Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic: Hands-on with the EveryWatch
May 10, 2021
The Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic is a spin-off of the brand’s powerhouse modern dive watch line, the C60 Trident Pro. Only without a bezel. But at the same time, it’s an entirely different watch altogether.
And what a watch it is.
Here is my hands-on Christopher Ward C63 Selander Automatic review.
The Christopher C63 Sealander Collection
The C63 Automatic is part of the Sealander family, a new line of sports watches for Christopher Ward. At the top of the line is the C63 Elite, a black-dial titanium watch with a retractable crown. Next down, in order of price, is the C63 GMT, available in either a black or white dial. The C63 Automatic, also available with a white or black dial, is the entry-level watch of the line.
Each watch in the Sealander collection has its particular charm and value proposition. With the C63 Automatic, the appeal is three-fold: simplicity, wearability, and affordability. We’ll take a look at all three here.
Going GADA over the EveryWatch
Christopher Ward refers to the C63 Sealander as the “EveryWatch” – the watch for just about every occasion, and all the watch you’ll really ever need. It’s their name for a GADA watch, or Go Anywhere, Do Anything.
Perhaps best known for their popular modern dive watches, vintage-inspired dive and military watches, and moon phase dress watches, the C63 is Christopher Ward’s first standard sports watch release. And the C63 Sealander Automatic is the most essential of sports watches.
Stainless steel with a plain steel bezel, a very legible and clean dial layout, great lume and easily wearable proportions, the C63 Automatic certainly looks exactly how one would describe a sports watch. And with a rugged movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and 150m of water of water resistance, it definitely plays the part as well.
The C63 Automatic really is the kind of watch that can go from the beach to the boardroom, so to speak. It would look just as good with shorts and a t-shirt as it would tucked under the cuff of a suit. Wear it on rubber or a Nato strap and it skews toward the sportier side. For versatility, wear it on the bracelet. And if you want a dressier look, add a leather bracelet. This is a watch that can look great on just about anything.
“EveryWatch” may be a new term coined by Christopher Ward, but it fits. And, in my opinion, it fits the C63 Automatic even more so than for the other models in the Sealander collection, due to the classic, uncomplicated and minimalist look of the watch.
Remarkable simplicity: the C63 Sealander Automatic dial
For the C63 Automatic, the designers at Christopher Ward took a “less is more” approach. They pared things back until there was nothing left but the most basic elements needed for a time and date watch.
The dial has either a smooth lacquered black or white surface. Applied rectangular markers, sit at the hours, and filled with white Super Lumi-Nova. The angular markers use a combination of brushed and polished edges to catch the light and create contrast with the dial.
A simple minute track is printed around the edge of the dial in stark contrast to the dial color. Small arabic numerals count off in increments of five outside of each marker, next to the plain, brushed rehaut. Between the marker and the numerals is the tiniest pip of color—red on the black dial, and orange on the white dial. I was surprised to see how little these colored squared stood out, at least on the white dial. They are barely visible, at least much less so than the promotional photos would make it seem. You almost just sense the orange accents on the white dial, rather than clearly see them there.
For years, the single biggest complaint that I’ve heard about Christopher Ward was the placement of the logo at the 9 o’clock position on its dials. It seems the designers of the C63 may have finally listened because on the Sealander watches the logo sits at the traditional 12 o’clock position in the upper-center of the dial. Hopefully, that is a sign of things to come and future releases from the brand will follow suit.
The only other writing on the dial is “Automatic” and the water resistance rating written above the 6 o’clock, the latter printed in the dial’s accent color. This too is very small, and balanced the logo above nicely.
Finally, the date window is cut into the bottom of the dial right above a half-marker at the 6 o’clock position. The window is quite small, has no frame, and the date wheel is color-matched to the dial. This makes the date as unobtrusive as possible. It’s there when you need it, and all but fades into the rest of the dial when you don’t.
C63 Sealander shares the same handset with the C60 Trident Pro dive watches. Lume fills the wide dagger hour hand and long pencil minute hand. The hands are brushed down the center (where not lume-filled) and highly polished along the edges. These different surfaces and reflective edges help the hands stand out nicely against the dial.
The seconds hand is long and very thin. The painted tip, colored either orange or red depending on the dial, just reaches the edge of the dial’s outer track. And though the hand doesn’t have the same lollipop end as the C60, it has the same trident counterbalance. It’s a nice detail, and further connects the Sealander to its older siblings in the Trident collection.
