|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on July 28, 2012 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
The MINI Watch
When the Christopher Ward C70 Monte Carlo first came out I wanted one immediately, quite simply it ticked all the right boxes for me. However, having already got two C70 watches, I could not justify a full price purchase even for a limited edition. However, as the watch comes to the end of its run a 30% off sale forced my hand and the watch has been added to the collection.
The Monte Carlo Rally is a big deal in Beastie Folly. First we love MINIs and secondly we holiday every year in the South of France. In 2004 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Mini winning the Rally in 1964 by taking CooperBeast our BMW MINI Cooper to Monte Carlo to drive one of the legs of The Rally. We left St Tropez in 20 degress and lovely sunshine and parked in the snow at Col de Turini for lunch! Great, great fun.
In 2006 we were there again with our friends RVW and Storm to drive the rally route again, this time in CheckBeast our BMW Mini Cooper S JCW and again the fun was incalculable.
The connection that Mini has with the rally is well known and we have documented it here. It is this association that almost guaranteed that this watch would end up in our collection. We love MINI, we love the Monte Carlo Rally and well let's face it this is my sixth Christopher Ward watch so there is lots of love there too.
Recently, we went to the Le Mans 24 hour Classic event and we were smitten by the Renault Alpines on show. This one caught our eye as it nodded its respect to the 1973 Renault Alpine Monte Carlo winner driven by Jean-Claude Andruet . Returning from this event and finding the C70 Monte Carlo on sale, was just too much to resist!
The watch itself is a joy to behold. it is more understated than the rest of the C70 series, as if it has grown up. This gives it a broader appeal, it is less in your face, less offensive than say the garish C70 IT which I have in glorious rossa. If it was a car then it would be a Mercedes Benz in silver. Like the car it is designed with one eye on the resale value, cometh the day that the collector decides to move it on. I can however, cope with its maturity and forgive it, its nod to middle class conservatism, because it achieves that while still kicking back to its teenage rebel days - the red stitched matt finished strap for example, is very racy. The chronograph function is very neat on this model as there is a full circle of markers on the watch face on this design, which allows accurate reading whenever the chronograph is stopped. This is not the case with the more rebellious rest of the C70 range!
In conclusion, a sexy looking, grown up C70 which pays respect to the marvel that is the Monte Carlo Rally. Yep it's a winner!
Specs and description below courtesy of Christopher Ward.
Long distances, glamorous locations and, of course, fast cars rallying is one of the inspirations for Christopher Wards motor sport inspired collections, and the Monte-Carlo Rally epitomises that inspiration. Marking the 100th anniversary of the Monte-Carlo Rally and forming part of the Grand Prix range, the C70 Monte-Carlo has its own distinctive look, featuring the colours and icons of the Principality of Monaco. This superbly executed timepiece features all the chronograph functions associated with motor racing and is powered by the superb ETA movement. The C70MC is limited to 500 pieces worldwide.
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on April 11, 2012 at 8:25 AM||comments (2)|
The Vintage Watch
The Timex T Series™ Racing collection traditionally takes its design cues from a racing motif. The design platform has evolved but continues to deliver a bold and masculine design motif. The Timex T-Series™Fly-back Chronograph with Intelligent Quartz™ technology advances the design aesthetic of this collection and features a fly-back chronograph movement and second time zone. The model I have wanted for such a long time and finally have here is the T2N700 version with a black face and case and a beige vintage leather strap. A cross then between an automobile racing chronograph and a vintage aviator!
In truth the watch got off to a false start with the first releases having an incorrectly printed face and the numerals off the bottom hand running 1, 3, 6, 8, 9 instead of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 as they should. I had to wait a while for this to be corrected and the new batch released for sale. I finally saw an example of the correct face on the Christopher Ward Forum so immediately went hunting on the Internet. First Class Watches.co.uk came up trumps with a great price and I was able to phone them to check on the face design before placing my order. I ordered it on Saturday and the watch arrived Wednesday after the Easter Bank Holiday Monday so first class service guys!
