Loupe. The Magazine of Christopher Ward. Issue 06. Autumn 2017
Fast times The new, high octane C7 Rapide Collection
A watch with a truly global perspective, the C8 UTC Worldtimer tells the time in three timezones at once. Designed in England and built at our atelier in Switzerland, its self-winding ETA 2893-2 movement boasts a power reserve of 42 hours.
Born to race
The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
The first mechanical wrist watch I ever bought – the first fancy one, anyway – was a motoring watch, and I’m hardly unusual in that. Given the long-established link between a love of fast cars and an admiration for fine wristwatches, many of us have got into watches this way. (And yes, as it happens, my first watch was the one that shares a name with one of the world’s great sports cars.) I know the co-founders of Christopher Ward are also quite the car lovers, so it’s perhaps surprising that it’s taken until now for the motoring range to acquire the unified status of the C60 Trident and C8 collections. The wait, however, has been more than worth it, as the new C7 Rapide Collection is quite stunning. We’ve the full story this issue.
For the last two years we’ve been the Official Timing Partner of the Motor Sport Hall of Fame, and have been lucky enough to attend the glittering dinner at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park mansion, where famous names from the sport are inducted. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of Nigel Mansell, Jackie Stewart and Ron Dennis is always a special thrill and privilege, but this year turned out to be that little bit extra special. We decided to showcase our new motorsport watches, the C7 Rapide Collection – the first time they had been seen out in the wild – and, happily, the cognoscenti of the world of motorsport loved them. We would like to think they got the motorsport styling cues and sophisticated engineering involved in the designs, but that they understood they were looking at something special was more than enough for us. And now its time to present the new C7 Rapide Collection to the rest of the world. And then wait, and hope for a similar reaction.
One, two, three, four, five red lights. Delay. Lights out. GO!
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Damon Charles
Chris, Mike and Peter
Cover: C7 Rapide Chronograph COSC Limited Edition 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 14 – 21
32 – 37
Made in Chelsea
Christopher Ward’s motorsport watch range turns a bold new corner with the launch of the C7 Rapide Collection
22 – 27
The Conversation: Alwynne Gwylt
What goes into a RHS Chelsea Flower Show show garden? Rather more time and effort – and money – than you might think…
38 – 41
Warbird To recognise the upcoming 100th anniversary of the RAF comes a new CW/ TMB Art Metal collaboration, each piece containing actual metal from a vital WWII fighter…
Women and whisky have rarely been linked in the public mind, but people like Alwynne Gwylt – celebrated blogger and brand ambassador for The Balvenie – are changing all that…
42 – 45
Racing lines 14 — 21
It‘s in the game Video games are a huge (and growing) industry and – some say – our newest artform. Here’s how they got that way…
Whisky girl 22 — 27
Regulars 07 – 10
The Brief Christopher Ward goes vintage over the next six months, with a gorgeous bronze iteration of the C60 Trident, and a new Vintage Diver. Plus: we sponsor an award, and win one too…
12 – 13
28 – 31
Forty eight Both keen pilot Rory McCall and dedicated watch-fan (and Olympian) Will Satch try the new C8 Flyer for the weekend
47 – 50
What we do, and how we do it. Frank Stelzer, CW chronograph expert, talks this most useful of complications; and we celebrate one of the world’s great watch wearers and its most celebrated female pilot
Top designer Marc Newson and his beautifully old-fashioned way to record time…
Their finest hour 38 — 41
The C60 Trident Titanium Pro 600 is a watch with serious technical credentials. The titanium used in its case has the highest strength-todensity ratio of any metal, and is capable of being submerged to depths of 600m. This Variation #1 model boasts a matte grey dial and ceramic bezel, providing a stealthy aesthetic to partner its Swiss-made movement inside.
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
News, reports & innovations. This issue: new old school watches, and awards galore
Down down deeper and down To celebrate the success of the modern dive watch, a new Vintage Diver surfaces next spring Next year it will be 65 years since the ‘nageurs de combat’ of the French military’s elite diver unit received the first dive watch with a rotating bezel from a then-tiny Swiss watch manufacturer, Blancpain. The watch was water resistant to 91 metres, but was named for the equivalent depth in fathoms – Fifty Fathoms – and an icon was born.
Christopher Ward has now used this, the first proper modern dive watch, as inspiration for its own unique 1950s-flavoured take on the genre. The C65 Trident Vintage Diver will be powered by a handwound mechanical movement, and will be on sale in early 2018.
Watch and learn Supporting the future of British watchmaking Yes, Christopher Ward’s watch-making atelier is in Switzerland – as that’s still where the world’s best horological talent lives. But the company is also committed to supporting the renaissance of British watchmaking, in part by contributing to the ongoing development of horological skill in this country. “We do this by inviting young upand-coming British watchmakers for internships at our Maidenhead HQ,” says
Chris Ward, one of the company’s three co-founders, “and by giving awards and guidance to Birmingham City University School of Jewellery’s Horology BA students. Indeed, along with QC Manager Andrew Henry, I attended this year’s awards in June, and we were pleased to be able to hand Samantha McAteer-Moreau [pictured] an Outstanding Achievement Award for technical innovation.” Read more at christopherward.co.uk/blog
Magic pencils Twin-flags logo takes a D&AD Pencil Award
Since 1962, many of the best known designers and art directors in the creative industries – including the likes of David Bailey and Terence Donovan – have been celebrating creative communication, and helping raise standards within their industry, through a group called D&AD, for ‘Design & Art Direction’. This year one of their coveted Pencil Awards was awarded to Christopher Ward’s twin-flag logo, which represents both the Swiss and the English halves of the company brand identity. “The whole team, as well as our creative partners over at Hello Communications, were particularly proud when the logo scored a D&AD pencil back in May,” says co-founder Peter Ellis. For more, visit 01134.co.uk or dandad.org
Sammi Kinghorn becomes World Champion in her sport
Times have been very exciting for the Christopher Ward Challengers of late, with all the athletes supported becoming recognised as the best in their fields. The latest is Scottish wheelchair racer Sammi Kinghorn, who recently became T53 200m World Champion at the World ParaAthletics Championships in London, breaking the world record in doing so. She then added a second gold in T53 100m, and a bronze in the 400m. “To celebrate, we plan to present Sammi with one of our new C60 Trident Chronometers,” says CW co-founder Mike France, “specially engraved with her world record race time on the case back.”
