Besides my perhaps-unhealthy consumption of online watch content, I hadn’t had much exposure to Christopher Ward. That is, until I attended Windup Watch Fair in New York. At the Christopher Ward booth, I got hands on with all their greatest hits: the Twelve, Bel Canto, Trident Pro, etc. One watch really caught my eye – the C63 Sealander GMT. This 39mm dual-time beauty embodied all of the positive things I’d heard about the London-based brand. Its proportions, finishing, and best of all, price tag blew me away. Luckily, I got some more time with this watch when I arrived at home. Let’s take a closer look at the Christopher Ward C63 Sealander GMT.
First Impressions of the C63 Sealander GMT
Let’s address the elephant in the room – this watch wouldn’t exist without the Rolex Explorer II. From its chamfered steel 24-hour bezel to its orange 24-hour hand, the similarities are undeniable. That said, the C63 GMT has plenty of unique design elements that continue to reveal themselves the closer you look. Furthermore, if I were to sit here and list every watch inspired by a Rolex design, we’d both grow old and lose interest.
The first thing I noticed about this watch was its finishing. The circular-brushed bezel and vertically-brushed case and bracelet have a satin-like quality commonly found on watches 5x more expensive. Seriously – I have the aforementioned Rolex Explorer II sitting on my desk and the level of finishing is very comparable.
The next thing that caught my attention was the gunmetal dial furniture and handset. Both feature a mix of brushed and diamond-polished finishing that perfectly contrasts the milky lacquered dial. It’s just a delight to look at. The hour hand looks sharp enough to cut through bone and the trident counterweight on the seconds hand is a fun little Easter egg. In a sea of white, black, and steel, the splashes of orange on the 24-hour hand, seconds hand, and 5-minute increments really pop.
User Experience, Tactile Feel, and Functionality
If you’ve owned multiple watches, you know that screwing/unscrewing a crown, setting the time, and adjusting complications can fall into one of two categories: satisfying or dreadful. For example, my Seiko SKX013 has a very small, hard-to-grip crown with vague threading and unpredictable hand adjustment. The Christopher Ward C63 Sealander GMT couldn’t be more the opposite. The threading of the crown is smooth and easy, the hand adjustment is precise, and the clicks of the jumping 24-hour hand are ASMR-worthy.
Speaking of the 24-hour hand, this watch features “Caller GMT” functionality via a Selitta SW330-2 movement. “Caller GMTs” allow independent adjustment of the 24-hour hand and a quickset date function. This is optimal for referencing a non-local second time zone – hence the “caller” moniker. The automatic movement features 56 hours of power reserve and +/-20 sec per day accuracy.
The C63 GMT's bracelet features a healthy taper, toolless microadjustment, and quick-release functionality for swapping out straps. Not only is the bracelet comfortable, it features all the bells and whistles you could wish for in a modern tool watch.
Despite their acclaim in the watch world, my introduction to Christopher Ward exceeded expectations. The C63 Sealander GMT showcases unique design elements and impeccable finishing: craftsmanship comparable to much higher-priced watches. Its proportions are near-perfect on my 6.75in wrist; I would expect this watch to be comfortable for the wide majority of people. The C63 Sealander GMT stands out for its aesthetic appeal and functionality. It makes a rock solid case for a perfect travel watch. At $1,225, this had better be on your short list if you're looking at sub-$2,000 GMTs.