Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 ‘Hands On’ Review

by D Constant on May 10, 2013

in Christopher Ward, Hands On Watch Reviews, Latest Reviews, Pilot Watches, Product Information, Sports Watch Reviews

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Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta MK I – Hands On Watch Review

Written by D Constant for The Watch Review Site

We have the pleasure of undertaking a ‘hands on’ watch review of the New Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1, which is currently available for pre-order via the Christopher Ward London Limited website. As you probably already know Christopher Ward only sell their watches online via their own website, this marketing method allows CW to reduce marketing costs and hence the market price of their British designed, Swiss made and manufactured timepieces.

The C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 is the latest in the range of aviation watches on offer by Christopher Ward, it is an addition to the already established Christopher Ward C11 MSL Range. The C11 MSL Black Manta comes with an all new PVD black case, this being the primary difference between the previous released C11 MSL which sported a polished steel case, It is available as a Chronograph Watch or Automatic Watch. The later being the one we have to play with and on that note thank you to the guys and gals at Christopher Ward for providing this C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic watch for us at the Watch Review Site to put it through its paces in one of our ‘Hands On’ watch reviews.

So on to the task at hand, The C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 Automatic, Another one of CW’s long names, yes, yes, I know we can call it the C11 but that doesn’t differentiate it from the other C11’s does it so it’s the full name again.

We are not going to go into detail about how it is delivered as we have covered this on previous Reviews as in the C8 Pilot Hands on review, let’s just say you will not be disappointed when you receive your package.

First impressions are that this is an aviation watch that is based on a modern airplanes altimeter so heading away from the traditional pilot watches to a more contemporary version of a pilot watch akin to the Bell and Ross’s of this world. On the C11 MSL Black Manta we have a round dial placed in an altimeter style PVD black stainless steel case, CW have even placed a screw in each corner to depict the altimeter look even further.

Christopher Ward state the following with regards to the design and inspiration behind the Black Manta “Based on the cockpits of fast jets the C11 MSL is indeed an interesting and fast paced addition to the range, whilst less workmanlike than some if its peers, the C11 MSL retains its functionality.”

The C11 MSL black Manta has a very clean and crisp look to it, and makes a bold but understated statement when on the wrist, this 42mm case and 35.2mm dial are strikingly simple and attractive, with very large white numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 and large wide black and white striking hands, the entire piece comes together and has a sense of purpose.

The lack of minute indicators adds to the watches simplicity, but does not impair the reading of the time. Along with the inconspicuous second hand (a good thing in my book) and very well placed white numbers on black date indictor at 4 o’clock, the C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 Automatic ticks all the boxes in the looks department.

It’s a large watch but slim and wears well and fits even on small wrists, It’s light yet weighty enough to feel very comfortable on the wrist, It’s simple yet bold and striking and it can be worn daily with a suit or with casual wear, it’s adaptive and whatever the occasion brings attention to your wrist because of all the above. A wrist watch for all occasions.

As we are talking about looks and styling we should really mention that the Black Manta has a flat anti reflective coated sapphire crystal glass with the anti reflective coating being present on the exterior of the glass and not the interior as in the norm with Christopher Ward watches, this was a step taken as the glare reduction is substantially increased with the coating on the outside of the sapphire crystal as opposed to the inside. You do notice a blue tint to the sapphire crystal , which is down to the anti reflective coating but that doesn’t distract from the look of the watch at all and is only visible when the watch is in certain positions.

Along with the effective use of the coating, museum grade sapphire crystal has been used which further increases clarity and night time visibility of the C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic.

With regards to night time visibility the numerals, markers and hands are all coated with SuperLuminova and its Lumen at night provides a very visible timepiece.    

As you may well already know I have quite petite wrists and need to wear most watches (scrap that, all watches) on the smallest possible fitting and even then may need to add a hole or two myself, not always very successfully, (that’s where custom straps come in) so a 42mm case is always a challenge but this CW C11 MSL fits well and is very comfortable to wear even for me, this could well be down to the slimness of the watch at 10.7mm. See for yourselves in these wrist shots.


