One small step
When designing Calibre JJ04, our in-house moonphase module, we were never interested in giant leaps. In fact, thanks to the precision engineering present inside the C1 Moonglow, the smooth perpetual steps of the highly luminous moon across its dial is also unerringly accurate to a day every 128 years. Released to mark half a century since man first set foot on the Moon, the Moonglow may just be one of the most distinctive moonphase watches ever made. Do your research.
Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
A couple of years ago I saw a new Christopher Ward watch line and I immediately knew it would be a hit. It just spoke to me, and in a way few watches do: it was an imposing size, but nothing too crazy-big; it was subtle, but with distinctive, bold design cues; and it had a look I really like. A look that current watch industry sales and trends would suggest an awful lot of other people like too. That look was ‘vintage’, and the watch line was – of course – the C65. This year Christopher Ward has another new line, and I’m predicting just as much of a hit. It’s the new UK Armed Forces series, three watches using the same case as the C65, but at different sizes, with different looks, and each celebrating one of the core UK Armed Forces. They’re retro, but with a modern twist; they’re rugged, but with elegance; and they’re each about as handsome as a three-hand watch gets. Plus, they’re officially endorsed by the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF. The next big hit? I’d say so.
Power to the people As we look forward to the final Christopher Ward Get Together, or GTG, of the year in Bristol this November, perhaps it’s not a bad time to remind ourselves of the critical role that conversation and socialising play in the on and offline world of watches. Generally, those interested in watches are an avid bunch who, as well as collecting favoured timepieces, love nothing more than talking all things horological to other watch lovers and, well, just about anyone, really. And because watchmaking is such a complex and varied subject, it is endlessly interesting to hear the perspectives of others, as well as airing one’s own view. It’s why we three co-founders love the CW GTGs, as we learn far more from our supporters than they ever learn from us – plus, it’s just so energising to be around such passion and enthusiasm. Yes, watchmaking is about the wonderful intersection of art and science, but let’s never forget that it’s people who bring it alive – and who make it such fun!
Matt Bielby Chris, Mike and Peter
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Ollie Edwards and Damon Charles Cover: C60 Apex Limited Edition 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 12 – 15
Talking Italian At the end of WWII, Italian aircraft factories started making something a little less dangerous and a lot more lovable: the enduring Vespa
16 – 24
32 – 39 On Her Majesty’s Service Three new gorgeous watches inspired by military classics, celebrating the UK Armed Forces and endorsed by the Ministry of Defence
At the Apex The five-year celebrations for SH21 continue with the C60 Apex LE, a very special new Trident with a skeletonised dial, display back, and level of detail second to none
26 – 31
Latin Lover 12 — 15
40 – 43
The List We keep being reminded – sometimes by the strangest candidates – that charisma matters as a politician. And who is more charismatic than a former musician or movie star…?
Starchitect stories The incredible work of Zaha Hadid, perhaps the modern world’s most exciting, inspirational architect
Special Services 32 — 39
Regulars 07 – 11
45 – 50
Insight What we do, and how we do it. Co-founder Peter Ellis and head of operations Sammy Benson talk the sticky subject of logistics: how can CW make payments better, make returns better, and generally improve all of our lives? Plus: a square watch for a no longer square man
The amazing new CWs keep on coming, including two new ombré watches, and a very beautiful SH21-powered C65 Trident
Celebrity Squares 40 — 43
Engineered for the deep
Born from profound thought on what makes the ultimate dive watch, the new C60 Trident Pro 600 is a bold evolution of our bestselling Trident collection. Powered by a Swiss-made automatic movement, this third evocation of Trident sports a ceramic bezel with Grade 1 SuperLumiNovaÂŽ, while 38, 40 and 42mm cases ensure thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a size for every wrist. Built to survive at depths of 600m below the waves - a diving challenge not even the deepest of divers (or thinkers) could withstand. Do your research.
News, reports & innovations. This issue: New colourways, more ombré watches, and a rather famous CW fan
The bronze SH21powered C65 Trident is right up there amongst the most attractive watches Christopher Ward has ever made; now it’s available in steel, and with a whole new face
The C65 Trident line has been one of Christopher Ward’s biggest hits of recent years, and Calibre SH21 is a major reason why so many people started looking at the company with new eyes some five years ago. Put them together in a steel case – the only previous mating of C65 and SH21 was a 150-watch Limited Edition in bronze – and you get a most striking creation, its twin subdials giving something of a chronograph look, though in this case they’re actually small seconds and a power reserve dial. This SH21 iteration is the five-day power reserve COSC hand-wound model, the light old radium lume and anodised matt blue dial giving it an elegantly sporty, and extremely handsome, look. This one is also limited to 150 pieces, and looks equally cool on leather, or a rubber/Cordura® hybrid strap. The C65 Trident SH21 is available end of August, £1,795-£1,895
Feeling chatty? Of course you are. Happily, there are two more Christopher Ward Get-Togethers to attend The Christopher Ward collector community, spread across the CW Forum and Facebook groups and beyond, is a typically active and vociferous one; watch fans are, after all, a notoriously chatty bunch. More unusual, however, is the company’s close connections with both these occasionally overlapping groups, from giveaways – a free Trident 3, anyone? – to Get-Togethers. Indeed, the brand is always looking for new ways to get more involved with customers, and to have customers get more involved with the brand. The next events are in London on 31 August and Bristol on 2 November, and Chris, Mike, Peter and the gang would love to see you at one – or both.
What a wind-up!
To sign up to attend, christopherward.co.uk/cw-events
With the company slowly but surely upping its profile in the United States, a growing cadre of American fans will get a chance to see and buy highlights from the Christopher Ward collection at New York City’s Wind-Up Watch Fair, run by stateside blog Worn & Wound. The company will be a feature sponsor at the event, running 25-2>79 October at the city’s Chelsea Market.
Christopher Ward takes Manhattan
Invest in the future
For more, windupwatchfair.com
New outside investment for Christopher Ward In a move first mooted by co-founder Mike France in a WatchPro magazine interview in October last year, Christopher Ward – a company that’s always been independently funded by Mike, fellow co-founder Peter Ellis and head of atelier Jorg Bader Sr. – will now fund the next stage of its growth with the help of outside finance. This comes from the British Growth Fund, known for its long-term approach to investment; BGF has taken a minority stake in the company. You can read more about this new partnership at the link below. For more, christopherward.co.uk/blog
Mr Roger’s Neighbourhood Who knew Christopher Ward was in it? Nobody, it seems…
Show and tell
Shockwaves rebounded around the perfectly-composed squares of Instagram when Roger W. Smith, British watchmaking royalty and one-time apprentice to the late, great George Daniels, posted a ‘wristie’ on his newsfeed. Was it the latest in his collection of singular, hand-made, house-valued masterpieces? No, indeed; instead it was a rather dashing C60 Trident Pro Mk 2, rocking a red bezel. Roger went on to caption his post with the words “incredible quality and value”, apparently having bought the watch – unbeknownst to anyone at CW – several weeks before.
Get yourself down to Maidenhead pronto… Warmly hosted by Showroom Manager Declan Strange, a new series of roughly monthly evening events is being held in the showroom at Christopher Ward’s Maidenhead headquarters. Each sees customers trying out their favourites from the collection, exploring the newly re-decorated space, and mingling with the likes of Chris Ward and Adrian Buchmann, head of product design. It’s a great way to spend an evening getting closer to the watches, and to the people who make them.
