Already available for pre-order with the first bunch of them expected to be delivered mid-March 2015, the new Chr.Ward C9 Jumping Hour MKIII features a refreshingly new design, which is not just clean and easy to read, but is also extremely refined. It looks like the guys that designed this beautiful timekeeper were in the proverbial “zone”: they did everything right.
As usual, it would be more productive to put things in perspective, so I am going to compare the new MKIII to a 2011 Christopher Ward C9 Harrison Jumping Hour that we have reviewed briefly more than three years ago (time indeed flies).
The first thing that gets attention is how deliciously light the new version is! Probably influenced by principles of Bauhaus, the new C9 MKIII features a very clean white dial that has the guilloche-like pattern completely erased. The minute ring of the original is, too, gone: the move not only contributed to further lightening up of the timekeeper’s face, but also allowed to shrink the gadget’s case without compromising legibility in any way.
Speaking of size, this new variety is still just a tad over 13 millimeters thick, but its diameter has shrunk by three millimeters to more palatable 40 mm. The move not only put the gadget closer to the informal golden standard set for dressy watches, but also actually makes the timepiece look better (by a great lot) on a wrist of normal proportions.
The numerals on the ring were quite nicely replaced with polished stick-shaped hands that are elegantly matched by a needle-shaped minute hand.
Painted black, it looks very contrast over the matte white color of the face. Yes, as you have probably already noted, there is only one hand on this dial with the other one replaced with a Jumping Hour indicator. Staying at its usual position at 12 o’clock, the indicator’s aperture is large enough to show a large, easily readable Arabic numeral that, too, replaces less readily readable Roman numerals of the 2011 model.
According to the London-based company’s press release, the jumping hour complication is still produced by the very same Johannes Jahnke: a young German entrepreneur in his early thirties who has already earned a reputation of a talented watchmaker.
Called Caliber JJ01, the self-winding movement that powers the timekeeper still consists of an ETA 2824-2 base and an extra model that is responsible for this beautiful complication.
Although I have an impression that Chr. Ward recently started to crawl gently its way up the price ladder to a higher (and thus more expensive) market niche, the new Chr.Ward C9 Jumping Hour MKIII is still relatively affordable. If you live somewhere in EU, the company will charge you just £995 (around 1350 Euro) plus shipping expenses. If you happen to live in some other place, they will subtract the British VAT from the final price, so that the wristwatch will be even less expensive.
From where I sit, a watch with such a nice complication that is usually available only in a lot more expensive devices from established brands is more than a bargain: it is almost a steal.
See also: Chr.Ward C900 Worldtimer GMT
Photos: Chr. Ward
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Chr.Ward C9 Jumping Hour MKIII 40mm watch specification
Price: £995 (incl. VAT)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber JJ01 (base ETA 2824-2, Jumping Hour module by Johannes Jahnke), Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight adorned with “Cotes de Geneve” pattern
Functions: Jumping hours, minutes
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 40.00 mm
Case height: 13.30 mm
Lug width: 20 mm
Hour markers: Stick-shaped
Hands: Single black minute hand
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Embossed alligator pattern Italian leather strap with Bader deployment clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Case back: Transparent