Follow Sammi on Twitter @Sam_Kinghorn
Single Pusher flies higher The latest CW pilot’s watch takes unexpected inspiration… When Philp Whiteman, editor of Pilot Magazine, first showed CW’s Mike France a broken Junghans aviation clock of WWII vintage, he never imagined it would inspire a new version of CW’s legendary single pusher chronograph – but that’s exactly what happened. Indeed, this year a special
100-piece limited edition C9 Flieger SPC takes its place in the Aviation Collection. (Oh, and Mike arranged for Philip’s clock to be repaired as well!) C9 Flieger Single Pusher Chronograph Limited Edition; out Nov from £2,450
Bronze age The hardest metal known to the ancient Egyptians, bronze saw a revival in the 19th century shipping industry, prior to the arrival of stainless steel. Its use in watches is rare, but rarely less than breathtaking… Later this year, the Christopher Ward Trident collection will see the introduction of a bronze version for the very first time. Bronze, used for centuries to make ship fittings and seafaring equipment, ranging from cleats to portlights, is an alloy that contains plenty of copper, which oxidises when exposed to air – thus creating a vintage-like patina that makes each individual watch unique. The new bronze Trident is due for release in November, and is expected to cost £795. 9
Design matters Here’s Duncan Moss, Christopher Ward’s in-house Web Manager, and one of the graphic design talents behind a magazine you may have heard of. (No, not this one) Tell us about you, Duncan. I was born in London, but lived around the world as a child – Nigeria, New Zealand, Kuala Lumpur, Australia – and when I graduated from the University of Victoria, NZ, I worked for several small design agencies in that country before moving ‘back’ to the UK in 2000. And when did you start working for Christopher Ward? My wife’s an interior designer, and was working on the CW Maidenhead showroom in 2012 when she noticed they were looking for a graphic designer. I’d been freelancing, but thought this was a perfect opportunity to work in-house for a premium brand. My job title is now Web Manager, and involves both the online and offline marketing side of the business. Its become both more technical and more commercial. I’m responsible for managing and updating the website – both the homepage designs and landing pages – and producing email newsletters, as well as designing brochures, owners’ handbooks, and the advertising for luxury magazines. So, did you always like watches? For as long as I can remember, but I particularly remember the mid-’80s, when the Swatch craze began. This trendy Swissmade quartz watch was very different from the ubiquitous Japanese watches on
Duncan: he’s come far since his first Swatches…
the market at the time, with their colourful designs and affordable price points. Fast-forward a few decades, and in 2004 I was involved in designing a new specialist luxury watch magazine called QP. (The Telegraph Group now owns and produces the magazine, as well as managing the London watch exhibition, SalonQP.) I worked on the initial design of the magazine, and saw it through its first two years. What’s your typical working week like? It usually involves producing creative for the website or email campaigns, and launching new content online. It’s especially exciting helping launch a new watch, and seeing it evolve from an initial idea to the finished product. We’re always striving to improve the user experience, and make our communications and content clearer and more engaging. What models or innovations have excited you lately? The watches I tend to appreciate have simple, clean designs, so for that reason I really like the new Trident Collection – particularly the retro styling of the C65 Trident Vintage – and the C1 Grand Malvern Collection.
They’re robust and uncomplicated designs, with very simple dials – yet there are plenty of dial, strap and bezel colour combinations to appeal to most people. As far as innovations are concerned, the new case design for the C1 collection is really exciting. They’re much more curvaceous and elegant. I particularly like the new C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, which features our own in-house movement, Calibre SH21. The detailing on the new bridge and rotor design is beautiful. It would definitely be my pick if I needed a dress watch. What new model would you most like CW to make next, and why? I would like to see a skeletonised watch. I always like the idea of showing the craftsmanship and technical wizardry hidden inside a watch, and with a skeletonised dial it’s all laid bare. Yes, some of our watches have exhibition windows in the backplate which expose the internal mechanics, but to display components – such as the escapement, hairspring, and barrel – through the dial would be very special.
The descendant of our very first watch, the C5 Malvern Automatic Mk III has undergone its most radical upgrade yet. It boasts a remodelled, slimmer-looking case, while a bespoke Sellita SW200-1 movement rewards those who view it through the watchâ€™s transparent case back. The C5 may have evolved â€“ but it keeps the English DNA so integral to its past successes.
Discover the new breed of watchmaker...
The sands of time
People have been making assorted sand timers since as early as 150BC, but they were never like this…
Not all handmade timekeeping apparatus demands a mainspring, escapement or gear train. Take this incredible creation – the Hourglass, from celebrated Australian designer Marc Newson – which brings unprecedented precision and attention to detail to one of the simplest mechanisms. As with so many great timekeepers, this thing was made in Switzerland – Basel, to be precise – where it was blown from a single piece of borosilicate glass (Pyrex, in other words). Inside: no sand, instead millions of tiny stainless steel spheres called ’nanoballs’, each exactly 0.6 mm in diameter. There are variations, and different editions. The bigger Marc Newson Hourglasses measure out 60 minutes and contain about eight million nanoballs; the smaller ones run for exactly 10 minutes and contain far fewer – 1,249,996, give or take, we’re told. Each nanoball, depending on which version
you’ve got, is seamlessly coated with yellow gold, or perhaps copper, nickel, or black stainless steel. Cost? Well, it depends on the version, but you’re looking at £10,000/$13,000 at least, and perhaps more than twice that. Not a rational purchasing decision, you might say – but you could say the same of a very expensive watch. Instead, think of this as a fun piece, designed to appeal to the heart, not the mind. Part of the joy here is in the sheer craftsmanship on display; part in the way Newson has brought such precision to a simple design; and part in the joy of watching the tiny balls skip and bounce their way down from one chamber to the other when the Hourglass is inverted. Not quite like something solid, but not quite like a liquid either, they’re mesmerising to watch – so
much so, we challenge you to tear your eyes away during their performance. Though these days based in London, Sydneysider Newson has also worked in Tokyo and Paris, won dozens of awards, and created influential pieces for many of the world’s great brands, from Ford to Apple, which he joined in 2014, working alongside friend and collaborator Jony Ive. From 1994-2012, his Ikepod watch company created case and face designs that made most of the Swiss industry seem very backward looking indeed, and while we’re not convinced the Hourglass will go down in history as one of his greatest achievements, for sheer sensual delight it’s very hard to beat… For more, marc-newson.com
C7 Rapide Collection
Born to race Christopher Ward has had success with motoring watches over the years, but never has the range been as attractive or unified as it is with the new C7 Rapide Collection. And itâ€™s alive with innovation too, including the most impressive cases the company has ever madeâ€Ś
This angle shows the C7 Rapideâ€™s innovative lug shape very clearly, with deep indentations in the sides of each one
“Christopher Ward’s motoring watches have never been so focussed, or striking to look at”
Motorsport has long been an enthusiasm of all three Christopher Ward founders, but Mike France is especially smitten. And, as so often, it started with his dad, a Formby chiropodist who – perhaps the surname has something to do with it? – developed a particular obsession with fast Gallic cars. Mike was eight or nine, maybe, when a badly broken Renault Dauphine Gordini (the sports version of Renault’s ’60s VW Beetle equivalent) landed on their drive, and he found himself spending the best part of nine months lying under it, passing his dad spanners, as a full-on restoration kicked in. “He did everything from fixing the seized engine to hand-stitching the upholstery and even – he didn’t have a spray gun – brush-painting it British Racing Green,” Mike says. “It was a great moment when he fired it up and drove it around the block. The neighbours cheered.” The France family’s love of cars continued, moving from Renaults to Citroëns – even now, Mike’s on the look out for a pristine Citroën SM, the sleek Maserati-engined GT of the early ’70s – and, in time, to more expensive British sports cars. Mike’s inevitable Corgi Toys James Bond Aston Martin DB5 model nurtured an Aston Martin obsession which informed the very first Christopher Ward watches. “I remember fellow co-founder Chris Ward and I visiting what’s now the British Motor Museum in Warwickshire – the world’s largest collection of British cars,
and very close to Aston Martin’s Gaydon HQ – when we were first starting the company,” Mike says. “We looked at the dials in the Aston Martins they had there as inspiration for the C3 Malvern Chronograph Mk1. This Aston Martin/British sports car influence has since become part of the mythology of the company – people still comment on it – and helps hammer home just how deep the link between cars and watches goes.” Christopher Ward has produced many motoring watches over the years – perhaps best remembered are the C70 Grand Prix Series Limited Editions, with their bright colours and large numbers in circles at 12, 3 and 9, as well as the various TMB Art Metal collaborations – but the collection has never been as cohesive as it has with, say, the C60 Trident dive watches. That, of course, is about to change. The new C7 Rapide Collection comprises both quartz and automatic mechanical watches, three-hand models and chronographs, following the classic good/better/ best model we’re familiar with from the C60 Tridents and others. That means it’s a pretty compressive collection from launch, building from entry level quartz versions for just under £400 through more expensive quartz chronographs and automatic models to automatic chronographs selling for just over £1,500. There are even a couple of limited quantity special editions in the initial range.
