Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 05. Summer 2017
The new C60 Trident 316L and the rise of the dive watch
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
A dress watch with sporting pedigree, the C3 Malvern Chronograph Mk III has received its most impressive update yet. With a dynamic case design inspired by our premium dress line, and a choice of three light-catching dial finishes, itâ€™ll redefine what you should expect from a watch at this price.
Coming of age
The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
Since my average year’s diving is limited to snorkelling around the odd bay on the Scottish West Coast – murky and freezing, a great combination – I’ve no real need for a dive watch, but like so many of us I often wear one anyway. Why? Because Bond did. Because you can bash them on things and they tend not to break – indeed, you can pass off any wear and tear as a badge of honour, earned in a tussle with a barracuda. And because it’s often quite fun to play with the bezel, clicking it around absentmindedly. (This may not be so much fun for anyone else in the room.) The Trident has long been Christopher Ward’s best seller, and this time around it’s been quite a treat looking into all the reasons this might be… Matt Bielby
There was a significant and rather poignant moment for the three of us last November, which happened on the Christopher Ward stand at SalonQP, the UK’s premier fine watch exhibition. One of the UK’s most respected watch journalists, Robin Swithinbank, was observing our displays – resplendent with watches carrying our own Calibre SH21 movement, as well as a Morgan 3 Wheeler motor car – and said, “You really have come of age as a brand in the last few years.” He was acknowledging the transformation that we ourselves see and feel in the watches, and in the Christopher Ward brand, as well as the momentum that’s gathering around us now. It’s all thanks to the quality of work that’s been put in by our entire team, both in Maidenhead and Biel, over the past 13 years in the singleminded pursuit of creating fine watches that are accessible to everyone. The Trident Collection, which features strongly in this issue of Loupe, perhaps represents the best of everything we’re about. We hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoy creating them. Have fun with the mag, Chris, Mike and Peter
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning
Cover: C60 Trident 316L Limited Edition 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 16 – 21
22 – 29
30 – 31
Old glory Inside Morgan, makers of incredible hand-built sports cars, and the latest partner of Christopher Ward
Deep impact The C60 Trident Collection has long been Christopher Ward’s bestselling watch family. We look at the continuing appeal of the dive watch, and a brand new, brighterthan-usual addition to the range…
32 – 35
Two’s company Who have been the most influential Power Couples of all time? We assess the main contenders…
36 – 39
Club class Fancy a unique watch to celebrate your club, company or unit? Then may we introduce you to Christopher Ward’s Corporate Services offering…?
Inside Morgan 16 — 21
Picture perfect What makes for a fantastic watch picture? Here’s a quick glimpse behind the scenes…
C60 Tridents 22 — 29
Regulars 07 – 10
41 – 50
What we do, and how we do it. Adrian talks about dive watch design; JJ explains the ways Christopher Ward makes its movements differently to most; and we meet Robert Loomes, who creates incredible English watches in Stamford, Lincolnshire
Some exciting new iterations of the C1 Grand Malvern, some incredible sales figures,and Christopher Ward at the Geneva Motor Show. Plus: meet Jörg ‘Junior’ Bader, a man with a rather familiar surname, coming soon to Maidenhead…
12 – 15
Power Couples 32 — 35
The guys at Viewpoint Photography & Film try more Christopher Ward models than most. What do they make of the latest, the brand new C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour?
Powered by a hand-wound version of our Calibre SH21 movement, the C8 introduces a power reserve complication for the first time â€“ when fully wound, the decorated twin barrels provide an incredible five days of power. Meanwhile, the black DLC case and altimeter-inspired date calendar match that practicality with stunningly innovative design.
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
News, reports & innovations. This issue: New C1s, and Christopher Ward’s biggest year to date…
Ahead of the curve The C1 Collection has new additions, and they’re amongst Christopher Ward’s most ambitious yet… The C1 Collection – Christopher Ward’s very well-received dress watch range – is set to be rounded out by the addition of new models and updated classics this autumn. Building on the design DNA established by the company’s senior designer, Adrian Buchmann, the light-catching lines of the sleek and distinctive C1 case will now be applied to a number of new JJ Calibre and Calibre SH21 versions. 7
“For now, we can tell you little more, beyond that they’ll feature Italian shell cordovan straps with our signature Bader Buckle deployment,” says co-founder Mike France, “and that they’ll be perhaps our finest horological offerings to date.” We will, of course, have much more on these next issue…
Everyone was talking about ‘driverless’ cars at Geneva Motor Show 2017, but at Christopher Ward and Morgan there was something more traditional in mind… There were many highlights at the Geneva Motor Show 2017, from the rebirth of Renault’s celebrated old sports car brand, Alpine, to Peugeot’s purchase of Opel/Vauxhall and the continued power race between hypercar manufacturers, with the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Aston Martin all boasting figures north of 700bhp. Much more immediately exciting for Christopher Ward, though, was the rare coming together of many senior figures from the Maidenhead and Biel teams, there to make the first in-the-metal reveal of the new C1 Morgan Chronometers, alongside partners from Morgan Motor Company.
For more, christopherward.co.uk/morgan
Tom Kristensen and Derek Bell MBE at last year’s event
With the Morgan and Motorsport events stacking up, Christopher Ward’s summer is looking busier than ever It’s going to be a hectic summer of motorsport for Christopher Ward. First up, we are returning as Official Timing Partner of the Motorsport Hall of Fame event, where attendees will be able to get handson with the latest models. “We’re delighted to welcome CW back to the event, on June 7, for the second year running,” says Mike O’Hare of Motorsport Magazine’s owner, Haymarket. “They are our Official Timing Partners, and always have something very special – and with a distinctly racing theme – to show off, I understand that this year it will be no different.”
“This collection of three watches, each inspired by a Morgan car and containing custom-made versions of our in-house Calibre SH21, was well received by the Morgan team, Morgan dealers, the automotive press and Morgan customer VIPs alike,” says CW co-founder Chris Ward. Orders are currently being taken via Morgan dealerships, and on the website from May.
And that’s not all, as you will also see CW partnering Morgan at more car events throughout the summer season, topping the series off with their Malvern meet – called Run For the Hills – on the August bank holiday weekend. For more, christopherward.co.uk; motorsportmagazine.com; morgan-motor.co.uk
Young gun Meet Jörg Bader. Known almost universally as ‘Junior’, he’s moving from Biel to Maidenhead for the next stage of his career with Christopher Ward So, tell us about yourself, Jörg. I’m Jörg Bader, from Biel in Switzerland. I’m 25 years old, and as well as watches, I love sport – Manchester United, especially – and travelling. If my name seems familiar, it’s because I share it with my father, who’s a well-known figure to those who follow Christopher Ward… When did you first start working with Christopher Ward? I began as a purchasing assistant, back in January 2013. And what have been your big working challenges to date? Early in my career I went to Taiwan for professional training at a dial factory. At the same time, I learnt Chinese at a university in Taichung, Taiwan. After more than a year there, I came home to Switzerland and, in 2015, became product manager of Christopher Ward. The next step will be to join the UK team, working closely with senior designer Adrian Buchmann. So, did you always love watches? Honestly, no. In fact, until I started working for Christopher Ward I had no interest in them. Once you start to get close to them, though, it’s almost impossible not to see the craftsmanship and art that
Jörg ‘Junior’ Bader
goes into each one. In the last few years, Christopher Ward has made an unbelievable journey and become far more sophisticated, with greater product depth than ever before. It might sound a bit tacky, but I now feel I’ve found the professional love of my life, and I can’t see myself wanting to do anything else with my career. What’s your typical working week like? Right now I work on new models and am responsible for the production of all our samples. That means most of my time is spent dealing with the issues and challenges thrown up by each new model, prior to mass production. I love discussing with Adrian ways in which we can improve a design, or add features. If we can come up with a great new way to display a certain piece of vital information, I’m a happy man. What Christopher Ward models have particularly excited you lately? The three models we created for Morgan Motor Company are outstanding in my eyes. They exhibit great synergy in both de-
sign and craftsmanship between the cars and the watches on almost every level. Just look at the way the train bridge works with Calibre SH21 on the Aero 8 model, for instance. The fact that we could make the train bridge black, but pair that with some lower engraved parts and polished bevels on top, still gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Finally, what new things would you like to see Christopher Ward do over the next year or so? Our New Product Development sheet has plenty of exciting watches on it, so I’m very happy with our line-up of future launches. I would like to see us continue with interesting new models that use SH21 as a movement base. Not only do I think this would really help strengthen Christopher Ward, but working with such a great movement is one of the most exciting things for me personally.
Big numbers The figures are in, and last year was Christopher Ward’s biggest and most successful to date
“It’s been a year since the first edition of Loupe magazine heralded the introduction of our new branding,” says co-founder Peter Ellis, “and, thanks to your fantastic support, we’ve enjoyed record success ever since, with our sales growing by more than 40% year-on-year.” More than 2.25 million people visited Christopher Ward online in the last 12 months, and in that time the company sold watches to customers in 117 different countries. Perhaps even more excitingly, Christopher Ward is doing more than just preaching to the converted, as over 60% of sales came from people buying CW watches for the first time. “And here are a few more facts,” says Peter. “We used more than 300,000 rubies (and 200,000 screws) in the assembly of
our movements, and if you laid the leather straps we sold last year end-to-end they would stretch for 5km.” That is enough that it would take the 5km world record holder, Kenenisa Bekele, 12 mins 37 secs to run past them. “Unsurprisingly,” says Peter, “the top countries for us by turnover were the UK and the USA, followed by – in this order – Australia, Canada and Germany. But it’s perhaps even more interesting to see which countries are fastest-growing. Taiwan is up by a massive +564%, but Norway (+ 387%), Korea (+ 322%), Italy (+192%) and Russia (+179%) are all biting at Taiwan’s heels.”
Introducing Calibre JJ01 â€“ one of the most accurate jumping hour complications ever created â€“ to our signature Grand Malvern collection, the C1 Jumping Hour seamlessly blends English design with the world-class horological expertise of the Swiss. Available with a choice of three premium dial finishes, it skilfully applies a modern finesse to a traditionally elegant dress watch.
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
Two days with some of our latest models
Just shoot me Few people get to see more Christopher Ward watches than photographer Peter Canning, so what does he make of the C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour? Peter Canning runs Viewpoint Photography & Film, a 3,500ft purpose-built studio complex just outside Bath, where amazing shots of everything from cars to pieces of sculpture are taken on a daily basis. Of late, Viewpoint has been working alongside the in-house Christopher Ward team to produce stills and video, and most images of new watches you’ll see in the pages of Loupe or on the website will have been taken here. This means he gets to see more CW watches than anyone outside Maidenhead and Biel. “Shooting watches turned out to be a surprisingly big challenge when we started doing it,” Pete says. “It proved
Peter: a big improvement on his old TAG
to be very technical, almost an art form in itself. But – thanks to good advice from Adrian Buchmann at CW – we started to get the hang of it, and our photos have become more and more ambitious.”
The C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour is a particularly handsome new addition to the C1 line
Since working with Christopher Ward, Pete has started looking at watches differently – “I’m now obsessed by watch photography,” he says – and has started to take much more of an interest in them. “My first watch was a little black Casio digital thing, but these days I mostly wear a ’90s TAG Heuer,” Pete says. “It’s a bit of a beater, and the most battered watch we have in the studio on any given day.” What was it like, then, trying out the C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour – this particular one with the opalin white dial and a light brown strap – for a couple of days? Pete’s first worry was that he was going to bash it. “Not only is it prettier than my TAG, but it’s in pristine condition,” he says. “I was walking on eggshells in the studio hoping I wasn’t going to whack it on a wall.”
A much bigger difference between this and any other watch Pete has ever worn, however, is the way it tells the time: the hours appear at the 12 o’clock position – in what’s not unlike an oversized date window – while a single hand indicates the minutes. “I found it almost like driving a car abroad,” Pete says. “When you’re thinking about the watch, it’s obvious – the window does one half of the job, the hand the other – and that’s how it is driving on a busy road in France. You know where you are and what you’re meant to be doing. It’s when you go off onto narrow country roads that you revert to UK mode. And it’s then that you come across a tractor coming the other way, and panic: you forget which side of the road to tuck yourself into. So it was with this. I enjoyed this new way of telling the time, but when I was tired I’d glance at it and not know what I was looking at. I find now that I’m really enjoying it, but it’s taught me that I’m still a long way from being a true watch aficionado.” C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour, £1,395
So if photographer Pete found C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour tempting, but a bit too nice for his everyday life, how did Viewpoint co-director Amanda Canning get on?
Studio time Pete Canning’s business partner at Viewpoint is also his wife, Amanda Canning. She keeps the trains running on time here, amongst other things, but says that if husband Pete found it a steep learning curve working with watches, some other members of the team found it even harder. “Take our lead filmmaker, Sam Poore, who often works with members of the in-house Christopher Ward team to create the short videos that appear on the web site and elsewhere,” she says. “Sam’s films are typically a minute long, and show brooding shots of the watches, sometimes accompanied by imagery to establish mood – crashing waves for a dive watch, perhaps – all set to a cool indie soundtrack provided by Marmoset, curators of rare, vintage and emerging music. The big problem for Sam, of course, is that he has to get everything right first time. On a still, after all, we can use Photoshop to remove a stray hair or piece of dust, but that sort of correction is much tricker with the moving image.” The guys work hard to get some movement into their films and shots, Amanda says, and have become experts at getting the lighting just right.
“Sam now has a standard, default light set up he uses most of the time,” she says, “but it took him ages to get it right. It was quite entertaining to watch, actually. And even now, individual watches give us real problems. The thing is, Christopher Ward keeps challenging us by creating amazing new models that demand something different each time.” Amanda wore, she says, watches with animals on them as a little girl, but rarely wears one now. “I blame the fact that everything in life seems to push what time it is at us,” she says. “Our cars, our TVs, our computers and, of course, our phones.” She is, however, a particular fan of a watch with a display back – “I almost wish that was the front, so everyone could see it,” she says – and found herself constantly taking off her sunray blue example of the C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour to look at Calibre JJ01. “I find that seeing the movement reminds me of why I’m wearing
Amanda: no longer a fan of animal watches
“I loved the restrained elegance and the beautiful blue of the dial”
a watch,” she says, “and not just checking the time on my phone. It’s because they’re cool, ultimately, and the display back reminds you of why they’re cool.” A bit of a design geek, Amanda is also a big fan of the Bader buckle – “it’s just a very clever and pleasing piece of design, even though it can be a little too large for women, as it sits rather wide on the underside of the wrist,” she says – and found herself looking at the Jumping Hour perhaps even more closely than the examples Viewpoint gets in the office to shoot. “You’re always seeing an extra piece of detail on a watch like this,” she says. “As I now know a little about the manufacturing process, I have so much respect for people who actually build these watches.” Is this her perfect watch, then? And is it enough to make her think about wearing a watch again full-time? “Perhaps so,” she says. “I actually think I found the Jumping Hour arrangement much easier to get to grips with than Pete initially did, and I loved the restrained elegance and the beautiful blue of the dial. I’m sure it’s a little too good for my day-to-day life, lugging stuff around the studio, but as something for the evening it actually ticks a lot of boxes with me.” C1 Grand Malvern Jumping Hour, £1,395
The Old and the Beautiful
At the Morgan Motor Company in Malvern Link, Worcestershire they make glorious-looking sports cars the old-fashioned way. Backward looking, though, they are not… Morgan is unlike any other car company: they’re unashamedly old school, but surprisingly young in outlook; they incorporate modern technology – their latest model is electric, for goodness sake – yet their biggest-seller has remained essentially unchanged, externally at least, since the 1930s; and though every Morgan is immediately identifiable as such, they allow each customer such a degree of personalisation that no two Morgans are ever the same. Most of all, they do things their way.
With Christopher Ward now partnering this family-owned firm for a series of three watches to celebrate their core model ranges, we got Morgan’s James Gilbert to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour…
What makes Morgan special?
