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WATCHPRO ORIGINALS: Christopher Ward creates 21st century Super Compressor watches

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 C65 Super Compressor 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.

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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.

Original super compressor watches in mint conditions are highly collectible, and can sell for up to $15,000, so the Christopher Ward price of around $1,300 is likely to find a welcome audience once its television advertising kicks in.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder