I only recently came into contact with watches from Christopher Ward, but I had known about them for some time though.
After siting down one night an reading about their history, pricing model, 60 day free returns and 5 year movement guarantee, I started to get interested in exeriencing the companies watches
The C11 is obviously a aviation inspired watch, and looks a lot like a plane altimiter, with its black large dial and late white hands and markers.
Usually I am not that much into aviation style watches, but the C11 is a watch that grabbed my attention right away, but it has a irregular octogonal shape.
The C11 arrived in a brown cardboard box, inside the box there was a light yellow colored box with the Christopher Ward logo.
When you open the yellow box you find a personal, signed, letter to the buyer, a micro fiber cloth and the owners handbook.
The actual watch box it self is black with a classic with a light colored material on the inside, and that is where the watch sits waiting for you.
The C11 is powered by either a ETA 2824 or a Sellita SW200 -1, and I don’t think that the buyer has a choice to what movement he gets ( I could be wrong about that)
The Sellita is basically a clone of the ETA 2824, and should perform very similarly, and with a 5 year movement warranty from CW I would not worry about which movement you get.
The Sellita SW200 had some issues a few years back, but those issues were addressed and the SW200-1 released as an update to fix those issues.
The price of the C11 black manta is 450 pounds uk, and 375 pounds for non ec countries.
The case of the C11 is 42 mm in diameter and 10.7 mm heigh. The weight of the watch is close to 109 grams and the watch has a lug to lug distance of just under 54 mm.
The case is black PVD coated and has an interesting mix of curved and straight lines.
The case has four screws in the corners around the dial, and these screws really remind you of the “instrument panel mounted” altimeter origin of the design.
The screws are not in alignment to each other which increasing the realism of the altimeter “origin” , although I think that this sort of mis-alignment could possibly bother some people.
Personally, aligned screws would bother me, since the only places I remember seeing aligned screws was on cheap toys where the stamped or sticker screws were always aligned.
The screws on the front of the case seem to be real screws but probably do not serve any practical purpose other than aesthetics.
The C11 has a 35 mm black dial with white writing and markers. The writing on the dial is basically the CW logo and automatic in addition to “Swiss Made”.
The date window is located at the 4 o’clock position and has no boarder and a white text on a black background, so it blends very nicely into the dial.
The Dial has numbered hour markers at the 12- 3 – 6 and 9 positions, and white hash markers at the other hour positions.
There are no minute markers on this version of the C11, but that is something that I view as a positive thing on this watch and really helps give an extremely clean look to the dial.
There is also small red marker on the 3 o’clock position, Im not sure of the story behind a red marker, most likely an aviation thing, but would be interesting to know.
The hands on the C11 are very large and have white luminous tips, and are black towards the middle of the dial, the second hand is almost entirely black excluding the tip of the hand that is white, and is not lumed.
The hands almost seem to float around the dial.
The readability of the dial is really great, and I could even tell the time on the watch easily from a couple of meters away. For anyone with less than perfect eyesight the C11 would probably be a very easy watch to read, except for the smallish date window.
The hour and minute hands of the C11 are lumed, as well as the hour markers.
The lume on the C11 glows pretty bright after being exposed to a bright light source but then fades fairly fast afterwards.
In a completely dark room I was able to make out the time about 2-3 hours after a good light exposure, but it became more difficult after that time.
Perhaps not ideal for those who want super lume on their watches, but will do for most people.
The C11 has a flat sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating.
The crystal probably has double sided coating and is incredibly clear, and some times it even looked like there was no crystal over the dial at all.
The case back on the C11 is a screw back, case back, and has four screws, one in each corner.
The case back has an engraved plane logo in addition to the serial number.
The C11 has a 7 mm non-screwdown crown. Its extremely easy to use, and although the ridges on the crown are very shallow the size and shape make it very easy to grip, and pull out.
The strap included with this C11 is a black leather strap that is 22 mm wide and tapers down to 18 or 19 mm.
The strap has a signed buckle with two screws that fit the screws on the case of the watch, a very nice touch.
The strap features quick release pins where the strap is attached to the watch, so you can basically in seconds remove the strap, and attach it again. If you have other colored CW straps with this feature of the same size, you can really change your watch in seconds.
On the wrist:
The C11 is 42 mm in diameter, but has a fairly long lung to lung width and a partly square like design, due to this it does wear larger than you would thing a 42 mm would do.
The PVD coating does mask some of the angles and finishes of the case of the watch, so in some aspects I think that the stainless steel version would show off the design better. On the other hand the black PVD coating with the white hands and markers, make for a fun contrast that instantly grabs attention.
In many ways this watch takes the middle ground between looking like a watch and looking like an altimeter, some manufacturers take the altimeter look to more extremes, but the C11 softens this altimeter look just enough to pass off as a watch as well :)
For the last few days the watch has been running fast about 4 seconds per 24 hours.
I think the C11 is an excellent watch for the price and has found a good balance between a watch and a airplane instrument look.