Follow CW on Instagram @chriswardlondon, and Roger @rogerwsmithltd
For more, christopherward.co.uk/ visit/showroom
Racing colours Ace new colourway for the C3 British Racing Green There’s a new version of the C3 Grand Tourer in town, featuring the same 39mm stainless steel case and Ronda 5012.D quartz chronograph movement as before, but now with black sub dials at 3 and 9, and – most strikingly – a green domed dial with a sunray finish. Proof positive, despite such recent high end watches as the C60 Apex, that CW has in no way abandoned its entry level roots. The C3 Grand Tourer British Racing Green is available now, from £395
Summer brights CW has a zingy new hot weather hero Bright yellow watch faces have rarely looked so good. This is the new version of the C65 Trident 316L, using a Selitta SW210 hand wound movement, and limited to, yes, 316 pieces. That number, of course, references the 316L steel alloy used in the case and bezel. It comes on leather, a steel bracelet, or a new black hybrid leather/Cordura® strap with a bold yellow lining. The C65 Trident 316L Limited Edition Yellow is available now, £795-£895
Christopher Ward’s ombré line adds two new Tridents, a C60 and a C65, each with a subtly different take on the idea of a distressed and fading dial
Scratch built Just as, in a hair salon, there’s theoretically a difference between an ombré and a balayage but few adhere to it – the former’s meant to be bold and in-yourface, the latter more natural and subtle – so ombré has come to mean a number of different things in the world of watches. On Jaeger-LeCoultres of the ’60s and Zeniths from the ’70s, you’ll find dials referred to as ombré – in grey, say, or blue – that are brightest at the centre, and fade gradually to a darker hue at the edges. The look is smokey and beautiful, but often rather subtle. (Old Rolexes sometimes use a similar from-the-factory style, affectionately known as a ‘vignette’ dial.) Offering a not dissimilar look, however, are those vintage watches that have been sun-damaged rather, their once uniform dials now prized for the winning patina they’ve acquired. These actual flaws are sometimes deemed more honest and attractive than a perfect dial, and so-called ‘tropical’ dials, in particular, can be very pretty and evocative, their original dark blue or black having faded to a chocolate or coffee colour. These speak of 007, lounging on a Nassau sunbed with Honey Ryder at his side, and Dr. No’s blood still under his nails.
Both attractive looks, then, and Christopher Ward has found a way to combine them with its sporadically released range of limited edition ombré watches, where the dials fade from light at the centre to dark at the edges, yes, but also feature a more pronounced distressed effect too. Indeed, the metal of the dial is hand-scratched, a striking and characterful look that makes your watch look like its been through the wars, even though it’s fresh from the atelier. Now the company has two new ombré models, and they’re a couple of the most attractive iterations of the look to date. Both are divers: the C60 Trident Limited Edition is more of a tool watch, capable of surviving depths up to 600m, and is restricted to 300 pieces, while the more elegant C65 Trident Limited Edition is restricted to 500. Both contain Selitta’s SW200 automatic COSC movement, and feature the latest iteration of CW’s ombré style. In other ways, however, they’re quite different. The C60, for instance, is strictly monochrome: a 42mm steel case, a matt black ceramic bezel, and a grey-black face; there’s no colour anywhere. Even the choice of straps – black leather, black rubber, or a steel bracelet – keep up the austere look.
The C65 Trident Ombre
The C60 Trident Ombre
The C65, on the other hand, is a much warmer thing, its 41mm case made of bronze – so it will develop its own complementary patina over time – with an anodised aluminium black bezel and a bronze, randomly brushed, heavily degraded ombré dial. It comes on a choice of distressed leather or black rubber straps. They’ve somewhat different characters, then, but both are vibrant and alive. And, as with the rare ombré dials of the past, you see something new each time you look at them. Both are available end of August. The C60 Trident Ombre is £895-995; whilst the C65 Trident Ombre is £995
The wasp 12
factory You’ve got a factory, but no-one wants you to build any more warplanes. What do you do? Only revolutionise personal transport, that’s what – and, in doing so, create a lifetime fan out of one Christopher Ward employee on the other side of the world…
These scooters are a much sought-after high performance model – smaller and sleeker than most Vespas and aimed at a younger, sportier audience – which launched in 1965 with a 50cc, single cylinder air cooled two stroke engine. By ’68, though, this had grown to a mighty 88.5cc, giving a top speed of 93 kmh (about 58 mph), though, says Duncan, “this rather depends on the weight and aerodynamic shape of the rider.” Part of the appeal of the Super Sprints is that they’re so rare – only 5,309 were made before production discontinued in 1971 (plus around 2,500 of the smaller engined Super Sprint 50s), with perhaps only a third still surviving. New Zealand models like Duncan’s were shipped out as kits and then assembled, using local parts to keep the cost down and comply with import rules. To keep them affordable, distinctive elements of the Italian models – like the spare wheel and ‘dummy fuel tank‘ (actually a storage compartment, fitted between seat and floorboard) – were omitted entirely.
There’s long been a link between loving watches and also liking cars, of course, but does the same hold true for motorcycles? Well, it certainly seems to for Christopher Ward’s web manager, Duncan Moss – though in his case it’s one particular motor scooter, a rare 1968 Vespa Super Sprint 90, bought in the mid’90s in his native New Zealand. He’d been into Vespas for a while at this point – Duncan and his pals had become obsessed with London’s Mod culture at university, and, when one of them bought an old Vespa 150GS, the inevitable jealousy kicked in. Duncan had to have one too, found a rare SS90 and spent three years riding it every day. But when he left for Europe it went into storage for 14 years, gone but not forgotten, until he finally had it shipped to the UK.
The name? It means wasp, chosen not for the noise it makes, but the pinch-waisted shape of the prototype
was found, and could be pressed into service. Still, plenty of twisted metal had to be cut away and replaced, before the whole thing could be sandblasted, sealed and painted. The Vespa would now be red, using an original colour from the ’60s, MaxMeyer Rosso. “Unfortunately, I don’t have records for my Vespa,” Duncan says, “so I’ve no idea how it ended up in a standard 90 frame. The original import and registration papers were lost over the years, so I couldn’t even tell you how many owners it’s had.” Auckland-based importer Airco had its own seats made in New Zealand too, and often fitted these scooters with locally made Dunlop tyres. When Duncan unboxed his old Vespa back in England, he saw the years had been less than kind. In fact, a full restoration was required, with London bike shop Retrospective Scooters called in to do the heavy lifting. And one problem stared them in the face from the off: Duncan’s Vespa had been built around a wrongly-sized pressed steel monocoque frame, one from the standard Vespa 90 model rather than the streamlined SS. Luckily Duncan owned the correct smaller frame too – brought back in 1999, restored and painted red, unlike the pale blue bike – but this was slightly twisted, and needed straightening. A special Vespa jig that had spent most of its life at the Douglas motorbike factory in Bristol – where Vespas were put together in this country–
What are Vespas anyway? Only one of the great public transport innovations of the 20th century, created by Piaggio – a Genoa-based company that made trams, railway carriages and, most famously, Italian warplanes at its Pisa and Pontedera sites. By World War II, it had become one of Italy’s great plane manufacturers – so its plants got bombed to destruction. After the war, a new tack would be taken: founder Rinaldo Piaggio passed the company onto his sons, Enrico and Armando, and Enrico – responsible for the wrecked Pontedera plant – decided the way forward was to focus on a new, emerging market: personal mobility. With the help of the talented aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio, he came up with the Vespa. The name? It means ‘wasp’, chosen – surprisingly – not for the noise it makes, but rather the pinch-waisted shape of the prototype.
