PUBLISHED BY Joshua Clare-Flagg ON 18 Feb, 2014.
The Steinhart Ocean 1 and the Christopher Ward C60 Trident are well known amongst the affordable watch community as two of the best and most popular Swiss Made divers in the £500 and less range. It’s easy to see why.
Both have iconic looks borrowed from Rolex (the Steinhart more so than the C60), both are very well made and are higher quality than the price lets on.
In this article we will be comparing the Steinhart Ocean 1 and the Christopher Ward C60 Trident to see which is better, in both looks and build, and which would be most suitable for you.
Christopher Ward C60 vs Steinhart Ocean 1 Comparison
Steinhart Ocean 1
Movement: ETA 2824-2
Case diameter: 42mm
Lug to lug length: 50mm
Lug/strap width: 22mm
Water resistance: 30 ATM (300m)
Christopher Ward C60 Trident
Price: £510 (with stainless steel bracelet)
Movement: Sellita SW200-1 / ETA 2824-2
Case diameter: 42mm
Lug to lug length: 46.6mm
Lug/strap width: 22mm
Water resistance: 30 ATM (300m)
For me, the biggest difference between the cases on these watches are the lugs. The flat lugs on the Ocean 1 means it wears very flat, whereas the C60 has a much more angled and sweeping design. These hug the wrist more resulting in a more comfortable wear.
Both cases are the same diameter at 42mm, although the lug to lug length is quite different due to different designs – the Ocean 1 being 3.4mm longer, at 50mm rather than 46.6mm. Doesn’t sound like much. But it actually makes quite a difference. This means that if you have a rounded wrist, the C60 will most definitely fit you better. If you have a flat wrist, as I do, the Ocean 1 will fit you fine. It just means that those with smaller, rounder wrists may find the Ocean 1 a bit hard to get along with. It gives the appearance of sitting quite high on the wrist which many have voiced concerns with.
The machining of the case on the Ocean 1 I feel is ever so slightly more refined and seems of higher quality, thanks to the time Steinhart have had to hone their skills in this department. After all, they have been making this watch for many more years than Christopher Ward have been making the C60.
The crown guards are different shapes and sizes too. The guards on the Ocean 1 are rather abrupt and pointy, protruding almost the whole depth of the crown. The C60’s are thicker, but don’t protrude out as much, only half the depth of the crown. To me, I prefer the design of the C60’s crown guards, but I think the Ocean 1 will do a better job at protecting the crown if the side of the watch was struck.
The finishing on both watches are very good, but I think the Ocean 1 just wins out. The choice of finishing on each side is actually opposite, with the Ocean 1 having polished sides and a brushed top, and the C60 having brushed sides and a polished top. For the sake of durability, I believe the brushed sides of the C60 are better suited as they are more likely to get marked, so a polished finish such as on the Ocean 1 will show these up more prominently.
Personally, I prefer the aesthetics of the C60’s bezel. The main thing going for it is the fact that the outer edging is much thinner than on the Ocean 1. This makes the watch face look larger, as the black is followed through to a larger area. I also prefer the slightly more modern font used on the C60.
But, the thicker edging on the Ocean 1 results in a much better grip for using and rotating the bezel. The grip is much deeper and more pronounced, it’s easy to spin it when required.
I also find the action of the bezel on the Ocean 1 to be superior, giving a much smoother rotation. It feels like it has higher quality mechanics, as it’s more accurate and gives a nicer clicking noise as you turn it.
Both watches have a screw-in crown, which is required for divers watches like these. The crown on the C60 is polished, whereas on the Ocean 1 it is brushed, giving it a more tool-like appearance. Both have sufficient grip from the toothing, but the Steinhart feels better in the hand and easier to change the time and date. Both have the logo embossed on the end, although I prefer the finish of the Ocean 1 and how it has a matt surround to the raised logo.
The smaller sized crown of the C60 means that it doesn’t jut out of the bottom of the crown guards – so it fits much more snug to the case. The Ocean 1’s crown sticks out of the bottom of the crown guards if you’re looking at it bottom-on.
Both are clearly very well machined and have a very reassuringly thick thread, to ensue no cross threading. To me, I think the Ocean 1’s crown is more aesthetically pleasing and works better overall.
The caseback on both watches are screw-in, which is needed for the 300m water resistance they share.
The C60 has a trident icon etched into the case back, and the Ocean 1 features Poseidon riding a seahorse. The Ocean 1 caseback has deeper etching, which in turn makes it feel slightly higher quality. I think that the C60 is a better design though, and stands out a bit more due to the fact that it is polished. It scratches easily though if you have the bracelet which is something you have to watch out for.
