Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic Review
November 10, 2020
Founded in England in 2005, Christopher Ward launched with the mission of delivering great looking, well-built, and affordable Swiss-made watches. Once you handle a watch from the brand, it’s hard not to be impressed by the quality, especially for the price. And the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic is no exception.
The C65 Trident Automatic is part of the Christopher Ward Retro Dive collection. Though not homages or re-issues of any specific vintage watch model, they are inspired by classic dive watches of the 1960s. These watches deliver a retro, mid-century look while providing the durability and technology of modern watchmaking.
The C65 Automatic dial and bezel
The stainless steel C65 Trident Automatic comes in three dial and bezel combinations: black with black bezel, black with red bezel, and blue with blue bezel. And all three have hands and dials filled with Old Radium Super-LumiNova, giving the watches an aged, vintage look. The black dials are nice, but the blue dial C65 with the blue bezel is the standout of the bunch.
And what a blue it is. Both the dial and the aluminum bezel insert have a matte finish that absorbs light and allows the color to just be, without sunrays, shine, or transformation from one color to another. It’s a clear, bright, blue jeans type of blue that looks remarkably similar to the color of the Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue. Not exactly the same, but…similar.
The dial of the C65 trident diver has a classic diver watch design. Applied, tan lume-filled round indices mark each hour, with stick indices at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and double stick indices at 12. The stick hands match the look of the markers, also lume filled with polished edges. The wide hands and round markers stand out nicely against the blue or black dials, making telling the time easy at a glance. And the seconds hand is painted with lume at the tip, helping with time-telling down to the second even in low light.
Another interesting design detail is the trident-shaped counterweight on the seconds hand. And the C65 Automatic provides a date window at 3:00, with a black date wheel. The date is discreet, blending into the dial pretty well, but there when you need it.
One thing that jumps out upon seeing the dial is the non-traditional logo placement. The brand’s double flag logo is recessed below 12 o’clock, but the more prominent Christopher Ward logo is printed at the 9 o’clock position, which is an unusual place to find the logo. It really doesn’t bother me and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the watch. But for some, it is a big point of contention. More on that below.
The light-catcher case design
The case is slim and comfortable. And it’s beautifully designed, with a remarkable amount of thought and detail in the various curves, bevels, and edges of the case. There are no large flat surfaces—instead, the multiple faceted surfaces give the case a more rounded feel, without sacrificing the crisp edges where the facets meet. I’d even call the case design “elegant”, which is not how I’d usually describe a sports watch at this price point.
“Light-catcher” seems almost a bit misleading, however. This isn’t a particularly shining case, with a combination of brushed surfaces on the tops of the lugs and polished ones on the case sides. But the combination of bevels, angles and surface finishes used creates an extra dimension to the shape of the case as it catches the light.
The engraved case back of the Trident features a large embossed trident, along with the Christopher Ward name. It’s well done and adds another touch of quality to the overall finish of the watch.
The C65 bracelet and Christopher Ward straps
Christopher Ward offers the C65 on a solidly constructed, comfortable stainless steel bracelet. It features a deployant release clasp and ratcheting micro-adjustments for getting the right fit quickly on the go. That’s not something you’ll often find on a bracelet in this price range. You might not even find it on a watch costing 4 times as much (I’m looking at you, Tudor BB58). And it includes a quick release spring bar system, allowing the wearer to change straps without tools. The 22mm lug width means that this is a wide bracelet, so it gives the watch a bit more presence on the wrist. It’s not overly large or chunky, but I would have preferred 20mm wide lugs. It would have allowed the C65 Trident to work with more straps as well.
But, if you are looking for more bands for the watch, the Christopher Ward Trident is also available on hybrid rubber and Cordura® straps, or on leather. The handcrafted Italian leather straps offered by Christopher Ward are really very nice options. They are well made and conform quickly and comfortably to the wrist. And they include quick-release spring bars as well, so switching back and forth between the bracelet and straps, or between various straps, is really easy.
My recommendation is to get the C65 on the stainless steel bracelet but also order a second strap for Christopher Ward at the same time. The Camel Vintage Oak Leather strap looks amazing on the blue C65 Trident Automatic. The camel color of the suede strap perfectly complements the tan hue of the Old Radium lume on the dial and hands. This is my favorite way to wear the blue C65 when the weather turns cool.
How it wears: the C65 Trident on wrist
The Christopher Ward C65 Trident automatic is a very comfortable watch, and it looks great on the wrist. The 40.5mm case width is in the sweet spot for many people. And the reasonable 47mm lug-to-lug length and curved lugs help it fit an even broader range of wrists really well. It’s only 11.55mm thick, so it’s a fairly thin watch that feels even thinner because of the signature case shape.
The light-catcher case design not only helps the case look and feel thin on the wrist, it adds a lot of visual interest and style. And the dial and matte aluminum bezel are a perfect shade of blue. It looks great on the steel bracelet, but the combination of the blue and the vintage tinted markers and hands really pops on the Camel Vintage Oak leather strap.
The box sapphire crystal rises above the bezel and contributes to the vintage styling of the watch. And it adds another touch of class as well.
In the C60 Trident collection, Christopher Ward offers many of the same watches in three different sizes: 38mm, 40mm, and 42mm. Honestly, the C65 Trident Automatic watches could benefit from the same variety as well. While the 40.5mm width wears very well on so many wrists, a 38mm or 39mm option would give the Trident even more of that vintage, retro diver feel that the brand is going for. And it’s a size that buyers, particularly those with smaller wrists, might appreciate.
How the C65 Trident Automatic functions
The C65 Trident Automatic is a great-looking watch, but how is it in use? No complaints there, at least not from me. The simple dial layout and clearly defined hands make reading the time a breeze. A reliable Sellita SW200-1 movement powers the watch and provides a 38-hour power reserve. When it’s time to set the watch or provide a little hand-winding, the large crown is easy to use, and the winding action is very smooth.
But is the C65 Trident a good dive watch? It has a water resistance of 15ATM or 150m, which is more than enough for diving. The unidirectional dive bezel is completely suitable for diving, though the markings are basic and the edge is very thin. This means it’s a bit difficult to grip and rotate the bezel. It works, and the bezel action seems well constructed but a bit stiff. And while 150m water resistance is more than enough for water activities, it lacks a screw-down crown. And with a bezel that looks better than it works, there are better options for a true dive watch. Like the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro series, for example.
Thoughts on the Old Radium lume (the fauxtina)
As a vintage-inspired watch, I understand why Christopher Ward gave the C65 Trident a faux patina. And that tan-colored lume really looks great when combined with the camel colored Vintage Oak strap. But if there was one thing about the watch that I would change, that would be it. I would use white lume instead of going for the fake lume look. I think it would give the watch a cleaner, fresher, more timeless look.
Faux patina aside, the C65 Trident Automatic is a fantastic offering from Christopher Ward. It’s a watch with a thoughtful, stylish design, that looks great on the wrist and wears very comfortably. At around $965 on the bracelet and $845 on a strap, Christopher Ward makes good on its promise to provide high quality without a high markup.
I’d recommend the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic to a wide range of people. Of course, Christopher Ward is worthy of consideration for anyone interested in British watches, and the C65 is a great offering from the brand. But it’s also an excellent choice for anyone looking for a quality dive-style automatic watch at an attractive price.
It’s also an interesting alternative for someone who likes the look of the Tudor Black Bay 58 Navy Blue but who doesn’t like the cost of the Tudor. From a general look, the blue C65 Trident Automatic and the blue BB58 have a very similar style and color. While it isn’t really on the same level as the Tudor, if you can be happy with the C65—at one-fourth the price—I say go for it. It’s a very nice watch.
And finally, here’s a recommendation for Christopher Ward. Try the C65 Trident Automatic with white lume instead of the faux patina Old Radium lume. It would give the watch a fresh look while retaining the vintage styling that gives the watch its characteristic appeal. Vintage design cues without pretending to be old. And though the tan lume pairs well with the camel-colored leather strap, I bet that, overall, the watch would look just a tad bit better with white lume. And it would age better.
Check out the Christopher Ward C65 Trident Automatic, and the rest of the brand’s Retro Dive collection, at christopherward.com.