Disclaimer: I borrowed this watch from a friend, who recently purchased it pre-owned, but it is in very good condition. However, since this watch was worn/used, please make note that the experience might differ from that of a brand new watch.
C65 Super Compressor
A few months ago, I reviewed the Christopher Ward Dartmouth, and I was blown away by the overall quality and finishing being delivered as well as the quality of components and specs. That continues to be one of my favorite dive watches in the $1000 category, and I’m convinced that Christopher Ward are one of the best micro-brands out there today.
They recently released the first real Super Compressor dive watch in a couple of decades, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on one of these watches since release. I finally get to check out the C65 Super Compressor in Ocean Blue which has a retail price of $1025, but you can almost always find a 15% discount code for these watches, bringing the price down to about $875 on a leather or rubber strap.
Let’s check it out!
I measured the case to be 40.5mm in diameter, 46.5mm from lug-to-lug and 13mm in height. The case is very well designed and manufactured, combining carefully chosen brushed and polished elements that once again prove to me that Christopher Ward is one of the best micro-brands out there today.
The case extends and curves downwards into a pair of short and sharp lugs with polished edges. The lug width is 22mm, and is not drilled through.
There is a polished fixed bezel section that seats a domed sapphire crystal, which has some distortion at the edges, but not enough to hurt legibility.
The super compressor layout results in two 6.3mm crowns, with only the primary crown being screw-down. The crown action is good but I did notice a bit of crown wobble here.
Flipping it over, you have a screw-down exhibition case-back, which gives you a glimpse of the super compressor ring beneath the case-back. The compression spring allows the watch to maintain it’s water rating even under high pressure, following the original design spec from 50 years ago. This watch is rated for up-to 150m of water resistance.
This watch is offered in three different dial options, and this is the Ocean Blue; my favorite of the three. You have an inner rotating bezel that is lightly media blasted with a painted white surface, and dark blue printed numerals and markers. There is a lumed orange triangle element at the 12 o’clock position. The inner rotating bezel does click into place, and is uni-directional.
The actual dial surface has a sunburst texture and is very well finished and very clean.
There is an outer seconds and minute track that makes use of short printed white ticks and large printed white ticks for the seconds and minutes respectively. There are lumed circular pips for each increment of five, which also serve as hour markers.
You then have multi-faceted hour indices that have lume filled tips. The finishing on these indices is excellent, and is telling of Christopher Ward’s ability to do good work in the finishing department.
The brand’s logo is printed under the 12 o’clock, and the quality of printing is great, again.
Above the 6 o’clock and printed in orange are two words that have caused quite a fuss since this watch was released; and for good reason. The ‘Super Compressor’ text appears to be left-aligned instead of center-aligned, and it baffles me how this was ever allowed to occur. Did nobody notice this? or did they notice it, and decide not to do anything about it? A dial like this isn’t the most expensive element on this watch, and would’ve been a relatively inexpensive problem to fix.
I know many folks aren’t bothered by this, and good on them for not taking this silly hobby too seriously, but I cannot put my money into a product that is obviously flawed. And while I absolutely love every other aspect of this watch, I won’t be putting my money here until they’ve fixed this. However, those interested in the more recent Deep Blue dial option should be relieved to know that the problem has been addressed there.
The handset is interesting too, with their typical brushed and polished hour hand, but a painted orange minute hand to continue the orange accents across the dial. The finishing on these hands are excellent.
The seconds hand has a lumed element, and has painted orange accents at the tip. The counter weight is shaped like a trident, continuing the brand’s design identity.
All the lumed elements are Grade X1 GL C1 Super LumiNova, and they glow bright and hold their charge well.
The lume design is a bit restrained, with only the hour pips and index tips being lumed on the dial. The inner rotating bezel only has a lumed triangle element at the 12 o’clock.
The hands are very generously lumed, seconds hand included. The hands have excellent brightness and longevity.
This watch uses a Sellita SW200-1; a movement we’re all quite familiar with by now. Unlike the Dartmouth that I previously reviewed, this movement is not Chronometer grade (COSC certified). But considering that this watch aims to deliver more clever engineering and design than the Dartmouth, I think this is alright.
On my time-grapher, I measured roughly +13 spd in the dial up position, and +13 spd in the crown up position. I think this could be regulated better, but this watch has exchanged hands a few times already.
The movement is visible through the exhibition case-back, and is fairly clean, indicating good quality control standards. The movement has a custom engraved rotor for Christopher Ward and the movement looks alright, with some basic finishing across the components.
On The Wrist
Given the somewhat extended case-back, I was a bit worried about comfort on the wrist and overall case balance. But this watch was a pleasant surprise, and fits great on my 6.25″ wrist. The 46.5mm lug-to-lug width along with the cleverly crafted lug design makes this watch very easy to wear.
The 13mm height wears taller than the Dartmouth, but a lot of that height is the fixed bezel and protruding crystal, so the watch feels a lot shorter on the wrist.
Overall, I have no complaints about the wrist presence, although I will say that the Dartmouth feels a lot sleeker. That said, this watch wears better than most 13mm tall divers I’ve reviewed.
To wrap this up quickly – if you can look past the lazy and inexcusable printing error on the dial, everything else about this watch is beyond impressive. The design, build quality and finishing are a class apart from most other micro-brands in this category, and I can’t think of too many brands that can compete with the value being delivered here.
Personally, knowing that this dial error is going to be fixed soon, I wouldn’t buy one yet. But once you hear confirmation that this silly issue has been rectified, as they have with the Deep Blue dial, I say throw your money at Christopher Ward and you’re not going to be disappointed. And if you can afford the extra money for the bracelet, I highly recommend it!
Thanks for reading!