Vespas would be low-cost scooters for the masses, based on earlier designs for a small motorcycle to be used by parachutists. Corradino D’Ascanio‘s first version, a prototype called MP 5, was nicknamed ‘Paperino’ – the Italian name for Donald Duck – because of its odd shape, but Enrico didn’t like it, and asked the designer to try again. D’Ascanio wasn’t keen – he found motorcycles of any type dirty and uncomfortable – but gave it another go, eliminating elements he didn’t like. There would be no drive chain, making it less dirty; he put the gear lever on the handlebars, to make it easier to use; and added a supporting arm, not unlike an aircraft undercarriage, to make tyre changes a doddle. Finally, he shaped the stress-bearing body to provide protection for the rider, who’d no longer have to straddle the bike, but could sit comfortably, as on a chair. The first 98cc Vespa was produced in April 1946, with two versions offered: for 55,000 lira you got the base model, while 6,000 more added such luxuries as a speedometer and white-wall tyres. Count
Parodi, owner of Moto Guzzi, was offered distribution rights, but was convinced it would flop – so Enrico sold them through Lancia dealers. Almost immediately it became clear that the Count had been wrong – very wrong – as sales doubled each year. The 2,484 Vespas produced in 1946 became 171,200 by 1953, and foreign markets went wild for it; there were copyists too, notably Innocenti’s suspiciously similar Lambretta. The Vespa was – as The Times of London had it – “a completely Italian product, such as we have not seen since the Roman chariot”, but it spoke to everyone of movement, freedom and sexual liberation, becoming one of the potent symbols of rapidly-changing ’60s society. But back to Duncan and his pride and joy. At home in New Zealand he’d done the 15 minute commute on his Vespa every day, but since the restoration it’s had a gentler life in the UK, mostly used for local joy rides at the weekend. “I’d love to say we’ve been on an epic journey across Europe together,” he says, “but sadly not.”
INTRODUCING THE KING OF ALL APEX MODELS The C60 Apex is a very special limited edition Trident, designed to show off Calibre SH21 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and to do so deep underwater, too...
C60 Apex LE
“THIS IS THE FIRST C W D I V E WATCH WITH A SAPPHIRE C RYS TA L D I S P L AY BACK”
In and around the fifth anniversary year of Christopher Ward’s remarkable Calibre SH21 in-house movement, a series of equally remarkable watches has been created to both celebrate it and show it off: the Apex line. Show it off quite literally, in fact, as these limited run, painstakingly finished special editions of the core Christopher Ward collections each reveals the movement front and rear, through both a sapphire crystal display back and a highly architectural form of skeletonisation on the face. The first Apex model, the C7 Apex Limited Edition, comprised just 50 pieces and celebrated both SH21 and the CW motorsport line, but the new C60 Apex Limited Edition takes things further forward. “The original Apex stunned many people,” says CW co-founder Mike France. “But this one feels even more important, and for two reasons. Firstly, the C60 Trident is at the epicentre of our range structure, so the Apex version has to demonstrate the very best we can do. But it’s now exactly five years since we launched Calibre SH21 too, which makes it even more special.”
Just looking at it, you can tell the C60 Apex is out of the ordinary, but the specification hammers that point home. Most noticeably, it’s the first automatic Apex, boasting a new tungsten and aluminium skeletonised rotor. “Tungsten’s heavier than most metals,” says Mike, “which means you need less of it to enable your rotor to swing smoothly and wind the watch. As Apex is all about showing off SH21, it’s important we can see as much of the movement as possible, and using tungsten allows us to partly skeletonise the rotor, giving maximum visibility.” An amazing looking watch, then, but also a highly unusual one. Sapphire crystal display backs are rarely seen on dive watches anyway, but coupling that with a skeletonised face, too… Well, it makes the C60 Apex unique, doesn’t it? “You’re right,” says Mike. “A skeletonised dive watch is hardly a common thing, is it? And the idea certainly brought with it a new set of problems. We’re always looking to achieve the highest possible legibility on our watches, and the big danger with skeletonisation is that you can go too far, making reading the watch impossible. With a dive watch, especially, that’s hardly what you need, which is why getting the balance right was the hardest, yet most vital, part of this whole project. The final, semi-skeletonised approach we went for has
allowed us to achieve incredible readability, while still delivering a remarkable new look.”
The case is a modified version of the C60 Mk 3 ‘light catcher’ case, very close to the titanium Elite version, but here rendered in stainless steel. It comes on a leather strap, the Trident 3’s signature orange-and-blue hybrid rubber strap, or the Christopher Ward stainless steel bracelet. “Though this is the first CW dive watch with a sapphire crystal display back,” says Jörg Bader Snr, Christopher Ward’s head of atelier, “that’s not as remarkable a achievement as it might sound. Waterproofing is at the core of every watch we do, be it an entry level piece or an Apex, and if we can’t achieve that, I don’t know what we’re here for.” This said, the C60 Apex is only designed to be used up to a depth of 300M, a decision taken to avoid – as Jörg puts it – “having to make an incredibly thick watch. SH21, because of the power it can hold, is already a large movement, and increasing the depth rating to 600M
FIRST EVER CW DIVE WATCH WITH AN EXHIBITION CASEBACK
SUPER-LUMINOVAÂ® GRADE X1 FOR ENHANCED READABILITY
300 METRE WATER RESISTANCE
LIMITED EDITION OF 100 PIECES
UNIDIRECTIONAL ZrO₂ CERAMIC COUNTDOWN BEZEL
COMPONENTS MAKE UP SH21
or 1000M – while perfectly possible – would have required much thicker glass, adding to the overall height. The debate quickly became between making something that can dive very deep indeed, and something that is wearable. We chose to stay wearable.” Or, as Mike puts it, “No-one wants a hockey puck on their wrist any more.” What is it, though, that seems quite so ‘now’ about skeletonised watches – and particularly in their modern, technical, rather architectural incarnation? “It’s true, everyone from Audemars Piguet to Vacheron Constantin is doing
one,” says Adrian Buchmann, CW’s head of product design, “and many are very impressive and expensive indeed. The LVMH group – which owns Hublot, Zenith and TAG Heuer – seems particularly keen, so you get skeletonised Zenith El Primeros and TAG Heuer Carreras. And, across the industry, there’s certainly a trend towards bringing watch movements forward, so they become a visible part of the design. “People get hung up on the language used, though: should we consider these watches ‘skeletonised’ or ‘architectural’? The latter seems to fit what we do better, I think, but I don’t really mind what you call it. What I do care about, though, is the way this watch brings together three of the strongest things we’ve done lately – SH21, Trident 3 and the Apex line. It shows off all the things we’re known for: the ability to create our own movements, our amazingly high spec and good value dive watches, and the ambition to push ourselves into new areas where others might not expect us to go.” The Apex series has been quite the hit already, but the C60 looks likely to become the fastest selling iteration so far; indeed, the run of only 100 pieces will
have all been pre-sold by the time you read this – or the vast majority of them, anyway. “Everyone we’ve shown it to so far – and as I speak, that’s very few people outside a handful at Christopher Ward – has ordered one,” Mike says. “In fact, just the other day a forum member came along to buy a C65 GMT at the showroom here in Maidenhead, and brought a friend along. When I bumped into them, I decided to give them a quick peek at the prototype – and within 30 seconds the friend said, ‘I want one’ and put his name down. He got number 007 out of 100, which isn’t bad, is it?” Indeed, so successful has this collection been that there are already whispers within Christopher Ward that, once they’ve delivered Apex versions of each of the major lines as part of the SH21 anniversary, they might go around again with Series 2 versions of each. Quite how ambitious those might turn out to be is something we can only really speculate about at the moment, of course… “One of the big thrills I remember from the first Apex was how fast
and well the various different teams at Christopher Ward had to learn to communicate with and trust each other to achieve it,” Mike says, “and that includes our partners at Armin Strom. And this time around that’s working even better; the speed with which we can now resolve any issues is quite remarkable. If the Apex project did only that – and, of course, it’s already done far more – you’d have to say it was worth all the hard work on its own.” Speaking of Armin Strom, one secondary responsibility of this particular Apex is to celebrate the Power Reserve aspect of SH21, so the guys at that remarkable boutique manufacture, just around the corner from the CW atelier in Biel, have brought all their experience, skill and shared aesthetic to that aspect in particular. You can see their contribution most clearly through the specialist bridgework – basically, anything with an orange anodised surface has the hand of Armin Strom in it. Indeed, orangeand-blue is the striking colour scheme throughout, and fast becoming a Trident 3 signature, thanks to its popular use on the C60 Trident Elite. “The orange Armin Strom pieces give a real feeling that the back belongs to the front and the front belongs to the back,” Adrian says, “so everything seems to almost blend together.”
