Inspired by the high octane thrills and physics-defying engineering of the automotive world, the limited edition C7 Rapide Day Date COSC shares the same values of technical precision and innovative design, coupled with the highest quality materials used throughout. Bold in appearance, and championing a Swiss-made, COSC-certified chronograph movement, this is a watch with horological horsepower.
The Magazine of Christopher Ward.
Most days, I tend to alternate between two types of watch – chunky modern sports models, diver’s watches and motorsport pieces, which is where Christopher Ward tends to come in – and slim, tiny vintage pieces of the ’40s and ’50s: one of the earliest Omega Seamasters, with a bumper movement; a black-faced Universal Genève dress watch from ’58; a beautiful late ’40s chronograph by a long-dead specialist chronograph manufacturer, Excelsior Park… These watches are so slim and light that you forget that you’re wearing them, a very different experience to many modern watches. It’s one of the reasons this issue’s coverstar, the C5 Malvern 595, excites me so much. This is Christopher Ward doing something it’s never done before, and bringing the two strands of my watch-wearing together. I may just have found my new favourite modern watch.
As if asking our design and technical teams to create one of the world’s thinnest mechanical watches wasn’t sufficiently daunting a task – we also insisted it must be one of the most beautiful. Well, we like a challenge at Christopher Ward. And how everybody here rose to this one! The result of our endeavours (and a few heated debates we like to think of as ‘positive tension’) is the C5 Malvern 595, which as well as being ultra-thin at only 5.95 millimetres high is, at least in our opinion, one of the best-looking dress watches to be found anywhere. It was serendipity when we realised not only had we achieved the sub-6mm height we wanted, but we could offer it at £595 – or £100 per mm – through our unique approach to pricing, probably making it the best value premium mechanical watch, mm for mm, ever manufactured. The fruits of our labours are sweet sometimes, especially if you stick to your principles – and you don’t mind the odd moment of ‘positive tension’! Enjoy discovering more about the C5 Malvern 595 on page 24.
Chris, Mike and Peter
Editor: Matt Bielby Art Director: Jamie Gallagher Designer: Sam Burn Photography: Peter Canning, Damon Charles
Cover: C5 Malvern 595 1 Park St, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1SL christopherward.co.uk
Contents Features 16 – 22
Greening our cities Turns out that our living environments and the natural world can co-exist, if we just give nature a bit of encouragement…
24 – 31
The shape of thins to come Introducing the C5 Malvern 595, the first mechanicial Christopher Ward watch to be under 6mm thick, and one of the greatest technological challenges the company has ever undertaken…
32 – 35
Ward in action: James Strong On the set of TV’s new Vanity Fair, director James Strong finds his Christopher Ward Trident is one of a film-maker’s most important pieces of kit…
36 – 39
O Lucky Man
Fast times 12 — 15
Some of us survive certain death, or earn untold riches, through chance as much as design. Meet a few of history’s luckiest men and women…
The real Slim Shady 24 — 31
Regulars 06 – 10
41 – 50
Insight What we do, and how we do it. Frank Stelzer and Adrian Buchmann talk the genesis of the C5 Malvern 595, we take an in-depth look at the different sorts of watch buyer, and the world-beating achievements of one of our own…
The gorgeous bronze iteration of the C60 Trident has been a hit – and then some – so expect further bronze models. Plus, we celebrate five years (what, already?) of Calibre SH21…
12 – 15
Forty eight Up-and-coming racing driver Jamie Chadwick and Motor Sport magazine editor Nick Trott try the C7 Rapide range for a weekend…
Birds of a feather 46 — 47
News, reports & innovations. This issue: more from Morgan, the new Bronze Age, and five years of SH21
Party of five 2019 will make it five years of Calibre SH21. And the first part of the celebrations will be a brand new multicomplication variant…
When Christopher Ward first launched its ground-breaking in-house chronometer movement, Calibre SH21, back in July 2014, it was the first proprietary movement from a British watch brand in more than 50 years. And since then the company has hardly been resting on its laurels, introducing several new models powered by the movement, each exploring a new complication afforded by the ‘baukastensystem’ – or modular design – of the base, including the award-winning C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve.
A fair amount of water has passed under the bridge since then, but SH21 still feels very new – few at Christopher Ward can quite believe it’s been five years since the first working prototype – and to celebrate its first half-decade milestone they’re going all-out to celebrate the movement’s capabilities, including coming up with a new multi-complication C1, available as a very special 50-piece limited edition in July 2018. Price will be around £3,000, and demand is bound to be high, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to register your interest now by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Big blue Notice anything different about this striking iteration of the C60 Trident Pro 600? Thatâ€™s right: the dial and bezel colour, a rich blue thatâ€™s somehow vibrant and subtle at the same time. If orange is too bright for you, and black too ubiquitous, this might be your perfect dive watch.
Sporting life The Motor Sport Hall of Fame and Christopher Ward put a ring on it… The passion for motorsport that runs right through Christopher Ward is hardly a secret, so it’s no surprise that everyone was really buzzing at the company when – following a successful two year relationship – ink was finally applied to the agreement to remain as Official Timing Partner for the Motor Sport Hall of Fame right through until 2020. If you head over
Nicely bronzed Who knew that one of our oldest metals would become this year’s must-have? Bronze has only recently become fashionable as a watch material, but its unique qualities have seen it become highly coveted, and when Christopher Ward brought it from the realm of rare exotica into the everyday world with the recent release of the C60 Trident Bronze, the company could hardly keep up with demand.
“The Trident Bronze, launched back in November 2017, went off like a rocket,” says co-founder Peter Ellis. “But while we are noses-down at the watchmaking benches trying to keep up with the number of orders coming in, the design team have been busy themselves, coming up with some exciting additional variations to add new choice to the Bronze range.” The results? A much-requested 38mm version is in the works, as well as a GMT variation for later in 2018.
to the Christopher Ward Blog you can place your vote for this year’s inductees – and could even be in with a chance to win some incredible prizes. Like a trip for two to Le Mans 2018, plus the C7 Rapide Chronograph COSC Limited Edition. C’mon, what are you waiting for? For more: christopherward.co.uk/blog
All around the world Here’s Logistics Manager George Kelman, the man in charge of getting your watch to you, wherever you are… George: let’s hope the bears don’t get him…
Tell us about you, George. I’m a Maidenhead boy who found the company by chance – and never left. I spent some of my childhood growing up in the Far East, and have always had the travel bug, so I try to visit four new countries a year, often following recommendations from our global customer base! When did you start here, then? I began in December 2012, just temping as a box packer for Christmas. At the time I was working in theme parks, and only wanted a bit of indoor work during the winter – the alternative was scrubbing rollercoasters in the rain! I was offered a job in the Customer Service team, and later stepped up to become Logistics Manager. What is the one thing you wish more people understood about your job? Across the world, logistics is a different landscape. We ship to 112 countries and counting, and each of them has their own postal services, delivery networks, import regulations, tariffs, approaches to import duty, trade agreements and so on to consider. Ultimately, it’s all about putting a watch in the customer’s hands, but there’s
more to it than meets the eye, and we’re always adapting because of that. So, did you always like watches? I only wore cheap digital watches, so being here has been a huge eye opener to the world of horology. I’ve come to appreciate the design that goes into a watch, both outside and in, and I’ll now spend any spare minute begging designer Adrian Buchmann to show me what he’s working on. What’s your typical work day like? It’s like running a big production line in a constantly changing order. My team and I look after the picking, final assembly and quality checks of every watch, before packing and dispatching. We work with half a dozen postal carriers, and knowing when a courier’s planes leave Heathrow can mean cutting three days off the delivery time. Tell us all about the so-called San Francisco Project, then… This is our mission to standardise the returns journey for customers all around the world. The San Francisco Project is an improvement on the current method, in that it removes the admin from the customer, meaning there’s one less chore for them. We’ve part-
nered with DHL, who are currently best in the world at the returns process. They can collect from you on your doorstep, saving you the need to visit your local post office, obtain proof of purchase, tracking and so on. It will also mean we always know how many watches are currently on route to us, so we can plan accordingly. It’s really the final piece in the customer experience. What models or innovations have particularly excited you lately? I’m a big fan of the new C1 case – it’s been a real leap forward for our case designs. I enjoy minimalism, so the C1 Grand Malvern Small Second is probably my favourite of the C1s. Stripping a watch down to its elements makes it stand out more. Finally, tell us a highlight of your time at Christopher Ward. Customers always find ways of surprising you. We get lots of pictures of their watches at weddings, and there’s a chap in Alaska who keeps offering to take me kayaking through bear territory as thanks for getting his Trident to him in time for his birthday. (And if you’re reading, I intend to take you up on it too!)
