brand logo of watch manufacturer Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward

Presentation of Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward is a premium watch brand. But we’re not interested in expensive middlemen or meaningless celebrities: for us, watchmaking is the ultimate expression of art, science and engineering. A Christopher Ward watch brings idiosyncratic English design together with Swiss watchmaking expertise. We obsessively oversee every part of the process – and only when we’re delighted with each element of the watch, will we sell it. Something you’ll appreciate whenever you wear it.

History of Christopher Ward

Founded in 2004

It all began on a gentle boat trip down the Thames in May 2004. Peter and I had recently sold Early Learning Centre – an ethical toy company – while Chris was bored with importing T-shirts. I suggested we start a business together.It needed to be something we were all interested in. As football and music seemed beyond us, and because we were all fascinated by horology, we settled on watches. And through a friend who was well connected in the luxury watch industry, we learned some surprising information.Most of the Swiss brands were using the same or similar components, from the same manufacturers, to make their timepieces. The markups from manufacturing costs to RRP (Recommended Retail Price) were staggering: one famous Swiss brand was marking up by 34 times! Once our indignation at these high mark-ups subsided, we saw the opportunity to create a different type of premium watch business. A company that would avoid the huge marketing overheads and third-party retailer margins of the Swiss brands. A company that would provide “the cheapest most expensive watches in the world”.We called it Christopher Ward. It seemed the most quintessentially English name of the three of us. We had a simple three-part plan:– Sell directly to customers only through our own website – Apply a maximum three times mark-up on the manufacturing price – Avoid the costly celebrity endorsements to which the Swiss brands seem addictedAnd so, on June 2nd 2005 – from a converted chicken shed on a farm in Berkshire – we launched the world’s first online-only watch brand. We started with two models, the C5 Malvern Automatic and the C3 Malvern Chronograph. Now we had to let people know what we were doing. Between 2005 and 2008, Christopher Ward’s reputation and sales grew. Even more significantly, in 2008 we began working with an exclusive Swiss watchmaking company: Synergies Horlogères. Based in the watch ‘capital’ of Biel, SH was owned and led by Jörg Bader, who shared a similar vision of watchmaking and business to us. This partnership soon led us to engaging the talents of SH’s master watchmaker, Johannes Jahnke, who helped us create the ‘JJ’ Calibres: beautiful dress watches with bespoke modified movements, like the C9 Jumping Hour series and the C900 Single Pusher. C9 Jumping Hour Then in 2014, we formally announced the merger of our two companies. Something which led to our most significant development yet. On July 2nd 2014 we announced to a genuinely astonished watch industry that we’d created our own in-house movement, Calibre SH21, the first commercially viable mechanical movement from a British watch brand in over 50 years. Not everyone, however, was as happy as us. One indignant CEO of a large Swiss luxury watch brand approached us and said, “What gives you the licence to do that?” We were definitely ruffling the right feathers. Since 2015, we’ve stepped up a gear. We’ve changed the logo. Launched the C65 range of retro watches in 2018. And perhaps most significantly of all, released the third iteration of the Trident in 2019: bringing the highest level of timekeeping, finishing and design to as broad an audience as possible.We’re becoming even more innovative, too. Timepieces like the C60 Sapphire and C60 Elite GMT 1000 bring extreme-diving technology together with duo-time zone functionality. The C1 Moonglow is a moonphase watch that we believe is without equal, while the C65 Trident Automatic may be the perfect retro dive timepiece. Yet as we’ve expanded, we’ve been careful to keep what makes Christopher Ward special.We still love watches as much as any enthusiast. Still get excited when prototypes arrive back of the latest model. Still think seeing a movement ticking away through an exhibition caseback of a mechanical watch is one of life’s great pleasures.Everyone in Maidenhead and Biel is committed to the art and science of crafting beautiful, high-quality timepieces, accessible to as many people as possible. And while we’ve come a long way since that boat journey on the Thames, we still believe Dave Malone would find “the best value mechanical watch in the world” on this website.And that’s something that should make us all happy.

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