But though it comprises six models from launch, it’s a range with plenty of space to grow, too. Christopher Ward’s motoring offerings have never before been so focussed, so comprehensive, so technically impressive – or so striking to look at. And it all begins with the case. “We’ve been making great strides with our cases over the past couple of years,” says Peter Ellis, another co-founder, “especially with the well-received C1 Grand Malvern case, which inspired the look of the C3 and C5 Malverns. But with the new C7 Rapides, we’re more ambitious than ever before. Adrian Buchmann, our senior designer, was convinced our new motoring range demanded a case with even more dynamism to it than you see in the C1 Grand Malvern. From that came quite an exhausting and involved process – much more than we initially thought it would be, truth be told – that finally resulted in the case you see here. I think it’s actually something of a masterpiece.” “I like cars – who doesn’t? – but I’m not as big a car guy as Mike is,” says Adrian, as he takes up the story. “I know he loves his Aston Martins, but I’m more a classic car guy. I’d rather have a DB5 than a DB11.” For Adrian, there were a lot of important points the new motoring range needed to address: firstly it needed to unify the offering, and it needed to introduce mechanical movements to the mainstream CW motoring collection for
the first time. But, most importantly, it needed to bring a new level of engineering. “The case is the most tactile part of any watch,” Adrian says. “It’s the bit you hold in your hands. I tend to think of designing a watch as like designing a car. Unless everything is totally new, you already know the engine you’ll be using, so what you have to get right is the outside, the basic shape of it. Once you’re happy with that, you can move onto details – like the interior of a car, or the face of the watch. These matter too, but the body comes first.” And with the shape of the new C7 case, Adrian looked to cars: plenty of them, old and new, from ’30s blower Bentleys to the current Lamborghini Huracán. But mostly, he looked at the engineering behind them. One way to make a car go faster is to add power, but another is to lose weight – and modern sport cars are awash with clever materials and weight-saving tricks. So would it be possible for this new case to reference those? From that came the idea that it might be possible to scoop out the lugs – not a little, a lot – for a really technical feel, and to play with colours and materials in quite a radical way. To this end, the C7s have a coloured aluminium ring around the belly
of the case – not unlike a belt – which may be a plain black on many a watch, but could be many colours or textures. The first tranche of watches take great advantage of this, but there’s more to come – and, in the future, anything is possible. “Because of their big numerals and wide batons, these watches have more lume than anything else we do, and really glow in the dark,” says Adrian. “But imagine what they would be like with an entire ring of luminous material around the waist, for example? Such a thing might be possible for some future iteration – and with this as a design feature from the start, it will allow us to have a lot of fun going forward.” Indeed, we’re reminded of the sideblades just behind the door on an Audi R8 supercar, a design feature that can be as subtle or as lairy as you like. “It’s getting that ring to integrate with the case and the lugs properly which makes this case so difficult to create,” says Adrian. “Not to mention that the lugs need to be individually machined, which is expensive. Or that there are numerous different surface finishes used, some polished and some brushed, across the watch. “It all makes it the most expensive and involved case we’ve produced to date, but the reaction has been amazing. Our case
manufacturer also makes cases for many of the most expensive Swiss watch brands, but it’s our watch that he was wearing at the recent Baselworld 2017 event, and was showing off to everybody. We got quite a kick out of that.” There’s a certain design language common to motoring watches that mainly comes from the faces, which tend to be clear and bold, with large numbers and high contrast – think a classic panda (or reverse panda) Heuer Carrera, say, with its strongly contrasting sub-dials. CW had already established its own distinctive look with the C70 Grand Prix series – which put bold circles around big numerals, like the stickers on old racing cars – and Adrian says it was very tempting to apply that look to the new range. In the end, though, this was felt to be a design feature with a rather Marmite appeal – some love it, others not so much – and a more measured approach was taken. The new C7 faces would be bold, sure, but also balanced and restrained. The use of colour can be either strong or subtle. After all, as Adrian says, “British Racing Green was incredibly popular with the C70s, and many people loved the blue and yellow dials too, but when it comes down
to it, black is always the biggest seller for car watches.” Previous Christopher Ward motorsport watches have all been chronographs, but for this range Adrian had to come up with a three-hand iteration too: a simpler job, you might think, but actually in many ways harder, since chronographs – with all those sub-dials – are intrinsically dramatic to look at, to the point where sheer busyness can compensate for any minor design flaws. “With a three-hand watch, in contrast, there’s nowhere to hide,” he says. “The proportions have to be spot on.” And then there’s the logo. These are the first CW watches to carry the twin flags device alone on the face. “We couldn’t fail to notice how the current device not only references the Swiss and English flags, but looks rather like a motor racing chequered flag too,” says Mike. “It seemed natural that this should be the range that carries the logo alone.” And what about what’s inside? Seeing as this a collection with wide appeal, there’s no use of the Calibre SH21 inhouse movement – don’t bet against it in
the future, however – but instead a well-curated selection of quartz and mechanical movements from some of the industry’s biggest makers. The entry level Ronda 715.2 quartz movement is a reliable, well put together workhorse, while the Chronograph Quartz carries the Ronda 5021.D. The automatic has the SW200-3; the limited edition three sub-dial Chronograph COSC has the ETA 251.264 with preci-drive and power drive quartz movement; and then there’s the C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic, which carries the famous ETA Valjoux 7750, currently the best-known and most widely used automatic chronograph movement of them all. It’s a robust beast used in many a high priced watch, including models by Bell & Ross and Breitling, TAG Heuer and Omega, Tudor and IWC; Christopher Ward’s Frank Stelzer talks about its virtues on p48. The straps are interesting too, with the entire C7 Rapide strap range being made of ultra soft piccari – yes, pig leather, as used in great motor racing gloves – which has both a natural pitted surface and holes stamped into it, but, says Adrian, “they don’t go all the way through.”
Piccari leather is a material CW has used before, and especially on car watches – the C9 D-Type limited edition, for instance – but it’s joined by other options here: a metal bracelet; the same rubber strap used on the C60 Trident range; and twin-layer nylon straps. These aren’t actually NATO straps (which wrap around solid posts between the lugs, and so are slightly too messy for some as you have material tucked under the watch head), but give a similar look while using a regular attachment method and more conventional buckle. The best of both worlds, perhaps. Which is something you could say about the whole range, in fact. This is sure to become an important core collection for Christopher Ward, combining dynamic face design with great movements and highly attractive pricing. And in that innovative new case, it offers a degree of technical prowess to give anyone in the industry – at any price point – pause for thought. For more, christopherward.co.uk
Whisky business 22
A growing army of female fans is changing the perception of whisky, and in the vanguard is influential blogger and brand ambassador Alwynne Gwiltâ€Ś
Think whisky is exclusively a guy’s drink? Think again. “Yes, whisky does sometimes give that impression,” says Alwynne Gwilt, friend of Christopher Ward, brand ambassador for The Balvenie – one of the great Speyside distilleries in the Scottish Highlands, east of Inverness – and the woman behind influential blog Miss Whisky. “It’s something that’s been built into the advertising since the very beginning. But, of course, this is not really the case. At the end of the day, it’s just another alcoholic spirit – and a very delicious one, at that.” Alwynne grew up in British Columbia, Canada, attending journalism school and working her way up to the national press, before coming to the UK as a financial journalist. “My father’s English and I have dual-citizenship,” she says, “but I only planned to stay a year. Of course, that was ten years ago! The trouble is, I fell in love with whisky soon after moving to London. I was fascinated by its myriad flavours, aromas and history, and started buying myself a bottle every birthday and Christmas as a treat. When I decided to go freelance, the obvious thing was to specialise in whisky.”
