Hands-On Review – Christopher Ward C60 BLUE Limited Edition Dive Watch

The Skinny

  • Diameter – 40mm
  • Movement – Sellita SW200 Base
  • Limited Edition of 500
  • MSRP $1025 USD

The C60s BLUE’s Unique Mission

For many folks, SCUBA diving triggers a kind of spiritual conversion to environmental activism. I’ve experienced this conversion, and I’ve heard so many divers say they have, too. Whether it be a return to the watery primordial home from which we bi-peds emerged or the overwhelming endearing nature of sea creatures that triggers these conversions, I have no idea, but the prevalence of these conversions has caused the SCUBA community to be robustly committed to ocean conservation.

Consequently, dive watch manufacturers have supported ocean conservation from the early days of SCUBA, and that important and impactful tradition is, thankfully, growing stronger as concerns over the environmental health swell in the 21st Century. From Rolex to Blancpain to Oris, Doxa, Bucherer, IWC, Breguet, Breitling, Omega, Panerai and others (whose absence here is entirely on me), we’ve seen long-standing relationships between watch brands and ocean conservation organizations.

Christopher Ward now stands among this important community by supporting an interesting organization called The Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE for short), which focuses on overfishing. This is a fitting relationship for a British company, as the British fishing industry has historically disobeyed international fishing quotas – especially for cod and haddock that are so delicious with vinegary chips and a pint. Mike France, CEO of Christopher Ward tells us that he lives “part of the year in a house quite literally by the sea, so I have an affinity with and understanding of what BLUE is trying to achieve.” Perhaps living by the ocean has converted him as well.

Dispensing With Niggles

BLUE’s wavy logo rests atop a blue-tinted sapphire dial, giving the watch a unique tone-on-tone translucence and depth. This isn’t a dial that shows off the mechanical works, however. Rather, one sees the gears and so on as a darkish blue pattern within the negative space between the waves of the BLUE logo.

At some angles the dial looks solid blue, at others striped, and yet at other angles it’s distractingly reflective and messy, so much so that time-telling is nearly impossible. The problem in the latter scenario is a mirror-effect I’ve seen in other watches sporting sapphire on the dial, such as the Ming 17.03 I once reviewed. The illegibility is pronounced when anything bright and white hits the crystal from above, such as a bright white ceiling or even a cloud. To check this, I got out my matte-brown-dial’d Aquadive Bathyscaphe, which is highly legible in all lighting from all angles, and it was obvious that the C60 BLUE was unable to provide reliable off angle viewing. I’d be very curious to see how it performed while diving, but have not been able to dive with the C60 BLUE.

Christopher Ward’s logo at 9-o’clock is notoriously divisive among those who obsess over design minutia on social media. Personally, the logo is not my bag, but what I like or don’t should be of no consequence to your opinion, dear reader.

Impressive Bang for The Buck

Niggles aside, the C60 is otherwise shockingly excellent, especially at this price ($1025 US). My initial impression of the build quality was incredibly positive, and everything from the crown threading, setting action, and bezel rotation feels on par with some of the most expensive dive watches I’ve handled from Rolex, Bremont, Blancpain, and more. 

There is a tiny bit of play in the bezel, but I’m talking miniscule and insignificant. I only mention it because some readers seem to care about even microscopic sloppiness in a bezel’s ratchet system, but as one who dives with dive watches I can tell you that bezel grip is what matters, not action or even precision. And this bezel has exceptional grip without hanging out over the case (same with my Aquadive, come to think of it). That’s a huge advantage because when you’re banging around a dive boat and loading tanks in and out of trucks and so on, it’s easy enough to catch bezel overhang and pop the thing off. That’s just not going to happen with the C60 BLUE. And the play in this bezel is pretty much on par with the best divers out there. The wiggle is no niggle.

Casework is impressive here, too. Polished and brushed surfaces along the sides extend with torquey sex appeal down onto the lugs in a manner reminiscent of Omega’s lovely Seamaster lugs. This case feels incredibly complicated and well executed for a watch costing just over a grand. 

The movement is a Sellita SW200-base that’s been modified to some undisclosed degree. Interestingly for a watch with a solid caseback, the rotor is engraved. I’m guessing that Christopher Ward simply used 500 of their movements that would have otherwise gone behind a clear caseback. Nothing wrong with that, and it even fulfills a Steve-Job’s-meets-Patek obsession with making the invisible beautiful. I like it.

The SW200 is a trusted movement, one that took over for the ETA-2824-2 as those became less available for companies outside the Swatch Group. However, there have been updates across a number of movements in this price category that have started to make the SW200 feel a little stale – especially the upped power reserve of Seiko’s latest Prospex movements to 70-hours. The Sellita still only stores 38-hours of power. This is, of course, not Cristopher Ward’s burden, but it does feel like it might be time for a platform upgrade from Sellita. Nonetheless, I have to say that the aforementioned crown adjustment action felt better than most 2824/SW200 units I’ve handled, and if that happens to be due to something CW did, then kudos. Readers should know, however, that there’s no guarantee that your unit will operate identically to my review unit.

Lume is excellent on both the dial and the bezel. Frankly, pretty much all lume is excellent these days, but what’s impressive on the C60 blue is the elegantly executed Super LumiNova inlays on the ceramic bezel. Once again, way better than this price point would suggest.

On the wrist, this watch is comfortable, if a tiny bit tall. But it’s a dive watch, so let’s not get hot and bothered on thinness. I own a few 40mm dive watches (Bremont, Seiko, Oris), and this one looks, feels, and wears smaller than all of them. If smaller dive watches are your thing, the C60 BLUE will not disappoint.

Lastly, the strap is made entirely from Ocean Plastics, which is a wonderful way to raise awareness about ocean health. I want to refrain at this point from singing the praises of this choice because I have yet to thoroughly investigate the environmental impact of retrieving and then using ocean plastics in products. My hunch is that it’s a great idea, but I’m currently researching this because sometimes seemingly positive “green industrial practices” counterintuitively turn out to be ecologically iffy. However, the advocacy aspect of this strap is certainly a positive, and the strap is really nice, too.

Suffice it to say that for the money this watch is as good as – maybe even better than – a Seiko Prospex Diver. I include my coveted and near flawless Seiko SPB143 62MAS-ish diver ($1100 US) that came out this year in that assessment. For those who don’t know me, that’s quite an admission. I think when asked to recommend a cool dive watch in the $1000-range, I’d now likely include the C60.

The C60 BLUE is a limited edition of 500 watches, and proceeds from the sales will go to help The Blue Marine Foundation.