The moon phase watch is a long-standing marvel of the analog watch industry – with a complication that enables it to accurately track the phases of the moon over a long period of time (provided the watch remains wound). Christopher Ward’s C1 Moonglow ($ 1,995) is a fresh, contemporary take on a moon phase that really puts the moon at the center, in a design that is equally comfortable on the wrist for everyday wear, in the boardroom, or at a formal event. The unique design will also please anyone who enjoys watching the stars and the emerging private startup industry that turns to them.
The C1 Moonglow features a version of Selita’s reliable SW220 automatic movement that includes an internal moon phase modification. The internal customization does more than just add moon phase tracking. Christopher Ward from the UK made it possible for the moon phase feature to work continuously, rather than just flipping once a day, as is the case with most off-the-self versions of this complication. This allows the graphical details of the moon on the dial to move smoothly across the surface of the watch, while also allowing precise phase tracking over a period of up to 128 years, according to the company.
The C1 also includes a calendar complication that occupies the outer ring of the dial and uses a red marker under the dial to mark the date. The watch measures 40.5 mm on the wrist, has a predominantly black dial and a polished stainless steel case. It is 12.35mm thick and spans 48.55mm from tab to tab. The automatic movement is wrapped with a custom Christopher Ward The rotor finished in black with a diamond-like carbon coating (DLC) and the moment is 26 jewels with a power reserve of 38 hours when fully wound. The included bracelet is a black Italian Cordovan shell leather with a folding clasp.
Design and functions
Key to the C1 Moonglow’s unique design is the custom moon phase dial, which contains two incredibly detailed, 3D textured images of the moon. These are positioned opposite one another on the dial and provide the phase display when they are above a limiter for the smoked aperture that spans the lower half of the dial. Depending on the lighting conditions, this can either appear quite opaque or mostly translucent, and it’s a fantastic detail that also allows the high-quality Super-LumiNova lime that is applied to the moon graphics to show through at night.
The moon phase dial also features scattered stars, a touch that takes this to a level that is a bit playful while maintaining the highest class and sophistication. The stars are lit as well as the clock hands, indexes and the date ring. The stacking of all these layers and the textured surface of the hour ring, plus a white rim ring between it and the date dial, give the watch excellent depth, but it’s still not a chunky or large watch on the wrist at a very reasonable size of 40.5mm and a height of just over 12 mm.
The case back of the C1 Moonglow is impressive too, offering a great view of the in-house tracery and coated rotor. A fairly aggressive bevel from the side of the watch case means that the exhibit’s sapphire window takes up almost the entire back of the watch, minimizing the C1’s visual height when viewed from the side.
Adjusting the moon phase is very simple and is accomplished by pulling the crown out to its second position and turning it counterclockwise. The date is set clockwise, but you can set it independently or independently of the time. It can be a little trickier to pinpoint the stage, but Christopher Ward provides simple instructions in the included manual – or you can use an app like this one Watchville This provides a very handy and highly precise virtual dial with moon phase that you can use to set your analog.
One of the most consistent and admired micro-brand watchmakers, Christopher Ward has a reputation for making interesting timepieces. The C1 Moonglow is one of the most unique and attractive of their offerings and offers tremendous value for a watch with an individually modified movement and a moon phase complication. Best of all, it has a stunning visual design that is guaranteed to turn heads – and maybe even distract some skywatchers from their telescopes and observatories.