The first way Alwynne made a name for herself was though her blog, Miss Whisky. “Those first years saw a big cut in my wages, as I established myself,” she says, “even though the blog took off quite quickly. But then I started to see a pay off by hosting whisky tastings, doing brand consultation, and writing. I saw more and more women sharing their whisky stories, and social media helped create a new community, with a much wider demographic. People I meet at whisky events still find it odd that a ‘younger’ female would have such a passion for the drink, but the more we recognise that it isn’t weird, the easier it will be for more people to give it a try.”
One of your first blog successes was with a series called ‘Whisky Women’, wasn’t it? I wanted to show just how many dynamic women are involved in the industry. The number grows every year, and I’m proud to have catalogued some of them in the early stages of their careers. Though I’d still hear that it was an odd thing for me to drink whisky – I’d get told I’d like a ‘sweet, feminine whisky’ (cue eye rolls) – people in the industry were incredibly helpful to me. I’m sometimes perplexed that we aren’t more proud of what Scotch whisky means to the UK. Consumers visiting whisky distilleries here get so much access into how the product is made, and what the
“Scotland is an incredibly warm and hospitable place, and I think we could shout more about that”
distilleries are like, compared to other countries – Scotland is an incredibly warm and hospitable place, and I think we could shout more about that. So, what whiskies do you most enjoy, and what do you like about them? I’ve been lucky enough to try whisky from all over the world. I love Scotch, and it was the first style of whisky I fell for. But I’m also a big fan of Irish (especially single pot still whiskies) and Japanese. And a few years ago, a trip to Kentucky changed my viewpoint on bourbon. When I first started drinking whisky I enjoyed the really bold, cask strength ones – I was (and still am) a big fan of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
and what it does. But as I’ve grown older, my palate has come to appreciate more delicate and subtle whiskies. I often drink whisky neat, but am a big fan of whisky cocktails, or just a whisky and soda, when I feel like something more refreshing, too. It’s a versatile drink, so penning it into one corner won’t allow it to shine as it could. And what do you reckon are the most exciting things happening in the whisky world at the moment? There’s been a real resurgence of whisky distillery builds in Scotland, England, Ireland and the US, with a number of younger distillers and founders at the
helm. I think this trend for opening new distilleries will likely slow down a bit, if I’m honest, but I’m excited to see how these latest ones will develop in the next few years as they come properly on line. What about you and the Balvenie? What does your role there entail? The Balvenie distillery was the second Scotch whisky distillery I went to, and the first place I truly understood the process of making whisky. We are lucky at The Balvenie to still have things like floor maltings and a cooperage, so you can really see the process from end to end. I started doing some part time freelance work for the brand a few years ago, and became the full-time UK ambassador in January 2017.
My role involves a whole host of things. There are, of course, the more ‘glamorous’ sides that are public facing – like hosting events, visiting bars and sharing the whisky with consumers, bartenders and chefs all over the UK. Alongside that, there is a good amount of planning to ensure I can reach out to as many people as possible and help to develop the brand. I also do a lot of work with the media, and on big brand projects such as The Craftsmen’s Dinner, an online TV series we have created with Michel Roux Jr., which features incredible craftspeople from around the UK.
And what does The Balvenie specifically have to recommend it? The Balvenie is still a family-owned brand. Our founder, William Grant, and his family started Glenfiddich (just up the road from us) first in 1886 and, a few years later, they built The Balvenie. It’s now the fifth generation of his descendants who are at the helm. We’re really lucky to have that consistency, and it’s meant we know our roots really well. The distillery benefits from having a number of the main processes still employed on site – the floor maltings, where we malt our barley, are truly impressive to see, while the cooperage (where the team makes and repairs our oak casks) is thrilling. We store our whisky on-site, and a number are also bottled on site. As a whisky, it is rich and honeyed, with a lovely malty note, and is very easy to get into. It’s often seen by people in the industry as a great ‘gateway’ dram for people new to the category.
Finally, what would you say to someone who thinks they don’t like whisky? I say that if you think that you don’t like whisky, try, try and try again. Spend some time with it. Smell it and, when you go for that first sip, hold it on your palate for a few seconds so your brain has enough time to adjust to it. Go straight back in for another sip, as that first one will have tempered things and will make the second sip easier. A lot of people make the mistake of swallowing a big gulp of whisky too quickly and only getting the ‘burn’ – that’s because your taste buds haven’t had time to analyse any of the other flavours. Take time, add a few drops of water if you like. And if you don’t like a particular style, remember that there are hundreds of distilleries out there, each producing a number of products. So there is always a chance that you’ll find one that does hit the spot. For more, thebalvenie.com; misswhisky.com
Two days with some of our latest models
Will: that’s a 44mm watch, but doesn’t look it on this guy
Flying boater One of the most successful Christopher Ward Challengers, Olympic rower Will Satch is a big fan of a pilot’s watch. So how would he get on with the new C8 Flyer Automatic? Rower Will Satch MBE stroked the GB men’s eight to gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, and won golds at the World Rowing Championships in 2013 and 2014. He borrowed a C8 Flyer Automatic just before leaving for Switzerland for the 2017 World Rowing Cup, part of the build-up to this autumn’s World Rowing Championships in Florida, USA. Will’s been a Christopher Ward Challenger since 2012 – he just signed up for another year, in fact – and the company feels like home to him, not least because he actually went to school not far from CW’s Maidenhead headquarters, and still trains nearby. “Christopher Ward always seems very genuine to me,” he says, “with a nice family atmosphere. I just feel very comfortable there.” 28
water thing, we suppose – but no. It turns out dive watches don’t do much for him. Instead he likes an elegant dress watch – “not too small, though, or I feel like I’m wearing my mother’s watch” – or, his real favourite, a pilot’s watch.
And it doesn’t hurt that he gets to try some nice watches either, eh? “Indeed not,” he laughs. “In fact, my regular watch is a C8 UTC Worldtimer, which I have on an army-style green strap – I’m not big on metal bracelets, and always go for NATO or leather – and I used to wear my C8 Regulator all the time too. This watch reminded me of those, actually – nice and big, with a crisp, clear face.” We’d always figured Will for a C60 Trident-type guy – he’s a rower, so it’s the
It’s a handsome thing, this C8 Flyer, as all recent Christopher Ward aviation watches have been, with numerals at 12 and 6 – in a font familiar from the likes of the C8 Power Reserve Chronometer – and batons elsewhere, each in either crisp white or light old radium (a sort of period cream lume) surrounded by flat gunmetal against a matt black textured background. Cases come in stainless steel (with the white indexes, and white-tipped hands too) or black steel DLC (with the old radium); Will got the black. “I loved just having the numerals at top and bottom,” he says, “and the old school style of it. It felt good on the wrist, too – I’m a pretty big guy, and I like a chunky watch. It’s stupid, I know, but I find that when something’s heavier it just feels a bit more authentic, a bit more real.”