I am number four The Morgan range grows by one, and many are now available to all the companyâ€™s fans The Christopher Ward partnership with Morgan Motor Company is going from strength to strength with the release of the C1 Morgan Plus 8, a very special Limited Edition of 50 pieces to celebrate 50 years of the Plus 8 model; as the BMW V8 that powers them is going out of production, these will be the last Plus 8s for the foreseeable future. Each will be sold exclusively with the eponymous car, the dashboard dials of which have been designed by Christopher Ward. Whatâ€™s more, each contains actual metal from MMC 11, the second Plus 8 prototype of the late 1960s, and a winning racing car in its own right. The existing three-model Morgan Chronometer Collection is now in stock and available for immediate purchase on the CW website, regardless of whether you are the lucky owner of a Morgan motor car or not. For more: christopherward.co.uk/morgan
Based upon Morganâ€™s most advanced car, the C1 Morgan Aero 8 Chronometer shares the same commitment to high-end technicality and sleek curves as the car that inspired it. With a unique concentric dial design reminiscent of the Aero 8â€™s dashboard, plus power reserve and small second complications added to our inhouse movement, Calibre SH21, the Aero 8 Chronometer is as powerful under its horological bonnet as it is beautiful.
Two days with some of our latest models
Remember this face: it might one day be rather famous…
Girl power No woman has ever won a Formula 1 race, but 19 year old Jamie Chadwick is looking to change all that. Naturally, we were keen to find out what she thinks of the C7 Rapide… Female racing drivers are not exactly unheard of, but they’re rare. Danica Patrick took the Indy Japan 300 in 2008, the only woman to ever win an IndyCar race, and Michele Mouton very nearly snatched the 1982 World Rally Championship. But only a handful of women have ever been given a Formula 1 drive, and only one – Leila Lombardi in 1975 – ever got points on the board. Sooner or later, though, a woman will crack this notoriously macho world – and Jamie Chadwick might just be the one to do it. Jamie came to racing late – she didn’t even get into a go kart until age eleven, at brother Ollie’s birthday party – though she’s made up for lost time since. She competed in two seasons of the Ginetta Junior Championship – racing rare Ginetta G40 sports cars, built in Leeds – after winning 12
2017, I moved from GTs to Formula 3 – the cars look just like little Formula 1 cars. The aim, of course, is Formula 1.” If all goes well, she’ll spend another year in British Formula 3, then switch to Formula 3 Euro Series, part of the established career ladder up to Formula 1. (Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel came up this way.) “I’m 19 now,” Jamie says, “and if things go exactly as I’d like them to, I could be in Formula 1 in four years. Of course, every step up I take, it gets harder to stand out.” 2013’s only all-expenses-paid scholarship to the series. “I was up against 60 other racers to get that,” she says, “all of them boys.” In 2014 things stepped up a gear, and she entered the British GT Championship’s GT4 class, driving an Aston Martin V8 Vantage against assorted Ferraris and Porsches. These are endurance races, and Jamie and partner Ross Gunn took two race wins – and the championship. She was the first female champion, and the youngest, in the series’ history. She even partnered TV baker Paul Hollywood for a few races. “I’ve been doing it all backwards, though,” Jamie says. “Most drivers begin in single seaters, then move to GT cars. But in
So, what is it you like about driving? “The speed, of course,” she says. “And I’m a very competitive person – before driving, I was very serious about my hockey, representing the West of England at a national level, and I only got into karting to try and beat my brother.” But Jamie is also a great student of motor sport, spending plenty of time with the mechanics to understand the exact science of her car, and acknowledges that being a woman gives her both advantages and disadvantages as a racing driver. “I’m only 5’2” tall, and quite light,” she says, “so that’s a good thing. But I have to build up my strength more if I’m to compete.”
The motor racing world is changing her in other small ways too. “Because I’m around men who wear nice watches, I’ve become quite a watch fanatic myself,” she says. “I tend to like heavy, masculine watches, rather than pretty girlie designer ones with lots of jewels.” She wears an Omega Seamaster 300, so we lent her a C7 Rapide Chronograph COSC LE to see how she got on with it. “It was very good,” Jamie smiles. “I actually wore it to drive around a race track for a few laps – I was trying out the Porsche Carrera GT3 to get a feel for it – and though it’s quite a big watch, it felt quite light on the wrist. I really like the blue dial – it makes quite a fashion statement – but, as I’m used to a steel bracelet, I think I’d have preferred it on one of those.” When asked about her dream watch it takes Jamie a moment to think, before an idea comes to her. “Oh, it’s a Rolex Daytona,” she says. “But a very specific Rolex Daytona. It’s the one given to winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, with the special engraving on the back!” C7 Rapide Chronograph COSC LE, £795; jamiechadwickracing.com
Motoring journalist Nick Trott tries out the C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic – during his first 12-hour endurance race!
The great race Nick is editor of Motor Sport magazine, the original motor racing magazine, founded back in 1924. “And before this I was editor of evo magazine,” Nick says. “I’ve been a professional motoring journalist for 20 years. It’s an all-consuming passion, so this doesn’t feel like a real job most of the time. An editor’s role today is very different from even five years ago. Today we should be able to manage content across all platforms – and nurture and grow audiences on social media and video, the latter being a particular interest of mine.” Indeed, at evo Nick led a team that grew its YouTube subscribers from around 10,000 to 540,000, and he wants to exceed this at Motor Sport, while continuing to evolve the print magazine too. Nick normally wears an Elliot Brown Bloxworth – “a tough everyday chronograph for when I’m on assignment” – and
one of the classic driving watches, a TAG Heuer Autavia, for best. “I treasure it,” Nick says. “It was a gift from my wife and a watch, due to its connection with the racing driver Jo Siffert, that I coveted since I was very young. I’m a watch enthusiast, although not a collector – cars and racing swallow too much of my money! – but my interest has grown in watches commensurate with my interest in cars. I enjoy the mechanical and engineering connection between them, and I find all the technicalities quite fascinating.” Nick actually wore the watch we sent, a C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic, during his first ever endurance race. “I’ve been racing this year in various categories, from historics to modern cars, but I’d never competed in an endurance race before. Called ‘Race of Remembrance’, it was a 12hour event on Anglesey that’s part motor race and part remembrance service. It’s championed by the charity Mission Motor-
Nick loves cars and planes, a man after our own hearts
“You can’t miss pitstops, so having a reliable, clear watch is crucial” sport, who aim to rehabilitate servicemen and women via cars and motor racing. I was in a team of four drivers – and two were soldiers who had been blown up in action, and suffered terrible mental and physical injuries. It was their first race.” Sounds an amazing thing to be part of! “It was. And, I have to say, the watch was excellent – and wholly necessary. 12 hours goes in a flash, and timekeeping is of the highest priority. You cannot miss driver briefings or pitstops, so having a reliable and clear watch is crucial. I wore it in the car, too – just peeking out from my glove so that I could keep an eye on the length of my stint in the car, and I would know when a pitstop was approaching. At night, in the dark and rain, I found it remarkably easy to read – even in the heat of ‘battle’. The large numbers and luminosity were a real help. The strap was also excellent – very soft but tough leather. I also used the stopwatch to keep an eye on team-mates’ lap times from the pit wall.”
