What's in Name?

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
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PaulJS
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What's in Name?

Post by PaulJS » Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:12 pm

The recent departure of C Ward Esq. from the company has given me pause for thought as to whether this has any impact on future purchases and whether it devalues the brand.

Clearly there are many products that we all buy that purport to be what they are clearly not: a new Tata F Pace? Suits you sir; Unilever, you either love it or hate it; a Fiat 812 Superfast for the price of a house? ( OK so we don't all buy these! ), a plethora of consumer electricals and electronics that have historic badges to make us feel warm and fuzzy but that actually bear no relation to the alleged ancestry.

And so we come to Christopher Ward Watches - a company now trading with a product name that now relates to a bloke that has left the company.

For me this has had two effects:

1. I will not be buying any more for the following reasons:
- call me a old romantic, but it was kind of nice to have such a direct connection to the (co) owner / founder with his name on the watch face
- there was a certain charm to being able to have direct contact with the man himself
- the defacto new head honcho seems more concerned with world domination ( £200M turnover a year?) than producing honest to goodness products while cultivation a relationship with the customer base. If this is the scale they are aiming for I will decamp to other micro brands that need ( and will appreciate ) my custom more
- I have not been a fan of the way the products have been going over the last couple of years ( pragmatism over passion is how I would best describe the way they seem to have gone e.g. lack of bracelet options and poorer straps ) and I can't see this changing as they aim for greater output / a more popularist approach.

2. I will be keeping hold of my current CW watches for the foreseeable for the following reasons:
- the reasons I bought them still stand
- at the prices I paid, compared to current CW prices they are monumental bargains
- they are now from a past era: you cannot now buy a Christopher Ward watch from the company that includes the man himself as part of the line up
- Now that MF is at the helm I don't believe that CW will ever return to the old ethos of producing bold appealing high quality watches at fantastic prices. We will never see the likes of the C11 and C70 ranges again as they just don't have the mass appeal that CW now seems to be aiming for.

So there you have it.

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by H0rati0 » Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:37 pm

Pertinent observations that give food for thought. I also have been vaguely discontented with direction, though I think to survive the company has to grow and most importantly work out what it should be. That may or may not fit with my plans - we'll see.
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by magicman » Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:08 am

I had put most of my eggs in the CW basket, and felt a real connection with the company and it's directors, when i was invited to the SH21 launch, i subsequently sold my previous grail watch to fund my C9 purchase.
I don't have that same feeling anymore, hence the same watch being sold.
I would never disregard them, it's a problem for us early adopters. So i will always have that history, which i don't regret.

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Re: What's in Name?

Post by Mikkei4 » Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:19 pm

The purchase of my CW watches had from little to nothing to do with the owners or their "relationship" with me or others as customers. They were bought because In the early years the watches were attractive and fitted into an acceptable budget, particularly at the prices of the time.

My 38mm black/black C60 Trident 600 (which is 5years old tomorrow) is still IMO 1 of their best looking watches, presently my 2nd favourite watch that has only been eclipsed in use and knocked off no.1 favourite spot by a Moonwatch. It is definitely a "keeper" unless I can obtain an equivalent GMT version at a decent price.

I sold the only new CW I bought (the 2017 FLE) after buying the above C60 and since the name went to 9 so I've not really had any feeling of loyalty since that major logo change. I will still look and consider any of their new releases provided they don't have the name at 9. For some time CW have been moving further and further beyond a starting price where more than a second thought is necessary to justify a purchase (at least for me) rather than buying another brand or a pre-owned from a marque like Omega. I can only see an increasing move of their watches up the cost ladder due to the recent influx of finance.

It'll be interesting to see if they choose to or have to move away from using "Christopher Ward" as the company name.

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Re: What's in Name?

