Hands on with the Christopher Ward C900 Single Pusher Chronograph Timepiece
A Step up for the British based watchmaker….
Written by D Constant for The Watch Review Site
Further to our little sneak peek at the Christopher Ward C900 Monopusher earlier this month we now have the pleasure in bringing you one of the first published ‘hands on reviews’ of this soon to be classic Christopher Ward Timepiece, yes we know it is only on pre-order and not yet released, but if there is a watch that has the qualities and characteristics to be written in the history books, with longevity in design and tweaks in the complication, then the C900 monopusher or single pusher is the timepiece from the Christopher Ward stable that will make it’s mark for a long time on the watch world. Watch out for it at next years European Watch of the Year awards, I for one will expect to see it there after Christopher Wards Jump Hour was nominated this year.
I’m sure we thanked the guys and girls at Christopher Ward for the loan of the only C900 currently in circulation in the UK in our previous piece but we would like to do it once again, It was a pleasure to be trusted with the Chr.Ward C900 mono pusher even if it was only for 5 days or so. I would just like to point out that the model we had for hands on review was a PR sample produced pre production by Christopher Ward and his ateliers, but have been assured that it is identical to the finished product that is available for pre order on the Christopher ward website now and should be delivered early November 2012.
For our readers that are unaware of what a monopusher or single pusher actually is, well it is what it says, It allows all the functions of a chronograph to be worked by one pusher or crown and is achieved by a complex steps of adjustments to the mechanics of a movement to achieve it. On a normal chronograph you get two separate pushers, a start/stop pusher and a reset pusher, this in its self even though very common mechanically it is still complex. Monopushers are fairly rare in the watch world and are usually only produced by the top end manufactures leading them to be quite unique and expensive.
So on to the Hands on Review of the C900 Harrison Single Pusher Chronograph (to give the C900 its full name), firstly as you can see its a clean cut design, with its polished stainless steel case and crisp white dial, with long thin baton indicators at the hour points and small ones as minute markers. The only two Roman numerals are at XII (12 o’clock) and VI (6 o’clock) and this plays to the C900’s strong points with the needle like hands and two inner sub dials at 3 and 9 o’clock, these sub dials are large and clear and fit in well with the timepiece. The inner sub dials depict the minutes for your chronograph (3 o’clock) and constant small seconds (9 o’clock) the overall feel of the C900 is clean crisp and effective. At no point did I find it difficult to read the time whilst in normal light conditions but the lack of lume does prohibit the easy reading of the time in very dark environments, but hey who would want to be walking down a darkened alleyway with no street lights looking at your £2,450.00 watch on your wrist, not me that’s for sure…
The black alligator leather strap also fits in perfectly with the dial and overall impression the C900 is trying to achieve, trying may be the incorrect word we should say the impression Christopher have so elegantly managed to achieved with the C900 Monopusher (I cant help it I like calling it Monopusher rather than Single Pusher Sorry). It is also available with a brown alligator strap too.
I would just like to point out that the photo’s of the C900 Harrison Single Pusher (that was for those CW fans who want it called by its official name) may not be our best but due to the time constraints we had we were unable to get our best man on it. One further point on the morning of receipt of the C900 we were made aware of a previous recipient opening the timepiece for some unknown reason and leaving a white hair under the sapphire crystal, so for those of you that see the white line that looks like a crack in the sapphire crystal, its not it is a hair. Someone will be getting a slap on the wrists.
Along with the classic crisp and lovely design of the C900 monopusher, the stand out feature has to be the movement and monopusher or single pusher chronograph functionality, and this is all down to CW’s second bespoke movement (Calibre JJ02), which was constructed and manufactures with the German” watchmaking wunderkind”, Johannes Jahnke. Johannes who has worked with the legendary watchmaker, Mr Jean Fillon to create a completely re-worked adaptation of the Unitas 6497 calibre for the C900. In adapting the 6497 into the JJ02 we also have a wonderful work of art of a movement when viewed through the case wide sapphire crystal exhibition caseback. A bit of detail regarding the JJ02 movement and a little history of Johannes Jahnke and Mr Jean Fillon can be see here at The Watch Review Site.
Through the full width exhibition case back the mastery of the JJ02 is revealed in great detail, Jahnke’s JJO2 calibre is supremely elegant, clean and easy to understand. It is even possible to see how the sliding gear, clutch and brake allows the chronograph to be controlled by a single pusher, set within the crown. Lovely to view for the watch aficionado and connoisseur.
It is this monopusher or single pusher complication that makes the C900 a timepiece and not just a watch in my eyes, Christopher Ward is entering an area of the watch world that they have dabbled with in the Jump Hour with the C900, Can we say they have entered the world of Haute Horlogerie, but again at an affordable price point for the complication. We say affordable at £2,450.00 its not exactly that for most, but when you consider other monopushers in the market like the Bell and Ross WW1 Monopusher at £4,900.00, without an in-house movement (it does have a high end Le Joux Perret movement at its heart) and double the cost of the C900, to add we prefer the look of the Christopher Ward.
