Christopher Ward C1 Worldglow: The C1 Worldtimer, but brighter?

Sitting in the window on the west end of the Star Center in Spartanburg South Carolina is about the only traveling I’ve done this year. Anyone who has a kid playing sports most likely knows what I’m doing here and where it is. And while it’s almost 2 and a half hours away from where I live, and I did get to stay in a Holiday Inn Express for two nights, it wasn’t far enough away for me to actually play with the Christopher Ward Worldglow that I brought with me.  I’m still in the same time zone!!!  Such is my life, I suppose.  Oh well, at least I can read a book by the glow, right?

Let’s get one thing straight, if you have the C1 Worldtimer already, this watch is mechanically no different.  The only thing you’re missing out on is enough luminous paint to fool a Geiger Counter and a few other design differences that you might miss at first glance.  Christopher Ward CEO Mike France stated in an article in CW’s own “LOUPE” that the recent release of the Moonglow was Christopher Ward’s most successful dress watch release.

When something’s a hit, you run with it, and that’s what they’ve done yet again.  Like moths to a flame, CW buyers seem to really like lume.  Makes you wonder if these were the same people that saw the Street Glow lights on all the cars in the Fast and the Furious and couldn’t wait to outfit their ’93 EG Hatch in as much light as possible.

The Case and Crystal

All joking aside, Christopher Ward makes a hell of a case with the looks and elegance of a major player.  The C1 series has always been handsome, and the dress watches really shine with those long, elegant lugs reaching out on both ends and turned so slightly down as to try to keep the lug-to-lug (which is a paltry 51.9mm) from reaching over the wrist.

The width is also a more “modern” size at 43.5.  All surfaces are beautifully polished, and every angle is chiseled to catch the light and have it dance around like fireflies on a hot Louisiana night.  The only brushed surfaces are the sides which are beveled from the bottom to give the 11.55mm thickness and even thinner look on the wrist.

And does it sit nicely.  Personally, with all the wizardry that CW has pulled to make this watch appear as small as possible, I still think it’s going to overhang on smaller wrists.

Atop the watch sits the slightly domed crystal with an anti-reflective coating that makes straight on gazing clear and distortion free.  It seamlessly blends the bouncing light with the angles of the case smoother than a warm Fender Stratocaster in the hands of David Gilmour.  Twinkling like stars, that luxury look is in full display as it sparkles its shimmering dance on your wrist.

The dome is classy and almost unnoticeable unless you’re looking for it.  It blends almost seamlessly with the case and reaches almost the total width of the watch into a bezel that I personally thought was brilliant.  Instead of a typical rounded bezel the Worldglow utilizes a bezel that is scalloped inward creating a double illusion from above that appears as thought it has two levels.

From the side, the bezel rises like the half-pipe in your local skate park.  The crown is a short, balloon style with the CW logo sharply engraved.  No worries of the dreaded red mark on the upper wrist even with the bigger size of the watch.  The elegance continues around back with a flat, see-through case back that focuses your gaze towards the movement with a bezel that is just big enough for the rotor to swing in.

While nothing extravagant, it’s another touch that puts the CW in a league with some bigger names in dress watches.

 The Dial and The Glow

While the outside is good and fine, that’s not really why we’re here.  We’re here to see the lumed watch that Vincent Vega found in that box.  The watch with enough lume to blind the Tommyknockers, and that would instantly put Superman on the ground.

If you have the C1 Worldtimer, this won’t look much different at first glance, but there are some subtle changes.  First, the colorway is dress tuxedo black and white, enhancing the watches use at formal events where a T-shirt made to look like a tux may be required.  In all honesty, this really would look good under a sharp dress jacket at the Catalina Wine Mixer.  I need to stop.

The world map has been shifted and is slightly larger making the city names slightly smaller.  That’s ok, as their still crisply printed and easy to read.  Long hands protrude from the center reaching far past the map and to the end.  The only color on the dial (besides the time zone marker) is London in red, and the tip of the second hand.  If this all sounds like a lot, it kind of is.

At least for me.  I’m not a big world time watch enthusiast as there’s really not much reason for me to be, and it was brought to my attention by drwatcherman on our Patreon Slack channel that world time watches generally don’t have hands that extend past the center, as that’s usually used for the traditional time telling dial.  I did some research, and he was right.

I like the layout on the Worldglow dial, and I think it’s cool looking, but if I’m honest, it’s busy and without any time numbers of any kind (outside the rotating hour ring), it’s hard for someone like me to catch the time without a few days of trial and error.   The watch almost becomes too cumbersome for the average watch user UNLESS you’re using it for what it’s made to do.