Was it, though, the watch for Nick? “The styling is very neat – a good balance between classic and modern – and the size is just right, too. I’m not really into large statement watches, so this was fine. It’s the first time I’ve tried a Christopher Ward, and I can’t fault the build and quality – even the postage and packing box was good – but the problem is, it’s just a little too close in style to both my Autavia and my Bloxworth. “Another passion of mine is aircraft, however, and I think the Christopher Ward Aviation range is superb. I particularly like the C9 Me 109 SPC – and will put it on my wish list!” C7 Rapide Chronograph Automatic, £1,496-£1,560; motorsportmagazine.com
All over the world, people are learning how to make our environments work for nature Over half the world’s population lives in cities, and we’ve long known that introducing green spaces into these concrete-and-tarmac environments is good for the mental and physical wellbeing of human and non-human residents alike – just look at all the public parks the Victorians built, for instance. But as our cities become increasingly congested and polluted, new ways are being found to introduce nature into our living environments: rooftop fish farms in Berlin; disused railways lines becoming long, thin parks in New York; even ‘glow in the dark’ trees, covered in luminescent bacteria, designed to save the need for so many streetlights. (Okay, this last one is pretty much theoretical – so far.)
The images on these pages are winners and runners-up from the ‘Greening the City’ category of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, now in its eleventh year, and celebrate the interaction between our buildings and our plant life. There’s an exhibition of winners every February at Kew Gardens in London – itself one of the world’s great urban green spaces, described as home to ‘the largest and most diverse botanical collection in the world’ – and then touring the UK in the months following. Entries for the competition close at the end of October each year, and there’s a prize of £7,500 for first place – plus all the associated glory, naturally – giving you plenty of time and incentive to hone your camera skills… For more, igpoty.com
Previous spread: image by J.R. Moreno. Left: image by Paul Brouns. Above: ‘Roof Garden’ by Dina Vieira (Park of Nations, Lisbon Portugal), 2nd place winner.
Left: â€˜Windowsâ€™ by Dagmar Haggenburg (Breda, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands), 3rd place winner. Above: image by J.R. Moreno. Following page: image by Claire Takacs.
Featuring a Swiss-made automatic movement and water resistant to a depth of 600m, the C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 is a top-end dive watch that will suit all occasions. More so, with a case that is produced from a corrosionresistant bronze alloy â€“ one that will develop its own patina over time â€“ your C60 Trident Bronze Pro 600 will become one of a kind.
E R O M Ultra-thin watches are few can match the elegant new C5 Malvern 595. A high
becoming very big news, but
point in Christopher Ward mechanical watch the
watchmaking, itâ€™s the slimmest
company has ever createdâ€Ś
Fashions in watches change more slowly than they do with clothing, say, but in recent years they’ve polarised somewhat. With some sports and aviation watches, for instance, we’ve seen case sizes reach as large as would be practical to wear – and then shrink again. And, in parallel, we’ve seen increased interest in watches that go the other way, packing mechanical movements into almost impossibly slim cases. The very cleverest of these ultra-thin watches are almost TARDIS-like in how they manage to squeeze more inside than would ever appear possible from the outside. At Christopher Ward, the C5 Malvern Slimline range was for many years the closest the company came to nodding in this direction – but with the C5 Malvern 595 all that is about to dramatically change. “One day I was reading a blog review of the C5 Malvern Slimline,” says Mike France, one of the company co-founders, “and it was generally very positive. But one thing they said stuck in my mind: ‘Is it really possible to call a watch “slimline” when it’s 8mm high?’ The thought started to bug me.”
Around the same time, many of the big, established Swiss watch manufacturers were starting to put increased effort into their ultra-slim watches. Vacheron Constantin had one at just 4.13mm high, but it cost nearly £30,000. Piaget made a speciality of them, and built one handwound 38mm watch that was just 5.6mm high – but cost maybe four times what the Vacheron Constantin did. (To be fair, it was covered in diamonds.) And so it went: A Lange & Söhne had the Saxonia Thin line at just 5.9mm tall, but you couldn’t buy into that for less than £12,000; Bulgari’s contribution, meanwhile, was just shy of £100K. The trend was clear: very high end watches, very slim cases, very high prices. Could we, Mike wondered, do something just as elegant – and just as slim – at a very Christopher Ward price point? “I knew immediately that we’d never be able to make the slimmest watch in the world,” Mike says. “For one thing, there’s no movement we’d be able to use that would allow us to compete in that rarified arena. But I felt that a height of 6mm might be possible. It was certainly a good target to aim for.” With this in mind, a suitable movement needed to be found. Nothing Christopher Ward currently used would be up to the task – far too bulky – and the most exotic ultra-slim movements were too rare and expensive. Eventually it came down to just one, ETA’s 7001, a lesser known offering from the Swatch-owned movement giant that had the virtue of being simple, but not crude, and was only 2.5mm tall. Though by no means common, it pops up
– sometimes in its basic form, sometimes in tuned and modified versions – in watches by Blancpain, Nomos, Montblanc, Baume & Mercier, Eberhart, and even (under a different name) certain Omega De Villes. Part of the 7001’s secret, of course, is that it’s hand-wound only (it’s very hard to make a slim movement and find room for the rotor needed by an automatic). Another is that it’s quite an old, established design – and so has a great track record as being tough and reliable, something rare in slim movements. It was originally called the Peseux 7001 by its designer and first maker, a movement manufacturer founded in 1923 in the Swiss town of the same name by local lad, Charles Berner. A specialist in manual-winding movements, Peseus was making over 200,000 a year by the 1930s, but by the ’80s the company had shrunk, becoming absorbed – as with so many similar outfits – into the growing Ebauches SA, precursor to the modern ETA. The highly adaptable and reliable 7001 was one of the original Peseux’s last hurrahs, designed in the early 1970s for the smaller dress watches of the period. (Back then, a 38mm case was about as big as any gentleman would go.) It’s a 17-jewel mechanism with an incabloc shock system and 42 hours of power reserve, ticking at 21,600bph. There’s no height to it, and the diameter is small too – just 23.3mm – which is useful for anyone making a small watch, but it has its limitations. On larger case sizes, for instance, it would leave the subsidiary seconds dial floating a little too near the centre of the face. (Indeed, the C5 Malvern 595’s 39mm case is just about the
“Make a mechanical watch that‘s under 6mm tall… I could almost hear the grinding of teeth across Europe.”
