Christopher Ward’s C1 Moonglow moonphase automatic watch is perfect for space lovers

The moonphase watch is a long-standing marvel of the analog watch industry — featuring a complication that allows it to accurately track the phases of the moon across a long period (provided the watch remains wound). Christopher Ward’s C1 Moonglow ($1,995) is a fresh, contemporary take on a moonphase that really puts the moon front and center, in a design that’s equally comfortable on the wrist for everyday wear, in the boardroom or at a formal event. Its unique design is also sure to please anyone who likes to watch the stars, and the burgeoning private launch industry that’s reaching out to them.

The basics

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The C1 Moonglow features a version of Selita’s reliable SW220 automatic movement that includes an in-house moonphase modification. The in-house customization does more than just add moonphase tracking — U.K.-based Christopher Ward has made it possible for the moonphase feature to work continually, rather than simply flipping once per day, as do most off-the-self versions of this complication. That’s what enables the moon graphic details on the face to move smoothly across the surface of the watch, while providing accurate phase tracking for a span of up to 128 years, according to the company.

The C1 also includes a calendar complication, which occupies the outer ring of the watch face and uses a sub-dial red highlight to mark the date. The watch measures 40.5 mm on the wrist, with a primarily black dial and a polished stainless steel case. It’s 12.35mm thick, and spans 48.55mm lug-to-lug. The automatic movement is wound with a custom Christopher Ward rotor that’s finished in black with a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating, and the moment is 26 jewels with a 38-hour power reserve when fully wound. The included strap is a black Italian shell cordovan leather, with a deployant clasp.

Design and features

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The key to the C1 Moonglow’s unique design is the custom moonphase dial, which features two incredibly detailed, 3D-textured images of the moon. These are positioned opposite one another on the dial, and provide the phase indication as they peak above a smoked aperture limiter that spans the bottom half of the watch face. Depending on lighting conditions, this can either appear pretty much entirely opaque, or mostly translucent, and it’s a fantastic detail that also allows the top-grade Super-LumiNova lime applied to the moon graphics to shine through at night.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The moonphase indicator dial also includes scattered stars, a touch that elevates this to the level of being somewhat playful while retaining the utmost class and sophistication. The stars are also luted, as are the watch hands, hour markers and date ring. The stacking off all these layers, and the textured surface of the hour ring, along with a white border ring between it and the date dial, give the watch an excellent amount of depth, but it’s still not a chunky or large watch on the wrist at a very reasonable 40.5mm size and just over 12mm height.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

The caseback of the C1 Moonglow is also impressive, providing a great view of the in-house customized movement and coated rotor. A fairly aggressive bevel in from the watch case side means that the exhibition sapphire window seems to take up almost all of the back of the watch, and helps minimize the visual height of the C1 when viewed from the side.

Setting the moonphase is very easy, and accomplished by pulling the crown to its second position and turning it counter-clockwise. Clockwise sets the date, but you can adjust both independently, and also independently of the time. Getting the phase accurate can be a bit trickier, but Christopher Ward provides easy instructions in the included manual — or you can use an app like Watchville, which provides a very handy and highly accurate virtual watch face with moonphase to set your analog by.

Image Credits: Darrell Etherington

Bottom line

As one of the most consistent and admired microbrand watchmakers out there, Christopher Ward has a great reputation for delivering interesting timepieces. The C1 Moonglow is among the most unique and appealing of its offerings, providing a tremendous amount of value for a watch with a custom-modified in-house movement and a moonphase complication. Best of all, it sports a stunning visual design that’s sure to turn heads — and maybe even distract some skywatchers from their telescopes and observatories.