The introduction of a new in-house movement does not happen every day and is an important moment for any watch brand. Well, maybe not so much for Jaeger-LeCoultre, who have more then 1,000 calibres on their repertoire. However it definitely is a very important moment for a relatively young watch brand that isn’t even Swiss. British watch brand Christopher Ward introduce their first in-house movement, calibre SH21, in the C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic.
The newly developed movement first appear in Christopher Ward’s flagship collection – the Harrison collection. Aesthetically this is the best that Christopher Ward has to offer, although the C5 Malvern Slimline that we recently showed as value proposition is also in line with the same aesthetic codes. The design is clean and strong. The finish of the case is nice, and comprises brushed and polished parts, and it features a rather thin bezel and therefore relatively large dial. With a diameter of 43mm and 13.45mm in height, the C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic isn’t exactly the smallest watch, however according to modern-day standards it’s pretty much a normal men’s watch size.
The dimensions might be ‘normal’, however what is less ‘normal’, is that you can buy such a nice watch with in-house movement for just GBP 1.500 / € 1.875 Euro. That’s quite unheard off and besides Nomos you won’t find many brands that offer an in-house movement for such a competitive price. Of course we would like to know more about that movement. Before we take a closer look at the movement it is also good to note that Christopher Ward has merged with Synergies Horlogères. That is the company that developed several complications for Christopher Ward, and now the entire new movement.
The movement has been developed, from scratch, by Johannes Jahnke, who also developed the aforementioned complications that appeared in the C9 Harrison Jumping Hour Mk.II and the C9 Harrison Big Day-Date. The movement’s name, SH21, reflects the company’s initials and the ambition that this movement will become a classic of the 21st century.
Jorg Bader explains the vision behind the new movement: “Crucially, Calibre SH21 began as a blank piece of paper and a shared spirit to create something extraordinary. Johannes Jahnke and I set out to create an ultra-reliable, precision movement to ultimately match the industry’s most respected movements, such as the ETA Valjoux 7750. Johannes’s design is incredibly creative, combining tractor-like strength with incredible precision, reliability and hand-crafted finishing.”
The result looks impressive. Calibre SH21 features two main spring barrels, connected in series, which deliver 120 hours of autonomy when fully wound. When on the wrist (or on the watch winder), the tungsten rotor will power these two main springs. The bridges and rotor look unadorned, however they feature a traditional hand-grinding finish.
Chris Ward, eponymous co-founder of the brand, sums-up: “This is perhaps the most important development for a British watch brand in the past fifty years. Over the last decade, as an innovative British brand, we have challenged many of the norms of the cabal of huge Swiss brands that dominate the watch industry and we’ve put the customer at the centre of absolutely everything we do. Calibre SH21 gives us the platform to take our revolution further and strengthens a great British presence in luxury watchmaking. License or no license, our revolution goes on!”
This all looks very promising and we’re curious to get hands-on experience as soon as we receive our review watch. Congrats to the three founders of Christopher Ward, Chris Ward, Mike France and Peter Ellis, and also to Johannes Jahnke and Jorg Bader from Synergies Horlogères.
The C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic comes with various alligator leather straps or a steel bracelet, and a choice of three dials: white (with heat-blued steel hour and minute hand), blue and anthracite. You can pre-order here at the Christopher Ward website.
The Christopher Ward website also contains a lot of information about the new movement, its conception, its finishing, and much, much more.