perfect size for it.) Seen next to something like ETA’s 2824 it looks like a dwarf – but a tough one, like Gimli. The ETA/Peseux 7001 can be a pretty thing, too – not so much in its basic form, but it takes decoration well – and, of course, there’s inherent beauty in anything that’s simple but works. “It’s not often that we start using a new movement we’ve never tried before,” Mike says, “but the closer we looked at this one, the more impressed we got. In particular, we loved how robust and stable it seemed. The big problem with any slim movement – and slim watches in general – is because you have so little space to play with, there’s no room for error. But this one has so much history behind it, and is so reliable, we felt very much reassured.” Of course, using the 7001 would make it easy for Christopher Ward to design a case that was under 8mm high, but so what? The whole point was that it had to be much slimmer than the old Slimline was. “Knowing what it was I was asking,” Mike says, “I set the design team in Maidenhead and, especially, the technical team in Biel a challenge: make me a watch that’s under 6mm tall. It didn’t make me universally popular – I could almost hear the grinding of teeth from across Europe, as the tolerances would inevitably be reduced drastically – but it felt like the right thing to do. All the gaps – like that between the hands and the sapphire, say – would have to be much smaller than usual. And indeed, virtually nobody had made a ETA 7001-powered watch that’s below 6mm before. Ultimately, of course, we managed to beat that. As the name suggests, the final watch is 5.95mm tall.” Of course, when you’re this ambitious, every fraction of a millimetre is a struggle to shave off the overall height – “people kept telling me we could achieve 6.25mm so much more easily, but I was insistent that we’d get below 6mm if at all possible,” Mike says – but to take this challenge head-on somehow felt in the spirit of the company. Christopher Ward is all about doing things that others have suggested that it couldn’t, after all. And that extended to the design, too. One of the biggest supporters of this project was always Adrian Buchmann, Christopher Ward’s senior designer. 30
“Adrian was behind the project from day one,” Mike says, “and one thing he does really well is that he brings people with him. Many designers work with little regard for the technical people who have to make their designs a reality – but not Adrian. He’ll listen to everyone, and make changes where he can – but when he can’t, he’ll explain why, and help come up with a solution everyone can live with.” Adrian’s approach with the C5 Malvern 595 was to pare everything back, concentrating on a simple, clean look and great proportions. This is the sort of watch where everything has to be just-so, because it’s all on display. “An elaborate dial would have been all wrong,” Mike says, “so this one is beautifully printed, but ultra-simple.” Though very much a man’s dress watch, the 595 – thanks to its size and elegance – has a unisex appeal beyond most of the Christopher Ward range. (“It’s one I can’t wait to wear,” says Helen McCall, Christopher Ward’s head of marketing, and we’ll be getting some interesting women to try it out in a future instalment of 48.) It’s certainly a very stylish watch, with black hands and just two dial colours – the expected white, and a dark grey (rather than the usual black, or perhaps blue) that feels particularly contemporary. “There’s something very Bauhaus about it,” says Mike, “and although I’m sure the white face will be the big seller, it’s the grey face that I’m most excited about.” Indeed, this is an exciting watch in many ways, and has pushed what it’s possible for Christopher Ward to achieve in a fresh new direction. “That’s part of why I love this watch,” Mike says. “It got the adrenaline pumping, and while it could be frustrating for all of us at times, creating it was exciting too. I saw so many people do their very best work on it because, quite frankly, nothing else was going to do.” For the experiences of designer Adrian Buchmann, and watch technician and constructor Frank Stelzer, when designing the C5 Malvern 595, turn to the conversation between them on page 42.
The C5 Malvern 595 is 5.95mm tall, and costs ÂŁ595. For more, christopherward.co.uk
Ward in action
Sharpâ€™s Waterloo Words by Matt Bielby Pictures by Robert Viglasky
For a film-maker like James Strong, getting the timings of everything just-so is crucial if you’re to finish a project on budget. That’s why, on the set of a new version of Vanity Fair – with Olivia Cooke as the ever-fascinating Becky Sharp – a Christopher Ward Trident is his constant companion…
On set with Vanity Fair lead Olivia Cooke
“It’s hard to underestimate how important a good watch is on a TV or film set,” James Strong is saying. “Timing is everything. Each day you know you’ve got to get through a certain number of set-ups, and how long each one will take is worked out in great detail. At the beginning of each day’s shooting, the first assistant director will hand me the list of what we’ve got to shoot and when, and throughout the day they’ll be running around shouting at everybody, keeping it all rolling. I find I’m constantly glancing at my wrist too, double checking how we’re getting on, and when we’ll need to move to the next set-up. So a good, clear, accurate watch is the most important thing I put on in the morning.” James is a TV director, and we’re chatting about his impressive list of credits. Ten years ago he was one of the main Doctor Who guys, directing the tenth Doctor, David Tennant, as he went up against Daleks, sentient human body fat, and even a beast strongly implied to be The Devil himself.
“Since each Doctor Who episode is shot in just ten, or maybe twelve, days, keeping things moving is incredibly important there,” James says. “Luckily, of course, on a show like that you have an incredibly talented and dedicated in-house team behind you, who know exactly what they’re doing.” Since then, James has mostly been helming prestige TV dramas, the type that usually go out at 9pm on the major channels: Hustle, Silent Witness, five episodes of Broadchurch, three episodes of the recent Liar, starring Joanne Froggatt and Ioan Gruffudd. Work in America too, including a couple of episodes of 11.22.63, the well-received Hulu mini-series, executive produced by J.J. Abrams and based on a Stephen King novel, which revolved around James Franco as a man who travels back in time to stop the JFK assassination. And next up, a new seven-part adaptation of the classic 1848 William Makepeace Thackeray novel Vanity Fair for ITV and Amazon Studios, which follows the lives
first big costume drama, which brings its own challenges. “On a show like Liar, set in the modern world, it’s sometimes possible to get through a single set-up in fifteen minutes,” James says. “That’s if it’s a very simple one, like just one person sitting at a kitchen table. But on something like Vanity Fair – where we’ve got hundreds of extras and dozens of horses, and are trying to recreate the battle of Waterloo, say – a single set-up can take all day. Audiences today just won’t accept a version like you’d have maybe seen twenty years ago on a show like Sharpe’s Waterloo, with lots of smoke and just a few dozen men running around. In fact, we increasingly find ourselves trying to compete with what a movie version would be like, but on a fraction of the budget. It makes having a good watch more important than ever.”
of nice, posh, passive Emmy Sedley and bright, manipulative, flirtatious Becky Sharp against the background of the Napoleonic Wars. Sharp, in particular, has become one of the great figures of English literature – a cunning, strong-willed, charismatic social climber, both vile and delightful, who can be seen as a modern woman trapped in the wrong time. Rising star Olivia Cooke stars as Becky, alongside the likes of Suranne Jones, Martin Clunes and Michale Palin. It’s James’s
James has always enjoyed nice watches – his uncle, who’d been in the RAF, had given him an aviation watch as a kid, which he’d treasured – and in his teens he’d enjoyed a series of bright Swatches. Later, he inherited his grandfather’s old watch. “When I lost that while travelling, it was a major trauma,” he says. More recently he’d been wearing a fairly unremarkable but reliable TAG Heuer, when he saw an advertisement for Christopher Ward in an in-flight magazine. He was on the way to Budapest to scout locations for Vanity Fair at the time. “Though I’ve always liked watches, the idea of paying ten grand for one has never appealed to me, so I understood what was special about Christopher Ward immediately,” James says. “I like the weight of a chunky sports watch on my wrist – a watch should remind me that it’s there – and the TAG was starting to look a little bit uninspiring. So when I got to my hotel, I went online and ordered a black-dial Trident right then and there. I’ve been wearing it ever since, including on the set of Vanity Fair. It’s bold and clear with good lume, and
it just takes a glance to know how much time we have left on each set-up, whatever the light. It’s been so good, in fact, that I’ll definitely buy another Christopher Ward at some point.” That’s great to hear! “When you’re working as a director, each project you accept can easily take up eight or nine months of your life, so you have to be certain that each one is the right one. In fact, I rather like the idea of buying a fresh Christopher Ward to wear on the set of each new film or TV show, so they’ll become a reminder of a certain place and time.” One of James’s next projects is a movie about the music scene in Sheffield at the beginning of the ’80s – “Billy Elliott meets The Commitments,” he says – when synth bands like the Human League and Heaven 17 were redefining the post-punk pop landscape. James will both write and direct, and is working with his friend Glenn Gregory – a film and TV soundtrack composer now, but then co-founder and lead singer of Heaven 17 – to make it as authentic as possible. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with so many great screenwriters that I’ve let the writing side of the film-making process slip rather, but I used to both write and direct short films when I was starting out,” James says. “It’s actually really nice to be doing that again.” It definitely sounds like a project that demands a new watch, though it’s hard to think of anything from the current Christopher Ward collection that has the perfect ’80s feel. A challenge for chief designer Adrian Buchmann, maybe…? Vanity Fair will debut on ITV later in 2018
Lucky days Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them, Shakespeare once wrote. And it’s the same with luck… Many people can count themselves lucky. Young diabetic Leonard Thompson was at death’s door when desperate doctors injected him with an untested medicine. It was the first insulin, and he recovered immediately. Roy Sullivan was hit by lightning seven times, and survived. Lots of people had discovered saccharin
before chemist Constantin Fahlberg, but he was the first to actually taste some – accidentally, as it goes – and so realise what a good artificial sweetener it might make. He got super-rich on the proceeds. All were lucky, there’s no denying it, but not quite – in our book, anyway – as lucky as this little lot…
President Teddy Roosevelt Luckiest in: 1912 Roosevelt was serving as Vice President in 1901, when his boss – William McKinley – was shot dead by an anarchist; it made him the youngest ever president, age 42. But when, during the 1912 Presidential campaign, he too suffered an assassination attempt, things went rather differently. Shot point-blank in the chest by a saloonkeeper – who claimed he did it on the instructions of McKinley’s ghost! – he was saved by the hefty 50-page speech he was about to deliver. It slowed the bullet just enough that it got stuck between his ribs. Roosevelt realised he wasn’t coughing up blood – so the round hadn’t penetrated his lung – and refused all medical help, going on to deliver his speech. He completed all 90 minutes of it, beginning: “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” In the end, the bullet was never removed and he carried it with him until the day he died.