The Ocean 1’s bracelet is completely brushed stainless steel, bar the edging, whereas the C60 has a completely polished centre link. This makes it look great, but obviously it is also more prone to scratching and any hairline scratches you may acquire will be more visible.
Both bracelets are same width at the lugs, being 22mm wide. Both bracelets reduce in width at the buckle end, but the C60 reduces slightly more, being 18mm compared to the Ocean 1’s 20mm.
This makes the Ocean 1’s bracelet feel chunkier. Whichever one is better for you depends on what kind of watch you like. Chunky? Or the slightly more refined?
Both bracelets are extremely well made and perfectly machined. All the links fit together with great precision. The Ocean 1 is easier to resize due to it’s screw-in links.
I prefer the clasp on the C60, as it has release buttons. I have found the double locking clasp on the Steinhart to be a bit uglier, and also quite hard to take off sometimes too. It would prove to be more secure, but the C60 is still very secure – I haven’t had it pop open on me ever.
The dial is probably one of the biggest differences between these two watches. The Steinhart is a very obvious dedication to the Submariner, whereas the C60 is more unique.
The main difference is the dial itself – the Steinhart is a flat matt black, whereas the C60 has a distinct wave pattern reminiscent of the Omega Speedmaster. Being a sucker for textured dials, I personally prefer the C60 in this regard.
Both watches have very high quality applied hour markers, with lumed centres and polished stainless steel surrounds. The 12 hour marker is different, with the C60 having a double baton (which I prefer), and the Ocean 1 having an upside down triangle. The quality in this regard is incomparable, both watches are flawless in their execution and I love applied hour markers so we’re all good here.
The date window is another large difference. Firstly, the position. The Ocean 1 has it in the classic position at 3. The C60, on the other hand, has it at an unusual position at 4. For some, this is a bit of a turn off as it isn’t your normal position. But I don’t mind it at all. The Ocean 1
The hands are also very different. The Ocean 1 goes for the classic Rolex Submariner mercedes hands, whereas the C60’s have a more unique design, with an onion hour hand, sword minute hand and great looking Trident-themed second hand.
The lume on the Ocean 1 is superior to the C60. All Christopher Ward’s have disappointing lume strength, so it’s not particularly hard to beat it.
To be completely honest, there is nothing between these two when it comes to movements. The C60 uses a Sellita SW200, whist the Ocean 1 is powered by the classic ETA 2824-2. For some people, they may prefer the ETA, due to its long history and the fact it is used in many other luxury brands. In a technical perspective, they are both very similar – due to the fact that the SW200 is actually based upon the ETA. Sellita used to make movements for ETA in the past, so they are certainly very good and experienced at making good, dependable movements. They both share the same specs, 28.8k bph, automatic, 42 hour power reserve, hacking seconds, and Swiss Made. The only thing setting them apart is the fact that the SW200 has one extra jewel.
Christopher award decided to go with the Sellita due to the fact that ETAs are getting increasingly more difficult for companies not within the Swatch group to get a hold of. I’m very surprised that Steinhart are still managing to get them, and even more surprised that their prices haven’t gone through the roof being that the demand to availability ratio is getting harder and harder. Good for them, and even better for the customer. Who knows, maybe one day in the future Steinhart will have to change their movement when ETAs are no longer available outside Swatch.
It really is hard to determine a “winner”. In fact, I don’t think there is one. Both watches offer exceptionally good value, even if there is £200 difference.
Go for the Steinhart Ocean 1 if you’re more budget conscious or if you want a full on homage to a Rolex. I say this because not only is the Steinhart the cheaper option, bit they also keep their value incredibly well, mainly because they are always selling faster than they are making them so they’re usually out of stock. Second hand Ocean 1’s don’t come up for sale very often, and when they do, they usually go for as much as a new one costs.
Some people are also out there for a pure homage to a Rolex Submariner. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve recently been bitten by the Rolex bug, and if you haven’t yet, chances are you will one day, no matter how much you deny it. Obviously if this is what you’re after, the Ocean 1 is perfect. From afar, it would be very hard to determine the difference between it and a Submariner. Only until you could spot the logo (or for the super keen the bracelet width and clasp) would you be able to tell.
But then on the other side, people don’t like the idea of a watch trying to be something else. If this is you then you should go for the C60, especially if you like something a bit more unique, and want to have the reassurance of the outstanding customer service and 5 year warrantee Christopher Ward provide (compared to the 2 years with the Steinhart).
Having them both side by side, there’s nothing setting them apart – they’re both great watches and I love them both.
But, I need to make a decision. Unfortunately.
The watch I am more likely to keep is the C60 Trident, but not because of any of the reasons above. It was my first real quality Swiss Made diver and has been with me a number of years (and still looks great), so I suppose it’s a little more special to me. If this wasn’t the case though, I just don’t which one I’d choose!