with-crap watches before I ever heard of Mr. Ward and company. But there is obviously a big difference…
The first Invicta I bought came with a cheesy yellow box and some propaganda from ShopNBC. My first Christopher Ward came with a hand-written thank you note from the owner, along with a hand-written registration card and a signed owner’s manual. Not to mention a well-made box. Oh, and the best part? An exceptionally well-made, top quality watch that I’m both pleased and proud to wear. And the Invicta? Well…I lost track of that little gem the day I donated it to the Saint Vincent de Paul thrift store over in Poway… Oh, crap…I never did confess that particular mortal sin...
Damn, where did all those thunderclouds come from? Uh, gotta go…thanks for looking!