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Christopher Ward creates a modern day Super Compressor

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Christopher Ward’s co-founder and chief executive Mike France is calling the launch of its C65 Super Compressor the most significant watch collection of the brand’s 15 year history.

The collection launches today with the support of a television advertising campaign in the United States and Britain, the brand’s two largest markets.

TV advertising proved highly effective earlier this year when Christopher Ward launched its C65 Sapphire with a campaign in the UK only on Sky channels. Mr Ward says that the timing of that launch at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic caused sales to rocket while all of its rivals were on the ropes.

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Christopher Ward watches are sold only direct to consumer online, so the closure of virtually all physical stores in the developed world meant the launch made an incredible impact in comparison to brands reliant on brick and mortar sales. “I think we might have sold more of the C65 Sapphire in May than any other watch by any other brand in the world that month,” Mr France tells WatchPro. “If I keep saying that people will start believing it,” he smiles.

Christopher Ward’s C65 Super Compressor is a far more significant launch to the company, and brings back a watchmaking device for divers that was patented by Ervin Piquerez SA (EPSA) at the height of the scuba diving boom in the mid-1950s.

A genuine super compressor uses the patented case sealing method that increases its strength and integrity with depth, becoming even more water-tight, thanks to the technical element which gave it its name. As the diver descends, greater external pressure is exerted on the case back, further compressing the O-ring gasket. This earned Super Compressor watches a rating to 600ft.

The technique has been used by a range of watchmakers including IWC, Tissot, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Girard-Perregaux and nearly 100 more, but it became unnecessary as precision engineering made cases waterproof without it.

Christopher Ward reverse engineered the design from an original EPSA watch, and has bought back both the O-ring gasket and another distinctive feature for many super compressors: two crowns. One is used to set the time and the other sets the rotating inner bezel.

Measuring 41mm across, the steel C65 Super Compressor displays its Sellita SW200 automatic movement, the sapphire case back also affording a view of the 300-micron thick compression spring which gives the case its name.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder