No watch symbolises the Christopher Ward story better than the C60 Trident.
Launched in 2009, this best-selling diving watch began life as a homage to the 1953 Rolex Submariner, but now in its third iteration, has become a classic in its own right.
If you’re looking at buying your first ‘proper’ timepiece, and don’t know which model to go for, today’s stainless steel C60 Trident Pro 600 is the obvious choice.
But what happens if you’re looking for something a little different? Something with all the style, accuracy and robust engineering of the other Tridents, but with a twist that makes it unique?
Step forward the C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600.
As you can tell by the name, the stainless steel and ceramic construction of other watches in the series has been replaced with a bronze alloy. Not only does this give the Trident Bronze an eye-catching look – witness the contrast between the bronze bezel and marine-blue dial – but the metal’s anti-corrosive properties make it ideal for diving, too.
“When we decided to make a bronze version of the Trident, we were deliberately harking back to the metals used in the early days of undersea exploration,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France.
Bronze – along with copper and brass – was used in the first diving helmets, which appeared in the 1820s. Modelled initially on a fireman’s ‘smoke’ helmet, air was pumped from the surface into the helmet down a leather hose, while the carbon dioxide was removed via a small pipe.
As time went on these helmets were improved – an air valve was added by 1836 – and they became a crucial part of what became known as ‘standard diving dress’. The helmet was bolted to a collar (a ‘corselet’), which was then sealed onto a waterproof suit. To stop floatation – remember, divers were working on the sea bed – a weighted belt was added along with lead-weight shoes (which could weigh up to 15kg).
“When we looked into the history of diving helmets, we found that bronze or brass was used extensively in the fittings of the helmet,” says Mike. “That’s why we thought it was right that the countdown bezel on this Trident, long a life-saving tool for divers, was also made of bronze.”
For those who may think that the bezel is just a handsome adornment, think again. Introduced in 1953 by Rolex on the Submariner, the bezel was designed to help scuba divers gauge their time in the water. All they had to do was match the dot at 12 o’ clock with the minute hand, which, as it went around the dial, would tell them how long they had left underwater.
For a couple of decades, the countdown bezel was the primary diving tool, but as divers went deeper and increasingly complex calculations were required, they turned to something more in tune with their needs: the dive computer.
Worn on the wrist, the early dive computers were analogue (the first, the Foxboro Decomputer appeared in 1955) and designed to help deep-sea explorers ascend safely and avoid decompression sickness (AKA ‘the bends’). However, they were both unwieldy and unreliable, and it was only with the introduction of digital models in the 1970s that they became something submariners could rely on. Today, they’re a standard part of any diving kit.
Mike France is an experienced diver and wears both a diving computer and a Trident when he dives. “You can’t take chances when you’re diving and a computer will tell you exactly when you need to stop on your ascent from a deep dive. For me, the Trident is there as a backup, plus I like the way it references the early era of scuba diving.”
All of which brings us back to C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600. Make no mistake, this is a serious timing instrument, able to perform at depths of 600m, and powered by a peerless SW200-1 automatic movement. It’s also available in both a 43mm and 38mm case sizes, meaning it can be worn on wrists of every size.
But what makes it special is that bronze case. Whether you buy the ‘raw’ model (with the metal untouched and shiny) or the aged ‘patinated’ version, the bronze will age and develop a patina of its own over the years, making it a genuine one-of-a-kind timepiece.
“Some watches have that ‘wow’ factor,” says Mike. “And the C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 is one of them. Whenever people see it in the metal, they immediately want to try it on. Now, they should know that this watch doesn’t just look great; it carries the weight of history in its bones too.” And you’ll know that the first time you place it on your wrist.
Browse the C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 range here.