Bel(le) epoch

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
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strapline
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Bel(le) epoch

Post by strapline »

This post has come about after CW's latest launch of their Bel Canto sonnerie au passage. Everyone on here will be familiar with how well the launch went, flabbergastingly so I would suggest. Many of those involved with the development and manufacture must feel like they're in something of a dream right now.

I occupy a unique position on this forum in that I don't even own a CW watch but, as I've said many times before, I'm here for the broader watch experience. It has been lovely to see how CW has developed, and I also enjoy being around the fervent fandom and adoration this brand has generated in the relative few years they have been around. Undeniably CW make some very nice watches that are offered for sale at prices that frankly shame some of the more mainstream Swiss watch brands. Unfortunately, for quite a time, CW suffered from something of an identity crisis, with its less than popular dial branding often getting in the way of very solid watch offerings.

More recently the hugely popular Sealander range came in to being, quickly followed by the Aquitaine range of vintage inspired divers and the Trident 300 - Trident Pro 600 light, if you will. Along with these offerings the old branding was dropped, leaving a more graphic-driven twin flag identity. This can only be viewed as a success because the name on the dial discussions have disappeared like leaves carried on an autumn breeze. Which leads me on to the nuts and bolts of this post.

As well as offering great every-day-wear watches, CW appears to have wanted to be at the vanguard of things. Before my time on the forum there were the JJ modified movements, then came the SH21 movement. More recently a limited edition skeletonised diver - the Concept - came in to being. Now CW have taken on one of the truly revered complications of high horology, a chiming watch. Not only that, they appear to have done it with innovation and panache aplenty. Let's not forget this is a complication that many of the established watch maisons would leave you needing to trump up a similar amount of money as you would need for a meaningful deposit on a new home. Simply, CW have smashed it and, HOPEFULLY, shaken up the whole Swiss watch industry in the process.

I've enjoyed being around this forum. I've enjoyed talking about watches. It has been lovely to witness CW's evolution. Personally, I think the brand is on a really great trajectory. With this latest launch - the Bel Canto - and the way it has been received, I think the brand is just starting out on what I think will be a beautiful era of innovation; garnering respect and admiration from all watch corners. Personally I would like to applaud Mike France and his team for their ambition and daring-do. I hope my post won't be seen to mean any the less as I'm a person talking from the wings, so to speak.


Des
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Re: Bell(e) epoch

Post by WileyECoyote »

I want to thank you for providing us with a well thought out & articulated summary of your opinion regarding Christopher Ward’s evolution to the present. I think that your comments are spot on & couldn’t agree more. How many watches that you happen to own of the brand should not matter nor does it diminish the value of your opinion.

Delmar
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Re: Bel(le) epoch

Post by JAFO »

It's perhaps a bit of a surprise that you haven't succumbed along the way, though, Des :D
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Re: Bell(e) epoch

Post by strapline »

WileyECoyote wrote: Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:07 pm I want to thank you for providing us with a well thought out & articulated summary of your opinion regarding Christopher Ward’s evolution to the present. I think that your comments are spot on & couldn’t agree more. How many watches that you happen to own of the brand should not matter nor does it diminish the value of your opinion.

Delmar
Thanks for that Delmar, really appreciate the kind words. Glad it had some resonance too. :D
JAFO wrote: Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:25 pm It's perhaps a bit of a surprise that you haven't succumbed along the way, though, Des :D
It really is but my circumstances, and the stars, haven't aligned for any watch purchases since 2018. I get great satisfaction from what I have and I guess you can't ask for more than that. I hope that changes one day, but for now further watches have to take a bit of a back seat.

Des
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Re: Bell(e) epoch

Post by Kip »

Thank you Des for you post. I can't say it any better than this.....
WileyECoyote wrote: Sat Nov 05, 2022 7:07 pm I want to thank you for providing us with a well thought out & articulated summary of your opinion regarding Christopher Ward’s evolution to the present. I think that your comments are spot on & couldn’t agree more. How many watches that you happen to own of the brand should not matter nor does it diminish the value of your opinion.

Delmar
You may have spurred me to write a few things down regarding my own journey with CW. I have seen quite a bit over the past (almost) 16 years.
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Re: Bel(le) epoch

Post by Noush »

I really do hope you've been suitably spurred, Kip! I've only been around this virtual space and the brand for just short of 3 years, and the things I've seen, the wings that have spread...your experience is quite on another level.

And thanks for the post, Des. Thoughtful and well considered contribution. The Bel Canto has been quite the ride! Those involved can't have imagined what's happened.
Although: I showed the watch to a couple of watch-fanciers at work and they both said they would be gone by the time I got home, and they were right. I thought I was "safe". Wrong!
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Re: Bel(le) epoch

Post by WileyECoyote »

Kip, hopefully you do write a few things down about your journey with CW over the years. Yours has been an unique position to witness & be part of how Christopher Ward has become the company that it is today. If you wish to share some of your reflections, I know that the rest of us would be richer or I should say more enlightened for it.

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Re: Bell(e) epoch

Post by asqwerth »

strapline wrote: Sat Nov 05, 2022 3:18 pm .....I've enjoyed being around this forum. I've enjoyed talking about watches. It has been lovely to witness CW's evolution. Personally, I think the brand is on a really great trajectory. With this latest launch - the Bell Canto - and the way it has been received, I think the brand is just starting out on what I think will be a beautiful era of innovation; garnering respect and admiration from all watch corners. ....
I appreciate your thoughts on this subject, ie CW's evolution.

While I have no intention of buying any more watches (yes, really!), let alone the Bel Canto, I've enjoyed oohing and aahing at it anyway, and contributing to the discussion on it. Like you, I hope to see more innovation, and by that I don't mean just another BC in a different colour.

For instance, I hope they bring their innovative spirit to the SH21 as well, and develop further complications for it. I seem to recall when it was first released, that CW said it was meant to be modular, and one of the barrels could be removed to fit modules for other complications. Was that all just big talk at that time? Is it not possible now that JJ has left? Can Frank Stelzer not step up now he's got the FS01 under his belt?

After all, while it's great to be able to ingeniously mod the Sellita [and I hope they continue to], the SH21 is CW's own movement and it would be great if more could be done with it. Even if 1 barrel is removed, presumably the PR is still 60hrs, which is still better than the Sellita.

Or, have they decided it's too large/thick to use for anything other than a 3-hand (or small secs) auto or handwound watch?
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Re: Bel(le) epoch

Post by JasH »

Agree with the OP, and IMO only two things have really held CW back.

First is the "Christopher Ward" branding on the dials historically. Now fixed.

Second is the fire sales, and regular discounting. They really need to fix their prices and hold them.

No more discount vouchers and only sell end of lines etc at a discount.

I hope the Bel Canto is the dawning of a new era for CW.