In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Discuss Christopher Ward watches

What should Christopher Ward do with their branding?

Keep it as it is - the rebrand is good
18
44%
Revert back to their old Chr.Ward brand and refresh it
18
44%
Create a 'heritage' and a 'modernist' line of watches
5
12%
 
Total votes: 41

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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by Caller »

asqwerth wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 2:52 amOn the other hand, people do know the watches as Christopher Ward watches, and know what to expect from that brand (pricing, models, design, quality)
Is that right? I haven't a clue as it's constantly changing. I would probabrly agree with quality. I thought the re-hash of old models a sign of running out of ideas, or they had a gap with nothing else planned, a filler really. I wonder if the reception of the Aquatine willl bring a re-think on?

Incidentally, as a comparison between two very different brands, Bremont still sell their original watch and models I bought 8 & 6 years ago respectively, are still available with no changes. That's how to build a brand, not all the chopping and changing for short term gain. CW are always on the threshold of the next big thing.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by Caller »

0uatiOW wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 1:32 amNo-one will ever know whether the same new watches would have sold in greater or lesser quantities with the Chr.Ward logo, but if the sales volumes exploded as we have been told, if it was a mistake, then it wasn’t fatal. One final thought - if the whole ruse was to attract new, younger customers, at an earlier stage in their watch buying journey, then it seems to have worked.
I'm struggling with the whole concept that a new wordmark was key to new sales. I'm sure all the hype made some inroads, as It was a massive change with their 'disruption' campiagn (yawn), that must have cost a lot of money, especially selling off old stock on the cheap, so it had to succeed, whether it really did or not. Nothing much actually changed to start with. New models and ranges came and went as ever (that's my recollection anyway) and everything now feels a bit Deja-vu really. Mike France is a salesman. Everything the company does is a succcess. sure it is.

For me personally, watches I otherwise liked bar the abomination at 9 ( :wave: ), came and went, and this old fogey finally put his hands in his pocket when CW was at 12. I wonder where all those new buyers from 2016 are?
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by David. S »

coffeemike wrote: Mon May 02, 2022 4:52 pm As a personal opinion, there definitely isn't a right or wrong answer here.

In terms of a logo, it has whatever meaning you, or the community you're in, infuses it with. Any logo or branding change will, to some extent, reset that back towards a blank slate.

For my own two cents' worth:
- I'm a fan of the twin flags. Create a symbol, use it for a time, and build the brand presence around that symbol. What will make this successful is the number of times and places we see that symbol appear and create the association.
- I was fine with the most recent wordmarks. I own a Sealander with the name text center aligned under 12 (and in a way, wish it had the swish flags on it as well). I was also fine with the left-aligned 9:00 wordmark, as for whatever reason I can't pinpoint, it felt like a very British design element.
- I'm less a fan of the older wordmarks (like Chr. Ward) or the older hands (the bulbous onion ones), favoring something with a little more timeless simplicity like the handset on the Sealander.

I view this like so many changes - with consistency over time, the noise will settle and the connotation of the branding will deepen.

That pretty much sums up how I feel.

David.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by rkovars »

Caller wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 5:41 pm For me personally, watches I otherwise liked bar the abomination at 9 ( :wave: ), came and went, and this old fogey finally put his hands in his pocket when CW was at 12. I wonder where all those new buyers from 2016 are?
I am one of the new customers since 2016. I can say that the rebrand didn't effect me in any way as I hadn't heard of CW prior to my first CW purchase in 2019 (bought 2nd hand). I am betting that I am in the slim minority that has joined this forum and contributes. I would say that we will never know how many people out there are just looking for a nice watch at a good price and grab one and are never heard from again. CW knows the true numbers. I can give some anecdotal evidence as there are two people in a watch group that I go to that are big fans. There are always other people interested and there are some REAL heavy hitters on the table usually (think Lange, VC and Rolex).

However, I can say that prior to the rebrand I wouldn't have purchased one. I found most of the designs and branding VERY dated to my taste (especially the onion hands). The 9 o'clock branding never bothered me. I have seen it several times in vintage brands and I always thought it looked good. Nevada Grenchen comes to mind in this regard.

Re the constantly changing models - I think we might be bumping up against demographics here. If CW sees there target market in the 25-35 range then I think some consistency in models is probably doomed. That age bracket is constantly looking for fresh and new. They don't have the same feeling about consistency that older generations have. They get bored VERY quickly and move on.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by JAFO »

Caller wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 5:20 pm
asqwerth wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 2:52 amOn the other hand, people do know the watches as Christopher Ward watches, and know what to expect from that brand (pricing, models, design, quality)
Is that right? I haven't a clue as it's constantly changing. I would probabrly agree with quality. I thought the re-hash of old models a sign of running out of ideas, or they had a gap with nothing else planned, a filler really. I wonder if the reception of the Aquatine willl bring a re-think on?

Incidentally, as a comparison between two very different brands, Bremont still sell their original watch and models I bought 8 & 6 years ago respectively, are still available with no changes. That's how to build a brand, not all the chopping and changing for short term gain. CW are always on the threshold of the next big thing.
I think there's a lot of sense in the last paragraph. The Rolex sub is basically unchanged since 1953. The speedmaster for over 60 years. Other classic watches are similar.

