29 September 2022
The Christopher Ward Military Collection of watches has been re-invented for 2022.
The series of watches is officially approved by His Majesty’s Ministry of Defence, and Christopher Ward is one of only five global watch brands to hold this honour. So, when it was decided that the all-chronometer range needed an upgrade, the company knew it had to go beyond a mere refresh with a total reinvention. As Christopher Ward CEO Mike France said, “Such is the reputation of the British Armed Forces, we had a responsibility to make the best even better.”
So far, the Military Collection has produced five timepieces. The first three in the range, including the vintage-styled C65 Sandhurst, C65 Cranwell and C65 Dartmouth, are all named after the prestigious officer-training academies of the Army, RAF and Navy. And it’s these Series 1 models that have now been completely renewed, with one new addition, by Christopher Ward’s design and manufacturing teams.
Few Christopher Ward’s watches have achieved the popularity of the C65 Sandhurst. Based on the classic Smiths W10, a field watch issued to British soldiers in 1969, its understated, ultra-legible design has gained fans worldwide since its release.
“The new Sandhurst still has the same 38mm Light-catcher™ case,” said designer Will Brackfield. “But now it’s got arrowed, full-brushed hands, bringing it in line with our current design aesthetic. We’re also releasing a new Sandhurst Bronze for those who love the warm look of bronze and the way it patinates.”
The second watch is the C65 Cranwell, which has received the most significant redesign of the trio. Modelled on the Jaeger-LeCoultre Mark XI 6B/346, an aviator watch aimed at bomber-navigators using celestial ‘look-up’ navigation, its case has been reduced to 38mm, while the dial has had a comprehensive and classic redesign.
Finally, the C65 Dartmouth. Modelled on the 1957 Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’, it’s long been a favourite with vintage dive-watch lovers. Maintaining its 41mm case, it now boasts a fully-lumed dial and sapphire bezel (also lumed) – showcasing the advances Christopher Ward has made on watches like the C60 #tide, and the C65 Aquitaine Collection.
“With the Cranwell and Sandhurst, we have two ultimate field watches, while the Dartmouth is now the ultimate retro-dive watch – albeit with a lume-heavy dial that wouldn’t have been possible in the past,” said Mike France.
Another difference between the new military watches and the previous generation is the replacement of the Christopher Ward logo with the twin-flags emblem. “The use of the twin-flags logo brings these timepieces closer to the watches that influenced them,” said Will Brackfield. “While they were produced by companies like Omega, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Smiths, their logos weren’t shown on the dial.”
One thing that’s marked the Military Collection out is the use of chronometer movements. There’s a reason for this, which dates back to the years after World War II. Mike France explained, “The military has always relied on accurate timing. The timepieces these three watches are modelled on boasted mechanical movements with chronometer-level accuracy. They also had a hacking seconds function which allowed soldiers, sailors and pilots to synchronise watches with the utmost accuracy. It’s a tradition we’re pleased to maintain.”
Christopher Ward’s partnership with the Ministry of Defence is a testament to the company’s admiration for the UK’s Armed Forces. “These timepieces are a homage to a unique era of watchmaking and the personnel that relied on them,” said Mike France. “The new Military Collection watches are a significant step forward in design and engineering, while retaining the fundamental design cues of three of the greatest military watches in history.”
The watches are priced from £895.
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