I have already written about my fondness for this vintage look when I looked at this watch along with a Bell & Ross 123 Vintage Heritage, A Christopher Ward C8 Vintage and a Steinhart Vintage Chrono. To put this in perspective, the Timex comes in at around £124, a third of the price of a CWL C8 and a lot lot less than the almost £2000 Bell & Ross. So having it on the wrist what do I think? Well at over £100 many would regard it as an expensive watch and in that market it doesn't disappoint, good quality, good looks and great featues and I am nothing short of delighted with it.
However, is the quality up there with The Steinharts or the Christopher Wards or the Bell & Ross? Simply put - no. The pushers are a tad cheap looking, The glass is mineral not crystal, the strap is chunky and acceptable but not in the same class as a Bell and Ross or a Christopher Ward. That said the strap does fit my wrist straight out of the box, which is more than can be said for a Christopher Ward C8 which comes on standard straps which are just frankly too big! The movement is quartz and not an automatic but to me that means the cheaper movement allows more investment in the glass and case and strap and from that view point the quality isn't there.
Put simply you do get what you pay for but as with most goods the more you pay the less you get for your extra money. To explain, the Christopher Ward at 4 times the price is not 4 times better, but being great value is perhaps three times better. The Steinhart at 8 times the price is also only 3 times better and the Bell & Ross at 16 times the price is probably only 5 times better. An arbitrary scale plucked from the top of my head but you get the idea. The less you pay the more you get for your money but none of us chooses the cheapest every time and especially not if you are a watch geek!
In summary for the money I can't fault it at all and it will get a lot of wrist time!
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on March 17, 2012 at 1:45 AM||comments (12)|
The Trident Watch
This is my fifth Christopher Ward watch, so clearly they are doing something that I like. Put simply they have the right combination of quality, style and prestige at an affordable price. At a price that allows me to become a watch collector.
This model, known as the Trident due to the rather stylish Trident design that sits on the back end of the seconds finger is an exclusive limited edition run. It has been commissioned for the independent Christopher Ward Forum as the 2012 Forum Ltd Edition. Christopher Ward is a keen supporter of the forum, while at the same time recognising the imprtance of it remaining fully independent of his business. His support has resulted in a limited edition most years of the Forum's life. This year he offerred the Trident as the base model and the colours were chosen by Forum members. This resulted in a limited edition of 100 watches, 50 in the blue you see here and 50 in red.
This is my first Forum Limited Edition and I am nothing short of delighted about it. The watch has 3 features unique to its limited edition status. First is the blue bezel, which for me is the perfect shade of blue - bright enough not to be mistaken for black and understated enough to be classy. Second is is the blue matching face with a subtle wavy pattern, which for me underpins the watches credentials as a dive watch, especially when combined with the Trident second finger. The third unique feature is the back. This is adorned with the Trident symbol (as are all the Trident models) but uniquely states "Forum LE 2012 020/100." I like this, it makes the watch feel extra special. The unique Forum LE blue dial and face are simply beautiful and the watch can be dressed up to a suit or dressed down to jeans. Er... I guess it all boils down to what attire you prefer to dive in!
The watch's diving credentials, as have been stated are underpinned by the Trident second finger and back, allied to the wavy styled face. More serious credentials though are the 1000 feet dive capabilty, the 4.00 mm anti-reflective saphire glass, the uni directional bezel and the diver's extension built into the bracelet clasp, so that the watch can be worn over a diving suit, simply by opening the folding extension. In my case a spot of beach snorkelling is the most serious work it will do but the geek in me still likes this neat touch.
When I first opened the box and saw the watch, I was immediately smitten. It oozed quality, I loved the onion style fingers but what I really like is the way they taper to a very fine point, which shouts precision at me. I hadn't really appreciated this from seeing photographs of the watch. I love the simple use of colours too - blue face, blue bezel, white hands and numerals, white date back and a hint of red on the tip of the second hand. Quietly stylish and the 4.00 mm anti-reflective saphire glass really lets you see this style.