There was and is nothing wrong with the previous c60 and C65s, and many other old models. They could have been retained and continually released with minor improvements if necessary for a long period. Perhaps the Aquitaine needed a new model number. There's no Aquitaine department in France, but the south of the Aquitaine region, Pyrenees-Atlantique is department 64, so maybe call the new Aquitaine a C64.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by ajax87 »

rkovars wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 6:17 pm If CW sees there target market in the 25-35 range then I think some consistency in models is probably doomed. That age bracket is constantly looking for fresh and new. They don't have the same feeling about consistency that older generations have. They get bored VERY quickly and move on.
I was going to get offended by this, but then I sipped my Starbucks and ate some avocado toast and forgot what we were talking about. Oooh! Shiny new watch!
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by jf72 »

MichaelMD wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:13 pm The flags are a big improvement. The moving of "Christopher Ward" to the 12 o'clock position was a big step in the right direction. But removing it entirely in favor of the flags logo is a great move. Hope it stays that way.
how do you (or anyone else reading this) feel about the aspects of the rebrand other than the logo, particularly the updates to the Trident's dial & case?
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by downer »

jf72 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:30 pm
how do you (or anyone else reading this) feel about the aspects of the rebrand other than the logo, particularly the updates to the Trident's dial & case?
I'm confused. What does "updates to Trident's dial & case" have to do with rebranding?
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by jf72 »

downer wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:38 pm
jf72 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:30 pm
how do you (or anyone else reading this) feel about the aspects of the rebrand other than the logo, particularly the updates to the Trident's dial & case?
I'm confused. What does "updates to Trident's dial & case" have to do with rebranding?
the two things coincided (although the logo change was first), there was an advert put out called 'waves goodbye!' referring to the removal of the waves dial from the trident going forward. the other aesthetic changes to the trident are linked in terms of CW seeking to modernise the watches, and the wider question is whether or not you feel CW have been in the habit of fixing what aint broke
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by downer »

jf72 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 9:52 pm
downer wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:38 pm
jf72 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 7:30 pm
how do you (or anyone else reading this) feel about the aspects of the rebrand other than the logo, particularly the updates to the Trident's dial & case?
I'm confused. What does "updates to Trident's dial & case" have to do with rebranding?
the two things coincided (although the logo change was first), there was an advert put out called 'waves goodbye!' referring to the removal of the waves dial from the trident going forward. the other aesthetic changes to the trident are linked in terms of CW seeking to modernise the watches, and the wider question is whether or not you feel CW have been in the habit of fixing what aint broke
The fact that CW updated the Trident at around the same time as the re-brand doesn't (in my mind) mean the Trident changes were part of the re-brand.

In the end, all the changes are presumably designed to sustain and grow the business, and I can't see the problem with that.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by SebLat »

For what it worths, I would argue that they seem to have finally reached a cohesiveness and identity in their lines. To like that "new" identity or not is purely personal but I think that they progressively moved from a state where they appeared to shoot in every direction to see what sticks (or at least tried to convey to many styles) to a point where there seems to be intent and a clear direction in term of design.

Which is not to say that there hasn't been fine pieces at various points in the past (quite the opposite) but the brand seems more cohesive that ever to me at that point in time.

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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by Thermexman »

My take, for what it’s worth? This makes me think of people that I’ve known, who’ve sworn by certain brands of cars. ie: I’m a Ford man or I’m a Toyota man etc.

I remember when the Ford Sierra came out and a workmate, who bought a new Ford Cortina every three years without fail, bought his first Sierra. He hated the look of it with a passion. He still bought another though, three years on!

Me, myself? I was a Toyota man. Owned a Corrolla and two Carinas in 5 years. Only moved to another brand because I didn’t like the “new” Carina model!

Not saying I won’t ever buy another Toyota but I’d have to like the product.

I’m the same with watches, I might not like the current models or the company’s decisions over direction but, if the stars align and I like a model, I’ll ‘dive’ back in.

Unfortunately, despite our protestations about previous iterations and their various merits, there’s probably not enough of us prepared to buy any of them to make them viable?
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by rkovars »

Thermexman wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 4:01 pm Unfortunately, despite our protestations about previous iterations and their various merits, there’s probably not enough of us prepared to buy any of them to make them viable?
I was thinking about this last night. If the older versions were getting CW where they wanted to be they wouldn't have changed. Unfortunately, the numbers told them a different story and they needed to change direction. I am sure that there were many points taken into consideration and it wasn't an easy decision to make. I would also bet that they anticipated that it would be painful and likely ruffle the feathers of some of the die hard fans of the brand.
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by jf72 »

rkovars wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 4:25 pm
Thermexman wrote: Wed May 04, 2022 4:01 pm Unfortunately, despite our protestations about previous iterations and their various merits, there’s probably not enough of us prepared to buy any of them to make them viable?
I was thinking about this last night. If the older versions were getting CW where they wanted to be they wouldn't have changed. Unfortunately, the numbers told them a different story and they needed to change direction. I am sure that there were many points taken into consideration and it wasn't an easy decision to make. I would also bet that they anticipated that it would be painful and likely ruffle the feathers of some of the die hard fans of the brand.
what i heard was that they noticed a dip in sales one time and decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater ( (in my mind) and rebrand. anyone who follows the stock market knows that things come in peaks and troughs.

and this is why i threw the reworking of the trident in the same category as the mentality came from the same place IMO. what seemed crazy to me was to replace the old trident rather than just have the new sword hand ones as a separate new line, it's like Rolex completely replacing the Submariner design with something unrecognisable!
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Re: In hindsight...was the Christopher Ward rebrand of 2016 a historic mistake?

Post by JAFO »

What also changes is that many of us have a number of watches, and perhaps don't have an immediate need for more watches.

On the other hand people with few watches looking to buy another or even their first now have so much choice, it might be hard to pick the CW watch tree out of the forest of alternatives.