Now, I’ve teased and rambled enough, the brightness is real.  With just a charge from sitting in the living room, it’s readable.  But that watch shines like Chernobyl once it sees the sun.  And it’s just about every facet of the dial!  The hands, the map, the numbers on the hour ring, and just about anything white on the dial, apart from the city names.  CW claims that there was a real engineering feat that took place to make everything shine as brightly as everything else.

They nailed it in some respects.  There’s no difference in brightness from hands to dial as you see on a ton of other watches including some that CW itself has put out over the years, but lo and behold, the lume on the actual numbers is quite dim.  So, while you can see the map of the world and the halos, there is absolutely no way to tell the time or the time zone in the dark.  Lex Luther would be proud of this one, and if lume is your thing, you will too, unless you want to use the watch to tell freaking time!  “Do you have the time, good sir?”  “No clue. Homie,” you respond showing the well-dressed man your glowing globe.

A moment of disgust passes as he begins to inspect the glowing watch closer.  He drools a little.

Leather or Milanese.

As far as the strap is concerned, Christopher Ward always installs a pretty nice piece of leather on their watches.  This watch is no exception and the first one I’ve ever worn that had a Bader deployment.  The Bader is simply a system that wraps the remaining length on the inside instead of the outside for a more seamless look.

While the leather is nice and supple out of the box, any deployment is fairly thick and the buckle on the outside is destined to get some dings or take some chunks out of the corner of your laptop.  I, myself, liked the way the Bader looked, even though it seems to square the strap a little on one end.  I also felt that the strap could have used a little taper.  Like Tim Russert’s famous “Florida, Florida, Florida” chant, mine is “Taper, Taper, Taper,” when it comes to dress watch straps.  Petty stuff, I know.  The black of the strap is dark and deep and goes great with the black and white scheme for ultimate dress.

It’s offered with a Milanese mesh as well for a few more dollars if you need to look sportier while wandering aimlessly in Aldi (or Trader Joe’s depending on your location).

The JJ03

Without taking the watch apart, I can’t tell you exactly how it works, but this watch contains the Sellita SW300 with CW’s in house JJ03 module.  The 24hr ring (or what they call the GMT ring) rotates one time per 24hrs but can also be jumped to set the current time for the time zone that you’re in.

Rotating the crown in the opposite direction manipulates the red city selector so that you can focus on the time in one of the 24 cities on the outer rings.

Look, it’s all a bit technical, and frankly takes some getting used to if you’re a Podunk like I am.  And while it’s most likely a simple manipulation of what would be a day-date function, as it has no date, it’s pretty neat and fun to play with even if it’s not a true GMT.

As far as the rest of the movement goes, it’s your basic 28,800 with a 40hr power reserve and regulated to +-20 seconds a day.  If you’re looking at it through the window, it’s mildly decorated with a customized rotor.  It’s not going to win any awards, but a good donkey is just that.

Final Thoughts

Christopher Ward has made a beautiful dress watch that should appeal to time zone jumpers who must make the gala as well as people who like bright lume.  I actually didn’t know that bright lume was a thing in the dress watch world until I read about this watch.

While It’s all fine and good, there’s a question that comes from all this.  If you recall, I mentioned that mechanically, this is the same as the Worldtimer, which starts at $1590.00.  The Worldglow starts at $1995.00.  That’s $400 dollars more for bragging to your friends that you have a watch brighter than their $100 dollar Seiko (like those exist anymore).

I understand that it took a lot of R&D to make sure that the lume was even across the board (allegedly), and that most likely upped the materials, but is it worth the extra 4 Benjamins?  If you like lume, I guess it is.  For me, it’s a pass.  The lume is cool but not really worth the extra money, and I had trouble using this watch on a daily basis for things like actually knowing what time it is.

I’m sure I’m not the target audience for this particular watch, and as I’ve said before, this watch will drop like a boat anchor on the used market if previous releases are any indication of the future.  It’s a gorgeous watch even if it’s hard to read, and I prefer the black and white over the white and blue of the Worldtimer, and while the brightness is really neat, from a practical standpoint, it is a little gimmicky.

I mean, how many times are you going to need to know a time zone in the pitch blackness?  Unless Carmen Sandiego has stolen all electricity and the sun, you’ll probably be able to track the time for her whereabouts just fine without the extra lume, gumshoe.

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