Image 2. The ash wood frames are a work of art
James: Everyone who comes here says Morgan feels different from other car companies, from the scale to the ethos. It’s bigger than you might imagine, but tiny for what we are. We’ve been in Malvern Link since 1909 – since 1914 on our current site – so we’ve very much embedded in the town, employing around 200 people and producing 750-800 cars a year [Image 1]. That’s our sweet spot. Years ago, when we only made 500 cars a year, we had waiting lists that were years long. These days, once you’ve paid your deposit you’ll wait between six months and a year. Any longer than that, and people might worry that they’d never get their car! Some things haven’t changed here, but others have: we’ve got much better at logistics, for instance. Once we might have had 50 cars in the workshop, but hardly any of them being worked on; now we have only four or five at any one stage, but they move through much quicker. The 3 Wheelers, which are the simplest cars, get built in about two weeks; the classic models like the Morgan 4/4 take four weeks; and the Aero models take eight-ten weeks. Though
Image 1. Work begins on a raw chassis
there’s plenty of traditional craftsmanship in each car, you’d be surprised at how young many of the workforce are – and how modern our processes can be. Each basic chassis, though designed here, is made out-of-house – the steel ones by a local firm, the aluminium ones for the Aero models in Birmingham – and the engines and drivetrains are provided by the likes of BMW or Ford. Beyond that, everything else is done here [Image 2]. Each car has an ash wood frame – there’s less ash in the Aero, but there’s still some – which is partly because that’s the way we’ve always done it, and partially because it’s fit for propose. Ash is light, rigid, just flexible enough, and grows very straight, with few knots in it. When you see the guys making frames out of it, it’s more like some amazing sculpture coming together than part of a car.
Image 3. Body panels like this bonnet are made by hand
One thing we never make is power trains. Yes, there was a point where we actually thought about making our own engines, but who are we kidding? We’re a small company, and will never make an engine as well as BMW. Our relationship with them is amazing – they’re car enthusiasts themselves, of course, and love what we do – and Germany has become a very important market for us. We stopped selling direct from the factory quite a while ago, and now do everything we can to support our dealer network – 60 of them worldwide, with 15 in the UK and at least one or two in every major market – but plenty of our customers like to visit us here and take the tour, and we heartily encourage them to do so.
We’re still owned by the Morgan family, but we’re a family firm in many other ways too, with multiple generations of the same family often working here on the paint or the sheetmetal line [Image 3]. It’s part of the reason why everyone takes such pride in what they do, and visitors regularly comment on how happy everyone seems.
What are the cars like? James: The classic models have an oldschool sports car feel – simple suspension, light weight, and enough power – and feel very point-and-squirt, but the Aeros are something else [Image 4]. They’re more sophisticated, higher powered, and great in the corners. And the 3 Wheelers are like nothing you’ll ever drive: surprisingly stable, as the layout has two wheels at the front, but definitely tail-happy. They’re a real high days and holidays car, though many owners do a surprising amount of summer touring in them.
Image 4. Amazing boot lid on this Aero
Morgans tend to be a second or third car, owned by guys wanting to treat themselves. With the Aeros and, especially, the 3 Wheelers, the base tends to skew younger, and you can often tell the sort of customer who has ordered each car by how they’ve specced it. There are so many options – we say you can chose between 40,000 colours, which means every colour there is – that each car is quite different, and you might get one 3 Wheeler in a café racer style being made next to another with a classic ’60s paint job and lots of chrome. That you can order exactly the car you want is one of the things that people like most about Morgan. Our biggest-selling model remains the Plus 4, which has had the same basic silhouette since 1936. The Aero models were designed to bring new customers to the brand – and certainly did that – but now even the most traditional of owners have embraced them too.
“That you can order exactly the car you want is one of the things people like about Morgan” Back in the ’90s, Sir John Harvey Jones famously visited the factory as part of a TV series, and advised us to modernise – which Morgan politely declined to do. As many other British car firms have gone to the wall, that’s looked more and more like the right call, and though we have changed some of what we do, it’s always been on our terms. Even the naysayers – people who didn’t quite get the brand – now have
“Though we have changed some of what we do, it’s always been on our terms”
The classic Morgan 3 Wheeler
A classic Morgan at speed
respect for us. Partly it’s because models like the Aero and 3 Wheeler show that we’re not ones to stand still, and partly it’s simply because we’re still here.
What does the future look like? James: The future looks incredibly exciting for Morgan. We’re about to launch our first ever electric production car, the EV3 – a sort of retro futuristic 3 Wheeler [Image 5]. The first ones will be delivered in 2018. Electric cars, though amazing in many ways, are often quite dull in the way they look and feel, but not this one. And because it’s so light, the 3 Wheeler format lends itself perfectly to an electric car.
Image 5. The new EV3 looks incredible, like something from a film set
With the EV3, you get all the torque straight away, so it accelerates very quickly, and it’s quite unlike any other car to drive. Though it’s not silent, there’s no traditional engine noise to tell you where you are in the gears, and instead it sounds not unlike a Star Wars Podracer. With a range of 150 miles, it’s perfect for the sort of day-inthe-country use most 3 Wheelers are put to. It will cost a bit more – think £40,000£50,000, rather than £35,000-£40,000 of
the regular 3 Wheeler – but the take-up has been brilliant. We’re doing it for the future, and to learn things that we’ll be able to apply to future electric models of the rest of the range. So are we old fashioned? Not in the traditional sense! For more, Morgan-Motor.co.uk
The C60 Trident has long been Christopher Ward’s most popular watch, and now – with the new branding, and a special limited edition model in a striking new colour – it’s selling better than ever
There’s something special about a dive watch. The best of them – and we very much include the C60 Trident collection amongst that number – exhibit an effortless elegance and toughness that speaks of the person we all want to be: capable, skilled, a specialist at something, yet versatile enough to go from beach to battlefield to boardroom without breaking stride. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the classic man-who-men-want-to-be (and-womenwant-to-be-with) – 007 himself, Mr James Bond – was always a big dive watch fan. These days, dive watches are superstars, with most well-known brands selling more of these watches than any other type. It’s the case with most of the big, established Swiss manufacturers, and it’s certainly the case with Christopher Ward. The company may have begun with the C5 Malvern, but for years it’s been the underwater models – the Trident range – that have wiped the floor with everything else in terms of the number of watches sold. Dive watches are clearly doing something right, then. But what? “For me, it’s how versatile they are,” says Mike France, one of the company
co-founders. “Tridents have become my go-to summer watch, which I can wear on the beach in Cornwall on the weekend, then in a London meeting in the week.” And it’s true that few watches have quite this go-anywhere versatility, looking good with everything short of a dinner jacket – and, in some cases, looking good with those too. Just like a blue, single-breasted, two-button suit might be the perfect piece of go-anywhere gentleman’s formal wear, so a dive watch like the Trident makes the perfect only watch. Sure, we’re enthusiasts, and we’d like a collection – but it’s not really necessary. A Trident will go just about anywhere. Ironically, in many cases one of the few places a dive watch – from any manufacturer – will be seen these days is at the bottom of the sea. “I dive myself,” says Mike, “and I rarely, if ever, see any scuba diver using a dive
watch seriously, except maybe as a backup. It’s all about personal dive computers now. But I still take my Trident on dive holidays, and like wearing it for my morning swim, or to lunch. It’s become just a good, rugged, all-round companion.” With a dive watch, the cleverness generally – there are exceptions – is to be found in its clear face, sturdy construction and levels of water resistance, rather than anything particularly complicated going on with the movement, and because of this they’re rarely the most expensive watches in any range. It’s another factor that’s helped them on their way towards becoming best sellers. “For the same reason that we like sports cars that will travel at 200mph, though we’re never going to drive that fast, or sturdy 4x4s, though we rarely go off road,” says Chris Ward, another of the co-founders, “the appeal of the dive watch is that it has capabilities that are vastly
“Few watches have this go-anywhere versatility, looking good with everything short of a dinner jacket – and, in some cases, with those too”
Rolex Submariner Ref: 6536/1; 1957
surplus to requirements. When we brought out the Trident Pro Mk II, in the spring of 2015, we took the water resistance up to 600m. Hardly anyone ever dives that deep, but there’s just something pleasing about an item that can happily do things that you never will.”