Adolphe Sax Luckiest in: childhood
Vesna Vulović Luckiest in: 1972 This Serbian flight attendant, working for Yugoslav Airlines, survived her plane exploding at 33,000 feet and crashing into rural Czechoslovakia; the other 27 on board all died. When an explosion tore through JAT Flight 367 on 26 January 1972, the result of a bomb in the forward cargo area, the plane broke in two. Vulovic was pinned in place by a food cart, which stopped her being sucked out of the falling tail section. Though the crash into wooded, snow-covered terrain put her in a coma and paralysed her from the waist down, she almost totally recovered, continuing to work for the airline – in a desk job. She still holds the official record for the highest fall survived without a parachute, but conspiracy theories have long revolved around the incident. Had the plane actually been shot down by Czech air defences by mistake? Black box data seems to confirm the official story, however.
Antoine-Joseph Sax – Adolphe to his family and friends – survived a childhood packed with neardeath experiences. He fell three stories from a building as a toddler in Belgium. He burnt himself seriously in a gunpowder explosion. He suffered more terrible burns after falling on a hot cast iron frying pan. Other life-threatening childhood traumas included swallowing a needle, nearly drowning in a river, getting hit on the head by a cobblestone, near-suffocation thanks to sleeping in a room full of varnish fumes, and even, at age three, drinking a bowl of sulphuric acid. And why does all this matter? Well, without him we wouldn’t have ‘Baker Street’, ‘Smooth Operator’, ‘Jungleland’, or half the jazz songbook. In 1847 Adolphe Sax would invent the saxophone, one of a range of new valved brass instruments designed to bridge the gap between woodwind and brass. Military bands would take it on, and his place in history was assured.
Ludger Sylbaris Luckiest in: 1902 Getting thrown in jail doesn’t sound lucky. And especially not when it’s for killing a man in a street brawl – or, at least, badly assaulting him. (Versions of the story differ.) But when, on 7 May 1902, Ludger Sylbaris found himself in solitary confinement, it proved the best piece of luck of his life. The next day Mt Pelée, a volcano standing over the city of Saint-Pierre on the French-Caribbean island of Martinique, erupted, killing up to 40,000 people in the town. Safe in his half-underground stone jail cell, Sylbaris survived while those outside who weren’t hit by debris either burned or suffocated to death in the 1,000°C heat. Four days later, rescue teams heard his cries, and pulled Sylbaris out of the still intact cell. Only two others survived. Pardoned for his crimes, Sylbaris got a job with Barnum & Bailey’s Circus, where he was billed ‘the man who lived through Doomsday’ – the first black man to star in this racially segregated show.
Charles XIV John of Sweden Luckiest in: 1810 French soldier Jean Bernadotte started his career as a private, but was promoted many times, especially during the French Revolution; at one point he successfully led an army across the Alps in midwinter to reinforce Napoleon. He was about to accept the position of governor of Rome when he was unexpectedly elected heir-presumptive to King Charles XIII of Sweden. Bernadotte was known to be easy to get along with, and the dying, childless king apparently figured – at the urging of one of his courtiers – that this would make him a pretty good choice. (After all, look how kind he’d been to Swedish prisoners one time.) Napoleon thought it absurd, but to everyone’s amazement the deal had legs, and in 1810 Bernadotte was elected Crown Prince, taking the name Carl. Very popular and powerful in his adoptive country from the word go, the newly named Charles XIV John of Sweden became king when Charles XIII died in 1818, ruling himself for 25 years.
Timothy Dexter Luckiest in: 1769-1806
Tsutomu Yamaguchi Luckiest in: 1945
President George Washington Luckiest in: 1776 George Washington helped win the American Revolution through a surprise midwinter crossing of the icy Delaware River with 5,000 troops, but the fact this worked at all was a miracle. He was far from an experienced general, losing most of his major engagements with the British, and he only pulled off Delaware because the German mercenaries on the other side ignored numerous warnings that it was going to happen. Another time he had two horses shot out from under him on the same day, and kept going – part of a career heaving with luck and determination.
Often appearing on lists of both the luckiest and unluckiest men alive, Japanese engineer Tsutomu Yamaguchi was injured but not killed in the Hiroshima nuclear bomb attack, then went back home to Nagasaki where he was bombed again – and survived that too. On 6 August 1945 he was on a business trip for Mitsubishi to Hiroshima when the bomb dropped. He was walking towards the docks when he saw the B-29 Superfortress bomber, Enola Gay, release Little Boy on the centre of the city, some 3km away. The blast knocked him to the ground, burned him badly, ruptured his eardrums and temporarily blinded him. Despite these injuries, he managed to get home to Nagasaki the next day, and even went into work, covered in bandages, on 9 August. He was just talking to his boss about Hiroshima when the second bomb dropped at about the same distance from Yamaguchi – but this time he was indoors and unhurt. 38
Frane Selak Luckiest in: 2003 Frane Selak was a Croatian music teacher who cheated death no fewer than seven times during the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, surviving train, bus, car, truck and plane crashes that killed dozens. He also managed to accidentally shoot himself, but luckily only lost a testicle – though it may not have felt lucky at the time. He was a survivor, then, but in later years life stopped toying with him and offered up something undeniably positive: he won over $1m on the Croatian national lottery, age 73.
Many of our ‘luckiest’ people simply managed to dodge death in unlikely ways, but Timothy Dexter was different: he couldn’t stop making money, no matter how many foolhardy things he did. An eccentric businessman in 18th century Massachusetts, he was born poor but married a rich widow, and from then on got lucky so many times he built a fortune. His rivals naturally hated him, and kept telling him stupid things to do – which he promptly did, but they always came right for him anyway. One time he bought tons of near-worthless currency, which the US government unexpectedly made good on. He shipped useless bed warming pans to the hot West Indies, where they were repurposed as molasses ladles and turned a good profit. He even literally shipped coals to Newcastle when jealous rivals told him to – but he was the one laughing when the coal arrived in the middle of a coal strike, and was sold at a premium.
