Every watch company has a signature model, a timepiece that encapsulates everything you know need to know about the brand.
For Christopher Ward, that’s the Trident, its much-loved diving watch. Since its launch in 2009, it’s been the company’s biggest seller, accounting for over 50 per cent of sales. And now its appearing in its most impressive incarnation: the new Trident Mk 3.
“Around autumn 2017, I decided we were going to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Trident,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France. “Even though the Mk 2 was doing well, I knew there was room for improvement.”
The Trident was a hit from the start. While Christopher Ward was always open about the influence of classic diving watches on its design – most notably the 1953 Rolex Submariner – the Trident also had its own aesthetic: witness the date window at 4 o’clock or the ‘teardrop’ hour hand on earlier versions.
“It’s always been a watch that you could wear anywhere, whether in the boardroom, at the match or by the side of a swimming pool,” says Mike France. “The new Trident keeps that versatility, but it’s been enhanced in so many ways it’s in a different league altogether.”
This upgrade begins with the rotating bezel, a device that enables divers to gauge how much air they have left in their tanks. While the bezel on the Mk 2 was one of the best in the sector, the company knew it could be better. So, after some research – including a trip around London’s top watch shops to check out the competition – a new mechanism was designed that improved both its ‘click’ and overall feel.
As Adrian Buchmann, head of product design, says: “Most of the people who buy a diving watch aren’t going to dive. But they’ll turn the bezel to hear the click, so they need to feel precision and sturdiness. That’s why it had to be perfect.”
The dial is another part of the Trident that’s had an overhaul. Previous versions had a wave (or ‘guilloche’) pattern, but that’s been dispensed with in favour of a polished surface, designed to improve legibility. Then there are the radically redesigned new hands.
“Our inspiration came from triangles, and the number three,” says Mike. “The hour hand is now a carefully constructed triangle, which makes the watch read differently compared to the teardrop. It’s incredibly easy to read.”
There are many more upgrades to take in (including an increase in luminosity by 138 per cent and lume-filled numbers on the bezel), but one that’s especially welcome is a new quick-release bracelet – something that will please those who like to change the look of their watch depending on the occasion.
“We pioneered quick-release leather straps years back,” says Mike. “And we’d long held a desire to make it possible with a bracelet, too. In Jorg Bader Sr we have one of the leading lights of bracelet engineering, and he’s come up with a quick-release, stainless steel bracelet that’s so easy to use. And at a price that’s unheard of.”
The new Trident Mk 3 comes in three models: the C60 Trident Pro 600 (available with a 40mm case for the first time); the C60 Trident GMT, and the stunning C60 Trident Elite 1000 LE, limited to just 300 pieces.
And it’s that last version, with its distinctive blue and orange colour scheme, that Adrian Buchmann is especially keen on. “The LE is a timepiece for those who demand a diver’s watch with real technical ability,” he says. “Constructed in titanium, which is both light and anti-corrosive, it’s able to function at a depth of 1000m. It’s also powered by COSC-certified Sellita SW200 movement, which delivers a tolerance of just two-to-four seconds a day.”
For Mike France, the range is a symbol of how far Christopher Ward has come, and where it’s going next. “I’m so proud of the team who’ve worked on the Trident Mk 3,” he says. “Yes, we’ve made mistakes in the past, and I hope we continue to do so. If you don’t, you’re not trying hard enough! But it’s all about the [Head of Team SKY] Dave Brailsford philosophy: you don’t improve one thing by 1,000 per cent, but improve 1,000 things by one per cent.”
And maybe the Trident 3 signals a new era, where it’s the classic brands that are influenced by Christopher Ward, not the other way around.
“We’re more self-aware, more confident and have a style we own,” says Mike. “And the Mk 3 is about us being comfortable in our skin. It’s the best value dive watch the world has ever known.”
Time to dive in!