Taking the name of the UK’s most famous horologist, John Harrison (1693-1776), is one thing, but as anyone knows, talking the talk isn’t the same as walking the walk.
Which is why it’s with some fanfare that the online-only watch business Christopher Ward – purveyor of attractive military-inspired timepieces at often a fraction of the price of a similar style featuring a manufacture Audemars Piguet replicas movement – is making a huge fanfare around its first ‘in-house’-powered mechanical timepiece, the C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic.
Featuring an impressive 120-hour power reserve (achieved by using twin barrels) the new Calibre SH21 is a collaboration with Swiss movement developers Synergies Horlogéres, with whom Christopher Ward has set up an entirely new entity under the banner of Christopher Ward London Holdings.
And rather than adapt an existing calibre (as is the industry norm), the two partners started instead with a clean slate, and an ambition to combine the reliability of industry’s stalwarts such as ETA’s Valjoux 7750 with a fully flexible platform capable of carrying further complications in the future.
To this end, watchmaker Johannes Jahnke based the CH21’s design around the car industry’s approach to assembly known best replica watches as ‘Baukastensystem’ or, ‘building blocks’. More traditional horological notes have been struck in the hand-finishing found on its bridges and (tungsten) rotor.
For all the classic understatement of its design, eponymous co-founder of the company Chris Ward believes the C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic represents “Perhaps the most important development for a British watch brand in the past 50 years.”