All in all then, this is a remarkable watch; and great value too, at a touch under £3,500. No wonder everyone seems to want one. “I love that nobody else does what we’ve done here,“ Adrian says. “With diver’s watches – even very expensive ones – people tend to disregard the movement; it’s just there, working away, but nobody really talks about it. Cases aside, most diver’s watches are quite simple. But this one’s proudly different and in your face, supremely legible and fascinating to look at too.” And Mike is in wholehearted agreement on this. “It has all the tough, highly legible appeal of the standard C60 Trident – a fantastic looking watch anyway – but combines that rather beautifully with all the above-and-beyond attention to detail of the Apex line,” he says. “On top of that it’s SH21 – and a special version of SH21 at that – on the fifth anniversary of that ground-breaking movement. And, at just 100 pieces, it’s a genuine collector’s item. This is undeniably a Trident, just a very special one – and it’s certainly more exclusive and better engineered than any mainstream watch you could buy at that price.” And at that, they both start laughing. The C60 Apex is available Mid-September – but be quick, as there may not be any left – at £3,495; for more, www.christopherward.co.uk
Sixties design cues but with a contemporary automatic movement
The design of our new C65 Trident Automatic reprises the late 60s, an era of inspired innovation that put a man on the moon, welcomed Concorde and witnessed Dylan go electric. Add a superb modern Sellita SW200 automatic movement and you have the very best of then, and now. Do your research.
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan
Perhaps the greatest of the so-called ‘starchitects’, Zaha Hadid’s cubist, deconstructed, mammoth-scaled buildings earned her many critics – and even more imitators
Though Iraqi-British architect Dame Zaha Mohammad Hadid died while many of her most important buildings – including Beijing Daxing International Airport in China and a 2022 FIFA World Cup venue, the Al Wakrah Stadium in Qatar – were still under construction, her legend had been cemented long before, and may yet outlast them all. She was certainly much feted by her peers, being the first woman to ever win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and earning the UK’s most prestigious architecture gong, the Sterling Prize, twice – and in back-toback years too. What made her so good? Partly that her buildings were often quite odd: you couldn’t immediately see how you’d enter them or move about inside, and it wasn’t always clear what was holding them up. Not everyone loved this – her work was called “famously extravagant” and seemed to “defy the logic of construction” – and the way she’d hopscotch between styles and approaches made it difficult to categorise her. She was a modernist, undeniably, and a deconstructivist – definitely a radical. And she was also highly inventive; the expressive, sweeping, fragmented ge-
ometry of her best work was sometimes described as reflecting the “chaos of modern life.” At the same time, however, she’d often eschew computer modelling to handdraw her designs and make little models, working very much the old-fashioned way. Listening to her talk wasn’t always useful – the sense would get lost in dense architectural argot – but at times she could explain things simply too. “The idea is not to have any 90-degree angles,” she once said. “In the beginning, there was the diagonal. The diagonal comes from the idea of the explosion which ‘re-forms’ the space. This was an important discovery.”
ti c qua
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“The diagonal comes from the idea of the explosion which ‘re-forms’ the space. This was an important discovery”
Born in Baghdad in 1950, Zaha Hadid had studied mathematics at the American University in Beirut before arriving at London’s radical Architectural Association in 1972; she would establish her own company in the city, still going strong, in 1979. International recognition first came with her 1983 competition-winning design for a private leisure centre called The Peak, a ‘horizontal skyscraper’ that moved diagonally down a hillside in Hong Kong, blurring landscape and structure. It was aggressively geometric, defiantly fragmented, appeared somewhat unstable – and was never built. Nor were most of her other radical designs of the ’80s and early ’90s, be they Düsseldorf Art and Media Centre or the proposed Cardiff Bay Opera House in Wales. She began to be called a ‘paper architect’, her designs too avant-garde to ever actually be made – and, perhaps playing on this, her gorgeously detailed colour paintings of proposed buildings
would start to appear in major art galleries and museums. At last, though, things started to happen: the dart-like Vitra Fire Station In Germany was built, forcing concrete to act like sharply angled metal bird wings, and then there was the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art In Cincinnati, a vertical series of cubes and voids with a giant glass wall facing the street, positively begging passers by to look inside. It was the first American museum ever designed by a woman. In 2010, her MAXXI museum of contemporary art and architecture in Rome won her a first Sterling Prize, and her sleek Evelyn Grace Academy, a secondary school in London, a second soon after. And it was around then that the notable works started to come thick and fast: a cultural centre in Azerbaijan; an art museum at Michigan State University; the Jockey Club Innovation Tower in Hong Kong; and the famous London Aquatics Centre, built for the 2012 Olympics.
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How did being a woman affect her life and work? On this she played her cards close to her chest, and only once – when her ‘crystal necklace’ Cardiff Opera House was abandoned as budgets rose and political will slipped away – did she cite blatant prejudice against the work of a female, foreign architect. Hers was certainly a male-dominated world, and supporters claim the expense, scale and fantastic forms her work often took would never have been so derided if she’d been a man. This was a subtext, they said, when her Aquatics Centre was scaled back to better suit a problematic site; when Vitra Fire Station was mocked for never being used as a fire station, eventually becoming a design museum; and when top Japanese architects started complaining about her eventually-abandoned plans for a New National Stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. And there was controversy too over her perceived insensitivity towards the deaths of foreign workers across construction sites in Qatar, where her Al Wakrah Stadium was set to be built. When the New York Review of Books claimed 1,000 had died building her stadium, which had yet to actually break ground, she sued, settled, and then donated the undisclosed sum to a labour rights charity.
