Christopher Ward: 'We want to be the Rolex of the internet'
Christopher Ward might be a watch brand you haven't heard of, but it has just celebrated its tenth birthday. That's not old, in watch terms, but this British watchmaker has ambitions.
"We want to be the Rolex of the internet," said Mike France, co-founder, at an event to announce the latest developments for the luxury watchmaker.
There's something important in that position, because unlike many luxury watchmakers, Christopher Ward doesn't sell through retailers, it sells direct through the internet, and has a close relationship with its customers.
The aim is to offer all the quality of the big brands, but at prices that are affordable by many more people.
But don't be mistaken for thinking that Christopher Ward watches are cheap, or lacking in quality as a result, as the company has a no compromise approach.
The latest development is the introduction of its own movement. This is the heart of a mechanical watch and previously - like many other Swiss Made watches - the movement was bought from an established manufacturer, like Eta.
The new movement gives Chris Ward more control over the future of the watches it produces and the movement - Calibre SH21 - launches in the C9 Harrison 5 Day Automatic (pictured).
It's designed to be an understated, but high quality, dress watch. Costing £1500, it's priced much more attractively than many of the established Swiss rivals, a far cry from the all-singing, all-dancing, smartwatches we normally cover.
But importantly, this marks the start of a new chapter in the Chris Ward story. Merging with Swiss partners Synergies Horlogères, this British watchmaker has the chain from design to customer, with the facilities to do everything in house.
"Rolex was once tiny and, by the way, based in London," said France, with an eye fixed firmly on the future, a future that's heavily committed to selling through the internet with direct engagement with customers through its own forums.
You can see the full range of Christopher Ward watches on its website.