August 31st, 2019: Christopher Ward held their third event / GTG “get together” of the year, this time at the Bloomsbury Hotel in London. The event was between 12-3; with an hour of milling either side of an hour of Q&A with the 3 founders. Canapés and drinks were provided, so all had an enjoyable time. It was great to see the new releases in the metal; the highlight for me being the SH21 C65 and the Sandhurst.
I also had the pleasure of meeting up with James from Watch That Sweep again (who’s always a laugh; sorry for ditching you when Chris Ward himself offered me a lift); Dani from his Instagram account @wis_on_a_budget; and a fantastic guy who has blown me away – Rod – who in one year of becoming a YouTube reviewer, is now the most subscribed Spanish speaking review channel named El Relojero, and creates beautiful videos.
Here are my notes from the Q&A:
2020 is the year of the chronograph! I assume that means that they’re going to be releasing some chronographs, which will be great!
You’ll note that some of the new ranges feature the new logo entered at 12 – they were changed as it suited the style of watch, and we can still expect both formats of the logo.
Adrian tells us that the next Apex release is something to do with “C1” and “globe”.
CW will look at another ceramic cased watch like C1000 Typhoon.
Most successful Mk3 Trident? GMT has exceeded expectations, but the real star was the Elite – it was their fastest ever watch to sell out; in a mere 3 weeks. There’ll be a new Elite Titanium model coming out in Jan/Feb, but won’t be a limited edition. It’ll have a titanium bracelet option.
CW is aware of and recognises the QC / timing issues. In reality, they didn’t expect the volume of orders from the success from Trident 3 so most of the time they’re playing catch-up.
Are CW committed to keeping more spare parts as sometimes they don’t have any? (SAV / spare parts) They agree and say that they have 200,000 watches in circulation so there certainly is more need for servicing and maintenance.
They want to increase the knowledge of requirements for servicing. They stressed the fact that there is a definite need to service a mechanical watch! Many who are new to watches don’t know about it.
Maybe an orange chronograph coming out soon!
The dream is that CW will remain independent. They won’t sell up to larger watch brands, the only plan is for them to grow by themselves. Swatch wrote to them in 2006, in a very complimentary manner and have been watching them closely – so the big boy brands are aware of them.
CW has a close association with Birmingham City University, offering paid internship – as they offer the only Horology Uni course in the UK.
They are Involved in encouraging watchmaking in Britain. Working on something in the background that will hopefully increase the country’s output.
How is CW to use the new investment / outside funding? They are currently in the best shape for being able to grow, so wanted to take the bull by its horns. They want to expand further afield, particularly in the USA. It will be used for investment in people, infrastructure, and marketing to take CW to the next step.
All of the new military watches are chronometers, as they felt like they needed the extra accuracy due to mission-critical importance.
What’s their biggest non-English market? Scandinavian countries.
They’re looking to expand their strap collection.
Quartz watches are declining in their market share, between 5-10%. At some point, CW is aiming to be a mechanical only brand.