Hadid was also, undeniably, a groundbreaker – the ambition and scale of her work saw the term ‘Zaha’ became shorthand for architecture at its most ambitious and futuristic, art underpinned by solid mathematics. She realised before many others, it seemed, that great buildings are often reduced to a single statement or idea – or even just a curve – and ran with that fact. One further criticism had sharper teeth. As her tenacity led to more and more visionary clients around the world persisting with her designs, and many of them actually began to be built, she started to create grander and grander trophy projects for often dubious individuals and regimes. Oligarchs and dictators alike were allowed to ally themselves with
the Zaha magic, and that tarnished it in many eyes – it’s hard to work for people like that and retain your cool. This said, her death – age just 65, in a Miami hospital of a heart attack – robbed us of dozens of incredible, perhaps unimaginable buildings. Her working career – she didn’t have a single building completed until her early 30s, after all – had decades in it yet, and her firm continues, shepherding many posthumous projects still underway. We’ve not seen the last of her bravura form-making yet. For more, zaha-hadid.com
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For the UK Armed Forces, the success of many a mission has relied on tough, accurate timepieces, synchronised beforehand. Now Christopher Ward announces three new military watches, featuring the insignia of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force Everybody loves a military watch, their combination of toughness, clarity, accuracy and no-nonsense design given additional fascination by the incredible histories many of them have. As a British brand with its own watchmaking atelier in Switzerland, they resonate strongly at Christopher Ward – after all, many of the greatest military watches were the result of British need and Swiss craftsmanship. This September, Christopher Ward launches a range of three watches with a very military bent. Aimed at civilians and service personnel alike, they’re the end result of a new partnership between the company and Britain’s Ministry of Defence. Representing the Royal Navy, there’s the C65 Dartmouth; representing the British Army, the C65 Sandhurst; and representing the Royal Air Force (RAF), there’s the C65 Cranwell. Each is named for the three Services’ world renowned training academies. “These watches have been created with approval from the Ministry of Defence and they are licensed to carry the insignia of the three Services,” says Christopher Ward co-founder Mike France. “We’re one of just five brands approved to do this, and the
design for each takes heavy influence from iconic British military watches of the post-World War II era. That look and feel, however, has been channelled through modern Christopher Ward sensibilities to create three unique, affordable and highly desirable pieces.” The three Ministry of Defence watches come at the same accessible price – a touch under £800 – and use a version of the well-regarded C65 stainless steel ‘light-catcher’ case, containing the reliable, highly accurate, chronometer-certified COSC version of Selitta’s SW200 movement. With Christopher Ward, it’s often about going the extra mile, which is why the watches are powered by these more expensive and accurate movements. “The greatest accuracy available was a prerequisite of any historical MOD watch,” Mike says. “When we were working on this project, I kept thinking of all those classic war films,” Mike says, “with a military team synchonizing their watches. It seemed important that we fitted as accurate a movement as we could.”
“Each watch has a deep-stamped MOD insignia on the back plate, polished on the upper surfaces until it gleams”
In terms of design, the three speak the same no-nonsense language. The Navy version references the classic Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’ of the 1960s, the Army version the Smiths W10 from a few years later, and the RAF version two near-identical watches made in the late ’40s by Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC, both called the Mark XI. All are finished to modern-day standards and are slightly larger than the originals, reflecting contemporary tastes. There’s no badge on the faces – just the Christopher Ward logotype at 12 o’clock – and they come on a variety of straps and bracelets; all quick-change. In many ways, though, the most important thing about them is to the rear. “The watches each have a deep-stamped MOD insignia on the back plate, polished on the upper surfaces until it gleams,” says CW head of product design Adrian Buchmann. “We pulled out all the stops to make sure they look their very best, and the polishing gives the casebacks a detailed, three-dimensional look that brings them alive.”
Three great watches, then, but which are the team’s favourites? Adrian won’t be drawn, and Mike, too, admits that he keeps changing his mind. “My favourite is currently the Cranwell, but I expect the Dartmouth to be the best seller,” he says. “There’s a wonderful story associated with each, though, and they represent the Services they were each made for perfectly.” We can all choose which one speaks loudest to us over the next few pages… The C65 Dartmouth, C65 Sandhurst and C65 Cranwell are available to pre-order for delivery in October/November. For more, www.christopherward.co.uk
â&#x20AC;&#x153;the design for each takes heavy influence from iconic British military watches of the post-World War II eraâ&#x20AC;?
Inspired by Omega Seamaster 300 ‘Big Triangle’, 1967
C65 Dartmouth The Omega Seamaster 300 was launched in 1957 and is an important watch in its own right. The sought after ‘Big Triangle‘ version, with the distinctive wedge of lume at 12 o’clock, was introduced during the 1967 production run to meet new MOD specs for military SM300s, but looked so good the design soon found itself into a small proportion of civilian versions too. “As soon as I saw the Omega Big Triangle I fell in love with it,” Mike France says, “and it’s a real favourite amongst military watch collectors. It’s that large chunk of lume at 12 o’clock that makes it so distinguished looking, so that became the key feature of our design. Our C65 Dartmouth uses the C65 Trident Diver case in its 41mm form with a modified unidirectional bezel, and takes some design cues from our C65 Diver and C60 Trident too – notably the large triangular hour hand.”
This Omega Big Triangle was initially created to comply to MOD diver’s watch specification 0552, and other brands executed versions too – notably Rolex (theirs being a modification of the civilian ref. 5513) and, later, the likes of CWC – but it’s the Big Triangle that captures the imagination. “I love it,” says Adrian Buchmann, “but I also love that we’ve added design elements of our own to the Dartmouth too. The dark blue face, for one thing, gives it a different feel to the original while, on the rear, there’s the Naval crown insignia of the Royal Navy.” Case: C65 Diver 41mm with bezel Movement: Selitta SW-200 COSC Price: £795
Inspired by the Smiths W10, 1967
Just before Smiths – the last surviving British volume watchmaker of the era – shifted its entire operation into the more lucrative world of aerospace instruments, it made one last watch for the British Army: the 35mm stainless steel W10 general service field watch, manufactured from 1967-1970. Hamilton and others would also make W10s, but the Smiths is the one to have. “The story of this watch really grabbed me,” Mike France says. “We’ve a great affection for Smiths, and it’s sad that they were to abandon creating watches so soon after making this accurate, sturdy and attractive piece, the last Smiths to be issued to the British Army.”
The new Christopher Ward version is slightly larger than the original at 38mm, using the new C65 Vintage ‘light-catcher’ case without a bezel. “Smiths was proudly British and we’re a British brand, so it was great to be able to reference the long tradition of watchmaking in the UK,” says Adrian. “This is the epitome of the simple, handsome three-hand watch. It has Arabic numerals, no date and a clean face; on the back there’s the Army’s Heraldic badge.” Case: C65 Vintage 38mm Movement: Selitta SW-200 COSC Price: £795
C65 Sandhurst 38
Inspired by JaegerLeCoultre Mark XI and IWC Mark XI, 6B/346, 1949
C65 Cranwell Just after the Second World War, the MOD – keen to improve the accuracy of each RAF raid – set a new specification for military aviator’s watches aimed at bomber navigators, and commissioned two Swiss manufacturers to make them: Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. Both 6B/346 watches look near identical and are stone-cold classics, but while the IWC Mark XI is very well regarded, the JLC Mark XI is even more so. Why? For a triple-whammy of reasons, it seems: it was made in much smaller numbers (under 3,000), it was never sold to the public, and it used the classic Caibre 488/SBr, a chronometer quality movement with few contemporary peers. Some claim that these twins helped define the look and performance requirements of every pilot’s watch since, and are amongst the finest military timepieces ever made.
