In the Swiss-dominated luxury watchmaking industry, garnering the same kind of hype and success as a British brand is a feat in itself. That’s one thing Christopher Ward constantly takes pride in but it has done more than that in uplifting the British presence in the industry. It boasts of creating the first movement coming from a British brand in the last 50 years. It took some time to get there – almost 10 years since the brand was made – but it was time spent moving on an upwards trajectory and where mediocrity is not accepted.
Christopher Ward Watch Reviews
Independent and underdog spirit
Christopher Ward began on a starting point as any small and new business does. Mike France, Peter Ellis, and Christopher Ward came from their own businesses and were ready to move on to a new venture involving a common interest in watches but with little to no experience and knowledge of the craft. Opportunity came in the form of a mutual friend who had lots of connections in the Swiss watch industry. Introductions to the right people are key in any business and this was the traditional way the founders went on to grow the CW brand.
The first two watches were made in 2005. The C5 Malvern Automatic and the C3 Malvern Chronograph were launched on the brand’s website and had a full-page advertisement on The Independent. Apart from that, the brand rarely engages in big marketing campaigns. The strategy, which was nothing but a natural inclination for the founders, was to have an impeccable customer service that built a strong direct connection with patrons in return. This resulted in the wave of orders, including ones from the North Pole.
CW’s competitive edge
The “Eureka” moment for the brand was discovering that most luxury watch brands marked up their products to incredible amounts even though the materials and components are similar and come from the same suppliers. The company’s competitive edge easily came out of the realization that they can offer the same high-quality watches for significantly lower. This is why their ethos is to produce top-notch high-quality watches and make them accessible to more people. They called CW watches the “cheapest most expensive watches in the world.”
Of course, this was received by some with speculation but even Dave Malone, a renowned horophile, was compelled to write a positive review of the C5 Malvern Automatic model on Timezone.com, a popular watch forum back then. Built at a time when technology was fast-evolving, CW took advantage of the Internet and the access it provided to a wider set of markets.
Company upgrades and a showroom
Contact: +44 (0)1628 763040 to make an appointment with the London, Showroom
One of CW’s biggest milestones is the creation of their first exclusive movement called the SH21, which debuted on the C9 Harrison 5-Day Automatic watch. This came out of the merging of CW and Synergies Horlogères (SH), or what was once an independent watch atelier. Today, CW’s watches are made with different specs intended for different occasions and functions. They make watches specifically for aviation purposes, diving and other sports, motorsports, and some purely for dressy events or fashionable everyday use.
Another collection is a collaboration with Morgan, an automobile company, to complement four of their motor cars: the 3 Wheeler, Classic Roadster, Aero 8. and Plus 8. The first three are quite new while the last came out as a limited edition piece.
Apart from their online catalogue, CW has established a showroom in Maidenhead to provide a personal and firsthand experience of the watches. The showroom allows customization projects, so you can get a CW watch with your own aesthetic preferences crafted with fine watchmaking components.
In an effort to support individuals who share the same underdog spirit as them, the brand has a Challenger Programme to help people with exceptional talent and skills in their respective fields achieve their goals. These are people whose craft is not given much attention in the media or those who are aiming for a close-to-impossible feat.
In their lineup of Challengers are Sammi Kinghorn, a marathoner with a personal difficulty; Jody Fannin, a young racer; Lizzie Foreman, the first British and female sailor who finished her class; and Paige Bellerby, the first 14-year-old female to win a British Rallycross Championship. Sammi has went on to win gold medals at the 2017 World Para-athletics Championship while Jody also recently won the GTE Championship in last year’s European Le Mans Series.
The brand’s conscious and easy decision to offer Swiss-quality watches at an affordable price has rewarded them more than they would have achieved with standard luxury watch brand prices. The products would set you back only a few hundred while their more sophisticated pieces only a little over a thousand. This has made them a familiar name to more watch-wearers, which is bound to be doubled as they expand models.