Quite when Will’s rowing career will come to an end is unclear, but it seems likely there aren’t too many more years in it, so in the meantime he’s thinking about learning a trade. Carpentry is in pole position right now, as he enjoys the work he does with Griggs & Mackay, a kitchen company based near Henley-on-Thames, when he’s not training. “In fact, my boss there has a plane, and has taken me up in it a few times,” Will says. “It’s a an old Russian prop plane – not WWII vintage, but that sort of thing – and it’s an absolute beast. He has special permission from the Russian Embassy to keep it in its original Red Star markings. The first time he took me up in it we did a barrel roll – he’s a bit of a nutter, and was definitely out to scare me – and it worked. I was petrified, but I also wanted to learn how to do it myself, so don’t be surprised if learning to fly doesn’t feature in my near future too.” C8 Flyer Automatic DLC, £650
So, we’ve just seen how a non-pilot found the C8 Flyer. But what about someone who’s constantly hopping from airfield to airfield? Enter Rory McCall…
Up in the air If the McCall name rings a bell, its because Rory is married to Christopher Ward head of marketing Helen McCall; he works at CenturyLink on the M4 corridor west of London – America’s third largest telecommunications outfit – and is constantly travelling around the country. More to the point, he recently learned to fly – and has plans to buy a second-hand aircraft with a few others; a Cirrus SR22 is the dream, apparently. “It’s a very modern, glass cockpit design, with all the electronics you could need, and even a parachute attached that’s big enough to land the entire plane safely.” This said, Rory likes the idea of going low tech too – “there are still planes you can fly even in the most apocalyptic situation; imagine if an EMP [electro magnetic pulse] had taken out all electrical equipment, say” – and in similar vein one of his daily wearers is the manual wind C8 Power Reserve Chronometer. “The new C8 Flyer Quartz actually made a nice contrast with the Power
Reserve,” he says. “It’s similar looking, and a similar size, but it’s a simpler, more entry level piece. I’ve got quite big wrists, so a 44mm watch like this suits me perfectly.” Of course, it’s quartz, not mechanical. “I know, and it took me a while to get around that. Partly because of Helen’s job, and partly because I like watches anyway, I’ve become quite an evangelist for mechanical watches – and ones with good movements, in particular. Knowing about Christopher Ward and how it works, for instance, has rather put me off watches I used to wear. I now see my TAG Heuer Monaco, say, as what it is – handsome but overpriced, and with an unremarkable movement. I love explaining to people the Christopher Ward way, saying that these aren’t inferior pieces, just more sensibly priced because you’re not paying for endless marketing and the retail middle-man”
Rory: enjoyed the entry level model in steel
Rory is in an enviable position where he owns enough watches that he rarely wears
“Wearing this quartz reminded me why so many people like them” the same one for more than a couple of days. “It’s great, but it means I have to keep resetting my watches, as they inevitably run down – and it means my date windows are almost always wrong. Wearing this quartz reminded me of why so many people like them – they’re super-accurate, and they’re effortless.” Rory took the watch flying a couple of times on his usual routes (down to Brighton; up to the Cotswolds), ignoring the GPS and doing it the old-fashioned way – with maps and compasses – and the C8 Flyer proved the perfect companion and tool. “I guess I’m right in the middle of the Christopher Ward demographic,” he says, “being a 35-year-old middle class guy with some disposable income. But I’m also someone who tends to avoid anything that smacks of being an obvious status symbol – so I’m wary of flashy cars, and I’ve gone right off the likes of Rolex.” And anyway, a light plane will get you to most places faster than any Ferrari… “That’s true! I loved it that people said Christopher Ward stole the show at the recent SalonQP; they recognised that CW is about substance, not marketing. I rather appreciate that.” So this C8 Flyer is really all the watch you’d need? “I’d say so,” he says, “though I’d miss the romance and ‘living’ qualities of a mechanical watch. Since it’s an entry level piece, I was less worried about it than I might be, say, my C8 Power Reserve.
There’s something to be said for a watch you can bash on things accidentally – not difficult, in somewhere as tight as a plane cockpit – and not fret much about it.” But it’s too handsome to be a beater, though, surely? “Goodness, yes. It’s quite elegant, really, for what’s more of a tool watch – and I got plenty of positive comments on it. And every time someone did that, of course, I got to launch into my speech. ‘Hey, have you heard of these guys? It’s a cool company called Christopher Ward…’” C8 Flyer Quartz Steel, £395
Garden party It’s the world’s greatest garden party, and at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 a huge hedge hid the most impressive of secret gardens… The gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London are quite incredible things, years in the making yet lasting only ten days – less than the lifespan of a bee, though more than a mayfly – each summer. One of this year’s Gold Medal award winning show gardens was by Darren Hawkes, who runs a garden design company based in Fowey, Cornwall, has worked for CW co-founder Mike France, and tends to contribute a garden every other year. “There are people who can do years back-to-back,” he says, “but not me. It just has far too much impact on your life and other work.” This one – larger than your average Chelsea Flower Show garden at around 36m
x 12.5m – demonstrates Darren’s love of the contrast between hard materials and softer plants, and was sponsored by law firm Linklaters on behalf of Maggie’s, the cancer charity. Called Linklaters Garden for Maggie’s, it provides some wonderfully calming areas – “the two benches in the corners of the garden came together particularly well,” Darren says – as well as some dramatically shattered-looking pieces of large concrete garden furniture designed to reflect, in some way, the experience of cancer. Though the garden inevitably had to be broken up at the end of the show, the various plants and elements will not be wasted; some, for instance, will
go to a Maggie’s Centre in Scotland, and others to Maggie’s Bart’s, the new facility at London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Though most Chelsea gardens cannot be entered, forcing visitors to look into them from the outside, Darren had a bold plan in mind for this one, creating his ‘secret garden’ behind huge hedges, which you couldn’t see into at all. Frustrating for visitors, you might think, until they discover an entrance around the back that takes them onto a raised walkway – inside the hedge, but above and away from the bulk of the garden – giving them unprecedented access, while preventing trampling feet from ruining the planting.
Darrenâ€™s garden design went through numerous early incarnations 33
Darren’s Chelsea gardens tend to take 18 months or so to plan, and involve hundreds of people in their creation; understandably, the cost can run well into six figures. “At different times, around 60 specialists helped us put the garden together at Chelsea over 20 days,” Darren says, “and we’d had another 100 helping with the design or fabrication of parts over the previous year. If this had been a client’s garden, it would have been a three or four month job just to put it together, so everyone was working as fast as humanly possible.” The various concrete benches and shelters all weighed, in total, around 64 tonnes, making just transporting and placing them a serious logistical challenge, but – if anything – the vast hedge was even harder to get right. “It came in sections that weighed a tonne each, and they had to fit together perfectly,” Darren says. “As with all the plants we used, they’re a living thing – and so highly unpredictable. In May, when 37
Chelsea takes place, even the best chosen plant can change its size and shape from one week to the next.” Though he works on a very different scale, Darren is impressed by the precision of the watchmaker’s craft, and sees a thematic link between this garden and the work of Christopher Ward. “When putting this garden together, we seemed to be trying to cram more hours into the day than actually exist,” he says, “and then there’s the experience of enjoying the garden, which is about making the most of the time you have.” And would he do it again in another couple of years? “I always said no, absolutely not,” Darren says, “but this one went down so well that now I’m not quite sure. And, annoyingly, I’ve already got an idea for another one…” For more, darrenhawkeslandscapes.co.uk; maggiescentres.org; linklaters.com
To recognise the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force on April 1, 2018, Christopher Ward and long-time collaborator TMB Art Metal have developed a striking limited edition piece with quite some story behind it
World War II lasted just six years, but involved the vast majority of the world’s countries – and all its great powers – with many of them in a state of ‘total war’, throwing their entire economic, industrial and scientific prowess into winning at all costs. Endless amazing stories have come out of it, but one of our favourites is the tale of a Hawker Hurricane fighter plane, call sign P2725 TM-B, which on 15 September 1940 was being flown by Flight Sergeant Raymond T. Holmes in the defence of London. This famous Hurricane, out of bullets, did what was needed to take out a Dornier DO 17 bomber heading for Buckingham Palace on a bombing run: it rammed the plane, cutting the tail off with its wing and causing them both to crash. Ray Holmes managed to parachute to safety, and later became a flight instructor, fought on the Eastern Front, and returned to civilian life as a journalist. P2725 TM-B, of course, was lost – but Buck House was saved. And it’s part of this very plane that’s been used in the making of Christopher Ward’s striking limited edition P2725 TM-B watch, released to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF. But how did parts from this most legendary of planes become available? It’s some story… 39
15 September 1940 is today remembered as ‘Battle of Britain Day’ – and considered a turning point in the War – and many years later, in 2004, Christopher Bennett, a professional photographer and TV video editor and cameraman, led a dig to excavate the remaining wreckage of Holmes’ Hurricane from under the London streets. The whole adventure was featured in a National Geographic Channel Documentary, The Search for the Lost Fighter Plane. “After the two planes collided, the Dornier came down at a fairly gentle angle by Victoria Station,” says Chris. “Most of it was cleared up at the time, and we’ve had a look for remaining parts but there’s nothing there. The Hurricane, though, came down very steeply where Buckingham Palace Road meets Ebury Bridge, and the impact smashed the heavy Merlin engine right into the ground, taking out a water main and a sewer. We believed most of the lighter stuff was removed in
The road is dug up (left) and the finished watch itself
1940, and the pipes and so on were fixed, but our hope was that they’d left the engine and other parts of the plane down there, and simply filled in the hole above.” With all relevant authorities very much behind the project, but concerned to keep traffic disruption to a minimum, Chris – having used intuition, triangulation and historical evidence to establish where the plane might be – was allowed to start digging. The stipulation: his hole could be no bigger than ten feet square. As it was Chris’s dig, the finds would remain with him – that the TV show paid, of course, didn’t hurt – but what was down there? Immediately they broke the surface and found bits and pieces that told them they were on the right track, then nothing – just lots of river clay, going down one, two, three feet. “We started to panic,” says Chris, “then, happily, hit the remains.