“Both Mark XI watches are highly sought after,” Mike France says, “and though I’ve always been a sucker for any good looking aviation watch, these really are something. It’s no surprise they’ve become perhaps the most collectable British Forces watch there’s ever been.” Though it shares some of its aesthetic with the much later Smiths W10, the CW Army and Air Force watches are actually quite different in the flesh, not least in that the RAF watch is larger, at 41mm. “And,” says Adrian Buchmann, “because it has no bezel it wears even larger than that, presenting you with a supremely graphic and legible face. To the rear is the RAF’s Heraldic badge.” Case: C65 Diver 41mm without bezel Movement: Selitta SW200 COSC Price: £795
The politics of fame
“Politics is showbiz for ugly people,” as the old joke goes, and it’s true that many of our great actors, sports people and musicians only got into it as their looks started to fade. Their approaches, though, can be very different: some merely flirt with politics, while others treat it as an important secondary career. For
many it’s a low-key public service, for others an ego trip on the largest stage. And occasionally, ridiculously, a few become real giants of the arena. Here, then, are some of the most surprisingly political careers of the already famous: expect sex, violence, and some of the most unlikely hairdos ever seen in high office…
Shirley Temple Politically active: 1967-1992, and sporadically
Jerry Springer Politically active: 1970-1982, and sporadically
Shirley Temple was a trailblazer amongst modern celebrity politicians, first running for Congress – unsuccessfully – in 1967, but in the aftermath getting appointed as US ambassador twice, first to Ghana in 1974 and later to Czechoslovakia in 1989. As a child star, in films like Curly Top and Heidi, she was Hollywood’s number one box office draw of the mid’30s, only to retire at 22. A few TV come-backs aside, her somewhat surprising second love became diplomacy; she was active in the Republican Party, met Henry Kissinger at a party in 1967 – he’d overheard her talking about South West Africa – and two years later Richard Nixon appointed her to the United Nations General Assembly. Later, Gerald Ford made her United States Ambassador to Ghana, and she became the first female Chief of Protocol of the United States, responsible for President Jimmy Carter’s inauguration. Then – in 1989-92, as George H.W. Bush’s Ambassador to Czechoslovakia – she witnessed the ‘Velvet Revolution’ and the end of communism first-hand.
Most folk on this list became famous, then went into politics; with Jerry Springer, it was the other way around. Born actually inside Highgate tube station in 1944 – used as a bomb shelter at the time – he was the son of Jewish refugees; both his grandmothers died in Nazi camps. After the war, the family moved to New York, where he’d become a lawyer and campaign advisor to the Kennedys, and in the early ’70s would run for Congress as a Democrat, fail, but get elected to Cincinnati City Council. With Springer, though, things were always a rollercoaster ride, and – when caught hiring a prostitute – he’d resign, speak with winning honesty about the whole business, and win his seat back in ’75 by a landslide. Two years later he was chosen to serve as mayor. A campaign to be elected Governor of Ohio spluttered and failed, but then came TV, and in particular the sensationalist, tabloid The Jerry Springer Show, which spawned dozens of similarly cheap, feisty and controversial lookalikes, and really made the name of this sharp, flawed and bemused ringmaster.
Glenda Jackson Politically active: 1992-2015 Jackson was one of the great actresses of the ’60s and ‘70s, rising from Birkenhead through the RSC to eventually win two Best Actress Oscars – for Women in Love (1970) and A Touch of Class (1973) – plus a Tony Award for her stage work and two Primetime Emmys for her TV roles. (This makes her one of the very few to have achieved acting’s ‘triple crown’.) Around the edges of all this, she also enjoyed a successful run in British politics, getting elected as Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate in 1992, and becoming a junior minister for transport in Tony Blair’s 1997 government. When she stood down at the 2015 election, saying it was time someone else had a turn, she knew exactly what she’d do next: return to the stage. She was credited by critics with “blazing intelligence, sexual challenge and abrasiveness” – it’s not a bad shopping list for any compelling actor or politician. 41
Sonny Bono Politically active: 1988-1998 Salvatore Phillip ‘Sonny’ Bono is best known as the songwriting/producing half of the hit ’60s singing duo Sonny and Cher, where he was partnered by the second of his four wives, Cherilyn Sarkisian; even after they divorced, he played a major part in her career, writing and producing many of her early singles, and co-starring with her on a ’70s CBS TV Show. His later acting career is patchy – Airplane II: The Sequel (1982) is a highlight – but though his political career is similarly under-celebrated, it’s not inconsiderable. He served as mayor of Palm Springs, California for four years from 1988, then as Republican congressman for California’s 44th district from 1995 until his death three years later. He had some success too: as mayor, he helped create the well known Palm Springs International Film Festival, and in the House of Representatives he had some impact on green issues, as well as an act extending copyright named after him.
Ronald Reagan Politically active: 1967-1975, 1981-1989 It’s sometimes hard to remember these days that Ronald Reagan, pre-White House, had enjoyed a long and successful movie career. Okay, the films weren’t always the best, but the occasional effort rose above the rest: he was a double amputee in King’s Row (1942), which made him a star, and appeared alongside such names as Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland in Santa Fe Trail (1940). It was patchy, but a proper movie career; we only forget it because it was so totally eclipsed by what came next. After World War II he’d become president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, flip from Democrat to Republican, and serve as Governor of California from 1967-75, powered by sheer charisma. He’d clash repeatedly with protest movements, supporters of the welfare state, and the Supreme Court of California – which thwarted his efforts to enforce the state’s capital punishment laws – but these battles would shape his time as US President, during which he grew the economy (at the expense of huge budget deficits), and escalated the Cold War in a way many saw as dangerous – but eventually won it too.
Jesse Ventura Politically active: 19902002, and sporadically Arnold Schwarzenegger Politically active: 1990-2011
Clint Eastwood Politically active: 19862008, and sporadically Eastwood had long been interested in politics, most notably serving as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, for a couple of years from 1986. This small, wealthy artist’s community on the Monterey Peninsula had been home to Jack London and Ansel Adams, and the memorable location of Eastwood’s directorial debut, Play Misty For Me (1971); as mayor, most of his efforts went into environmental protection, though he also built a library annex, some public loos and beach walkways, and sought to overturn a law restricting the sale of fast food like ice cream cones. Though broadly of the right, he’s supported both Democrats and Republicans at times, and called himself “too individualistic to be either right-wing or left-wing.”
Schwarzenegger has enjoyed three great careers: as the first truly world famous professional bodybuilder, and then as a major movie star. He’s recently returned to acting, but in the middle of his career he went into politics, serving two terms as Governor of California from 2013 on. A long-term Republican – unusual for an actor, you might think, though there are a fair few of them on this list – he’d been inspired by Richard Nixon’s low tax, strong military, free enterprise speeches in the 1968 Presidential campaign. He ran for Governor of California in 2003 – dubbed ‘The Governator’ and ‘The Running Man’, after two of his films – and when he won by 1.3 million votes started to define himself as a moderate centrist, even picking a Democrat as his Chief of Staff. Could his political career have gone further? Perhaps, though he can never run for President, as he’s not a natural-born citizen of the USA – indeed, he still holds two passports, one of them Austrian. 42
Imran Khan Politically active: 1996-2019 Imran Khan was one of the great cricketers, a fast bowler for Pakistan who led his team to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup by beating England; to show no hard feelings, he later married a British journalist, Jemima Goldsmith. As a politician, he did it the hard way, founding his own political party – the centrist, anti-corruption PTI (or Pakistan For Justice) – in 1996, and eventually becoming the country’s 22nd Prime Minister. Not bad for someone who’s populist appeal seems somewhat schizophrenic: one minute his base is the educated, socially liberal middle classes, the next he’ll go out of his way to identify with the deeply conservative ‘suffering masses’ in the tribal regions. Perhaps because of this, his nickname in the posher Pakistani living rooms has long been ‘Im the Dim’.