Orlando Bloom Luckiest in: 1999
President Andrew Jackson Luckiest in: 1806 One of the more violent and quick tempered American Presidents – “observers likened him to a volcano,” his biographer wrote – Andrew Jackson was a tall, lean but sickly man who fought numerous duels with pistols, and survived them all. In fact, he fought up to 103 of them, most often in defence of his wife’s honour. One time he was shot in the chest by fellow horse breeder Charles Dickinson, an excellent marksman, but he put a hanky over the wound and the contest continued, Jackson shooting his rival dead. His main technique was risky but effective: let the other guy shoot first, because then you have all the time in the world to shoot back at him.
The world is full of good looking young actors who got a single lucky break and became superstars, but few seem quite as lucky as Orlando Bloom. In 1998 he’d been messing around on a drainpipe when he fell three floors, breaking his back. This could easily have killed him, or put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life – for four days he thought it might have done – but luckily he wasn’t paralysed and went back to his acting career, such as it was. Prior to his fall, Bloom had appeared in minor roles such as ‘unnamed rent boy’ in the film Wilde, but then in 1999 director Peter Jackson happened to be in the audience of a small play he was in, and had him audition for The Lord of the Rings. Bloom became a movie star overnight, though it hasn’t stopped him breaking things – an arm, both legs, a wrist, some ribs, all in separate incidents. Hearts, too: he’s since dated such beauties as Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth, Kirsten Dunst and Katy Perry, and briefly married Miranda Kerr, one of the most famous supermodels.
Joan Ginther Luckiest in: 1993
Joan of Arc Luckiest in: 1429 Joan was only 19 or thereabouts when she was put on trial and burnt at the stake – which doesn’t sound so lucky. But it’s what she managed to achieve before this that counts, turning the tide in France’s favour during the Hundred Years War, lifting the siege of Orleans in only nine days, and enjoying numerous victories that paved the way for final French triumph. What made it even more remarkable is that she did it all while insisting on the riskiest course of action again and again. Part of her success was to do with how persuasive she was. Part was her undoubted courage. But an awful lot of it was down to luck. For one thing, the desperate, demoralised French military were willing to try anything at the time – even putting an untested, illiterate farm girl who claimed to hear voices from God in charge.
Ringo Starr Luckiest in: 1962 Richard Starkey was a talent, of course. Though his upbringing had been – as a Beatles biographer put it – “a Dickensian chronicle of misfortune”, he’d led a briefly successful skiffle group as Ringo Starr in the late ’50s. But then, in the summer of 1962, John Lennon asked him to join the Beatles, and he accepted – to pay off a few debts, as much as anything. Instead of a jobbing musician’s life, he was now working alongside three bandmates – Lennon, Harrison and Paul McCartney – who turned out to be pop music geniuses. Ringo was no chump, and his drumming remains highly rated – but even so, you can’t keep but thinking Richard Starkey would have enjoyed a very different life if a few decisions in 1962 hadn’t gone his way…
Finally, a woman who had some simple, old fashioned luck – the sort we might, conceivably, all enjoy. Joan Ginther was Las Vegas-based Texan mathematician with a Ph.D. from Stanford, who won multimillion dollar lottery jackpots not once, not twice, but four times, earning her over $20m on the Texas lottery. She won $2 million playing Holiday Millionaire in 2006, $3 million in Millions & Millions in 2008 and $10 million in $140,000,000 Extreme Payout in 2010, as well as the big one in 1993, when she claimed a $5.4 million share of a Lotto Texas jackpot. How did she do it? Well, basic gambling principles help (she did, after all, specialise in statistics), and she certainly bought lots of tickets, paid for with the 1993 winnings. But on top of all the science and commitment, she certainly had luck too. Indeed, the odds of all her victories have been estimated at one in eighteen septillion.
A new chapter in the Christopher Ward story, the light-catching lines of the allnew case are inspired by English design. With a power reserve complication to our Swiss-made in-house movement Calibre SH21, the C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve blends Swiss ingenuity with British elegance.
Design matters | Watch history | How it works Great watch wearers
Lo-fi master Blues, jazz and acoustic rock legend John Mayer once sued a dealer for selling him watches containing counterfeit parts – the charges were dropped, and everyone’s friends again – which shows how seriously he takes his wrist wear He’s not as big a name in the UK as he is in the States, perhaps, but contemporary blues singer John Mayer is a talent to be reckoned with – he’s won a number of Grammy Awards, and enjoys neat sidelines in writing, TV presenting and even comedy – as well as being a watch collector with serious clout. (In fact, it’s hard to think of a more important watch aficionado.) The first watch that mattered to him was a child’s digital Armitron with a Star Wars-theme – he still calls it “one of the biggest things I ever owned in my life” – but his first ‘real’ watch was a Rolex Explorer II, which he bought with the money from his 2001 breakthrough album, Room For Squares. It’s a watch that went with him everywhere, but when reading watch magazines on his tour bus he spotted another that stole his heart: the minimalist IWC Big Pilot’s watch. In time he bought one of those too, and wore it so much that it effectively became part of his brand. (He even added the little device you’ll find at 12 o’clock on that watch – a triangle with a dot on either side – to the fret of his acoustic guitar.)