As we’d thought, the fuselage had been taken away at the time, but we recovered perhaps a third of the aluminium Merlin, much of it still well preserved in its oil, as well as various cockpit instruments, including the pilot’s control stick. The important pieces went on display at the Imperial War Museum, and then at RAF Hendon – home base for this particular Hurricane – but I took away about 20kg of the more broken material myself, some of which I turned into ingots and small models of the plane. It’s one of these ingots that’s provided the metal for Christopher Ward’s P2725 TM-B watch, released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the RAF, and limited to 100 pieces, each containing a small part of the actual plane.” For Chris, this is by far the most important piece of ‘precious metal’ he has ever recovered. After all, this Hurricane’s story is properly astounding, and it was this very find that led him to start his company, TMB Art Metal, in the first place. (The ‘TMB’ bit comes from the plane’s call sign, of course, while the ‘Art Metal’ was added not only because it perfectly fit what he
“This example has just such a great story attached” Machining ingots of the actual Hurricane metal
does, but because that was the name on one of the buildings next to where the Hurricane had crashed.) TMB Art Metal now produces high quality limited edition luxury items representing iconic subjects – cars and planes, in the main – each incorporating metal from the actual subject, giving the original item and the tribute a direct physical DNA link. Chris has worked with Christopher Ward on watches before – the C9 D-Type Limited Edition is one such, containing part of the celebrated car – but this one holds a particularly strong emotional connection. “When Mike first asked me if I had anything that might be suitable to celebrate a century of the RAF,” he says, “we wondered about trying to find some metal from a 1918 plane – the year the RAF was created by the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service, themselves only a few years old – like the Sopwith Camel. But it was hard to look past this particular Hurricane. As our most plentiful fighter during the Battle of Britain, it’s arguably the RAF’s most important plane – and this example has just such a great story attached.”
As for the watch itself, it’s a gorgeous period-looking piece, boasting a face design that takes a great deal of design influence from the Smiths instruments in the Hurricane’s cockpit. Inside the 43mm black DLC sandblasted case sits an ETA Valgranges A07.161 automatic movement with power reserve, while the actual metal from the Hurricane takes pride of place on the case back, where it’s been engraved with a map of central London, with the spot where the plane crashed picked out as a red dot.
Chris’s involvement with the final watch included some input into the design, not least of which was the inclusion of two quick release straps with each example: a brown vintage leather version, and a high quality khaki canvas strap to echo the material much of the plane was made of. The final piece is certainly beautiful, and has provenance that’s virtually unequalled in the horological world. The P2725 TM-B Limited Edition is available now, priced at £2,495. For more, christopherward.co.uk
Game on! Once upon a time we had no choice but to passively enjoy our entertainment, be it a serialised Dickens novel or a blood-soaked Scandi box-set. But then came the video gameâ€Ś
Most entertainment is designed to be enjoyed vicariously, but with a video game – whether on laptop or tablet, home console or mobile phone – the experience is very different. There’s still a story to enjoy (in most cases, at least), but there’s one crucial difference: now you’re an active participant. The history of video games is not a long one, but it’s certainly been fast-moving. This is a boisterous and messy form, full of one-hit wonders, technological dead ends and competing platforms. Choosing the most vital games of all time is not easy, but in the end we asked three things. Did this game change our understanding of what gaming is capable of? Did it establish or define a new genre – or technology? And is it still worth playing? The following classics tick all three boxes, and then some…
Space Invaders 1978
You may never have heard of it, but this is the generally accepted ground zero for video games. Spacewar! put you head-to-head against another player, each of you controlling a tiny spaceship that spun around a gravity well in the middle of the screen. It was programmed by one Steve ‘Slug’ Russell of MIT at the start of the ’60s, and ran on a Programmed Data Processor-1 computer (about the size of a wardrobe, PDP-1 was also a favourite of the first computer hackers). Though there were other almost-games before Spacewar!, this was the first to gain any real popularity. Plus, it wasn’t a real world simulator of some sort, but it’s own unique thing. It’s the most important game you’ve never played.
Laugh all you like about the two-dimensional graphics. Truth is, Pong is a minimalist masterpiece – and the first video game to catch the public imagination. Atari’s abstract table tennis simulator could be played by two – the first sports sim! – or by one against the computer, and the popularity of the arcade version soon led to an in-home setup too. It convinced the world there was money to be made in gaming. Pong had been something of an accident – Atari founder Nolan Bushnell had given a new employee, one Allan Alcorn, the task of developing a simple table tennis game as a warm-up exercise – but ended up kick-starting the industry. Indeed, it eventually spawned so many imitators that a backlash caused the first industry crash in 1977.
Most early games were attempts to simulate already-existing things, but Taito’s Space Invaders was its own beast, the first major game to create a unique scenario and its own in-game logic. By 1982 it had become the highest-grossing entertainment product of its time. Bringing The War of the Worlds’ alien attack scenario to a generation that had been wowed by Star Wars a year before, Space Invaders had followed Pong into our homes by 1980, encouraging us to blast rows of scarily clicking ETs as they marched their way implacably down-screen. In this, it’s the first real shooting game, the first where the computer-controlled enemies could fight back against you – as well as the first to give you multiple lives and a high score table.
Pac-Man was the first video game to put a memorable hero front-andcentre, and then proved he could become a cultural icon, but it features many other firsts, too. Namco’s simple maze exploration game popularised such in-game mechanics as the power-up, bonus items and AI enemies, but it was Pac-Man himself (designed to resemble a pizza with a piece missing) who became a true pop culture phenomenon; soon Pac-Man books, hit songs and T-shirts were virtually everywhere. It has been claimed that Pac-Man (and its spin-offs) were the first video games to be played by more women than men – or, as distributor Midway described them at the time, ‘lady arcaders’.
Super Mario Bros 1985
The Legend of Zelda 1986
Tomb Raider 1986
Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov was working at Moscow Academy of Science when he came up with this ingenious, deceptively simple shape-sorting puzzler. It made its way onto various home computers before a deal was struck with Nintendo to make it a launch title – and killer app – for the Game Boy hand-held device, and Tetris soon became one of the world’s most influential games. Its devilishly compelling design inspired a new generation of abstract puzzle titles. More, Tetris was playable in short chunks, making it perfect for gaming on the move, taking it out of the arcades and bedrooms and onto the street. “If Tetris has taught me anything,” said one wag, “it’s that errors pile up and accomplishments disappear.”