On leaving the World Wrestling Federation, the blonde, long haired Jesse Ventura stood as mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, and won, serving from 1991-95. A few years later he’d stand for the little known Independence Party Minnesota as Governor of the state and win again; quirky TV ads, aggressive grassroots events (“my Governor can beat up your Governor” claimed fans) and a pioneering use of the internet are credited with the victory. Ventura opposed the death penalty, denounced the US embargo against Cuba, and supported the use of medical marijuana and gay rights. But he also called reporters ‘media jackals’, refused to move into the Governor’s mansion, and caused consternation when he claimed Minneapolis was better than its Twin Cities neighbour, St. Paul, because “the streets in St. Paul must have been designed by drunken Irishmen.” Will he ever run for President? “If I do,” he’s said, “Trump will not have a chance. He knows he can never out-talk a wrestler, and he knows I’m the greatest talker wrestling’s ever had.”
Al Franken Politically active: 2008-2018
Ilona Staller Politically active: 1987-1992, and sporadically Showgirl, porn star and occasional pop star, Ilona Staller – often better known by her stage name La Cicciolina (or ‘Little Chubby’) – stood for the Italian parliament twice (in 1979 as a Green, and in 1985 as a Libertarian) before finally getting elected in 1987, serving for five years and at one point offering to have sex with Saddam Hussein in return for peace in the Middle East. It was by no means the only time she’d bring sex into politics: in 1991 she and another porn star, Moana Pozzi, founded ‘The Party of Love’, and in 2002 she again made her Saddam offer, this time asking for inspectors to be allowed free rein to look for weapons of mass destruction in exchange. Four years later, the same offer came again: this time to Osama bin Laden. In the meantime, she’s run for local political office – including as Mayor of Milan – and has explored the possibility of running for parliament in her country of birth, Hungary, too.
Al Franken was never quite a star like some others on this list, but he was one of the original and most enduring writers – and an occasional performer – on US TV institution Saturday Night Live, a show which created the careers of everyone from Mike Meyers to Tina Fey. Though his movie career (he once wrote and starred in a SNL spin-off called Stuart Saves His Family) stalled, his book writing didn’t – Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, a satirical look at American conservatism, was a major hit, but also earned him a failed law suit from Fox News. He stood in 2008 as Senator for Minnesota and, after much shenanigans, won; he was elected to a second term in 2014. Achievements included getting his first piece of legislation – the Service Dogs For Veterans Act, pairing disabled ex-soldiers with hounds – passed in 2010, and over the years he’s slowly become less well-known for high profile grandstanding, and more for keeping his head down and working hard. Sexual misconduct accusations – none particularly serious on their own, but there have certainly been plenty of them, leading right back to his TV days – led him to resign in 2017.
Manny Pacquiao Politically active: 2007-2019 Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao fought across four different weight classes – flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight – and in an illustrious career won 11 major world titles; he was probably the greatest fighter of the Noughties, and one of the best pound-forpound boxers of all time. His other careers – basketball, TV presenting, acting, music – have been more controversial, however, and none more so than his political career. Pacquiao was elected to the Philippines’ House of Representatives in 2010 and then, in 2016, became a Senator; his vehement opposition to same-sex marriage made him plenty of enemies, and lost him a lucrative Nike contract, while all his bank accounts were frozen by the Philippines government over tax issues. He’s still there though, and will be until 2022; worrying for many, as he’s a big proponent of bringing back capital punishment.
George Weah Politically active: 2005-2019 There’ve been few footballers with a career quite like that of prolific Liberian striker George Weah, who won France’s Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain, Italy’s Serie A twice with AC Milan, and the FA Cup in England with Chelsea; he was the Champions League’s top scorer in 1994-95, and is one of the greatest players to have never appeared at a World Cup. On returning home to enter politics he created his own party, the Congress for Democratic Change, and ran for President in 2005, Vice President in 2011, and was eventually sworn in as President of Liberia in January last year. Though incredibly popular, he was initially considered too poorly educated and inexperienced to lead – that he’d become a French citizen back in his Paris Saint-Germain days didn’t help. As president, however, he seems to be slowly proving the naysayers wrong, fighting illiteracy, corruption and racist laws.
Donald Trump Politically active: 2016-2019 Celebrity politicians boast an excess of charisma compared with most ordinary ones, and here‘s the politician with arguably the greatest amount of charisma of all: a real estate mogul and TV personality who’s translated popularist policies and personal magnetism into the biggest role of his career. Donald Trump is now the oldest, wealthiest and least politically experienced person to ever hold the office of President of the United States. He’s been married three times, was a millionaire by the age of eight, and is larger than life in everything he does. His appeal to his ‘base’ is larger than life too. They love him, basically, seemingly as much for the trouble he causes the ‘liberal elite’ as for anything he has so far achieved.
60s inspired Supermini
The C65 Trident Vintage Mk II, combining clean minimalistic â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;60s design cues with a superb modern Swiss-made automatic movement, effortlessly achieves retro cool status. At just 38mm in diameter and a mere 11.5mm high it also sits comfortably on any wrist and parks itself discreetly under a shirt cuff â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a very versatile and affordable way to wear the vintage trend. Do your research.
Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
Hip to be square Breaking Bad was a show of specifics: even seemingly incidental details were chosen with the eye of a master casting director. Take the cars, for instance: the green Pontiac Aztek that actor Bryan Cranston’s anti-hero Walter White starts out with – a hopelessly ugly SUV crossover – was the perfect character-defining sad-sack ride for this modern-day Mr Chips, while nothing told us how polite and law-abiding family man Gus Fring was like his safe, sensible Volvo V70. Both cars, of course, provided the perfect modest and unassuming cover for men who were actually nothing like they appeared on the surface… And it’s true of the watches too. When we first meet Walt – a high school chemistry teacher with terminal lung cancer but the skill to cook up crystal meth – he wears an old quartz Casio Calculator CA53W, cheap as chips but handy for adding up both outgoing medical bills and incoming drug money. By the time season five came around, and Walt was transformed into a ruthless drug lord, it was time for partner-in-crime Jesse Pinkman to gift him the perfect birthday present: a new TAG Heuer Monaco. And like everything else in Breaking Bad, it was carefully chosen: a fairly flashy blue-faced chronograph, easy to buy and expensive – but not too much so. Until Breaking Bad, the most prominent Monaco enthusiast had been Steve McQueen – he famously wore one in the 1971 film Le Mans – and what did he die of? Not the spectacular car crash some had predicted for him, but heart failure following the risky removal of a tumour, though whether this was caused by smoking or prolonged exposure to asbestos as a marine and racing driver has never been properly
established. Still, the parallels – and the fairly blunt reference – are clear. The Breaking Bad Monaco actually gets more screen time than the Le Mans one, starring in numerous episodes, the watch’s prominent ticking often suggesting Walt’s time is coming to an end. In final-season episode ‘Fifty-One’, Walter makes a point of showing it to Skyler White – saying the guy who gave it to him once tried to kill him, and so one day Skyler might change her mind about him too – and it stars again at the entire story’s poignant climax, as Walt pointedly takes it off and leaves it on a petrol station payphone before his final encounter with Jesse. Does he know he’s going to die? Does he not want Jesse to see it? Is he abandoning his drug lord role? Perhaps all of these – but also, more prosaically, an earlier episode had featured a flash-forward to these final moments, and in those Bryan Cranston’s wrist had been bare. Naturally, an eagle-eyed continuity type had insisted Walt got rid of the watch before the very end.
A c r Head-to-head
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Or across the globe, at least. (The universe will come later.) Over the past few years, Christopher Ward has been taking great strides to tailor its offering to an increasingly demanding international audience, and all with one core aim in mind: making the customer experience better.