It’s a comfort that the C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic fits well as it would be a shame to replace the strap with a customised version as so much attention to detail has been put into this by Christopher Ward from the black buckle, so delicately emblazoned with Christopher

It’s a comfort that the C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic fits well as it would be a shame to replace the strap with a customised version as so much attention to detail has been put into this by Christopher Ward from the black buckle, so delicately emblazoned with Christopher  Ward London and two decorative screws to match the case.  The strap itself feels thick and sturdy and has quality stitching, with the small CW logo at the end.  Oh and it has tool free simple to use quick release lugs.

Again these little touches and attention to detail show how Christopher Ward value your custom and reflect the recent step up in build quality we have seen in the Christopher Ward ranges, we saw it with the C8 Pilot and the C11 MSL Black Manta is also built to exacting standards with quality workmanship.

Moving onto the Case back of the Black Manta, again we see Christopher Wards emphasis upon design and quality,  in normal circumstance you have your serial numbers and water resistance figures, not here on the C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 you have an engraved Latin inscription and a jet, the inscription translated stands for ‘Reach for the Stars’ quite apt for an aviator watch. Oh it also says Swiss made and has a serial number to the lower end but as such are not very noticeable so don’t detract from the main engravings.

We should really begin to mention to movement, again as with other Chris Ward pieces they have opted for the true Swiss mechanism in a Selitta SW200-1 or ETA 2824-2, both mechanisms do the same job and are of similar quality, the reason for two movement selections here is that ETA movements have becoming more and more limited in the market place due to steps by the owner Swatch in restricting supply, but Selitta movements are just as good and are becoming more and more popular.

So once again Christopher Ward have pulled one out of the bag with the C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1, it comes with a unique and attractive case design, and bold simplistic dial and on the wrist, it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Casing point here we had both the C8 Pilot MkII U-2 Vintage and C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 Automatic in for review at the same time, both turned out to be great watches but when I first opened the boxes I was drawn to the C8 Pilot it retro look, and undeniable Pilot Watch look but with time it was the C11 MSL that spent the most time on my wrist. Now that’s saying something as the C8 is a fabulous watch and one I would recommend to anyone who wants a retro vintage Pilot, but the C11 MSL Black Manta is really just that little different and little diverse and that i like…

One very important thing we have not mentioned in this review yet and it’s the price of the Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic at just £450.00 incl. VAT (UK Price) it just makes it even better, we can’t see many unique aviators with such a build quality and customer service backup in the market to compete at this price bracket.

The C11 Black Manta comes with the option of black or brown leather straps and is also available as a Chronograph at £399.00 incl. VAT (UK Price with) a Ronda 5030.D movement.

We have spoken to the team at Christopher Ward and we can confirm that we will be seeing further variation on the C11 MSL with a HRDC (Historic Racing Drivers Club) edition and a Mercedes Benz Club edition. The HRDC version looks lovely and we will be getting hold of it for review when its available fingers crossed.

As with all our hands on watch reviews here at The Watch Review Site we have provided a little gallery of photos of the Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 Automatic after the Technical Details.

Technical Details – Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic

Case: 316l Surgical Grade Steel coated with Black PVD

Diameter: 42mm, Height: 10.7mm, Weight: 108g

Movement: ETA 2824-2/Selitta SW200-1 Automatic, with manual winding option

25/26 Jewels

Incabloc anti shock system

Power reserve: 38 hours

Frequency: 28800 per hour

Water Resistance: 100m/10atm

Dial: Black

Black date calendar

Anti-reflective museum grade sapphire crystal

Hands and Markers Luminous hands and Indexes Superluminova

Case Back: Hand Polished Screw-in back plate

Strap: 22mm Italian leather strap

Buckle: Black PVD


Photo Gallery – Christopher Ward C11 MSL Black Manta Mk1 Automatic




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