Plucky leaping plumber Mario first appeared in 1981’s Donkey Kong, a colourful cartoony platform game where the mission was not to kill everything on screen, but instead to rescue a girl from a barrel-throwing ape. But it was with the later Mario games – specifically Super Mario Bros, the first home console version – that everything about the genre came together: pleasing and precise controls, a seemingly never-ending world to explore, a large cast of memorable enemies, and secrets to uncover galore (including Luigi, Mario’s slimmer younger brother, only accessed in two-player mode). Ever since, Mario has been one of gaming’s great icons, periodically reinvigorating the industry, as with the first 3D version, Super Mario 64 (1996).
Sometimes it seems like half the video games you see involve running around 3D corridors with a big gun, shooting everything you come across, and Doom is where the first-person shooter really caught the collective imagination: a brilliantly designed sci-fi horror with weird enemies, brilliant controls, great level design, and a huge weapon arsenal which starts with pistol and fists but can be boosted by picking up a shotgun, chainsaw, rocket launcher and more. If you’ve ever enjoyed the intense, immersive thrill that is massacring gruesome bad guys in a game (think Call of Duty, think Halo), you owe a lot to Doom.
Nintendo is the most reliably innovative of game creators, and we could fill this list with games starring its two main heroes: plucky plumber Mario and Link, hero of the Legend of Zelda series, which takes place in a fantasy elf world. This first Zelda game – they’re named for the princess Link has to rescue – popularised epic quests and adventure, and introduced numerous fresh gameplay concepts, such as battery-backed saves (a novel idea that for the first time let you save your progress and return to the game later), and a much larger game world than ever seen previously, one where you were given four different directions you could walk in, with puzzles and adventure to be found in each one. Minds were, understandably, blown.
Remember those princesses who needed rescuing in games? Well, here was one who did it herself, a pistol-packing female Indiana Jones who carried herself like Lady Mary of Downton Abbey crossed with DC’s Catwoman. Lara Croft remains the first significant female game character, and paved the way for other kickass heroines. She did it by being a compelling character with a great visual, yes, but also by starring in an undeniably great game, one which combined labyrinth exploration and trap avoidance with spectacular acrobatics and the two-gunned appeal of the third-person shooter. Even now, most new third-person action games follow Tomb Raider’s blueprint, making Lara mother to the biggest overall genre in gaming.
Pokémon Red & Blue 1996
Grand Theft Auto III 2001
Wii Sports 2006
Angry Birds 2009
By the second half of the ’90s it looked like games had become ashamed of their kiddie toy roots, and were attempting to go ‘adult’ – to mixed results. Then along came these twin versions of Pokémon – the trading card game franchise – that became catnip for children. The concept seems simple on the surface, combining weird (but cute) animals, Top Trump-like head-tohead fighting, and an obsessive-compulsive collecting mechanic. But then you need to add to that endless complex rules. Pokémon Red & Blue had all the hallmarks of a roleplaying game: addictive turnbased battles, a seemingly endless goal (to catch ‘em all), plenty of attainable yet rewarding sub-goals, and an expansive world. The result: playground gold.
Scotland’s DMA Design had already created two gangster adventures under the Grand Theft Auto banner, but it was with GTA III – which took the series into 3D, filling Liberty City’s fictional streets with drug smugglers and corrupt cops, and letting the player find their own way through the chaos – that became a phenomenon, colliding action adventure, shooter and RPG conventions together. “Did you hear about the game where you can have sex with a prostitute, then kill her?” people would whisper, giving the game a notoriety money can’t buy. Two things were hugely influential – the immoral tone, and the division between main story missions and optional side-quests. It introduced something we’d never seen before: endless back alleys to explore.
Plenty of games are macho to a fault, but to think that’s all modern gaming has to offer is to miss an entire strand of fun that can’t fail to bring the party to any gathering. This strand went mainstream when it became the ethos behind Nintendo’s Wii console, which came with a game called Wii Sports. A compilation of easy-to-play sports sims (baseball, tennis, ten pin bowling, boxing and golf), it starred appealing cartoony heroes that could be made, photofit-style, to look like you and your friends. Crucially, the games were controlled in a new way (motion sensors meant that you swung the remote control in a way approximating the real-life moves needed), giving Wii Sports accessibility and magic in huge measure.
There have always been games on mobile phones, but the last few years have seen an explosion in this type of gaming, as we all suddenly found ourselves carrying impressive little computers – and enjoying lifestyles full of commutes and waits between meetings. Simple games that could be enjoyed in short bursts suddenly had new appeal, and took gaming in a different direction from the ever-more-involved console and PC games. The new wave of mobile gaming was a return to the simple days of the ’80s, and nothing caught the imagination like Angry Birds, in which you flung teams of colourful avians at evil green pigs, protected by their makeshift castles. It launched more than just birds-at-pigs; it kickstarted a new sub-industry.
Many video game names do little more than describe the action, and so it is with Minecraft. In Swedish studio Mojang’s surprise indie hit, you mine stuff – then you craft it. Though this is a recent game, the blocky graphics look like they belong to a decade earlier, but no matter: if ever proof was needed that looks don’t matter, here it is. In Minecraft, it’s your job to reorganise various chunks of information – blocks of dirt and rock strewn around a landscape – into recognisable buildings and objects and machinery. It was developed on virtually no budget, by nobody you’ve ever heard of, yet became huge overnight, creating its own genre. And, for once in games, the task wasn’t to destroy, but to create. What a breath of fresh air.
The modernity of Swiss watchmaking blends with retro styling in the C65 Trident Classic Vintage Edition. 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. The Vintage Edition is a watch that goes back to the future.
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Conquering lion Haile Selassie ruled as Emperor of Ethiopia for over 40 years. He was also the owner of a most impressive watch…
Many of the world’s great and good wear Patek Philippe: they’re beautifully made, surprisingly low-key, and highly expensive. Especially expensive was the star of the Geneva watch auctions back in May of this year, a yellow gold Patek Phillipe perpetual calendar, ref 2497, with a black dial and rare luminous ‘Alpha’ hands, which Christie’s sold for £2.2m. It was a unique variant with a military-style dial, gilt printing, Arabic numerals, a moonphase display and day and month windows, made extra special by the imperial cipher engraved on the back: the monogram of His Majesty Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. In the run-up to the auction this watch’s provenance was in dispute, but it appears to have been given to Selassie by an Italian entrepreneur, Frederico Bazzi, during a visit to Switzerland in 1954. Eventually the watch was either given to someone else – believed to be former Sudanese president Ibrahim Abboud – or looted from Selassie’s palace, following the coup
d’état that removed him from power in 1974; certainly, ownership remained in question as late as 2015, when the watch was first offered by Christie’s, then dramatically withdrawn. Haile Selassie was a reformer and internationalist, and was revered by the Rastafari movement as the Biblical returned messiah; this, despite being an Orthodox Christian all his life. Following the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935, the so-called ‘conquering lion of Judah’ lived in exile in England, returning with his country’s liberation in 1941, and hence remained a staunch and respected ally of the West; human rights under him, however, remained poor, and democracy virtually non-existent, and when famine led to inflation and rioting in the early ’70s, and that in turn mutated into an army mutiny, he was deposed, imprisoned, and soon died. (Whether it was assassination or merely complications from an operation, no-one’s quite sure.) Haile Selassie was a most subtle autocrat, avoiding direct confrontation and enjoying literature and plays, but his tastes were expensive and his image confused: was he a progressive leader, a greedy dictator, or both? He was certainly the owner of an impressive watch.
