C60 Trident Pro 300
The Professional Dive Watch Rolex Can't Create
As you might know, I started my horological journey looking for the perfect travel/everyday watch. My mind automatically went to dive watches, perhaps because I intuitively knew they were robust and versatile—or more simply because I always had an affinity for all things related to salty water. (As a child, I spent my summers by the sea, fishing, swimming, and boating.) As many budding watch enthusiasts experienced, the Rolex Submariner became the archetypical diver. I had to have one even though it took me what seems too much time to realize I couldn’t—and never will—afford one. However, the idea of a proper dive watch that can do it all never left my mind. It has kept me up at night for the past three years (at least) and I would secretly hope that each diver I’d strap on my wrist—as part of my career in horological journalism—would be “the one.” But nah, none has made me feel this way and I was starting to get desperate.
…Christopher Ward announced some time last year the latest iteration of the Trident Pro collection. The first piece of information that stuck was the fact that it was available in a 38mm case (in addition to 40 and 42,) a sort of dream size of mine. Then I took the time to read the press release in full and was fascinated by the next piece of information: the collection was redesigned based on the feedback the brand received from its fans. I quickly Googled images of the new version and compared them to images of the previous version and thought “Wow, that looks quite special.” Now I can tell you all about the new release given that I got to spend a few weeks with a blue dial 38mm C60 Trident Pro 300. I like it so much that it could very well be the dive watch I’ve been looking for all these years.
It won’t come as a surprise to you that the Trident Pro 300 comes with a 38mm case diameter. This shrunken diameter is paired with a 45mm lug-to-lug, an 11mm case thickness, and a 20mm lug width. Despite its modest dimensions, the Trident Pro 300 boasts 30 atmos of water resistance (I couldn’t repeat “300 meters'') which is quite impressive to me. And what is even more impressive is the fact that this model comes with a see-through case-back so that we can easily admire the Sellita SW200-1 caliber within. The SW200-1 needs no more introduction: it beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 38 hours of power reserve. (Two specs I no longer need to look up when writing about this movement.) Although Christopher Ward doesn’t regulate their movements, the one on loan ran like a champ.
Being a professional diver, the C60 Trident Pro 300 must have decent bezel action. (So that timing your exotic dive off the coast of Koh Lanta feels pain free and satisfactory.) Well, this Christopher Ward has one of the best bezel actions I’ve ever come across. The legend goes like this: CW employees were tasked to visit watch boutiques and find the best bezel action they could find. They seemingly agreed that the Rolex Submariner has one of the best bezel actions on the market and so Christoper Ward worked to imitate it as best as they could. They achieved their goal by using ball-bearings instead of click-springs which have the advantage of being more durable and creating more precise clicks.
Totally a watch nerd thing.
Still being a professional diver, the C60 Trident Pro comes with hips of SuperLuminova X1 C1 which glows ice blue. The British brand went as far as luming all numerals on the ceramic bezel insert for maximum functionality and legibility. The brand also improved the clasp construction and usability by replacing the pins and collars with screws. The clasp comes with a tool-less micro-adjustment system, one of the best from an independent brand, further adding functionality. (Remember: the brands’ fans were invited to help redesign the collection and they are the ones to be thanked for all of these nuggets of improvement.) I do find the clasp to be too long compared to the case lug-to-lug, but that’s just me.
It is when we look at the design of the Trident Pro 30 that things become even more interesting. At least, that’s where the upgrades are the easiest to spot. While Rolex shocked the luxury Swiss watch world by adding a metal ring sandwiched between the crystal and the bezel on the 2023 Daytona, Christopher Ward had this idea last year. Actually, it seems the fans wanted a more functional and legible dial and I guess CW’s response was to do this. Adding a stainless steel ring means moving the minute graduation of the timing bezel away from the bezel insert to keep the design of the latter clean. Visually, I find it very pleasing and the effect is even more striking in person when using the bezel.
Christopher Ward also settled for the current version of its logo called the “Twinflag” instead of spelling out the brand name or mixing a logo with text. (“Twinglag” refers to the fact that the logo mixes the British (where the brand is based) and Swiss flags (where the watches are manufactured.)) Personally, I like the look of the logo only as it reminds me of proper tool watches. (You know, those made several decades ago by brands who didn’t feel the need to put their logos everywhere.) This was perhaps another request from the fans, and if it wasn’t, well it looks good just the same. Looking at the dial from afar, we can see that Christopher Ward went for superlative legibility here. (A key characteristic of a tool watch.)
CW has been using broad arrow handsets and rectangular applied markers for many years. I typically would get bored looking at them after a few weeks but I didn’t get this sensation here. Christopher Ward redesigned the dial and seems to have reworked the proportions of the hands and markers. Now the dial looks harmonious and elegant to the point where it already looks classic. Timeless designs, after all, are those which strike the perfect balance between legibility, elegance, and versatility. Make something look too simple and we would instantly yawn each time we would glance at the dial to check the time. Make it too odd and we couldn’t muster the courage to strap the watch on our wrist in the first place.
If you are familiar with Christopher Ward and routinely hang out here, then you’ll know of the Lighcatcher case. Each new Christopher Ward model comes with a version of the case that got a face lift. Maybe this is just me but the one the C60 Trident Pro 300 comes with is better than that on the C65 Sealander GMT I owned or the C65 36mm Sealander Automatic I also borrowed from the brand. In other words, the finishing is better, showcasing better transitions between the satin brushed surfaces and the high-polished ones. And the case looks and feels slimmer on the wrist. (But you can only take my word for it, I don’t think the photos do the case total justice.)
The Heart of the Matter
So what is at the heart of the matter? Well, it’s the fact that a well-established independent brand created in 2010 thought “Hey, perhaps we can make our iconic diver even better. And perhaps we have exhausted all ideas we could come up with and need to look outside of our box to find these little things that would crucially improve upon the previous versions of the collection.” Wow, what an insight! And what a high degree of self-awareness! Regardless of how they came up with the idea of crowdsourcing the redesign of the Trident collection, I’m so glad they did. Because typically, those at the helm of most micro and independent brands design watches for themselves. However, Christopher Ward realized that at some point, they would have to look beyond what resonates with them.
I chose the subtitle “The Professional Dive Watch Rolex Can’t Create” because in my eyes, Rolex has lost its way about thirty years ago. Or whenever they started putting precious metals on their tool watches. I often mention the fact that in the 1970s a Submariner would retail for today’s equivalent of $1,500 (adjusted for inflation.) Now they cost about $10,000. Well, guess what? This 38mm Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300 retails for $1,095 on the bracelet. What? Yes, you read this right. And given the incredible specs you get, as well as the original design and super proportions, $1,095 is a steal for a professional dive watch. Hence the subtitle again: Rolex can’t create that anymore, and neither can most micro and independent brands.
I do have a massive bias in favor of Christopher Ward. In the past three years, I’ve reviewed about a dozen of their models from field and divers to everyday sports watches and GMTs. Though I’ve always loved the brand, none of their models truly tickled my horological g-spot. Until I finally got my hands on the C60 Trident Pro 300, when my world finally got flipped upside down. I have a confession to make: although I started my collecting journey with dive watches, “them” and I had fallen out of love for each other in the past year. I couldn’t find a model that really made me feel “Alright, no need to start saving for a Submariner because I’ve got all the bangs I can get for my bucks here with this beautiful little mechanical timepiece.”
I no longer have to say this to myself. Now I know that a brand has created the professional diver Rolex can’t.
Feel free to learn more about the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300 collection here.
Thanks for reading.