“The C60 Trident Pro, with an automatic movement, became Christopher Ward’s best selling watch”
Before the 1920s, watches designed to operate underwater were generally one-off custom-made pieces, but that all changed in 1926, when Rolex bought the patent for the ‘Oyster’ watch case, with its hermetic seal – a British swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, tried swimming the English Channel with one dangling around her neck the following year, and it held up just fine – but it took until 1932 for Omega to release its Marine model, the first easily obtainable, mass-produced dive watch. Around WWII there was more dive watch activity. Small numbers were made for the various militaries, and the Panerai Radiomir appeared (commissioned by the Royal Italian Navy in 1935, the first ones were actually made for Panerai by Rolex). Things really got going in the 1950s,
though, as the aqua-lung took off. The modern version of this was developed in the early 1940s by a French team, including one Jacques Cousteau, and in 1953 we saw the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms turn up, to be worn by Cousteau in his early underwater films. Then, a year later, the Rolex Submariner debuted at Basel Watch Fair, just in time for the scuba explosion. Though various manufactures were soon offering dive watches, two families started to dominate: Rolex’s Submariner and its cousins, like the high end Sea-Dweller, and Omega’s Seamasters, including the Professional 600m, commonly known as the ‘PloProf’ (for Plongeur Professionnel). And then came Bond. 007 creator Ian Fleming famously snorkelled around a private bay when he wasn’t bashing out 2,000 words a day on his old Imperial portable typewriter during warm winters at Goldeneye, his house in Jamaica. Almost inevitably, the novels written there feature a number of diving sequences. The first, and perhaps best, of these is in Live and Let Die (1954), the second Bond book. In this one, he dives out at night to
place mines on a large, suspicious motor yacht lying in 30 feet of water off the Jamaican coast, encountering barracuda and enemy divers as he does so. We’re told that Bond “looked at the Rolex on his wrist” while underwater – so it’s clearly a dive watch of some sort. Fleming had been a journalist, and he generally laid on the details – brand names, specific model types – in great swathes to add realism to his sometimes unlikely plots. In the context of Live and Let Die – with Bond being sent various bits of named diving gear, including a Champion harpoon gun, by Q-Branch in London – it seems likely this particular Rolex was government issue, and never intended to be Bond’s own personal watch. Other Bond novels made vague references to 007 wearing a Rolex, however, and it seems likely that one of the watches Fleming had in mind was one he owned himself, a Rolex 1016 Explorer. This handsome sports/dress hybrid in an Oyster case was – although water resistant to 100m – a model more famous for its exploits at altitude, an early version taking part in the first summiting of Everest in 1953. As the books marched on, though – and the films started to appear, making it clear that 007’s watch of choice was the new Rolex Submariner – Fleming seems to have become more and more interested in his hero’s watches, perhaps the best description of one coming in 1963’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Here he talks of “a heavy Rolex Oyster Perpetual on an expanding metal bracelet,” which could be Fleming’s own watch, or the Submariner worn by Connery in Dr No, or a deliberately vague mixture of both. Whatever it was, tool watches like this were not the sort of thing that most ’50s
chaps – secret agents or not – would have considered wearing on a day-to-day basis, but with 007 that all changed. Bond influenced many of the ways in which gentlemen present themselves – from cultivating an interest in wine to favouring the clean silhouettes and easy shoulders of Conduit Street tailor Anthony Sinclair, who helped define the Connery 007’s aesthetic – but never more so than through what we wear on our wrists. Naturally, Christopher Ward needed a dive watch as part of its portfolio, but there was something of a false start before the Trident got into its stride. “Before the Trident collection, we actually had an earlier dive watch called the C6 Kingfisher,” says co-founder Peter
Ellis. “But it was when we launched the Trident, in 2008, that this side of the business really took off. Indeed, it was a total game-changer, in large part because it was our first collaboration with Synergies Horlogères, which is now, of course, part of the Christopher Ward family. With their help, the Trident became a much more sophisticated watch, and a huge step-up in terms of both the quality of manufacture and the levels of engineering involved. “Initially there were two versions, a quartz model and the C60 Trident Pro, which had an automatic movement – and became our best-selling watch. Even now, the C60 Trident Pro MkII – and, specifically, with a black dial and black bezel on a stainless steel bracelet – is the best selling individual model that we do.”
The Trident MkI range grew over the years – adding a GMT model, for instance – and was replaced by the MkII in 2015, which introduced a yet sturdier case (now water resistant to 600m, rather than 300m) and a more handsome ceramic bezel on all but the entry-level quartz model, to replace the old aluminium one. “All dive watches are, of course, heavily influenced by the look of the Rolex Submariner,” says Peter, “and with the MkI Trident some people thought our watch looked a little too much like the Sub. One major change for the MkII, then, was that we replaced the luminous dot indexes – a Rolex styling cue – on most models with baton indexes, which are more ‘Christopher Ward’.” These days, the Trident collection is huge, with seven basic models – running from the quartz Trident 300 though the automatic Pro 600 to GMT and chronograph versions, and finally to the high end COSC 600, which runs the in-house Calibre SH21. In all, there are six different movements available, two case-types (stainless steel and titanium), four straps (leather, nato, rubber, and a steel bracelet), two sizes (38mm and 43mm), and a number of dial and bezel colour options. Inevitably, the price range is fairly wide – running from £350-£1,815 – but at each level you’re getting an incredible amount of watch for your money.
Malvern Power Reserve, with plenty of cool, rugged dive watch DNA. With the MkIII, it will be fascinating to see where this combination of influences goes. In the meantime, though, we’ve got what’s almost a Trident MkII.2 version, the watch getting a new look – and a new lease on life – since the introduction of the current Christopher Ward logo to the dial at the beginning of 2017. “As with all watches we’ve added the new logo to,” says Mike, “sales have spiked, which is amazing considering the Trident sold very well in the first place. For such a masculine piece, the Trident has always had a strong female following, and if anything the new look seems to have widened its appeal greatly.” This spring also sees the addition of a brand new version to the range, albeit in limited edition form. Just 316 examples of the C60 Trident 316L Limited Edition will be made, the name coming from 316L steel, the extremely tough variety with an ultra-high
Of course, at some point in the future – the smart money is on 2018 or 2019 – there will be another complete overhaul of the Trident range, with a new case and what’s bound to be a fascinating reiteration of the core Trident values, combining the distinctive new Christopher Ward look, as pioneered by watches like the C1 Grand
manganese content, optimised for applications where pressure resistance is crucial. This is used for the bezel, instead of ceramic or aluminium, and the watch has a distinctive bright orange face. Orange is a classic dive watch colour that’s not been seen on a Trident since its very earliest years, as it’s particularly hard to match in ceramic; thanks to the use of 316L steel, though, we finally get to see one of the most striking iterations of the Trident yet. Indeed, if there’s a cooler watch to be seen with this summer, we’re finding it hard to think what it might be… For more, christopherward.co.uk
The Lighting Brigade
For Viewpoint, shooting watches has been a steep but happy learning curve Pete Canning of Viewpoint Photography & Film is pushing the boundaries with what you can do with watch photography. “The first big breakthrough we had,” says Pete, “was presenting the watches against a black background. It makes for a stylish and modern feel. Now, though, I really like the idea of introducing movement into what can, by their nature, be quite static images. Pictures like those of the orange Trident in this issue are our first steps along this more dynamic path. I’m now thinking about interesting, stylish textures we can use for future issues: iron filings, perhaps?” Here, CW’s Fraser Palfreyman (right) and Hello Communication’s designer Sam Burn (centre) direct this issue’s cover shoot. Pete generally uses a Phase One Pro Photo camera system – “it’s around £30,000 of kit,” he says – and likes to work on a Saturday, after the CW team have explained exactly what’s needed. “I find,” Pete says, “that when we know exactly what we want, but there’s nobody about, I can really get in the zone.” For more, viewpoint-photography.co.uk 31
It takes two Behind every great man there’s a great woman, they used to say. Except in many Power Couples, where she’s in front of him…
Showbiz has regularly been home to the Power Couple, of course – from Sonny and Cher to Kanye and Kim, Moss and Depp to McGraw and McQueen – but, sadly, there’s room for few such impermanent liaisons here. The Power Couples that matter aren’t just famous or successful for a moment in time, you see, but need to echo down the years too. These pairings crops up throughout human history – and in spheres ranging from art to science, music to politics – and the great ones all have one thing in common: a sort of desperate mutual dependancy at their heart. Here are some of the most interesting and influential, in historical order…
Caesar & Cleopatra Twin rulers of the ancient world Together: 48BC-44BC
Victoria & Albert The power behind the throne Together: 1839-1861
Pierre & Marie Three-time Nobel Prize winners, between them Together: 1895-1906
Sartre & de Beauvoir Rebels with many causes Together: 1929-1980
Cleo was part of two immense power couples, for before her doomed relationship with Mark Anthony – made famous by Shakespeare – there was a yet more vital liaison with Julius Caesar, and it was her romance with him that cemented her power. Cleopatra had been Egyptian queen from 51BC, and when Rome invaded she quickly seduced its leader as a way of staying on top; it worked, and she ruled until 30BC, outliving Caesar (assassinated in 44BC) and only then hooking up with Rome’s top warrior, Anthony. After Anthony lost the Battle of Actium to Caesar Augustus, he killed himself – and Cleo, apparently seeing no-one new to seduce, soon did likewise, thanks to a famous asp.
