September 2, 2006

Aviator, ETA 2824-2, Elabore grade, as cased by Christopher Ward

Earlier this year, my siblings and I got together to get my younger brother a nice watch for his college graduation. I did some research, and pulled one out of my I’d love to own this watch” queue, the Christopher Ward Malvern C5 automatic in stainless steel, mostly based on this review on TimeZone. Using a pic from that review, you can see that it’s a real beauty:


(Picture links to the review)

The Malvern is both gorgeous and amazing value for the money, please read the review and then return here…

Charles loves the watch, as does his style-conscious Italian wife, so I figure we succeeded. He’s just starting in the financial industry, so it’s just about perfect. It’s an Elabore-grade (more on this later) ETA 2824-2, so it’s accurate, reliable and inexpensive to service.

I really liked the Malvern, but prefer watches with better readability (i.e. larger, wider hands) and luminosity so I can read them when I wake up at night. Yeah, I’m strange. So the Malvern was moved to my maybe someday if I get a real job where I have to dress better” list. Which is quite short. One watch long.

And then… TimeZone hit me with this:

Malvern AviatorMalvern Aviator

(Pic links to review, a must-read)

Ooooh, I do like! Less bling than the Malvern (satin vs polished case, indices are less reflective, black face), SuperLuminova (the good stuff) for lume, and the sort of fine visual care and detail that I’m coming to expect from Christoper Ward. The pilot theme is nice too. Stainless 316L case, domed anti-reflective-coated sapphire crystal too. The crystal in particular is something I’ve been looking for, as I’ve learned that uncoated sapphire often makes an excellent mirror.And it gets better. I emailed him, asking which grade of ETA movement he used. Although he had to fight through my work spam filter, he perservered with this reply:

The movements in our two Malvern’s are Elabore, although there are other differences. Whilst the watch your brother has is essentially a standardized finish with gold gilt, the aviator is of a higher spec, being Rhodium finish and with a skeletonised rotor, cdg polish (not clear on photo below…but it is there)and pearlised plates.

If you want more detail, follow this link on movement grades, here’s the spec snipped from it:

Elaboré (regulated in three positions Dial up, 6H and 9H) Mean daily rate +/- 7 s/d Max variation across 5 positions: 20 s Isochronism: +/- 15 s/d

Not bad at all, and a hell of a lot better than my Seiko. (See this post for Seiko vs CW).

Check out this closeup, also from the TZ review:

Sexy bitsSexy bits

You can see the perlage, Etachron fine regulator, skeletonized rotor, and just a hint of the Cote du Geneve polish. Gorgeous!The ETA 2824-2 is a nice movement, available in five grades. It’s used everywhere, in watches costing up to five figures. In top grade, its a COSC-certifiable chronometer, and even in Elabore a nice movement. CW wants 165 pounds (appx 270 USD) for it. By way of comparison, a low-end Fortis with the base-grade 2824-2 is $600!I want this watch. Now I just have to finance it. ;)

More information

Read, learn, be educated. This list took me two weeks to assemble! CW does not advertise, so reviews and such are hard to find.

  1. Product page (Does not render correctly except for in IE, sigh)

  2. Review of the ETA 2824-2 movement

  3. More on ETA 2xxx series

  4. Discussion on WatchUSeek about the ETA

  5. Comparison vs Seiko 7S26

  6. Table of which watchmakers use which ETA movements or ebauches

  7. Second page of table

  8. Nice discussion at Watch Rap on the 2824 movement

  9. Christoper Ward forum


About the only things I would change would be lume on the second hand, and maybe a version with the ETA 2893 GMT. For a real pilot’s watch, GMT is a must-have. Still and all, this is at the top of my list. Time to sell some watches!

UPDATE 9/5/06: Ordered! Found some unused computer gear that I can ebay off… UPDATE 11/20/06: Added link to CW forum when Highstreet added a comment. UPDATE 8/6/07: As per a comment, here’s the page explaining how to regulate (adjust) an ETA 2824. This is what I did on the Fortis as well.

UPDATE 9/26/07: More information on the Aviator:

  1. Almost here…

  2. My Malvern Aviator review

  3. Why CW and not Seiko?

  4. Aviator update

  5. CW versus Fortis Flieger

Aviation Reviews Recommendations Watches Christopher Ward

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