Friday, 4 July 2014

A mover and shaker in the watch world

“The most important development for a British watch brand for 50 years.”

That was the bold message sent out by Mike France, CEO of Christopher Ward, speaking at the launch of the English watch brand’s first in-house movement. It was a dual celebration, because the Swiss-made brand had also reached its milestone 10th anniversary. Oh, actually, it was a triple celebration, as the ambitious France revealed that Christopher Ward had just merged with its long-standing supplier Synergies Horlogères.

Sitting alongside the company’s co-founders Chris Ward and Peter Ellis at the launch party, held in London’s very English Charlotte Street Hotel, France could barely contain his excitement as he told the media guests: “This [the introduction of our first in-house movement] will be a huge step forward for us. Together with the Synergies Horlogères merger, we now have the perfect platform to make Christopher Ward’s second decade even more innovative and exciting than the first.”

Having launched Calibre SH21 – variously described by the team as “powerful” and “tractor-like” - future product developments will include a chronograph (as soon as their young watchmaker Johannes Jahnke can produce it, no pressure there then) and a power reserve indicator model.

Interestingly, France did not rule out supplying the new in-house movement to other companies, but acknowledged that “the Christopher Ward brand comes first”.

Calibre SH21, a certified chronometer, is housed in the new C9 Harrison 5 Day Automatic model, which forms part of the brand’s premium collection. Sported proudly on the wrists of the co-founders at the launch party on July 2, the new watch looks simple and elegant, with a clear-to-read face, and “not over-fussy”, according to France. The dress watch, with an alligator strap, retails at £1,500. France calls it "amazing value" for a watch featuring a five-day power reserve.

Take a look at the new Calibre SH21 and the C9 Harrison model below:

Calibre SH21, the first in-house movement from Christopher Ward

The C9 Harrison 5 Day Automatic watch incorporating the new movement