Britain’s 18-year-old queen could have been a disaster, but she ruled for 67 years, a period of huge industrial, cultural, scientific, and military success for the UK and its ever-growing Empire. Through it all she was held together by a loving marriage to her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, their nine children marrying into royal families across the continent and giving Victoria the title ‘Grandmother of Europe’. Albert became a vital political advisor, and though there were rows – one over a governess was particularly fierce – the pair remained devoted to each other; on his death of typhoid fever, Victoria was devastated, her popularity waning only in her later years as a near recluse.
Many Power Couples are celebrated for their skill at self-promotion. Not so, however, Pierre and Marie Curie, a serious-minded pair – he was first drawn to her, not for her looks or shining personality, but for her thirst for science – whose eleven-year marriage delivered little drama. It did, however, see the discovery of the elements radium and plutonium, the pair’s pioneering work in radiology winning them a joint Nobel Prize in 1903. (Eight years later Marie got another one, following Pierre’s death in a road accident, this time in Chemistry.) Somehow, amongst all this, they found time to have children and both they and, later, their grandchildren became celebrated scientists, too.
French existentialists JeanPaul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir slept together, sure, in a lifelong open relationship, but never married, and never lived together or had children. Most importantly, they supported and influenced each other intellectually, reading and editing each other’s work – his philosophy and plays, her novels and feminist theory – and creating ideas together. Their lives were nothing if not scandalous – de Beauvoir would often seduce teenage female students, then pass them on to Sartre – and though she’s the mother of the modern women’s movement, and he’s the chief populariser of Existentialism, their radical departure from convention still takes the breath away now.
Diego & Frida Once upon a time in Mexico Together: 1928-1954
Eva & Juan Perón Argentina’s famous golden couple Together: 1944-1953
Miller & Monroe He gives her class, she gives him sex Together: 1956-1961
Burton & Taylor Addicted to alcohol, and each other Together: 1964-1976
Yves & Pierre Together, one of the greatest names in fashion Together: 1961-1976
Plenty of Power Couples are hopelessly self-destructive, and few more so than Mexico’s most troubled, theatrical painters. Diego Rivera was 20 years Frida Kahlo’s senior, already a famous artist, constantly drunk and hopelessly overweight; Frida’s mother, unimpressed, described their marriage as one between “an elephant and a dove”. Following their divorce, the pair remained friendly, and soon remarried, a less intense arrangement in which both enjoyed lengthy affairs. But ailments bedevilled her, and she finally died, age 47; somehow, Diego outlived her by three years. Frida once said, “I have suffered two grave accidents in my life, one in which a streetcar knocked me down. The other accident is Diego.”
When young actress Eva ‘Evita’ Duarte met Colonel Juan Perón at a 1944 charity do, sparks flew; they left the event together at two in the morning, and married soon after. Two years later Juan was elected President of Argentina, and Eva was right alongside him, founding the country’s first major political party for women, championing women’s suffrage, starting up charities and running the Ministries of Labour and Health – indeed, at one point it almost looked like she’d be elected Vice President herself. When she died of ill-health in 1952, the public grief – she’d long been regarded as ‘The Spiritual Leader of the Nation’, an official title she was actually given in 1952 – was unprecedented.
When acclaimed playwright Arthur Miller – he of Death of a Salesman – married archetypal ‘dumb blonde’ actress Marilyn Monroe, tongues started wagging: what could he, beyond the obvious, see in her? In 1956 Miller left his first wife for Marilyn, and it seems he was good for her – both his parents and his children adored her. It looked like they’d both found a soulmate, but during the making of a film, The Misfits, things started to fall apart. They divorced just before the premier in 1961, and 19 months later Monroe was dead. Many thought she’d married him so his intellect would rub off on her, but playwright Tom Stoppard saw thing differently to most: “He had as much sex appeal as she did. Hers photographed better.”
Some couples are rarely out of the news, and so it was with mighty talent – and relentless wastrel – Richard Burton and his second wife, Elizabeth Taylor. He was nominated for acting Oscars seven times, but never won; she was his wife (twice, and consecutively), and an even bigger movie star. In the end, she would marry eight times, he five, and they’d star in 11 films together, along the way contributing genius (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) and trash (The Comedians) to popular culture, and defining the modern cult of the celebrity. They spawned a cottage industry of speculation on the state of their union, and struggled with a shared booze-hound nature constantly. Their personas ate them alive.
There are gay Power Couples as well as straight – the great Rudolf Nureyev and the also-great ballet dancer Erik Bruhn spring to mind – but perhaps the most mutually dependent Power Couple were jet set fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his long term partner Pierre Bergé. YSL helped redefine 20th century fashion, bringing prêt-à-porter (ready-to-wear) fashion to the fore, but it was Bergé’s business nouse that made it possible; when they split as a couple in 1976 they kept their working relationship and friendship going, and just a few days before YSL died in 2008, they were reunited in a same-sex civil union. At Yves’ funeral, Bergé said, “The divorce was inevitable but the love never stopped.”
Ted & Sylvia Poetry’s saddest love story Together: 1956-1963
Mao & Madame Mao Leading lights of the Cultural Revolution Together: 1938-1976
Bill & Hillary Loved and loathed in equal measure Together: 1971-ongoing
Posh & Becks Celebrity’s most grounded superstars Together: 1997-ongoing
Beyoncé & Jay Z Hollywood’s top earning couple Together: 2002-ongoing
Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath were poets at the top of their game: Yorkshire’s hawk-nosed Poet Laureate wrote of the beauty and violence of the animal world, while Massachusetts’ fragile genius pioneered confessional poetry, her work revolving around painfully dark descriptions of mental illness. In life she played second fiddle to him, but in death – she committed suicide in February 1963, the couple having been separated for six months or so – her fame soared, and she outstripped him. Hughes became a villain in many eyes, but really, what did anyone expect? These were two intense, serious artists, and everything they wrote must have been like a dagger to the heart of the other.
Mao Zedong was, of course, the top Chinese communist revolutionary, and founding father of the People’s Republic of China. ‘Madame Mao’, as the West knew her – really actress Jiang Qing, the last of Chairman Mao’s four wives – was a leading figure in the Chinese Communist Party and the Cultural Revolution, and founder of the so-called ‘Gang of Four’. But following Mao’s death in 1976, the slope for her became steep and slippery indeed, and within a month she was arrested and accused of being a counter-revolutionary. Her death sentence, later commuted to life imprisonment, ended with suicide in 1991 – she’d “saved enough handkerchiefs and socks to make a rope.”
When Bill Clinton was President of the United States from 1993-2001, his wife Hillary redefined the role of First Lady, being a formidable independent force, campaigning powerfully for causes like US healthcare reform. Later, she would herself become a Big Dog of the Democratic Party, serving as a US Senator and holding the post of Secretary of State from 2009-13. Her own tilt at the Presidency ended in failure, but her achievements are undeniable. “The thing [Bill Clinton] lacks is discipline,” wrote one White House insider, “both in his personal life and his intellectual or decision-making life, unless he’s rescued by somebody. I think for a good part of his career, he was probably rescued by Hillary.”
She was the worst singer and dancer in the Spice Girls, and he was a slow-running footballer who happened to be a genius at the cross and the free kick. Together, though, they’ve been the UK’s most enduring celebrity couple for two decades, venturing into modelling, books, TV shows, fragrances, charitable and political work and – notably – fashion design. With a joint wealth estimated at over £500m, four children, and – by celebrity standards – a rock-solid marriage, it’s their boring normalcy that makes them so appealing. “My wife picked me out of a soccer sticker book,” he once wrote. “And I chose her off the telly. It felt straight away like we’d always been meant to be together.”
