British watch brand Christopher Ward has just taken the covers of a limited edition monopusher chronograph that’s powered by its proprietary, hand-wound mono-pusher chronograph movement and strikingly priced at well under US$3,500.
More surprisingly, the watch takes inspiration from the Junghans Bo-Uk-I cockpit clock installed in most Second World War German aircraft. The brand’s preceding aviation watches were predictably influenced by timepieces used by the Royal Air Force, until one of Christopher Ward’s co-founders came across a Messerschmitt Bf 109 cockpit clock, resulting in the Anglo-German goodwill wristwatch that’s named after the best known Luftwaffe fighter plane.
Intriguingly, the Junghans aircraft clock shares more than a visual similarity to the Christopher Ward chronograph. The cockpit timer was equipped with an ancestor of the Unitas 6497, which is the base movement for the cal. JJ02 inside the Me 109 chronograph.
Though the movement is built on the commonplace Unitas, it is an integrated chronograph movement, with the stopwatch mechanism on top of the movement bridges and visible through the case back. It’s also traditionally constructed, meaning it has a column wheel and horizontal coupling, much like classical chronograph movements. And to emphasise the brushed steel components of the chronograph mechanism, the movement and chronograph bridges have been bead blasted and coated black.
The calibre gets its name from the initials of Johannes Jahnke, a watchmaker at German independent watchmaker Lang & Heyne, where he worked on its gorgeously constructed single-button chronograph, before becoming the top watchmaker at Christopher Ward when it merged with complications developer Synergies Horlogères SA in 2014. Jahnke is now head of development at volume movement maker Sellita.
Like the Second World War aircraft clock, the Me 109 chronograph has a black case thanks to a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating. It’s steel and 43mm in diameter, matched with a matte black dial and large baton hands modelled on those in the Junghans clock.
The chronograph has a “bi-compax” configuration with constant seconds at nine and the 30-minute register at three. The pusher integrated into the crown controls the start, stop and reset functions.
Price and Availability
Limited to 100 watches, the C9 Me 109 Single Pusher Chronograph is priced at £2,950, or US$3,370. Like all of Christopher Ward’s watches, it is available directly from the brand online.
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