Heading this up have been co-founder Peter Ellis and Sammy Benson, the company’s head of operations, which is why we caught up with them to find out just what they’ve been doing – and how it’ll help make everyone’s lives more convenient. A big ask? Perhaps, but they’ve brought on board some impressive global partners to make it happen… Peter Ellis: From my point of view, the biggest impetus behind everything we’ve done lately has been to make people happier. We’re now dealing with more customers in more countries than ever before, so it seemed important we got everything working as efficiently as possible. Sammy Benson: And, luckily, the modern world – in particular, the internet – allows smaller companies like ours to take advantage of efficient systems internationally. Peter: Yes, we’ll never have our own fleet of planes. But we don’t need one when we can partner with people who do! Sammy: My job is to look after everything to do with the operational flow of the business, from before the watch has been set up on our systems through to the customer putting it on for the first time. We’re mostly talking about the supply chain, and how we distribute watches in a smooth way, but
also about the way people pay, how our returns work, and more. Peter: One of the key challenges we face, I’ve always felt, has revolved around customs and duties, and countries tend to require increasing amounts of paperwork. (You’d think that, in a digital world, there’d be less reliance on this, but it still gets sent with every shipment.) Orders have always been taken via the website and our customer service team, but over the years the touch points have changed. Sammy: As I understand it, the team was much smaller when CW started, and people managed more than one role at a time – which is no longer feasible, as we’re much busier, and expectations are greater. Peter: Yes, back at the beginning the dispatch team also wore headsets and answered customer calls and emails! Sammy: I would love to have seen that. In response to this changing world, we’ve changed our quality control guidelines, now placing two further checks on each watch prior to dispatch. We’re trying to reduce the requirements on our customer service team too, giving them more time and freedom to focus on each customer. Peter: A number of big changes we’ve made over the past couple of years are only now starting to go live. The most ob48
vious has been with the packaging, which has been through several iterations over the years. We recently launched our newest box design with the Trident 3 range. It had to work better for the customer, remain highly aesthetically appealing, but also add value to the business in terms of operational efficiency. The new boxes are 40% smaller, cost 30% less per unit, and we can pack them 50% quicker than the old versions, so they’ve been quite the achievement. Sammy: Plus, of course, they’re made largely of bamboo and are completely eco-friendly, a real first for our industry. The next job is to start using them across the entire CW range, which we’ll be doing by the end of the year. Peter: We ship to over 100 countries, and the international market now accounts for 50% of our turnover – and that’s growing, with the USA growing fastest of all. Sammy: As our dispatch team currently processes around 100 items a day – not just new watches, but ones in for service and repair, and Loupe Magazine too – it’s meant working hard to find the right partners to support us in each territory. This is often DHL, which has become our core partner, though – where appropriate – we use others too. The Royal Mail is particularly good for the Highlands and Islands of Scot-
“We currently ship to over 100 countries around the world, and the international market now accounts for a good 50% of our turnover – and that’s growing, with the USA growing fastest of all”
land, say, and – perhaps more surprisingly – for countries like Russia. Peter: And customs and duties have become one of the most complicated parts of this, wouldn’t you say? Not only do different countries have different rates, but some – like Brazil – have different levels for each individual state. Sammy: We’re getting increasingly confident in this area though, so – for instance – we’ve recently implemented duty codes into DHL directly, ensuring that if the paperwork gets lost or damaged, the courier can look at our system to take the appropriate code. It means the customer won’t get over-charged, though – due to the variety of metals used in our watches – the duty codes change constantly, so we’re always kept on our toes. Peter: It’s been a steep learning curve, but we’ve had many constructive conversations with both custom officials and customers worldwide, who’ve helped us with best-practices in their regions. Sammy: One of the easiest places for us to ship to is the United States: you can be in New York, place an order with us in the morning, and it will catch the 7pm plane from London and be with you the next day. Sammy: Other changes have been to our servers – we’ve recently partnered with
Azure, part of Microsoft, which has given the website more flexibility – and to our payment gateway. We’re looking at how best to support customers in new territories, so we’ve been reviewing payment options, and this spring started to partner with a company called Adyen. Peter: FarFetch and Uber use them, and they’ll allow us to become truly local in a global world. Sammy: Some countries don’t use traditional payment methods – Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal – but by using Adyen we now have access to well over 150 cards types, and we’ve already seen some of these start to take off in certain markets. I have to say, during my time at CW this has been the most complicated and – to me – the most important project I’ve worked on. (If we can’t take money, we can’t trade, I kept thinking!) Peter: Another area we’ve been looking at is returns, which we’ve streamlined. Christopher Ward has a steady stream of watches come back to us every year for servicing, so we needed to make this work better for our customers. We’re now working with DHL on this, and have seen amazing results, with our international customers now able to book home collection, even in the most remote parts of our network. 49
Sammy: I know we’ve recently collected watches from a market in Bangkok, a block of flats in Jakarta, and more. And if you’re in America, DHL can pick your watch up and have it with us here in Maidenhead, England, in just two days. Peter: The bottom line is, we’re constantly trying to improve the Christopher Ward experience, mostly through continued marginal enhancements to everything. Sammy: So one of the next things is making mobile phone payments easier, and we’re already ahead of the curve in terms of internet security. By partnering with some of the best companies there are, we’re able to keep on top of these things. Peter: And it will be over the next year or so that customers will really start to see and feel the differences, and for them to become part of day-to-day life at CW. Sammy’s been spearheading this – and has the scars on his back to prove it – but it will seem worth it, I’m sure, as everything becomes smoother, easier, more flexible, and more geared to different cultures and behaviours around the world.
Picture: Anthony Upton Photography, anthonyupton.com
The Royal Marines smash the loaded speed march record, battling disorientating tunnel vision, and a controversial sartorial choice, along the way… Loaded marches are, of course, a core military skill, and all British soldiers must complete an annual loaded march test. Called a tab by the Army and a yomp by the Marines – and everything from a hump to a stomp by other armed forces around the world – they’ve spawned a competitive spin-off, the loaded speed march, in which every member of the competing team must complete the marathon distance – 26.2 miles – with each carrying 40lbs of kit. Until fairly recently, the record had been held by a British Army team from 29 Commando Royal Artillery, who’d managed it in 4 hours, 19 minutes and 7 seconds, but in October 2017 the Royal Marines smashed that by well over two minutes. The place was London, the time was the early hours of 21 October 2017,
and the attempt was by no means the first to try to break the 29 Commando record: the Marines and many others had given it a go over the years, and each time fallen short. (The most impressive attempt had been in 2013, which was proceeding at pace until one man collapsed with just half a mile to go.) The eight who finally did it this time, though, began at 10 Downing Street and finished on Pall Mall, taking in many of the key London landmarks along the way. They managed it in 4 hours, 16 minutes, 43 seconds, beating the old record by 2 minutes, 24 seconds, the team made up of both serving Marines and veterans, led by Major ‘Scotty’ Mills RM. “On the final mile, the tunnel vision was disorientating, a numbness took over my legs; I couldn’t 50
feel them,” said one team member, Sergeant Mags Maguire. “I just about remember the finish line.” Their achievement was not without its controversies, however, and for a time they were denied the record by the officials at Guinness World Records – because they’d worn the wrong trousers. The problem, it turned out, is that they’d worn modern, standard issue items, rather than the less flexible, more restrictive ’military denims’ worn by 29 Commando. ‘Scotty’ Mills’ appeal was simple – “the trousers we were wearing are irrelevant,” he said, “and anyway, ‘military denims’ are no longer even in production.”
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