How many times have people predicted this pair’s crash-and-burn? Yet the unlikely showbiz marriage between Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, 22 Grammy-winning R&B superstar, and Shawn Corey ‘Jay Z’ Carter, similarly gonged rapper and businessman, continues to roll along, aided – no doubt – by the remarkable ongoing success of both parties. So is this true love, or just a commercial freight train no-one wants to knock the wheels off? Neither party talks of their relationship at length, fuelling speculation, so insights often come though song lyrics like those to Jay Z’s ‘Glory’, detailing his (now again pregnant – with twins!) wife’s miscarriage, and the eventual birth of their daughter.
Special delivery Few things show the world your commitment to a group or a cause like Christopher Ward’s bespoke watches. We caught up with Richard Dalziel, Head of Finance and Corporate, to find out more…
When you’re a big fan of something – let’s just imagine it’s a ’40s warplane, say, or a classic ’50s racing car – there are plenty of ways you can show your love, but one of the coolest is through what you wear on your wrist. Enter, perhaps, a limited edition watch such as one of Christopher Ward’s TMB Art Metal collaborations. But if you want to prove your allegiance to something yet more specific; a project, a company, a club, or a military unit, your options are more limited. Or they were before the advent of Christopher Ward’s Corporate Services, headed by Richard Dalziel. Through this, you can get limited edition runs of popular Christopher Ward models made for you and your colleagues or team members, complete with bespoke dials and back plates. Richard has two roles at CW: he’s Head of Finance, and also runs Corporate Services. “We’d discussed the idea of a Corporate offering since the very early days of the company,” says Richard, “but nothing happened until a few years later, when a customer who was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force got in touch. He wanted to know if it was possible to purchase a bespoke watch for his CF-18 Hornet fighter
that? Primarily because when we order the dials and plan the watch assembly, there’s minimum production requirement we work towards. This is why we’re not able to offer one-off watches to individuals, and why military units have become such relevant customer group. They’re more likely than – say – a golf club to have the group loyalty to be able to get 50 people together who are keen on the idea.
squadron, which we prepared. We were then contacted by 815 Naval Air Squadron, who wanted their own bespoke watch. These were our first Corporate watches, and by 2008 we were taking them seriously as part of the business plan.” Right now, military watches – mostly British, but not exclusively – are Corporate Services’ largest customer group, but there is growing interest from enthusiasts’ clubs, and private companies too. Richard, what rules do you have when taking on a corporate order? There aren’t too many, beyond the fact that we need to achieve a minimum order of 50 units of any one watch design. Why’s
So, you’re mostly dealing with the same sort of guys that you started with? The spread is now more worldwide, as we’re starting to develop designs for US and Australian squadrons. Of the three primary Services, we gain more interest from the Army and Air Force. We get less from Royal Navy surface fleet personnel, which we believe is because they rotate from ship to ship. Without the same loyalty to a single vessel, it makes it much trickier to develop a bespoke design to interest a big group. In terms of companies and clubs, the enquiries are really varied. It could be for business anniversaries, corporate gifts, or simply private enthusiasts’ clubs. Which models of watch do they pick? The C60 Trident series is our most popular corporate watch, especially with the Army
and Navy, followed by the C7 Motorsport and C8 Aviation ranges. We can adapt both automatic and quartz watches, and always aim to develop a design that is affordable for everyone within the specific organisation. We usually produce between 50-75 watches per design, although we’ve exceeded this with many projects. In terms of adaptation, we tend to bespoke the watch dial and the backplate. On the dial, we try to incorporate a crest, logo or image that encapsulates the commission. The challenge is to communicate the group’s uniqueness through the watch, but keep the design simple and clean. We are not limited to the colour of our standard dials, so will use any relevant Pantone to reflect the customer’s organisation. For the backplates we can laser etch an image, serial number and personal details.
Who decides what goes on each watch? The design phase is completed free of charge, working with the person co-ordinating the order. One piece of advice I often give is not to design their watch by committee – if this starts to happen, there are usually too many contrasting ideas. Typically, we find the cleaner the dial, the better the design. (A full dial is only the size of a two-pound coin, after all.) We’ll design a handful of draft options which we’ll send across as a PDF. We’ll then take feedback, and rework the design accordingly and resubmit. Since our Senior Designer, Adrian Buchmann, works on each project, it means the design fits with the overall feel of our brand values perfectly. Once the design has been agreed, we’ll help promote the watch to the wider group
by supplying posters, flyers or PDFs. This is where the group are now able to start building their order. In terms of price point, we charge £60 per unit plus RRP. We find this helps to keep things clear. When a group has achieved the required 50 pre-orders, we can begin the physical sampling process. We do ask for a £100 deposit for each watch pre-ordered, and I keep in regular contact with the person co-ordinating the order. At any one time, there could be 20-30 different projects under way, all at different stages. How long will it take to deliver a series? I usually say that it takes six months from the point the order is placed and deposits paid – so, from our initial conversation, it can be around nine months.
“Many people go for the classic black dial, but specific colours can look fantastic too”
So, tell us about a few specific projects. Many people go for the classic black dial, but specific colours – like darker blues for some RAF projects, grey for the Harrier watch, or olive green for an Army design – can look fantastic too. We’ve recently completed a lovely white dial design for the RAF Medical Services. Others include watches for the Port of Liverpool Pilotage Service, celebrating their 250th Anniversary, and one for the Lotus Seven Club, as well as two separate series for the Historic Racing Drivers’ Club.
personal connection and relationship with our customers, and we constantly hear that they like that we can offer such a service at a reasonable and transparent price. The way that we individually select the watches means that virtually everyone in an organisation could afford one if they want one, not just the guys at the very top. For more, christopherward.co.uk/bespoke, or get in contact with Richard at email@example.com
And what’s the future for you guys? Personally, I think it’s rather fantastic. Historically we’ve tended to rely on word of mouth to attract more customers, but now I believe we have the marketing, design and support structure to take this service to a new level. It requires a
The modernity of Swiss watchmaking blends with retro styling in the C65 Trident Vintage. The ‘glass box’ sapphire crystal recalls the chunky aesthetic of the ’70s, while the ‘Old Radium’ luminescent paint on the hands and dial add all-important visibility. Now available with a stylish DLC finish, the Trident Vintage is a watch that goes back to the future.
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
Charlie’s angels Charlie Sheen’s love of the bad boy lifestyle is legendary; less so, his dedication to amazing watches The troubled, troubling but undeniably charming actor Carlos Irwin Estévez – son of Martin Sheen, brother of Emilio Estevez, and better known by his stage name, Charlie Sheen – has had the strangest of careers, but even that pales next to his yet-more-bizarre personal life. In his early twenties he starred in some of the most celebrated dramatic films of the era – notably Platoon (1986) and Wall Street (1987), shot backto-back by contentious political filmmaker Oliver Stone at the height of his powers – as well as money-making romps like Young Guns (1988). His ’90s were all about comedies – think the Major League films and the Hot Shots! series – and then came TV stardom, in sitcoms like Spin City
and, notably, Two and a Half Men, lightweight work both spoofing and celebrating his naughty boy image. One thing Sheen does seem to take seriously, though, is fine watches. As with many high dollar collectors, Patek Philippe is his brand of choice, and every so often one of his truly remarkable pieces will hit the headlines. In one famous incident, for instance, he accused a female companion of taking a Patek Philippe Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Ref. 5970 – estimated at a cool $175k or so – from the pair’s New York hotel room; in another, one of his first tweets showcased nothing less than a late ’50s Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Ref. 2438/1, which is worth at least $700k. Sheen’s collection is said to be one of the most impressive of any celebrity watch collector. Indeed, his Twitter account was apparently set up for him by the California dealer Robert Maron, and he’s been known to sink the entire fee from a project into a single new watch. Sheen’s rarely met a vice he didn’t like, but of all his addictions, this, we feel, is the healthiest…
Just add water
Dive watches appeal because they speak of a more adventurous life away from the desk. But how do you design one to be both functional and distinctive? It’s a good question, says Adrian Buchmann Dive watches are popular because they’re so great for everyday wear, writes Adrian Buchmann, Christopher Ward’s senior designer. They’re perfect when you’re relaxing on a beach, and serve well in a meeting too. Of course, when you’re talking dive watches the Rolex Submariner looms large, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing, as we have Rolex to thank for opening up the field and making dive watches popular – and with a particularly handsome and functional piece, too. (Since then, other watchmakers have been struggling to improve on what Rolex first did.) And it’s a curse, because everything has to happen in the context of the Sub. You end up with two things constantly in mind: what technological innovations are possible, and how do you respond to the challenges posed by such an iconic design? The important areas will always be legibility, functionality and reliability – and with a dive watch, all three need to be spot on. Beyond these, though, the watchmaker is free to have fun with shape, colours and style. And, as always, design needs to respect function – there is nothing worse than a chronograph that has missing markers, for instance, or a dive watch where you can’t tell the time at first glance. Of course, you could say that the changing use of dive watches – only a small proportion will ever go underwater,
and even fewer will be used as a serious dive tool – means that functional aspects are now less important, to which I’d reply, “Sure, like many a McLaren 720S may never be used seriously on a race track. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important whether one will perform there or not.” Just like the McLaren, a dive watch exists for high performance purposes – so it’s important to push the boundaries with them. It’s just another version of the classic human desire to go further, better, greater. That’s why we design our dive watches with serious professional use in mind, leaving it up to you whether you actually use yours like that or not. As a company, Christopher Ward is dedicated to making well-priced, high-quality professional tools, and it’s vital that each of our products supports that message. And remember, though personal dive computers are amazing pieces of kit – I’ll give you that – a C60 Trident Pro will never run out of battery power… We do so many Tridents now, people often ask me what’s my own personal favourite. I think I’d go for the Titanium Pro 600 Variation #2, and I’d wear mine on a black nylon NATO strap. It’s the lightest Trident, and the one with the strongest lume across the collection – and it’s got full bezel lume too, which is kind of cool at night.