Post by Lavaine » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:13 am

I'm curious. Do the members who stand by this assertion that they won't by CW now that Chris has left the company stand by this value with all purchases? In other words, do you only buy products from companies with the founder still at the helm? It must seriously limit your purchases. I think the only car you could own would be a Tesla. Flying? Virgin might be your only choice. Obviously none of you have iPhones, and I have no idea how you surf the internet without a Mac OS or Windows computer. Some version of Linux I guess.
My point is that the idea that a company is suddenly worthless without the founder at the helm is beyond ridiculous.CW was not Christopher Ward. It was the creation of three men, 2 of which are still involved in the company. Even if they weren't, as a company grows it becomes more than just its founders. Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Lotus, Jaguar. Some of the greatest car companies pf all time. Did they become worthless upon the deaths of their founders?
You don't have to like the direction CW is taking, but don't hide behind a BS notion that it's because "Chris has left the building".
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by trsullivan » Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:59 am

Lavaine wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:13 am

You don't have to like the direction CW is taking, but don't hide behind a BS notion that it's because "Chris has left the building".
+1

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Re: What's in Name?

Post by Noush » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:20 am

Different perspective.
My first CW watch arrived at my doorstep today. I bought it because I liked it better than anything else remotely comparable in the market (and there's nothing quite like a C65 - a bit similar yes, but not like this) and thought it good value for what it is. I have a smaller "collection" of watches I really like and this is the best of them.
So for me there is no baggage. I wasn't looking for a watch in earlier days "when things were different" or the logo in a different place. FWIW I don't get the fuss about that, a complete non-issue for me.

It is the reality of any business that circumstances, owners, staff, all sorts. are subject to change. The moving finger writes....and the "test' is always whether the company on any given day offers what its customer base, and the people it wants to attract to it, have what they want to buy.
For me, today, the answer is yes. Tomorrow, let's see when the next time comes.
Chris
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by PaulJS » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:29 am

Lavaine wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:13 am
I'm curious. Do the members who stand by this assertion that they won't by CW now that Chris has left the company stand by this value with all purchases? In other words, do you only buy products from companies with the founder still at the helm? It must seriously limit your purchases. I think the only car you could own would be a Tesla. Flying? Virgin might be your only choice. Obviously none of you have iPhones, and I have no idea how you surf the internet without a Mac OS or Windows computer. Some version of Linux I guess.
My point is that the idea that a company is suddenly worthless without the founder at the helm is beyond ridiculous.CW was not Christopher Ward. It was the creation of three men, 2 of which are still involved in the company. Even if they weren't, as a company grows it becomes more than just its founders. Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Lotus, Jaguar. Some of the greatest car companies pf all time. Did they become worthless upon the deaths of their founders?
You don't have to like the direction CW is taking, but don't hide behind a BS notion that it's because "Chris has left the building".
Some salient points above and clearly the presence of the company founder cannot be the over riding basis for every purchasing decision one makes.
Having said that I think that there are some distinctions to be made:

1. The difference between completely elective purchases and necessary purchases made for the purely functional requirements of the product. Where we have a choice of what, and even whether to buy at all, we tend to be far more discriminating and apply a completely different set of metrics over and above the purely cost / VFM / function proposition.

2. As reflected in another thread about patronising local companies / suppliers, many people do choose to spend their money based on having what they perceive to be a connection of some description with the outfit. This may in fact be completely irrational, emotional or both.

3. The converse of 2 : where the functional practicalities of the product outweigh all other factors. Within parameters that are so close as to be irrelevant, 99% of watches tell the time to a perfectly acceptable standard ( given that there are different WR and robustness but these are not purely price dependent ) but not all airlines have the same safety records and not all cars offer the same load carrying / fuel economy / reliability etc etc.

4. It is nothing new to make purchasing decisions based upon completely irrational and potentially irrelevant criteria: some on here will remember the 'Buy British' campaign of many years ago where we were urged to do our patriotic duty and select homegrown products over imported. This was, and still is, embraced by many people although it is a very difficult proposition unless you have incredibly deep pockets.

One final thing, and that which I think is the most significant. Christopher Ward ( the company ) pulled off an amazing feat by creating a company that, while being internet based, managed to engender a feeling akin to shopping in your local store: you could contact & interact with the chap whose name was on your watch face; he personally signed the documentation that came with your watch; his wife ran / was customer services.