Overall, the legibility of the white dial is good. I’d say in most light, it’s great. The white lume filled markers and hands do mean that there is a lot of white on the dial. But the edges of the markers and hands are so highly polished that they seem almost black in most light. This high contrast makes the dial easy to read quickly at a glance.
The only time that legibility seems to suffer some is in low, flat light when there isn’t much luminance to catch the edges and create reflections. In those situations, the dial becomes somewhat washed out, so reading the time may take a moment longer. But I haven’t yet seen a situation where I couldn’t read the dial. And I’m sure that there are no contrast issues at all on the black dial.
And the lume is great. Strong, blue Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 BL C1. And lots of it.
The signature Light-catcher™ case
Case design is a place where Christopher Ward always seems to shine, if you forgive the pun. And the Light-catcher case of the C63 is no exception.
The C63 Sealander Automatic case is 39mm wide, 45.8mm long lug-to-lug and just 11.25mm thick. The case has 20mm wide lugs, which is perfect for a watch of this size. And it means that there are a ton of straps that you can put on this watch.
Honestly, I’d put the Christopher Ward Light-catcher cases up against just about any other watch brand under $5k. Every edge, every angle, and every side seems to have been considered and deliberately designed. There are layers of detail on every surface and visible from whatever direction you view the watch. The multifaceted C63 Sealander case alternates between brushed surfaces and polished, chamfered edges. There is something to see and some detail to add interest no matter where you look.
One example of the excellent design is the crown guards, which slope elegantly from the case side to wrap around the somewhat large screw-down crown. The C63 crown guards curve outward, downward from the top and upward from below, with polished surfaces meeting brushed ones where each edge connects to the next. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into just this one small part of the design.
Another is the very end of the Sealander lugs. More often than not, watch lugs just…end. Either they are squared off or they curve down to a flat underside surface. But on the C63 Light-catcher case, the top surface curves down while the underside slopes upward to meet it, matching the angle of the underside of the bracelet end links. A very small detail, sure. But the fact that Christopher Ward puts so much thought into such small details says a lot about the brand.
How the C63 Sealander Automatic wears
Christopher Ward designed the C63 Sealander Automatic for wearability. The 39mm case is a great size, particularly when paired with the short 45.8mm lug-to-lug distance. It fits a wide range of wrist sizes, and the downward curved lugs hug my 6.5” wrist really, really nicely.
The C63 wears both larger and smaller than you might expect. The dimensions and thinness of the C63 make it wear very well on smaller wrists. But the large dial and relatively small brushed steel bezel of the C63 Automatic could certainly make it seem bigger and wear nicely on much larger wrists as well. At least the white dial.
Overall, the C63 feels solid on the wrist, and well-made. Nothing seems loose, jangly or loud. It’s a comfortable watch to wear.
A high-quality bracelet
Christopher Ward offers the C63 Sealander Automatic on a variety of straps, from hybrid Cordura® and rubber, to rubber, fabric or Italian vintage oak leather. And having experienced the same Italian handcrafted strap on the C65 Trident Automatic, it’s a great leather strap.
But I would recommend picking up the C63 on the stainless steel bracelet, and perhaps adding another strap or two for variety.
Christopher Ward makes a very nice bracelet. The level of quality is quite impressive, not just for the price, but overall. The satin-brushed links are 20mm wide at the lugs, tapering down to 18mm at the clasp. It’s hefty yet comfortable, with not pinching, pulling or rough edges.
The milled clasp feels solid, operating with a dual side-button mechanism. The button action is smooth and positive. And the clasp is signed “Christopher Ward” on the inside with the brand’s twin flag emblem on the outer surface.
But what may be most impressive about the bracelet is the micro-adjustable ratcheting clasp, which allows you to quickly and easily adjust the bracelet size on the fly. No tools needed. That’s a great added value feature, not often found on sub-$1000 watches. The Tudor Black Bay 58 doesn’t even offer anything similar, and it costs 5 times as much as the C63.
And, like all Christopher Ward straps, the bracelet is quick release. So you can swap between the bracelet and different watch bands easily, no tools needed. I’m not sure why every decent bracelet doesn’t have that feature at this point.
Perhaps one tradeoff, however, is the this: the bracelet uses pin and collar connections rather than screws, so it requires a little more effort to add or remove links. Screws would be great, but with all that the bracelet has going for it, the pins and collars really aren’t a big deal.
