Home Watch Types Automatic Hands-on: Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase

Hands-on: Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase

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Most moonphase complications don’t take center stage on the dial, probably because they serve such little practical purpose in modern life. But that’s a shame, since the moonphase is one of the most enchanting complications and hiding it away in a subdial is no way to launch a journey to the stars. Christopher Ward seem to agree, so they put a big silver moon at the center of the new C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase. The subtly dished craters of our celestial neighbor great you each time you look down to check the time. 

Looking a lot like the Arnold Son HM Perpetual Moon, but costing a lot less, the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase isn’t a completely new watch. Like the rest of Malvern line, it has received the C1 facelift—Arabic numerals, new logo, new case, new fonts—but here the changes are more subtle. Or, perhaps, the details matter less here because the moonphase is the same and it is still the center of attention.

Good for 128 years of perpetual lunar orbit, the calibre JJ04 is a modified version of the ETA 2836-2, adapted for lunar duty. While the moonphase will run for more than a century, the mainspring will give out after 38 hours in the watch box. This will need to be your daily driver or you’ll need a winder to get the most out of the movement. If you keep it wound, the 3D-stamped, semi-matte nickel galvanic moon will turn on a deep blue disk, speckled with a field of stars. It would be nice if the stars were lumed, but this watch does not glow in the dark. Hey, there’s one use for the moonphase: now you know on which nights you’ll be able to read your watch outside without a light. But even in low light, the silvery moon really popped against the all-blue dial on my tester, transforming a standard dress watch into something captivating.

The only other complication here is a date window at 3:00 (moved from 6:00 on the previous iteration). The font is a modern sans serif and although it sits in the now-familiar dished date window we’ve seen on all the C1s, the font seems larger than average, which gives the watch a more bespoke look.

The dial can be either white or blue, but for my money the inky depth of the blue dial matching the starscape of the moon disk is the way to go. That dark dial coupled with a blue shell cordovan leather strap and Bader deployant make a knock-out dress watch package. The case sits a bit high off the wrist for my preference at 12.35 mm, but the svelte lines of the C1 case diminish the wrist presence enough to keep the whole package stylishly subtle. christopherward.com

Christopher Ward C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase

  • Price: $1,595USD (cordovan leather); $1,630USD (mesh bracelet)
  • Who’s it for? Stargazers.
  • Would I wear it? I’d want a winder to keep the moonphase going.
  • What I’d change? Get the case down to 10 mm.
  • Standout feature? A delicious chunk of moon cheese.

Tech Specs from Christopher Ward

  • Case Material: 316L Stainless steel
  • Case Dimensions: 40.5 mm x 48.5 mm x 12.35 mm
  • Lug Width: 20 mm
  • Movement: ETA 2836 with JJ04 module
  • Crystal: Anti-reflective domed sapphire crystal
  • Strap: Italian Shell Cordovan strap with Bader deployant clasp

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