Good timing Chronographs are central to the new C7 Rapide collection, so we caught up with Christopher Ward’s Frank Stelzer to find out more about this uniquely useful complication There’s no more sought after complication than the chronograph: it turns a regular timekeeper into a stopwatch for the wrist, and adds a purposeful sporting look that is never less than cool. Most days, most of us will never use our chronograph’s timing function – some wearers don’t even know how it works – but it can be useful in everyday life in a way that a moonphase indicator, say, can’t, helping with everything from boiling an egg to judging which of the kids can run the fastest. (Famously, it has even saved lives, as with Jack Swigert’s Omega Speedmaster, used to time the crucial 14-second burn needed to ensure the safe return to Earth of the crippled Apollo 13 mission.) It’s sports timing that became the chronograph’s ‘killer app’ during the 20th century – and especially from the late ’60s on, when automatic chronograph movements were first created – and many of the iconic designs were built for use in motor racing. It’s no surprise, then, that with the launch of the new C7 Rapide collection, thoughts at CW have recently turned in the direction of the chronograph. High time we caught up with Frank Stelzer – watch technician and constructor, and all-round chronograph expert – to find out more about their enduring appeal…
me how to fix model railways, and when I left school, I saw that firms were looking for watchmakers, which seemed an obvious way to fulfil my craving for all things mechanical. Later I studied movement construction and relocated to Switzerland, where I worked with Omega’s customer service department, repairing chronographs. That was fascinating, but then I ended up working in the Swatch Group’s case and bracelet section – not so interesting. After all, I really wanted to make movements! It was around then that someone told me about a smaller brand, based near Omega, that was looking for someone with my skills. That was Synergies Horlogères, which was already working closely with Christopher Ward. I met founder Jörg Bader and Johannes Jahnke, and was excited by their plans. Most importantly, I would get to put my studies into practice, starting with helping Johannes build Christopher Ward’s Single Pusher Chronograph. So this was when? Five years ago, maybe? Yes, I’ve been working for Synergies Horlogères – and now Christopher Ward, as they’ve merged – since February 2012. My core responsibilities are development, construction and industrialisation. It’s also about making our internal production more efficient, by developing new tools or integrating new machines. Additionally, I’m responsible for all our sample watches. This means that with every new model I have to build the first sample version, and check it all works from the technical side.
Frank, you learnt your craft in Germany, didn’t you? Yes, at Glashütte Original, part of the Swatch Group – but I’d always loved mechanics. My grandfather taught 48
“It’s sports timing that became the chronograph’s ‘killer app’ during the 20th century”
And what got you especially into chronographs? At Omega, I had to prove myself on standard movements – but, when I got the chance to switch to complications, I went for it. There I got to know all the chronograph movements that Omega makes. Each calibre has a totally different construction, and all functions and dependencies must be really understood before any intervention can be carried out. And, often, components have to be modified for repair. This requires a great deal of know-how.
number of parts required; after all, this impacts hugely on assembly costs. It’s also important that a watch be service-friendly, and functional in every situation. The C7 Rapide range uses the famous ETA Valjoux 7750 movement. What do you like about this? It’s just the most robust movement I know: a solid mechanical chronograph with an automatic winding system. Its major strengths are unlimited availability, and its service-friendliness. There’s no better price/ performance ratio on the market.
What would you say have been the all-time most important chronograph movements, and why? It has to be the Zenith El Primero. This was the first automatic chronograph with a frequency of 36,000 vibrations, and was so good it was also used by prestigious brands, like TAG Heuer and Rolex. That said, for me personally, nearly all the classic mechanical chronographs with column wheels are interesting. Lange & Söhne and Patek Philippe have also made awesome movements.
What challenges do chronograph makers face? It’s not always easy to place all the additional components you need on the base movement. And, ideally, you want the movement to be easy and efficient to assemble. Yet when a chronograph constructor pushes things to the limit, it can restrict the watch designer and prevent him from coming up with the most attractive design. Tolerances can also be a problem, especially if you don’t know what your suppliers are capable of creating.
And what else makes for a good chronograph? It’s all about the movement, as whether you like or don’t like the face of each watch is a subjective thing. That said, a chronograph looks more interesting than other watches, which makes it easier to market. And they’re certainly a playground for the designer. There are other considerations too. As far as production is concerned, it’s important to look at the movement’s complexity, and the
Finally, we’re guessing Christopher Ward will release an in-house SH21-based chronograph in the future…? I’m actually working on it right now. The main challenge is to include the chronograph functions so that there will be no module-plate necessary. It will be a traditional columnwheel chronograph, with a flyback function. 49
20 hours 40 minutes The final fate of Amelia Earhart remains a mystery, but her first achievement – flying the Atlantic, albeit as a passenger – is anything but, and inspired a generation of female flyers Glamorous and adventurous, the aviatrix – or female pilot – became a potent figure in the first decades of powered flight, but her golden age was between the World Wars, when a surfeit of military surplus planes allowed a boom in stunt pilots and long distance record breakers. The 1929 stock market crash gave her pause, and many of the flying circuses folded, but then came English pilot Amy Johnson – the first woman to fly from England to Australia – and the American Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. Every year of the 1930s, it seemed, Chinese, Egyptian, Russian, Australian, German and Turkish aviatrices would break yet another world record or glass ceiling. Earhart’s accomplishments were particularly extensive and celebrated. As well as her Atlantic adventure (1932), she set altitude, distance and speed records for women, was the first woman to master the autogyro, and was soon
setting records that read simply ‘first person’ instead of ‘first woman’ – she was the first to fly the Atlantic twice, then first to fly solo from Hawaii to California, and again from LA to Mexico City, and again from Mexico City to New Jersey, and again from the Red Sea to Karachi. Little wonder that Cosmopolitan magazine made her their aviation editor, and the three books she wrote on flying did their bit to inspire an adventurous spirit in girls. The Fun of It (1932) was a memoir and history of women in aviation, and the uncompleted Last Flight (1937) was built up of journal entries she sent back to the US during her final, probably fatal, second attempt to fly around the world. (Others had done this before, but not by the gruelling equatorial route she’d planned.) On her first attempt she only managed California to Hawaii before damage to the plane – her fault, some say – called it off. For her second go she went the other way, leaving Miami and getting as far as New Guinea (about three quarters of the way
around) before her plane was lost over the Pacific while attempting to locate the remote Howland Island. Neither Earhart nor her experienced navigator, Fred Noonan, were ever seen again. Our ‘timespan’ this issue comes not from one of her solo flights, but from the length of her earlier 1928 adventure flying the Atlantic, from Boston to Wales, as a passenger in Friendship, a Fokker Trimotor piloted by Wilmer Stultz; she’d repeat this trip on her own a few years later, but the book she wrote of this adventure – 20 Hrs, 40 Mins: Our Flight in the Friendship (1928) – is what first inspired many female flyers. “The feature of aviation which may appeal most to thoughtful women is its potentiality for peace,” she wrote in its pages. “Anything which tends to annihilate distance destroys isolation, and brings the world and its’ peoples closer together.”
Inspired by the high-octane thrills and physicsdefying engineering of the automotive world, the C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic shares the same prized values of mechanical precision and innovative design, coupled with the highest quality materials used throughout. Bold in appearance and championing a Swissmade automatic movement, this is a watch with horological horsepower in abundance.
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A watch renowned for its peerless technicality – the precision of its JJ04 module can ensure the moon passing across its dial is accurate to a day every 128 years – as much as the lyrical beauty of its dial, the Moonphase now inherits our sleek new Grand Malvern case. With its subtle ‘lightcatcher lines’, the C1 Grand Malvern Moonphase is just as graceful as our lunar neighbour.
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