Christopher Ward Bel Canto
Brand: Christopher Ward
Model: Bel Canto C1
Power Reserve: 38 hours
Case Material: Grade 5 Titanium
Case Diameter: 41mm
Case Thickness: 13mm
Lug to Lug: 48mm
Lug Width: N/A
Water Resistance: 30m
Bracelet Material: Titanium
Functions: Passing Chime
Original Box & Paper: Yes
The extraordinary C1 Bel Canto isn’t just a feast for the eyes, but the ears, too. Powered by our new FS01 movement, every 60 minutes a ‘hammer’ strikes a chime to mark the hour (what the Swiss call a ‘Sonnerie au Passage’ complication). The Grade-5 titanium case improves the resonance and tone of the chime, and also ensures lightness and durability, while the intricately polished and stacked dial plays host to a time-telling sub-dial. This Nero version adds a sophisticated retro feel and provides the perfect contrasting canvas for the floating subdial.
Our finest hour
Watchmaking is primarily seen as a visual art. Yet horologists have long used sound to denote the passing of time. But to bring sound into the miniature world of the mechanical watch movement takes, not just an intimate knowledge of horology, but also determination, curiosity, and ambition.
Bringing those qualities together has resulted in CW’s most advanced timepiece yet: the C1 Bel Canto. A watch that sounds as beautiful as it looks. Named after one of the most melodic styles of opera, the watch combines haute horlogerie with a level of finishing usually reserved for the most exclusive – and expensive – Swiss timepieces.
From the first sketches, the goal was not just to provide a watch that chimes on the hour, every hour, but also to showcase the striking mechanism. As time passes, the movement of the hour and minute hands on the floating time-telling dial draws the chiming ‘hammer’ until it strikes the steel spring which curves around the edge of the dial. The sound is both melodic – and discernible from the wrist.
This is possible thanks only to the FS01 movement, a new in-house module created by CW’s technical director Frank Stelzer. Ingeniously, Frank adapted our ‘jumping hour’ movement (Calibre JJ01) into a striking mechanism by adding more than 60 new components. However, this was only the start of a three-year journey that eventually led to the Bel Canto.
Frank and our design team worked tirelessly to refine both the aesthetics and sound of the watch. For example, over 80 different springs and hammers of different materials, lengths and shapes were tested (and rejected) before the sought-after ‘beautiful singing’ chime in the key of D was achieved. In a treat for the eyes, the bridge-and-hammer mechanism on the dial resembles a songbird.
Should you wish to silence the chime – heaven forbid – a button at 4 o’clock can be set to the ‘on’ or ‘off’ position, while ringing status is indicated by a small red arrow – the songbird’s beak, next to the button.
And so, we’re proud to present the Bel Canto, a watch born equally of inspiration and perspiration: a timepiece of rare beauty that also makes the highest level of watchmaking accessible to more people than ever before. Truly, our finest hour.
FS01 chiming movement
Created by CW’s technical director Frank Stelzer, Calibre FS01 is an ingenious modified movement with Christopher Ward’s DNA in every cog and spring. With an inspired piece of lateral thinking, Frank realised that CW’s ‘jumping hour’ movement could be adapted to create a chiming sound on the hour, every hour. More than 60 new components form the striking mechanism module which sits atop a Sellita SW200-1 base movement which provides the 38-hour power reserve.