Mostly known for their “tributes” to more expensive, legendary (or, in other words, class-defining) models like different iterations of Rolex Submariner, the iconic IWC Portuguese and the likes, the British-based brand, however, sometimes offers a lot more original watches of their own design. The new Chr. Ward Makaira Pro 500 (Ref. C11-MAK-SKWSI) diver belongs to the latter breed of timekeepers that an enthusiast can easily wear without losing the tiniest bit of their self-respect.
If the name of the brand sounds somewhat familiar to you, it is not a deja vu: around a year ago, Christopher Ward attempted a silent re-branding bravely ditching the old “CW” logo and abbreviating the first word to “Chr.” Not sure about the reason behind the decision, but the new logo looks cooler than the old one and can be made bolder if needed, without taking too much real estate on the dial.
As to the watch itself, I must admit that the new Chr. Ward Makaira Pro 500 looks a little bit eclectic. The main reason for that is, of course, the dial layout that looks to be transplanted from some anonymous pilot’s watch (Well, in fact, judging by Chr. Ward’s website, the watch indeed shares some 99 percent of its components with their existing C11 MSL Black Manta MK1 aviator’s timekeeper!) and put inside a mid-sized body, which is crafted from corrosion-resistant, marine-grade steel and protected from salty seawater with a thick sapphire crystal.
Well, like a good aviator’s timekeeper, a diving watch is designed to be as legible as possible and the new dial easily kills two birds with one stone: it is easy to read and it doesn’t look like a Submariner! Trying to make the watch look as original as possible, the British designers even ditched the traditional external bezel moving the unavoidable diving scale on the bezel flange. This, by the way, makes the watch more versatile, since, from afar, it looks like a nicely crafted pilot and you can easily wear it with a bomber jacket without attracting quizzical glances.
To set the timer, you will have to operate the crown, which is placed at two o’clock. Well, here lays the main problem of this model. A more serious brand that doesn’t have to cut costs aggressively just to stay profitable would have modified the base caliber to move the setting crown from the standard position at 3 hours to a more symmetrical place at four o’clock. Chr. Ward, on the other hand, had to leave the crown intact to keep the price down, thus making the watch look somewhat crude, or even cheap.
Still, the rest of the body looks nice, including the satin-finished screw-in backplate that sports a nicely executed engraving that depicts the Makaira (also known as Indo-pacific blue marlin) fish.
According to the company’s website, the Makaira Pro 500 will go on sale at the end of October 2012 and will be priced at £499, which roughly converts into $790 USD or €630.
Photos: Chr. Ward
Christopher Ward Makaira Pro 500 (Ref. C11-MAK-SKWSI) specification
Price: £499 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Sellita caliber SW200-1, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 26
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 42.00 mm
Case height: 11.00 mm
Lug width: 22.00 mm
Dial: Dark Blue
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 500 meters
Strap: Adjustable rubber strap on stainless steel buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective
Back: Solid, engraved, screw-in