On to the movement. The C63 Sealander Automatic runs on a Swiss-Made Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with a 38 hour power reserve and shock protection. It’s nothing fancy—just a solid, reliable, workhorse movement that is easy (and not expensive) to have serviced at just about any watchmaker. And it beats at 28,800 BPH, giving the second hand a smooth sweep around the dial. The modified ETA 2824-1 movements found in most Hamilton, Tissot and Longines watches these days have an incredible 80 hour power reserve by comparison, but also beat at a low 21,600 BPH, giving the second hand sweep a bit more staccato motion.
Besides lending the watch the Swiss Made designation on the dial, I appreciate the Sellita in large part because it’s quiet, at least in the C63 Automatic. The bi-directional winding rotor of the Sellita in my Monta Triumph was certainly louder. And the Miyota 9039 rotor action in the Traska Commuter is much louder, particularly when freely spinning in the non-winding direction.
The Christopher Ward dual flag pattern decorates the movement’s rotor, visible through the see-through sapphire case back. Another pleasant detail of the watch. Some people are big fans of display case backs, others are not. Either way, it doesn’t seem to add to the thickness of the case, nor affect the 15 ATM water resistance, which are good things.
The value: a lot of watch for the money
The price of the watches in the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander collection makes these very accessible timepieces to a wide range of buyers. And when you consider the design, features, and functionality of the watches, they are a tremendous value.
The C63 Automatic is one of the least expensive watches offered by the brand. And it’s the least expensive automatic, starting at just $695 (based on current exchange rates) / £595 or $815 / £700 on the bracelet.
Stepping up, the C63 Sealander GMT ranges between $950 and $1070, depending on whether it’s on a strap or on the bracelet. And the C63 Elite, which really seems like an entirely different watch that the other two altogether, is $1395. And that model includes a retractable crown, an interesting a rare feature found in a few other watches that cost many, many times more.
What I’d change
Is there anything that I’d change about the C63 Sealander Automatic? Yes. But it’s more about what I’d add to the collection rather than change what’s there now.
First, offer the C63 Automatic in 36mm. Personally, I think that might be the perfect-sized watch more my own wrist, and I know there are a lot of people who feel the same. At 39mm, the white dial has a lot of, well, white. At 36mm, it would bring everything inward a bit and might make the dial elements feel just a bit more cohesive. Plus, 36mm would just wear so well for this simple style of watch.
And I’d offer more dial color variations. Blue, but not the C60 Trident blue. Something more like the C65 Dartmouth, perhaps. And a deep green, since green seems to be the “in” color right now. And silver. The white is nice, but honestly, I find it hard to resist a silver sunburst dial. A dial like that on a 36mm C63 Sealander Automatic would be absolutely killer.
The only true change that I’d suggest is to the bracelet, and it’s truly a matter of taste. The bracelet’s center links are much wider than the edge links. This looks fine on the bracelet, but it does make the male center end link quite large. That link sort of dominated each end of the watch. It’s not awful and by no means a deal-breaker, but I’d make the edge links more sized more proportionately to the center links.
C63 Sealander Automatic Conclusions
If you couldn’t tell from my review, I really like the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic. I think it’s a very well-executed watch and a significant addition to the Christopher Ward line-up. And long overdue.
Christopher calls the C63 the “EveryWatch”. I think they are right. You can wear this watch in nearly any situation. It is not what I’d call an exciting watch. The C63 Automatic is very minimalist, even “vanilla.” But it has a classic, timeless style and the durability to stand up to quite a lot of use. This is an extremely versatile watch, at home just about anywhere that the average wearer would take it.
If you wanted to own just one watch, the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander Automatic could certainly be that watch. All you’d need to do is choose the dial color and bracelet and strap options.
I’ll end with this: I think I’m as much impressed with Christopher Ward as I am with the C63. I’ve owned, handled, and even reviewed other Christopher Ward watches before, but the C63 Sealander was what really hammered home the brand’s value proposition for me. The British watchmaker makes well-built, thoughtfully designed Swiss-Made watches at very attractive prices. Add to that their 60|60 Guarantee—60-days returns and 60-month movement warranty—and it’s hard not to admire the brand for what it offers.
See the whole Christopher Ward C63 Sealander collection at christopherward.com.