As I picked the watch up its weight impressed me too. I like a watch with a bit of weight it gives it a solid, sturdy feel. I had just taken my Breitling Navitimer off to try this one on and both felt suitably and similarly weighty in my hand. I removed three links and got the perfect size for me.
I have picked up on two criticisms that have been levelled at this watch. First the date hole, which is at for o'clock, rather than three as on the Rolex it takes a bow to. Only actually it isn't. The top of the rectangular date hole lines up with 4 o'clock with the date hole dropping down from this point. Many hate this lack of symmetry and feel that the date hole should be exactly where the batton for 4 would be, that is equi-distant between the baton for 3 and the dot for 5. It isn't. If I stare at a blown up photograph of this watch for long enough I can convince myself that this is a problem. However, in the flesh it just isn't an issue for me whatsoever and quite simply I see it as an endearing Christopher Ward quirk that sets the watch apart from the rest. Secondly, this watch sports a brand new bracelet from Christopher Ward, which includes a diver's extension concealed in the clasp. The clasp has a 5 position micro adjustment but due to the concealed diver extension, two of the micro adjustments cannot be used as they would leave no room for the diver's extension to reside in. I have no answer to this. In my case the micro adjustment is set in the middle postion so it is not a problem to me. The bracelet is very comfortable and the combination of polished and brushed links looks fabulous and combines well with the watch case itself.
There is not a lot more for me to say. I am just a very happy chappie with a very good looking watch that oozes quality. Just buy one. Oh you can't it's a limited edition! Shame. Still all is not lost Christopher Ward has a range of C60 watches for mere mortals. Check those out!
Meanwhile here are the Trident Specs and some of the watch description from the Christopher Ward website.
"The Trident series unashamedly takes its design cues from the iconic 1954 Rolex GMT Master which was the world's first ever dual-time watch - and the C60 Trident - Pro Automatic is no exception.
Whilst the C60 Automatic can't describe the time in two time zones simultaneously, like its stable companion the C60 GMT, this automatic, powered as it is, by the famous ETA 2824-2 / Sellita SW200-1 movement is a premium diving watch which has been engineered for perfection and that famous Swiss precision."
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on July 19, 2011 at 7:15 PM||comments (0)|
The High Octane Watch
Christopher Ward watches are sold via the Internet, designed in London and manufactured in Switzerland using high quality Swiss movements for both the Quartz and automatic models in his range. The C70 range began life as a collection of 6 models each celebrating the first Grand Prix race held in the particuar country the watch celebrates. Each was limited to just 500 watches. The Rosso Corsa was one of the original six. Later Christopher Ward added some stand alone watches to the C70 range a DBR1, which I have in my collection and a very attractive C70 Monte Carlo.
Christopher Ward writes about the C70 IT:
"The 4th September 1921 was the date of the first Gran Premio d'Italia at the Montichiari course in the Northern Italian town of Brescia.
Although the French driver Louis Wagner took pole position on the starting grid it was his compatriot Jules Goux who won the 30 lap race (Wagner finished 3rd) in a time of 3 hours, 35 minutes and 9 seconds.
The C70IT is dressed in the Italian racing colours Rosso Corsa (race red) which legendary Italian racing car marques such as Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Ferrari made famous."
When the C70 range first came out, I would have liked all of them but funds just would not allow this so I narrowd my wish list down to the C70 IT or the British Brooklands model. I was still dithering when The C70 DBR1 was introduced to fill the gap left by the Brooklands selling out, so I plunged for this one as a stand alone model not really a part of the original six. However, the collection has almost completely sold out and only a few Rosso Corsas now remain. They were cleared out at half price, so I could not resist and added it to my collection. Interestingly, it is the last one in the range to sell out, which might suggest that it was the least popular, yet to me eyes it is simply gorgeous and I think if I had to pick between this and the DBR1, I would choose this one. I suspect it is the loudest and boldest of the range and hence the last to sell out. Perhaps that says everyhting about my taste in watches!