C60 Titanium Pro 600 Variation #2
“There’s something incredibly appealing about owning a piece of precision microengineering”
We make our bezels from three different materials: aluminium on the quartz models, ceramic, and now super-hard steel too. Aluminium is great, as it allows you to play with lots of anodized colours that look good on a brushed or sandblasted finish; the disadvantage, of course, is that it’s not as scratch resistant as ceramic, and doesn’t look good with a polished finish. Ceramic, however, looks amazing with a polished finish and – as it’s made from diamond powder – is so tough that only a diamond can scratch the surface. Manufacturing costs are high, though, and it’s difficult to make it in bright colours – an issue for the entire watch industry – which is why we’re now trying out 316L steel on the limited edition Trident 316L. In many ways, it offers the best of both worlds.
about owning a piece of precision micro-engineering. When tiny mechanical pieces, some of them the size of the micron, are working together, it’s a thing of great fascination – and then there’s the beauty of the finishing too, which brings it all to life. There are parts of the mechanical watchmaking process that can only be done by expert hands, and no machine can replace them. And when the end result can function in incredibly challenging environments – like deep underwater – it seems particularly thrilling to me.
A big question with dive watches is this: how deep do you need to go? Our Trident Pro range is water resistant to 600m, and – realistically – nobody will dive deeper than that. So what, you might ask, is the point of a watch which will go to 1,000m or even 5,000m? In a way, it’s similar to asking about the top speed of the McLaren, or why anyone would bother making a super-accurate mechanical watch movement, when it’ll never be as accurate as an iPhone. I’m not sure I have a totally convincing answer to this, but seems to me there’s something incredibly appealing
Great watch makers
Robert Loomes Stamford, at the very southern corner of Lincolnshire, is home to glorious architecture, a rich history, and Robert Loomes, who is one of Britain’s most dedicated watchmakers
Watch-making means many things to many people, but for Robert Loomes – son of a family steeped in horology, and a keen student of the history of the British industry – what matters is being true to who you are, to where you are, and to the traditions that have put you there. To this end, each Robert Loomes watch is hand-made to order, and every single component contained within was made in England. “I grew up with the family watch and clock business in the Yorkshire Dales,” Robert says. “We lived over the shop, so work was a constant in our daily lives. In time, I became fascinated by the business – not so much the buying and selling of clocks and watches, but the repair and restoration side of things. I spent more and more time in the workshops of other local restorers, learning their skills, and by 1993 my partner, Robina, was certain it was time to start our own restoration company.” And it was from there that the conviction that it should be possible to make their own, very English range of watches came. Why, though, did they end up in Stamford, a very pretty little place on the A1 in Lincolnshire, but hardly the first town you’d think of for, well, anything really? Actually, though, it has a strong engineering heritage – until recently, RAF Wittering here was known as the
‘Home of the Harrier’ – and anyway, says Robert, “It was half way to London from the Dales, and so perfect for business. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a stunning Georgian market town, unharried by history.” Anyway, not being near any sort of watch industry seems to suit Robert. “We don’t spend much time pondering over the state of watchmaking,” he says, “at least in terms of what other companies are doing. When Robina took over as managing director here, back in 2010, she was determined to help make sure that, ‘If the 20th century was all about globalisation, then the 21st will be about localisation.’ And that’s the way we think.” Part of what this means is that the company insists on designing and making everything from scratch. “In fact,” said Robert, “we’ve developed a complete siege mentality, which has removed us from the tyranny of traditional design and thinking. Our first watch beat at 18035.2 beats per hour, for instance, just to prove that we could do anything we wanted.” Tell us about the company as it stands, then, Robert. What would greet us if we came to visit? First you’d see our 16th century workshops, which overlook the River Welland, and the town bridge. We’re spread over
four floors, with the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machinery on the lower ground floor, near our workshops. Other workshops are on the middle level, and the top floor is home to our two artists – one is a fine artist, and the other a graphic artist. This floor is where we make and restore dials, fire enamel, and design new creations. We currently have a staff of 13, nine of whom are highly experienced masters of their trade.
“We’ve ended up with an outstanding team of technicians, each of whom works to the very highest of standards”
And how many watches do you all make? Across all models, around 100 watches a year. As we are a micro-workshop, most of our team of watchmakers are involved in making each individual watch. And when we make the entirely British Loomes Stamford Original, at least nine of us have a role in each one’s creation. As a company we expand slowly, and invest heavily – in people, in plant and in knowledge. We’ve ended up with an outstanding team of technicians, each of whom works to the very highest of standards. Staff regularly work with universities and associated organisations, in order to stay absolutely up-to-date with materials and techniques. What is it about watchmaking that you enjoy most? Watchmaking is creation. And good fun! I most respect people who have a good understanding of the science
Great watch makers
of it. A couple of our staff are working towards their final BHI Membership examinations, and although it was once possible to get Membership just by being a good repairer, these days it’s a more holistic education. Any qualified BHI Member could make a clock or watch from scratch – you are taught how to design and make every component.
are machined from solid blocks of metal, with the dial feet integral to the dial. It’s a slow process – and wasteful of time, tooling and materials – but the final product is much better. The Loomes Stamford Original is not shock-proofed, but we do use short pivots and our own custom-made jewelling. It requires incredible precision of assembly, which takes time, but the end product is an extraordinarily robust watch. It was my mother, actually, who taught me about metallurgy. She was originally a chemist in the Sheffield stainless steel industry, boiling up alloys in the lab. Our watchmaking is very detail-focussed; we know what the materials are made of, and how they can and will behave, before we consider designing or drawing components.
What is it that impresses you most about a watch? It takes proper watchmakers to understand jewelling, and I still lust after Christopher Ward’s automatic jewelling machinery. I am less impressed by fancy material choices, however. Working for several years with Leicester University on lubrication, we looked at things like sapphire or carbon fibre plates, and many other ‘solutions’. None of the results impressed us much, and, in the end, we chose to work with traditional metals for watchmaking. Though complicated movements impress me, I can’t be doing with complicated dials and displays. Neither am I much taken with jewel-encrusted symbols of ostentation.
What sort of people do your watches appeal to? If there is an archetypal Loomes customer, then it is a self-made British business type, someone who appreciates what we do. A surprising number are Brits – or second generation migrants, living overseas – and over 90 percent have actually visited the workshops in person. One chap flew over from New York, just to see us; he said it was a rather expensive trip, but well worth it. Once he had witnessed our watchmaking first hand, he bought a watch. For me, the Stamford Original has to be the pinnacle of
And if we were to look at one of your watches up close, what would we see? There are so many unique element to a Loomes watch, the most immediate and best known of which are probably our dials. Unlike those of any other firm, ours
“Our watch-making is very detail-focussed: we know how each material will behave before ever designing a component” our watchmaking career so far. After all, it’s given us the opportunity to design everything – from jewels to train counts, including balance wheel mass and diameter, spring forming, making wheels and pinions – rather than buying components in. It excites me every day. Only this week, we tweaked the design of our escape wheel to lighten it. It’s a tiny change, and one which only another watchmaker might appreciate.
