Talk to me about Christopher Ward watches…


Kes Crockett | Watch Department

Founded in 2004 by Chris Ward, Peter Ellis and Mike France, watch manufacturer Christopher Ward has become one of the great horological success stories of recent times. In what is a notoriously competitive industry, the British brand has somewhat turned the watch business on its head with a unique and unusually transparent trading model.

The Christopher Ward Method

The aim of the company was quite simple – to produce “the cheapest most expensive watches in the world”. In order to achieve this, the traditional way of doing things would need streamlining. In this case, that meant avoiding huge marketing overheads and selling direct to customers without the need for expensive third party retailers. These changes would allow Christopher Ward to offer their watches at a maximum three times mark up on the manufacturing price. When you compare this to mainstream watchhouses is unheard of. In fact, during their initial research before starting the company, they found one Swiss brand whose RRP was marked up by 34 times.

Doing away with the paid celebrity endorsements so often seen with other manufacturers, Christopher Ward began with a single advertisement in British newspaper ‘The Independent’. And as they say… the rest is history. The online reviews started to come, with nothing but praise for the watches’ build quality and value for money. Where else could you get a proven ETA mechanical movement inside such a well-made and stylish case for just a few hundred pounds? Followed by the formation of an independent dedicated forum, awareness of the brand snowballed. Sales figures have followed suit with over 25,000 per year making their way to happy customers around the world.

Quest for Growth

In their quest for growth, Christopher Ward has created a varied and impressive assortment of models. They currently have 245 variations listed on their website. Offering dress watches, divers, GMTs and even a chiming ‘Sonnerie au Passage’ in the range, there really is something for everyone. Impressive stuff, and the year 2014 saw something even more so; the creation of an in-house movement, the calibre SH21. A double-barrelled mechanism with an impressive 120-hour runtime and chronometer grade accuracy of -4 to +6 seconds per day.

Maybe it is testament to the loyalty Christopher Ward customers have to the brand that we have seen very few of their watches come through our specialist watch auctions at Fellows. Perhaps those who purchase one, find it difficult to see a replacement in the marketplace returning quite so much bang for their buck, electing simply to keep it and add another to the collection. However, when they do decide to sell, there is a fantastic opportunity for watch fans to buy a high-quality watch at an even more affordable price! The upcoming Watches and Watch Accessories auction at Fellows on February 16th sees no fewer than four examples under the hammer. Lets take a look at them…

Christopher Ward watches at auction

Lot 160 – Estimate £180-260

Christopher Ward C5 Malvern on brown leather strap

For dress watch fans we have a stylish 38mm gold plated C5 Malvern on brown leather strap. With an automatic movement, champagne dial and date display to three it comes complete with its original box and papers.

Lot 161 Estimate £400-600

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600

With a distinctly sporty vibe, the C60 Trident Pro 600 could be just the job for those seeking the ultimate tool watch. With its comfy rubber strap, orange accented dial and rotating dive bezel, it would seem a lot of watch for not a lot of money. One of two chronographs in the auction.

Lot 162 Estimate £120-180

Christopher Ward Belisama bracelet watch

At the smaller end of the spectrum there is a stainless steel Belisama bracelet watch. It was part of the Ladies collection from 2012. With understated silvered dial and automatic Swiss made ETA movement, this 25mm watch could be the perfect apology for forgetting Valentine’s Day!

Lot 163 Estimate £350-450

Christopher Ward C700 Grande Rapide

The second of two chronographs available is the C700 Grande Rapide in stainless steel. With a monochrome aesthetic and exhibition case back, this watch offers a slightly more subdued option for those who like a stopwatch on their timekeeper. Whilst not having the rotating bezel seen on the Trident C60, there is the additional weekday complication which may well be more useful for those who prefer to stick to the safety of dry land.

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Our valuations are free, with no obligation to sell with us. Our experts will value your item with an estimate, so you can find out what it could achieve at auction.

The process is simple. You can fill in a form online or book an appointment to visit either of our offices in Birmingham or London. Virtual valuation appointments are also available.

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