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on February 5, 2011 at 12:26 AM||comments (0)|
The Driver's Watch
Christopher Ward watches are sold via the Internet, designed in London and manufactured in Switzerland using high quality Swiss movements for both the Quartz and automatic models in his range. The C70 range began life as a collection of 6 models each celebrating the first Grand Prix race held in the particuar country the watch celebrates. Each was limited to just 500 watches.
The C70 DBR1 is a stand alone model in the same style and again it is limited to 500 watches. It celebrates the 1959 Le Mans Victory of the Aston Martin DBR1.
Aston Martin is one of the great English marques that inspires the Christopher Ward team. As CWL say, the understated beauty of every Aston Martin is combined with a precision and power that is unique in the world of motor manufacture and is even the case when they turn their hand to motor sport.
David Brown (the DB that pre-fixes their model names) bought Aston Martin in 1947 and was determined to build on the company's motor racing heritage, a vision that reached its ultimate fruition in 1959 when the magnificent DBR1/300 car took first and second places in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race and ultimately went on to win that years World Sportscar Championship.
The C70 DBR1 is the perfect watch for anyone who admires this quintessentially English sports car marque.
I had wanted a C70 as soon as the range was launched and my initial dilemma was deciding which one to pick, I liked them all, but narrowed it down to The Brooklands (The British Model) or the Italian Rossso Corsa. Funds also meant the purchase would not be impulsive. In the interim The DBR1 was added and this really grabbed my attention. The DBR1 car is green with white circles with the racing number on and the design of the CWL C70 DBR1 captures this perfectly and the lovely green bezel was simply icing on the cake. This was to be the model. Meanwhile two of my friends from the MINI community had jumped in and bought one each. That was it, I had to be a part of that club and this week I took the plunge and got my very own C70 DBR1.
I got home from work to find the parcel waiting for me, smothered in brown wapping tape and like a 5 year old on Christmas day I battled with the tape to get to the contents. I have to say the presentation box is first class, right up there with my Breitling Box and probably better than my Chopard case, even if that did come with its own DVD!.
I opened the box and there it was nestling on a soft green background, with its own plaque denoting its limited edition serial number. The watch looked simply stunning and I examined it all over quite frankly in complete awe. Not a blemish on it and bulit to first class standards. This watch really does box above its weight, the quality is weigh above its current £330 price point.
Next step a quick adjustment to the buterrfly clasp to size it to my wrist and on it went. My next happy surprise was how comfortable it was. I think this is the most comfortable to wear watch in my whole collection. I have to keep checking to see if it is on my wrist and then I am mesmerised by its beauty. Someone at work saw me glance at my watch and as I turned away asked me the time. I had to look again as I hadn't clocked the time I had just been admiring the beauty of the watch!
Three days later and the watch is still the one that goes on the wrist. Soon it will go on rotation with my other CWLs and the rest of my collection but this one is right up there with my favourites and I think having seen this in the flesh and knowing how comfortable it is, another C70 might well beckon!
|Posted by Adrian Ainsworth on October 23, 2010 at 5:06 PM||comments (0)|
This is quoted from Chopard's web site, "Passion,performance, precision: these are just a few of the striking similarities between automotive engineering and mechanical watchmaking.The Mille Miglia collection links these two worlds and perfectly represents the spirit of la corsa più bella del mondo...."
Chopard has been actively supporting the Mille Miglia as a main sponsor andofficial timekeeper since 1988. This longstanding partnership has given rise to a collection of precision sports watches reflecting this unparalleled passion and performance". After spending a few months listening to me practising "Showpar" and "mee-lay meel-yah" my lovely wife could take no more and bought me this watch on Valentines Day!
It is a lovely watch, powered by the Valgranges movement, which by the way is the noisiest, loudest movement I have ever encountered but hearing it grunt and groan makes the watch seem alive on
my wrist. Check out this link to ETA's page on the Valgrange. Now I was fully equipped to trace the route of the Mille Miglia. Unfortunately, my battle with the Big C - Life Blog - got in the way of the road trip so me and the watch wait for another chance!