30 Jun Hands On Review: Christopher Ward C60 Trident MK3 GMT
If you’ve followed my inane watch ramblings for any length of time, you’ll know that I’ve a bit of a bit of a soft spot for Christopher Ward. They’re the brand that got me into horology, and their great value proposition has set the bar for me to judge other watches against.
Of all their models, the C60 Trident series is far and away Christopher Ward’s best-selling range. I myself am a sucker for a nice dive watch, and the C60 Trident MK2 was the first watch in my collection (and the first watch I reviewed, which you can read here).
At the start of May this year Christopher Ward unveiled the new MK3 Tridents, which represents a complete overhaul of the range. Every aspect of the Trident has been changed, and supposedly improved. Given the personal significance of the model to me, I was eager to see how these changes stacked up, and I reached out to Christopher Ward. They were kind enough to lend me whichever model took my fancy, so I chose the 38mm blue GMT, which retails for £995.
Before we begin to look at the watch itself, it’s worth noting that Christopher Ward have brought out some new eco-friendly packaging to go with the C60 Trident MK3. In times like this, when climate change is one of the planet’s biggest threats, this is a nice consideration from Christopher Ward (even if it’ll only make a small global contribution).
Christopher Ward kept the iconic Trident case shape for the C60 MK3, but kicked the finishing up a notch. The steel case of the MK3 C60 Trident has a polished chamfer on either side of a brushed case, and there’s also a polished in-step on the underside. Christopher Ward have dubbed this their “light-catcher” case for obvious reasons, and I prefer the more subtle polished surfaces over the MK2’s dressy polished lug tops. The finishing itself is flawless too, and the overall effect produced is a toolish, but refined one.
As I mentioned earlier, I chose the 38mm case (you can also get a 42mm case) which has a 45mm lug to lug, 13.35mm thickness, and 20mm lug width. This makes the watch well suited to smaller wrists without being too small, and it’s thin enough to go under a shirt cuff.
The screw-down crown is extremely tactile and buttery smooth to wind. Seriously, it’s so quiet you can barely hear it! On its head is stamped the Christopher Ward Twin Flags logo.
As with the rest of the case, the caseback of the MK3 Trident has been updated with a more modern stamped Trident logo, and a blend of different finishes that lends another extra level of refinement to an already detailed case.
The new MK3 C60 Trident is water resistant to 600m, just like the old one. It’s a very respectable depth rating, and as I mentioned in my review of the MK2 Trident, it stacks up very favourably compared to watches that cost a lot more.
The 120-click unidirectional bezel has a scratch resistant ceramic insert, which has now got full 24 hour GMT markers. A common gripe from owners of the Trident GMT was that the bezel had a minute track for the first quarter, which was a slightly odd choice and made it a bit tricky to read. It’s nice to see that Christopher Ward have taken the feedback on board and fixed this issue.
They’ve also lumed the markers, which is another great touch. When it comes to using the bezel it’s really easy to grip and turn, and there’s very little play. The feel of the bezel is something Christopher Ward have apparently taken great care to get as close as possible to those of higher-end divers, but if I’m completely honest I found the MK2 to be just a tad tighter. Not that the bezel of the MK3 Trident feels sloppy, it’s still better than comparable alternatives like the Oris 65.
The crystal is probably the only part of the Trident that hasn’t changed. It’s a flat 3.4mm thick sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. I’ve no problems with legibility for the Trident, and the thick sapphire will offer great durability and scratch resistance.
The dial of the Trident has received a number of small changes that modernise and freshen the whole watch. Gone is the guilloche wave pattern of the old dial. In its place is a beautiful deep blue gloss dial, which gives the Trident a sharp, modern look. Similarly the hour markers have been enlarged to improve legibility, and the ends slanted for that nice little extra detailing.
Speaking of details, the date window is now black to match the dark dial, and has a printed rather than applied border. The controversial left-justified logo is still present, and Christopher Ward have added a subtle matte finish Twin Flags logo at 12 o’clock. I won’t talk about the branding in-depth, because I’ve already discussed the controversy in an earlier article you can read here. All I will say is that the logo, along with the other changes to the dial, helps to modernise the look of the Trident and keep the whole aesthetic looking incredibly sharp.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the crisper new look.
For the MK3 Trident Christopher Ward chose to completely change the hour and minute hands to a broad arrow and pointed baton respectively. Whilst the old cathedral hands were an iconic part of the Trident, the change shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. Since Christopher Ward re-branded in 2016 their designs have been growing increasingly more modern.
The new hands are bevelled, with polished edges and a brushed top that glint in the light and provide some great contrast. I should note that upon close inspection the finishing on their edges looks a bit rough, which does spoil the refinement somewhat.
The seconds hand still has that cool trident counterbalance and handy lumed dot at the tip. The GMT hand is a simple arrow, and I love the bold orange colour that pairs really well with the blue to give a nice pop!
For me the most welcome change to the Trident is the upgrading of the lume for the MK3. This is an update that is long overdue in my opinion. The old MK2 Trident had SLN T C1 Super-LumiNova, and to be honest it wasn’t the brightest. It was a common complaint amongst Trident owners, and Christopher Ward took the feedback on board. As a result they’ve used the higher grade X1 GL C1 Super-LumiNova for the MK3. It’s noticeably brighter than the old Trident, and it eliminates a weakness that held it back from competing with higher-end pieces.
Inside the C60 Trident GMT you’ll find an ETA 2893-2. It’s an automatic 21 jewel movement that beats at 28,800 bph and has a healthy 42 hour power reserve. Obviously ETA’s reputation is stellar and the 2893-2 is the obvious choice for a GMT watch at this price point.
To set the GMT hand you simply unscrew the crown and pull it out to the first position and wind the crown upward to move the hand. Turning the crown downward sets the date. In truth I find there’s little more to say about the movement really. It keeps time well, and ETA movements are so common and trusted that you’ll have no problem getting it serviced.
The 20mm oyster bracelet seems very similar to the old one found on the MK2. But upon comparison that too has been tweaked. Christopher Ward have done away with the polished centre links, and the entire bracelet is now brushed to give a more toolish aesthetic. The centre links are also wider and flatter, which helps them stop being the scratch magnets they used to be.
If I had to nit-pick, I’d say that making the bracelet a quick-release means that the tolerances on the end-links could be a tad tighter. But does that fraction of a millimetre matter at the under £1,000 mark? Plus, the fact that Christopher Ward developed a quick-release bracelet is a huge positive in itself. It makes changing straps a breeze, and the Trident looks great on a NATO or leather strap. (I like either Bark & Jack or Phenomenato NATOs)
There’s also a nice ratcheting micro-adjustment on the clasp, so you can tighten or loosen the bracelet on the fly.
With the MK3, Christopher Ward have really kicked the C60 Trident up a notch. The case is more intricate and elegantly finished, and the whole watch has been modernised. The weaknesses of the old GMT (the bezel and lume) have been fixed, so that the MK3 now ticks all the boxes for a sub £1000 GMT.
So are there any negatives for me? Well, if I’m completely honest I do prefer the old hands. They were distinctive as instantly recognisable as belonging to the Trident. That said, I get why Christopher Ward opted for the more modern handset, and it’s up to you which you prefer.
And that’s about the only problem I can genuinely find (apart from a couple of other tiny details mentioned earlier). Everything else is very well executed, and it’s good to see Christopher Ward listening to feedback and pushing themselves to up their game. I can safely say that I’d thoroughly recommend picking up a C60 Trident if you’re after a more luxury diver that can compete with watches in the £1-2,000 range.
You can buy the C60 Trident GMT for £995 from Christopher Ward’s website here.