Amy and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary, and she gave me a Christopher Ward C60 Abyss watch to mark the occasion. So of course, I had to take some pictures of it! This is my second post about watches in 3 months but it will be my last for a long while as I don’t plan to add to my watch collection anytime soon.
When I started looking at watches last year, I was initially attracted to a dark Seiko dive watch (SRPD65) that features a black dial with white hands and indices and a gunmetal case. But I wasn’t completely sold on the dive styling of that watch with the prominent dive time bezel and ended up getting the DressKX instead. I continued looking for other watches with either a gunmetal or black case and eventually came across the C60 Abyss from British/Swiss watchmaker Christopher Ward. (I found others, such as the Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Black Black, but it was slightly out of my price range at $8,650.)
The Christopher Ward C60 Abyss is a stealth version of their highly praised C60 Trident Pro 600, a 42mm professional dive watch with 600m of water resistance built around the solid Sellita SW200-1 automatic Swiss movement. For the Abyss version, the 316L stainless steel case has been given a brushed gunmetal treatment with a black DLC caseback and bezel and matte black brushed ceramic bezel insert. Even the hands and indices are gunmetal and filled with black Super-LumiNova. Anything not black or dark gray is bright red including the signature Trident counter-balanced seconds hand, the inverted triangle reference marker on the bezel, and the center stripe on the strap which is made from #tide ocean material.
My biggest concern when ordering the watch was about legibility of the stealth watch face but as you can see from the photos, it is not an issue at all. The hands and indices feature highly polished facets that catch any light that is available, so even in very dim light there is plenty of contrast between the hands and dial. The black lume is a different story. It is a nice blue when fully charged but fades quickly.
I am obviously very excited about this watch. Christopher Ward is known for being a premium, but affordable, Swiss watch brand. Every watch is hand-built in Switzerland and includes features like sapphire crystals, ceramic bezels, higher beat frequencies (28,800 vph) for smoother movement of the seconds hand, 600m water resistance, and decorated movement rotors. It is certainly a step up from my entry-level Seiko 5 Sports (notwithstanding its Made in Japan quality) but I also think the two watches complement each other well. The Seiko is a bit more versatile; it can be dressed up with a leather strap or paired with various colors by slipping on a different NATO whereas the C60 Abyss is always red and black. I should also mention that if you are interested in stealth watches, Seiko makes a blacked out version of the DressKX (reference SRPE69) that is really nice.
Unfortunately, it appears the C60 Abyss has been discontinued. At least, it has been removed from the Christopher Ward website for the time being. It disappeared a couple of hours after mine was ordered, so I may have gotten one of the last ones available. For now the Christopher Ward C60 Abyss SH21 is still in production but it costs 2 1/2 times as much. Watch Aficionados maintains an archive of discontinued models here.
About the Shots
All of these macro photos were captured with the Minolta A-mount 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens paired with the Sony a6500 using the LA-EA-4 adapter. For the image with the iPhone I used the Sigma 56mm f/1.4 lens. For lighting, I was using a single off-camera flash and a couple of pieces of white cardstock as reflectors. I had the camera on a tripod and just tried different combinations of the flash and reflectors for each “pose” that I set up. For most of the shots I was holding one reflector above the watch at different angles. I would say the biggest drawback to this approach is that the harsh light emphasized dust and smudges on the watch. I think a diffuse light source would have helped to reduce the visibility of dust quite a bit, but I was able to clean up the images in Lightroom or Photoshop. The lume shot was captured with ambient light only (in a dim room) using some paper to block out reflections. These images were processed almost entirely on an iPad Pro using Lightroom and Photoshop; the desktop versions were only used to send the full-size originals to Photoshop and to layer and focus stack the images. Adobe has finally made these tool powerful enough to support an advanced workflow on the iPad Pro (almost) from start to finish.