In short, and whether it was real or imagined, they somehow performed the alchemy of taking a remote business model and turning it into what felt like a real and personal interaction. This was not just at the point of initial contact / purchasing but also further into the relationship.

I will never know whether the departure of Mr Ward and the changes in the company are cause or effect, but what I do know is that my perception of the company has changed significantly. I am not saying it is suddenly a terrible outfit or that the products are now poor. What I am saying is that, in a completely elective purchase market, the company has lost certain elements that attracted me as a customer over and above other makes.

Having said that I could look on the CW website tomorrow and see a watch that is so stunning that it over rides all other factors...........................but not with the current logo.......................buts that's a whole other can of long cylindrical tube-like animals!

Hopefully the above clarifies why my decision making is not B/S :thumbup:

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by neilj568 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:29 am

I don't like their current direction or their current design language thus I'm unlikely to buy again
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by PaulJS » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:37 am

neilj568 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:29 am
I don't like their current direction or their current design language thus I'm unlikely to buy again
You just condensed my 9 paragraphs into one sentence :lol:

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by meinberg » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:22 pm

PaulJS wrote:
Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:12 pm
The recent departure of C Ward Esq. from the company has given me pause for thought as to whether this has any impact on future purchases and whether it devalues the brand.

I think we will all find out in due course, Mike France wants to grow the company, which is fair enough as he has his skin in the game. Personally I like some of the new styles, and whilst the price point is heading up they still have a good product that compares very well to the competition, QC issues hopefully resolved.

Up to now they have been a bit of a niche brand, which I like, the only person I have ever met wearing a CW is the person who I bought one for!
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by Lavaine » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:09 pm

PaulJS wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:37 am
neilj568 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:29 am
I don't like their current direction or their current design language thus I'm unlikely to buy again
You just condensed my 9 paragraphs into one sentence :lol:

Cheers,

Paul
Paul, thank you for your very well articulated response. Everything you said makes a lot of sense. The BS comment was not specifically directed at you. I've seen a number of comments in various places that "I won't buy another CW now that Chris has left the company". The issue I take with these comments is that, in most cases, this simply isn't the truth. If the real reason for not buying CW is that you don't like the current range or design language, then say so. If your issue is quality, customer service, price, or the logo, then say so. Don't use Chris leaving the company as a way to avoid admitting your real reasons for moving on (again not directed to you, as you have articulated your feelings better than I ever could).
A long-winded way of saying that it's ok to move on, whatever the reason.
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by PaulJS » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:32 am

^^^^
You are absolutely right - as of this moment in time there are no CW watches that float my boat, but I will have a continued interest in the brand.
If they produce something that I really like I will seriously consider buying again - we all struggle to resist new and shiny things!

As long as the the quality remains and VFM is reasonable ( apart from 50% sales and NN I think the days of stonking bargains are gone) then my buying decision would not be swayed by who is fronting up the company at the time (within reason!).

Cheers,

Paul
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by albionphoto » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:36 pm

I happen to be one of the "logo agnostic" tribe. I quite like it but it's not the main driver of whether, or not, I purchase a CW watch. Do I like the design, quality, functionality or some combination of these factors. If I do, I buy the watch. If I don't, I don't. Personally, I rather dislike the new hands on the C60 MK III and so haven't bought one (yet). That may change in the future but it hasn't yet. I met Chris Ward a couple of times and enjoyed speaking with him. He did a great job as part of the founding team. I have also spoken to Mike France and, again, really enjoyed hearing his enthusiasm for watches and the brand.
Some folks do not like the design direction; fair enough. Some might not like the increase in prices (blame the pound to Swiss franc exchange rate for a lot of that). If the changes in design, management structure, presence of external funding, or whatever, help the brand grow then they should be applauded. A business that doesn't grow is one that is at risk of failing. I want CW to grow and keep producing watches. Some of these watches I will like, some I won't. One way to fail quickly would be to destroy the brand equity in the "Christopher Ward" name so I think we'll see that name for a long time even if the word-mark and logo change once in a while.
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Re: What's in Name?

Post by Soporsche » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:22 pm

^^^^
:clap: balanced observations, well said!
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