Sometimes I envy people who strap one watch one their wrist and they forget about it, as an enthusiast I love challenging myself on wearing different pieces, enjoy different design languages and observe different approaches on watchmaking, all of this can be exhausting hence I raise an eyebrow every time I see a colleague at work with the same watch day after day. One watch only policy for us watch nerds is a platonic idea, something that we would like to do and also avoid. Me for example I like variety, I love having a small collection inside my collection, from divers to dress pieces also including chronographs but I always think: ''what if this ''one watch'' approach is possible?'', I believe there are some watches out here that can definitely be a candidate to this madness, please allow me to elaborate. I spoke with several collectors in the past about this idea and if we all agree on two things: versatility and size. Even if you are a Rolex or a Seiko fanboy we all know that we cannot pull a 44mm piece every day, so size do matters. Going to the versatility angle the more complicated the watch usually the less versatile is, this is why a chronograph seems to be out of place in many casual or elegant situations, you definitely do not want to calculate the distance of an object with the telemeter scale on a fancy dinner party. And lastly but not least, you need to be able to dress it up or down which sometimes depends more on the steel bracelet or a vintage leather strap. After discussing the main parameters most of the time there are 2 winners: the Rolex explorer 36mm and the Black Bay 58 at 39mm, but what if we want to have a 3rd option?
This is where I believe the C65 Sandhusrt can really offer something really special. As a bit of context, the Sandhurst falls into a military inspired collection inside the Christopher Ward catalogue, these military pieces are licensed by the UK’s Ministry of Defense and bear the insignia of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force, in other words they are here to make a dent.
Hopefully at the end of the review you will be able to understand why I like it so much to consider it for an only watch.
This is where the C65 shines, it has all the traits needed to be proudly worn. A beautiful 38mm case which is not to big and not to small making it a sweet spot for an every day wearer. Then we have the dial, a matte black face with ''fauxtina'' markers which create a great vintage atmosphere.
The watch is wrapped up in a raised sapphire crystal creating some distortion taking you back to that era were Smiths watches ruled the British military scene, these watches are clearly the inspiration for this piece of equipment. At 3 o'clock we have a big crown which looks period correct in terms of proportions with the case, big and comfortable to wind giving that sensation of incredible value and sophistication.
One of the coolest details of the dial is the seconds hand, 33% (hopefully I am doing the math right) of the hand is covered in red and it reaches the far end of the dial almost touching the chapter ring where the distortion of the glass can be appreciated , the hand moves on top of white minute track with aged lume markers making it one of the more complex dials I've reviewed but at the same time as simple and legible as anything I have in my collection. I can't imagine the hours that the design team spent on the dial itself, there are so many elements but they all work in harmony like a string quarter playing here comes the sun on your weeding day.
The polished marine-grade stainless steel case is curvy and includes different polished and brushed elements, it also houses a Selitta SW200, this time Christopher Ward opted to COSC certify the movement keeping in line with the precision needed in the military forces, the watch comes in a well finished wooden box which gives you the chronometer certificate for your proud and joy.
On the wrist:
We mentioned that versatility also depends on a strap or a bracelet, the Sandhurst is offered in both options, we opted for the tanned vintage leather strap making the watch more true to its heritage. Once the watch is on the wrist it doesn’t disappoint, the proportions and legibility are perfect for my 6.25 inch wrist, the crown stands proudly but doesn’t intrude, the minute and hour hands are easily identifiable and the triangle at 12 o'clock treated with aged super-lumiNova (as well as the markers and dots) making the watch a joy to glance every time you need have a chat with your sole companion.
The C65 was great to wear not only because of its technical features but the way that makes you feel, this watch would easily it would fit on your grandfather wrist while he is telling stories to you and your friends on how he barely made it out of a sticky situation in WWII, the watch has a lot of that old world nostalgia but with the modern attributes of a very robust and reliable piece.
I believe the C65 is a perfect candidate for a one watch collection, Christopher Ward managed to create a piece that feels not only great on the wrist as a product but also as beautiful object that recreates the past without feeling fake and you do not need to tell me that this is a very hard thing to do. The attention to detail that went into the Sandhurst is incredible, from the COSC certification to the dial which is a work of art, it has so many hidden feature that I believe you will never get bored of it, if you want modernity you have the movement and if you want heritage then the aged markers will provide you that feeling.
Is this the perfect watch? I am not recommending to go out there and start selling all your Patek and Rolex watches, my idea is to add the Sandhurst into your final list if you ever decide to go down this crazy one watch route, there is no perfect watch in my opinion but this is a very close call.
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