Another option is the Montblanc Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher at £6,800.00 nearly three times that of the C900, or there is the newly introduced Longines 180th Anniversary Monopusher Chronograph which is marketed at around £3,000.00 for the stainless steel model and over £7,000 for other models, but the stainless steel model is not limited in production like the C900 and again in our opinion the C900 is just simply nicer.
In the words of Christopher Ward “The C900 Single Pusher Chronograph is beyond question our most complicated watch to date and will make an entirely new level of sophistication accessible to more people than ever before because of the unique Christopher Ward value equation.”
“However, it’s the magnificence of the movement that really moves me. I was completely transfixed when I first saw what Johannes Jahnke had accomplished and I don’t mind admitting that I almost cried with a combination of joy and pride. We may produce even more complicated watches in the future but the C900 will always be a very special watch for me”.
So this limited edition monopusher from Christopher Ward has taken us aback a little with its solid workmanship, classic lines and design, beautiful working and looking JJ02 movement we agree with most of our peers that Christopher Ward have Definitely pulled out of the bag one of the most significant timepieces to be launched by the British watchmaker.
Have we mentioned that the movements are all put together personally by Johannes or his assistant and the C900 comes with a certificate of authentication signed by Johannes, again no mean feat at this price bracket. Manually constructed, hand made, hand finished pieces just don’t come at this price… well they do now.
Adding to this it is not only the JJ02 movement that is a masterpiece the actual crown and pusher itself was designed from scratch too, with considerable thought and skill has gone into creating this bespoke crown to overcome the challenge of incorporating the central axis as well as four ‘O’ rings, which allow the pusher to be depressed while still ensuring the watch remains waterproof. Now that’s some feat…
We have yapped on about the movement and initial looks of the C900 Single Pusher now to get down to the normal Hands on Review Stuff, firstly the wrist shots of this Christopher Ward Masterpiece, Well the stainless steel case is 43mm in diameter and nearly 16mm thick but even on my slight 6 3/4 inch (17cm) wrists it still felt comfortable and fit very well. See for yourselves.
The 15.7mm thickness of the watch, which is no surprise considering the movement it encases, is not overly big or protruding and fits comfortable under a shirt cuff and as I have been asked its probably slightly too large for the better half of the world at 43mm x 15.7mm, so sorry ladies. What I will say is that the thickness does not take away from the elegance and classic look of the timepiece with the slight brushed steel effect on the sides of the case, polished case and full width exhibition case back the C900 is elegantly put together to produce a lovely strikingly subtle yet eye catching watch that can be enjoyed by all even the slightly meagre wrist-ed in the world as myself.
The Watch itself is a very comfortable weight, apologies here as we didn’t get to weigh it as we are doing on our hands on reviews from now on, but if we get it back for a follow up we definitely will, IT is weighty enough for you to know you have a watch on and feel like you are getting something substantial for your money, but not too heavy for it to be a burden on the wrist, in reality I would have forgotten it was on my wrist had it not been for the fact that I couldn’t take my eyes off it and the comments I was getting form others who wondered what I was wearing. What I can say it was easy to get on and off the wrist as I did so on many occasions to show off the movement, as one does…
Christopher Ward has definitely travelled down the dress watch field here with a little sportiness thrown in for good measure, the C900 Harrison Single Pusher Chronograph is a beautifully refined yet masculine timepiece that can adorn anyone’s wrist and sit amongst some of the heavyweight punchers in the world of Haute Hologerie. Just one thing I would of really liked to see a date on the C900, maybe at 6 o’clock.
In our opinion, what you are getting with the Christopher Ward C900 Harrison Single Pusher is a really collectible timepiece and very affordable for what it actually is. If I could I would have one for myself in a blink of an eye, but right now it will probably sit on the wish list until the urge really overtakes and funds enable it… Well its really just the funds the urge and lust is there and its probably here to stay.
As in time honoured tradition here are the Technical details for the Christopher Ward C900 Harrison Single Pusher and following that a little gallery of photographs we have taken of the watch whilst in our care.
Christopher Ward C900 Harrison Single Pusher – Technical Details
Worldwide limited edition of 250 pieces
Calibre: JJ02, hand-wound chronograph, highly modified from Unitas 6497, hand-wound mechanical chronograph by Johannes Jahnke with Jean Fillon
Vibrations: 18,000 vph
40 hour power reserve
Functions: Continuous seconds and 30 minute totaliser sub-dials operated through central crown function
Case: 316L stainless steel, Diameter: 43mm, Height: 15.9mm
Hand Finished, surgical grade, stainless steel case and crown
Museum-grade sapphire crystal with AR08 coating
Optic white one-piece 3-9 bi-compax dial
Screw-down transparent exhibition case back with full diameter anti-reflective crystal
Serial number engraved on both case and movement
Water resistance: 5 atm/50 metres
Strap: CITES approved, premium Louisana alligator deployment strap
And here is that Gallery of photos of the Christopher Ward C900 Harrison Single Pusher Chronograph, we promised you