Though there have been distractions over the years – seven Grammys; tabloid links to everyone from Katy Perry to Taylor Swift – watches have only grown in importance to him. These days his collection is said to be worth in the tens of millions of dollars, and few have a stronger rep within the watch community as a tastemaker. He’s written about watches on website Hodinkee, and has become high rolling Hollywood’s goto guy for advice on new purchases. More recently, he’s begun to leave the world of modern watches behind in favour of a series of important vintage purchases. Older Rolexes came, then the inevitable move to Patek Philippe (the company now makes him one-off models by request), but he’s no snob, and will just as likely be seen wearing an old Casio G-Shock, tracked down on eBay. One time he bought a Chanel ladies’ watch with an embroidered fabric dial, just because he got intrigued by it, while one of the best known articles he’s written was about picking a used Rolex for under $8k. Apple Watches? He even likes those, and thinks we’ll all be wearing one one day – though perhaps as a pocket watch. After all, as he puts it, “I can’t give up my precious wrist space for an Apple Watch.” 41
Ad in ria th sid n e e vs C5 th F r M e cr ank al ea ve t rn ion 59 o 5 f
The C5 Malvern 595 may be a slim watch, but it challenged the Christopher Ward team in a big way. We got a couple of the key players, Adrian Buchmann and Frank Stelzer, to chat about what went right, and what went wrong… Two essential forces in the creation of the new C5 Malvern 595 were Adrian Buchmann, senior designer, and Frank Stelzer, watch technician and constructor. This was a challenging project from many angles, and one that required real teamwork to pull off. Here the two of them talk about how they achieved it… Adrian: Let’s start at the beginning. When Mike and the co-founders set us the challenge of making a mechanical watch that came in at under 6mm thick, you could have heard a pin drop. That would put us amongst the very slimmest on the market – you can count the watches that are slimmer on one hand, probably, and they’re often made in a totally different way. Frank: They are indeed. The case is effectively part of the movement – and that’s certainly how it works if you want to get down to 3mm or 4mm. With the C5 Malvern 595 we’ve been more conventional – separate movement, separate case, all that – but we eventually managed to come in at 5.95mm regardless. You wouldn’t believe how much harder that was to achieve than
a watch that’s 8mm thick, say. Two little millimetres don’t sound like much, but in watchmaking it’s kilometres. For you, of course, it must have seemed a welcome change of pace. After all, you’d only recently come off the C7 Rapide Collection, with all its bright colours… Adrian: Oh, totally. In some ways, moving from that to the 595 was like going to a wellness retreat after a week of partying. [laughs] A slim watch is a different kind of project. It was something new, and not really in the current range. And that being the case, we started by asking ourselves exactly what it was we wanted to achieve. Frank: Did you look at the available movements first? We certainly did. I was asking things like, for instance, could we do an automatic? No, it turned out. Ultra-thin automatics do exist, but they’re very rare and use micro-rotors. Adrian: They’re very expensive too. I’m told that something like the ultra slim movement used by Parmigiani – which manages to be almost identically high, and includes 44
an automatic complication – would have cost up to £3,000 just for the movement. That obviously wouldn’t work in a watch we intended to sell at £595. Frank: The problem is, any sort of complication on a slim watch is difficult to achieve, as the clearances are so tight. And it gets even more basic than that. On a slim watch, the chances of anything breaking are so much higher than on a watch in a wider case, as you’ve got no room for manoeuvre. If anything moves even slightly, you’re in trouble. So for us, the ETA-7001 seemed ideal. It’s very reliable and well proven and, of course, it’s slim. That said, one of the biggest challenges for me was persuading some of the watchmakers that we should a) use this movement, and b) do an ultra-slim watch at all. It’s a more difficult job for them, after all, and nobody likes a more difficult job if they can avoid it! It goes against the grain in other ways too, because watchmakers know it won’t be as inherently sturdy. Adrian: By that point, I was probably thinking more about the design. With any
“I saw the C5 Malvern 595 as the essence of the CW approach” watch you have to get the right design balance, and in a slim watch that’s particularly important. You don’t just see a watch head-on, but at all sorts of angles, so balance isn’t just to do with hands and numbers or whatever, but the entirety of the case too. The lugs, for instance, are extra important on a slim watch, and I didn’t want these ones to be too squared off – instead, the strap needed to flow seamlessly into the shape of the case. Frank: One thing that’s perhaps surprising about ultra thin watches is that you think they might feel a bit delicate – even breakable – but it’s just not the case. Even a 3mm watch feels quite solid when you hold it – after all, it is made of steel! There’s no way you could bend it in half, just like you can’t bend a one pound coin. It’s not made of aluminium! Adrian: That said, the whole thing is almost the polar opposite of what we have been focused on in movement-making; Calibre SH21 is very robust, solid and heavy - “tractor-like”, in a good way. Johannes Jahnke just never got around to developing
a delicate little movement - it wasn’t the priority at the time. Frank: Of course, Joh always knew that working for Christopher Ward meant you couldn’t take just one approach to every project. The company aims for technical and design excellence beyond our price point in everything that we do, which means that some of our watches have to make extreme refinement the quality that they lead with. In fact, I always saw the C5 Malvern 595 as being the very essence of the Christopher Ward approach to sophisticated, pared-back watchmaking.
they achieved. We’re now working with truly excellent suppliers across the board. Second tier watch part manufacturers simply couldn’t have managed this. Adrian: For my part, it’s that we quickly got to the essential truth of the watch. Because the 595’s most important quality is that it’s very slim, it meant I couldn’t distract from that – which, mostly, meant removing clutter. So the dial is very simple, with no raised elements or extraneous detail, and we needed exceptionally pure, clean hands. The main detail, in fact, is on the rear of the watch, where we have a glass back so you can see the movement. Removing that would – perhaps – have made it slightly easier to make the watch slim, but what a shame not to be able to see the movement. Frank: And anyway, it makes it clear this isn’t just a basic quartz.
Adrian: So, what pleases you most about the end result?
Adrian: Very true. Just because a watch looks very simple doesn’t mean it can’t be creative, of course. I love the use of black rather than blued hands, for instance, and they look particularly sophisticated with the grey dial. Black dials can be rather aggressive, and this is not an aggressive watch, so I pushed for this colour instead. It keeps the palate muted, but softens things a bit.
Frank: One thing is our quality control. We spent a lot of time testing this watch, as our quality control had to be spot on. The other thing is how great our supply chain has been. In fact, they all rose to the occasion brilliantly here, creating the highly specialist components needed exactly to our specifications. We put real pressure on them, but we were so delighted with what
Frank: Personally, I love the grey dial. And I loved working on this watch – not so much the process, maybe, but the feeling we got afterwards. Not every new watch will be the challenge this one was, but whenever we come across a particularly sticky problem in the future, we’ll now be able to look back and say, hey, we can do it. After all, we survived the Malvern 595!
What is it about watches, anyway? Why do they capture our imaginations the way they do? Here’s market research specialist Graham Hall on the many ways in which we love them…
l gu h c ide to wat
We all love quality watches – that’s why we’re reading Loupe – but perhaps we all love watches for slightly different reasons. Over the last 12 months I’ve had the enviable task of talking to watch lovers about their passion, and finding out what makes them, er, tick. You may recognise yourself in some of my observations. First, let’s explore a few common pleasures.
are on the league table of taste or wealth. Sure, there may have been times when we felt a rush of pride when our boss (or a potential girlfriend) said ‘nice watch’, and we passed it off with a nonchalant shrug. But, over time, we end up wearing a watch less for the compliments and more for the simple satisfaction of looking at that beautiful thing on our wrist.
1. We’re are all on a journey It’s a journey into enjoying, understanding and appreciating watches, and it never truly ends. From the first Timex given to us at Christmas to the ritual of eventually receiving our father’s cherished heirloom, wristwatches often represent significant milestones in our life. And, with every new watch we own, we learn more; not just about the watch, but about what this passion reveals about ourselves.
3. Even ugly watches are beautiful Watches are, after all, miracles of ingenuity. These tiny pieces of metal, jewels and crystal somehow configured in such a way that they spring to life before our eyes. And not only do these machines ‘live’, but these marvels of engineering provide an accurate record of time as it passes through our lives. When you think about it, watches are astonishing – and for this reason alone they are beautiful. Even the ugly ones.
2. There will always be someone with a more expensive, rare or unique watch than yours And what does this tell us about our choice of watch? It shows us that, ultimately, the watch we wear is not part of some elaborate competition that shows us where we
There are many such observations I’d love to share with you. But, for now, I want to talk about the watch owners themselves. Having studied these distinctive birds in the field, so to speak, I feel able to describe a few of the more common species.
The Peacock Peacocks are special birds, who like to stand out from the crowd. They love beautiful things, and love adorning themselves with beautiful things. So, when it comes to watches, it’s no surprise that they like to make a statement. Big watches, iconic watches, classic watches with interesting back stories – peacocks love a watch that makes an impression, but are perhaps less interested in what’s going on inside. That doesn’t make them bad people. They just love the aesthetic of fine watches more than the mechanics that make them work, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Cuckoo Cuckoos are unsentimental creatures. They are easily bored, and love to chop and change to keep things interesting. Because there’s less ‘significance’ placed on each watch purchase, they don’t spend a lot of time sweating it. Their watch box is the horological equivalent of a taxi rank, so, if they buy a watch which fails to satisfy, they’ll simply sell it on to make room for the next. Their criteria for choice might be equally spontaneous. One purchase may be a beautiful dress watch, the next may be a specific complication or a unique dive function. In this respect they can behave like an extrovert Peacock for one purchase, and an introvert Heron for the next. It’s all about having fun, and enjoying the watch while it’s on their wrist.
The Heron Herons tend to be more solitary birds. They find pleasure in owning and admiring beautiful objects, finding satisfaction from building a considered collection that has significance for them. Herons are specialist hunters. They know exactly where to look and what to look for, carefully considering which brand, design or movement to buy next, be it a vintage chronometer or a state of the art GMT. Once they’ve done their extensive research they’ll strike at exactly the right moment, buying the right watch at the right price.