The barrel is deliberately large, not for long duration – which seems a pointless thing to me in a watch – but because a greater number of teeth over a larger diameter results in a smoother transference of power from the barrel to the centre wheel. Finally, what might surprise people about what you do, and how you do it? When we set out to make an all-British product, it meant every single component had to be British. The L-shaped nylon gaskets in the case are a perfect example. We could buy these, like every other watchmaker does, with each one stamped out for a fraction of a penny in the Far East. But we don’t. Instead, ours are precision turned, by hand, from P6 Nylon. They’re vastly more expensive, but they’re properly British made. The only place you can buy Loomes watches is from the workshops in Stamford. We encourage all our prospective watch owners to take the opportunity to come along and see what goes on here, and witness the craft required to create each timepiece.
Tell us about your movements: the new old stock Smiths movements you use, and how you source and modify those, and then your new English movement. The Smiths movements were a fast route to making an entirely British-made watch. However, being decades old, each one needs days and days of work. We increase the jewel count, and re-position jewels with greater precision. We fit our own 21st century mainsprings and stems. The plates are polished and engraved, then the whole movement is re-built for our hand-built watch. The Stamford Original is a similar movement, with the wheels sitting in roughly the same place as they do in an original Smiths watch. In fact, though, the two watches differ wildly. The Stamford Original uses our own, very different, winding mechanism. The wheels and pinions are our own design, with modified 21st century tooth profiles.
For more, robertloomes.com
Diff’rent strokes The world don’t move to beat of just one drum, says Johannes Jahnke, and what might be right for Christopher Ward may not be right for some The way we manufacture our in-house Calibre SH21 movement, writes Johannes Jahnke, Christopher Ward’s technical director, is slightly different to the traditional way of working, as used by most of the Swiss watch industry. Today, many watch manufacturers try to do everything themselves, which has its good and bad points. It certainly gives you additional flexibility, but it costs you more, too – your expensive production-line machinery will tend to be doing smaller runs, and then will need to be reset for each different process, which costs you in time and effort. And, because you’re changing things all the time, there’s an additional – if rather more vague – pressure on you to keep bang up to date with the latest ideas and technology. To keep a mechanical watch movement reasonably affordable, then, you really are best off following the old ways: buy in your parts from specialised suppliers, and keep making the very same movement again and again. This is a relatively cheap and efficient way to work, but it’s arguably unexciting and undeniably unwieldy, too – and tends to demand that you plan everything at least 12, and quite possibly 24, months in advance. That’s fine for some watch-makers, you might think, but not so for Christopher Ward, where we tend to value flexibility incredibly highly, making only small batches of
some versions of SH21, and often producing them ‘just in time’ for the completed watch to be put together. But what if you could combine the best of both worlds? That, certainly, is what we’ve been trying to do of late, working with large suppliers for the pieces of the movement that we use all the time, and are common to all versions of SH21, and then going to smaller, independent suppliers for the more unusual, rarely used parts. Want an example? Then take the main plates for SH21, which – except for their colour – are exactly the same in every version off the movement. With these, we’ve found it best to order in a large quantity of main plates without any galvanic process applied to them at all, allowing us to later on decide which will be gold-plated, which will be rhodium-plated, and so on. And with the bridges – which are highly individual – we do something similar. One way to manage the bridges would be to find a very flexible supplier and then to order each type of bridge in very small quantities – that could work, but it would be expensive. It’s far better, we find, to have a larger batch made with a generic shape – and, again, with no galvanic treatment – which can then be modified in-house for our purposes. After all, though the bridges can look very
For one thing, the galvanic treatment must be done before any steel parts are pressed in, and although the holes are always similar in position and size, we don’t use the exact same number. (Think of the power reserve versions, which have four extra stones.) The wheel bridge is similar for all versions too, but not exactly the same; the engraving of the jewel number changes, for instance. In order to maintain the flexibility we need while saving as much time as possible, we’ve decided the best thing to do is to set the stones and pins in-house. To help with this, we’ve bought a complex vertical press, which we use to set the stones first, then make any engraving later. Throughout the process, the way we work defines the order in which we do things. For instance, we assemble the stones before we cut out the outside contour of the bridge, a job that’s handled by a highly specialised external supplier and comes very late in the process. Because this supplier is so flexible, we can send them 500 very similar movements, then – at the last minute – specify what we need doing. So from that 500 we might decide that half of them will be for C1 models, and half for C8s, and that we need – I don’t know – 85 pieces in black and cut for a C8 Power Reserve. This turns out to be much cheaper and more efficient than just asking for 85 black C8 Power Reserve bridges as an individual order.
different when in situ in each watch, they have more in common than might be immediately apparent: they’re the same size and thickness, after all, with largely the same holes. As long as we have some that are suitable for the hand-wound version of the movement, and others for the automatic version, we’re fine; we just keep them until we’re sure which model we’ll be building next. Or take another process, and the one that typically comes next in the manufacture of a movement: the stone and pin setting. This is done by pressing and riveting, and normally you could order the pieces in with stones and pins already attached. This, however, doesn’t really work for us.
21 hours 45 minutes Swimming the English Channel seemed an impossible task, until handsome Shropshire sailor Matthew Webb slapped on the porpoise fat, and set off from Dover Did anyone swim the English Channel before Matthew Webb? If so, they left no record of it. His Dover to Calais crossing, on August 25, 1875, was far from plain sailing, though. His initial attempt, a couple of weeks earlier on August 12, had been abandoned thanks to high winds and rough seas, and his second started off badly, as jellyfish stung him through the porpoise-oil coating he’d used to keep warm, and the currents around Cap Gris Nez – the grey cliffs that mark the closest point in France to England – were so strong they kept him from reaching the French shore for hours, his eventual wade ashore at Calais being greeted by a rousing rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’ from the passengers and crew of a British mailship that happened to be there. Webb’s zig-zag course had stretched the as-the-seagull-flies distance of 20 miles to almost 40, taking him almost 22 hours; by contrast, the quickest swimmers now do it in under seven.
Webb was a doctor’s son from Shropshire, who’d joined the merchant navy and worked as a second mate for the Cunard Line. He’d first come into the public eye when a man fell from his ship, Russia, in the mid-Atlantic, and he’d dived overboard to try and save him. The man was never found, but Webb survived, winning the first Stanhope Medal – presented every year by the Royal Humane Society for courageous feats of lifesaving – and becoming a national hero. Later on, Webb became captain of his own ship, and in 1873 read of a failed attempt by one J.B. Johnson to swim the Channel. Could he do it where Johnson had failed? Webb trained in the Thames, Hollingworth Lake, Lambeth Baths and the Channel itself, before diving into the water by Admiralty Pier. He’d soon be a national hero once again. No fool, Webb went on to make a good living as a professional swimmer, merchandising himself quite aggressively
for the time – a famous brand of Bryant and May matches was even named after him, though posthumously – and putting on exhibitions, like the time he floated in a tank of water for 128 hours, or the socalled ‘World Championship Race’ held against an American champion swimmer, Paul Boyton, at Nantasket Beach, Mass. (Webb won.). And it was upping the ante with stunts like this that was to kill him, an 1883 swim though the Whirlpool Rapids below the Niagara Falls – regarded by many as suicidal – proving predictably fatal, his head getting battered against submerged rocks. Webb had learned to swim in the River Severn at Coalbrookdale, and remains a hero, particularly in his native Shropshire. Indeed, John Betjeman’s famous 1940 poem, ‘A Shropshire Lad’, celebrates his life, and imagines his ghost swimming back home along the canal to his birthplace in Dawley.
A watch made for travellers, thanks to its 24-hour fourth hand, the C60 Trident Pro 600 GMT keeps time in two global timezones. Waterproof to 600m, and with a re-engineered machine-grade, stainless steel case and scratch-resistant ceramic bezel, itâ€™ll function as perfectly in the boardroom as it will at 35,000 feet.
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Discover the new breed of watchmaker