Now, before anyone gets all up in arms about that headline – declaring a “favorite” comes with some caveats. In this case, I’m declaring this to be my new favorite three-hander from CW. That was a position held – for a very long time – by their C60 Trident that I reviewed 8 years ago. These days, of course, I do like a great GMT, but there is a time and place for the simplicity of a three-hander. When you mix in the fact that the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst is available in a very tasty compact case size? Well, it’s moved to the head of the CW class.
As you can likely tell, the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst is part of their Military watch lineup. Depending on how that’s approached, that can be a weighty bit of nomenclature to slap on a watch (or just very loosely defined). In the case of this one, though, it’s fitting. The watch itself is based off of the Smiths W10 (issued to British troops in 1969). Not only that, this watch is officially approved by the Ministry of Defense – which is why it can have the British Army heraldic badge on it’s caseback (shown above).
Given that the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst has roots in a design that’s over 50 years old, you won’t be surprised to realize that it has a boxed crystal on it’s top (sapphire these days, of course) and that it’s dimensions are firmly vintage. The case itself just has a 38mm diameter, and it’s a relatively svelte 11.6mm thick. With it being paired to a bracelet (as our loaner had), that’s the first place that CW could have screwed up the design.
Fortunately, they didn’t. On many smaller watches, the bracelets end up being too thick and chunky for the design, and it throws off the whole look and feel. Here, on the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst? This is how it’s done. The proportions (width AND thickness) are spot on for the case, and the end links fit in so nicely with lugs. I also rather liked how they handled the micro-adjustment on the bracelet. Rather than giving you half links to mess with, or a “standard” divers extension, you’ve got a microadjustment hiding right under that larger clasp.
I particularly liked this, because no matter how wide or narrow you set it, the clasp itself looks unchanged, preserving the lines. Some may be concerned that you could accidentally tighten things, but that was not my experience at all. The spring on the adjuster button is pretty strong, and you’d really have to hold the bracelet (and pinch it just the right way) to try and make it tighter. So, for me, it was a great implementation, and allowed me to get a fit onto my wrist that was just right.
Speaking of – if you’re worried that 38mm might be too small? Don’t. I tend to gravitate around the 40mm mark these days, and I felt that the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst looked spot-on on my wrist (7.25″ circumference for those keeping score at home). This is aided, I feel, by the fact that the proportions on the watch are well-sorted in relation to one another.
The other thing you might worry about with a “smaller” watch is just how legible it may be. Obviously, the dial is smaller, indices smaller, and hands more narrow. Frankly, that’s not a problem here either. That we can chalk up to the literal military heritage of the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst, which specs are going to end up prizing legibility (and therefore functionality) over anything flashy. Day or night, reading the time quickly off of the watch was a cinch.
Being in a brushed steel case (and bracelet), the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst feels very much like a compact sports watch. I did manage to sneak it in with a suit, though the lack of high polish might give you send thoughts on that. That one scenario aside, though, the watch is a very capable wear-for-just-about-any-setting sort of a watch. Sure, other complications might be interesting, but the simplicity of a three hander (powered by a COSC-rated Swiss movement) means you’ve got a no-muss, no-fuss watch to carry along with you.
Aside from everyday use, I think the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst would be a perfect travel companion. Yeah, a GMT would let you track the time back home, but a watch like this one will let you simply go about your day, while the watch itself sort of flies under the radar, all while keeping up with your activities. While that very first CW I reviewed help pride of place in my mind, the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst is very much my favorite three-hander from the brand, and is very much a watch that I’d suggest checking out.
On the bracelet, the Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst will run you $1,080, while the leather strap (which also looks quite sharp) version is $960. Though, for my money, the bracelet is where it’s at, as you can always find 20mm straps down the road – but bracelets, not so much. Just a word of warning here – while you can put your money down on a Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst, it’s actually a pre-order, with shipping anticipated for later in September. christopherward.com
- Brand & Model: Christopher Ward C65 Sandhurst
- Price: $1,080 (bracelet) / $960 (leather strap)
- Who’s it for? Regardless of interest in military history, if you want a compact steel-enshrouded sport watch, you’ve got it here
- Would I wear it? Absolutely – this is a perfectly sized (and unassuming) look that will keep you on time with that COSC movement
- What I’d change: If anything, I suppose it would be some additional choice in dial color
- The best thing about it: Looks and sizing aside, it’s the bracelet. The hidden adjustment in the clasp is lovely, and the fact that it’s got a perfect thickness in relation to the case makes the whole a treat to wear
Tech Specs from Christopher Ward
- Watch Model: C65
- Size: 38mm
- Dial Colour: Black
- Case Material: Stainless steel
- Case Colour: Steel
- Height: 11.6mm
- Lug-to-Lug: 45.3mm
- Case Weight: 60g
- Weight inc. Bracelet: 155g
- Water Resistance: 15 ATM (150m)
- Movement: Sellita SW200
- Power Reserve: 38 hours
- No of Jewels: 26
- Complication Type: 3 hands
- Vibrations: 28,800 p/hr (4Hz)
- Timing Tolerance: -4/+6 sec p/day
- Lume: SLN Old Radium
- Strap Size: 20mm
- Strap Material: Steel
- Strap Colour: Silver