So where does Christopher Ward figure amongst all this? Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, I found more owners of Christopher Ward amongst the Owls I spoke to than any other group. They loved the brand’s unfussy approach, while being aware of its reputation for quality. But I also saw Christopher Wards popping up in the collection of various Herons. It seems a Heron will often enjoy wearing a Christopher Ward as a relief from the pressure they feel having to carry off the ‘luxury lifestyle’ image they get from so many of the other brands. Wearing a Christopher Ward just feels more comfortable to them, somehow. The quality watch market is, indeed, a fascinating place, with much of it yet to be explored. Perhaps in another 20 years I’ll have identified a few more of the species that inhabit it. But will I become the David Attenborough of watches, and get asked to make a documentary about them? Probably not…
The Owl In some ways an Owl behaves like a Heron, as their watch choices tend to be more influenced by introvert criteria. Like Herons, Owls tend to work alone – but they are hard-working, and, while they enjoy beautiful things, they like their watches reliable and unpretentious. Like all the species here, they want a watch that’s good to look at, but the difference is that Owls don’t want to have to think twice about wearing it. As such, they consider their watch to be more a trusted companion than a piece of fine jewellery.
The sum of all Fears
Some 60 years ago, the last Fears watch was built in Bristol. Now Nicholas Bowman-Scargill – great-great-great grandson of the founder – has revived the company, and is about to launch his first mechanical watch…
Many of us have watches in our blood, and would love to own our own watch company, but few of us do anything about it. Not so the founders of Christopher Ward, of course, and not so Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, who left the prospect of a career in banking for PR, and then moved again to learn watchmaking at Rolex, before looking for the next challenge life might throw at him. It came with a ‘Eureka!’ moment one Christmas: he would relaunch the family’s 170-year-old watch business. Fears had been run by three generations of the Fear family from 1846 until the 1960s, peaking in the 1930s, when it employed over 100 watchmakers in Bristol. Nicholas himself is the great-great-great grandson of Edwin Fear, who’d established the company in 1846, aged just 22. Fears had always made affordable, good quality mechanical watches, says Nicholas, aimed at “the clerk at the bank, rather than the bank manager”, and had rarely gone in for complications, or expensive case materials such as gold. And this, it turns out, suited Nicholas just fine. “I had no real interest in producing chronographs or dive watches anyway,” he says. “After all, there are plenty of great companies doing just that. What I wanted was to build clean and elegant affordable watches, so felt it was best to start with a good quality Swiss quartz movement, and concentrate my initial efforts on the case and dial design. The result was the Redcliffe range, which walks a fine line between being classic – even retro – and somewhat modernist. It carries a mildly modified version of the best known Fears logos, while the design is based on the look of Fears watches of the ’30s, which I’d started buying for a few pounds on eBay – though with modified syringe-shaped hands, as I didn’t really like the old ones. It’s named for the Bristol street where the company was originally located.”
Meanwhile, 2018 will be a huge year for the company, as it will see the launch of the first mechanical Fears watch in 60 years. The Brunswick – named for Brunswick Square in Bristol, where the old Fears had an export office – features a new, cushion-shaped case and has a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock; it’s powered by ETA’s 7001. “The big trick for me is to create watches that reference the past without aping it too closely,” Nicholas says. “If you want a watch that looks vintage, buy a vintage watch – mine look modern, while acknowledging the heritage.”
Nicholas had enjoyed Young Enterprise programmes at school, so when his mum said, ‘Why don’t you restart the family watch company?’, a lightbulb went off. “I’d known about Fears, but had assumed it was just a one man band,” he says. “It turned out the company had been a bigger deal than I’d thought. It was certainly the West Country’s largest watch manufacturer.” Following the war, many family-run British companies closed down, and so it was with Fears. Indeed, the whole thing had largely been forgotten; in fact, nobody in the family owned a single Fears watch. Most of the company records had been destroyed in the Bristol Blitz, so Nicholas had to trawl the internet, Companies House and Bristol City Archives to find out what we could. He began making new Fears watches in small quantities, designing them in London and getting them built in Switzerland, using family-run businesses. Happily, they started to earn a following. “I sell online through fearswatches.com,” Nicholas says, “and have CW to thank for pioneering that way of doing business.” Going forward, Nicholas intends to slowly expand the range, but always keeping the watches in an everyday dress watch style. “The Redcliffe costs £650,” he says, “while the Continental is £725, and even the Brunswick is only £2,300. It has blued skeleton hands, a cold resin enamel dial, and a case I’m particularly proud of, as it’s hand-built here in the UK. The big plan is to re-establish Fears in Bristol eventually. When you’re as committed as I am to making the new Fears an authentic continuation of the original company, it can’t really be anywhere else.”
Pitching the Redcliffe under £700 seemed about right to Nicholas. “I’m a romantic at heart,” he says, “and didn’t want to push the company upmarket – I wanted to make something in the spirit of what had come before.” Nicholas later added the Redcliffe Continental, which is basically a GMT watch under another name, the second time zone appearing in an oval window at 6 o’clock, not unlike the arrangement on a Rolex Sky-Dweller. The dial has a subtly striking map design, somewhat reminiscent of an old BOAC or Pan Am logo.
28.61 seconds Timespan
It’s been a particularly great year for CW Challenger Sammi Kinghorn, the Scottish wheelchair racer who’s now the fastest female British athlete in her sport. She enjoyed a highly successful World Para-Athletics Championship in London in the summer, breaking her own world record in the 200 metres, before going on to take a second gold in the 100 metres and bronze in the 400 metres. And she won two gongs at the Scottish Sports Awards: Para-Sport Athlete of the Year, and the big one, Scottish Sportsperson of the Year, putting her right up there with past winners like Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Andy Murray. She’s the first para-sport athlete to take that award, and – since she’s still just 21 – it’s hard to say how far her talent will eventually take her. The moment we’re celebrating here, though, is her victory in the T53 200m in London, which she completed in 28.61 seconds, eclipsing her own world record of 28.67 seconds from the Arizona Grand
When Sammi Kinghorn began wheelchair racing, her dream was to be world champion. Now, holding the world record in the T53 200m – it stands at 28.61 seconds – she’s having to come up with fresh ambitions…
Prix back in May. Never one to rest on her laurels, though, Sammi has now turned her attention to road racing. And, indeed, she has just been selected for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia in longer distances – the marathon, and the T53/54 1500 metres on the track. “Obviously, this year’s plan to peak at the World Champs worked,” Sammi says. “I relocated to Glasgow, to be nearer my coach and all my support services. The warm weather around Easter gave me a really good spell of training too, but I didn’t compete until May in the USA – and that worked out, as I broke a world record in my first race of the season!” Amazing, but though Sammi is proud of all of her medals this year, it’s her first one from London that’s most special. “My family and friends all travelled down to support me,” she says, “so I could celebrate with them. It doesn’t hurt that it was another world record, too!” Of course, it doesn’t stop here, with the Commonwealth Games in April 2018. 50
“I have to step up in distance,” she says, “as the only events open to me are 1500 metres and the marathon. In fact, I completed my first marathon in Chicago in October, just to put a qualification time on the board – and my time is the fastest ever debut marathon by a female wheelchair racer. I entered a couple of 1500 metre races too, again just to put some times on the board.” After that, however, she’s taking a long deserved holiday. “I’ll be travelling around Australia and New Zealand,” she says. “I haven’t had a break since I started racing, so this is the perfect window of opportunity before preparing for the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Paralympics.” Sounds great. And if anyone deserves a little time off, Sammi does.
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