Branding...again

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
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strapline
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Branding...again

Post by strapline » Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:38 pm

Hi,

I don't often post on this forum and, at present, I don't own a CW watch. I do like some of the CW offerings (very much), and I think they seem to present quite a lot of bang for your buck. However, like a number of people, I'm deterred from the idea of buying any of their product by the branding. I'm not trying to open up that well-trodden negative conversation thread...honestly. But, I couldn't help noticing that one of the founding fathers of the brand has left the company, the one after which the brand takes its name. I think it was this detail that got me round to thinking about Christopher Ward and their branding

I have no problem with the name but I do find the current font and location at the 9 position on the dial a stumbling block that I can't personally get by, however nice the watch. Even with the muted twin flags present, on some of the dials, I feel that the top hemisphere of the watch looks empty. Personally, I love to see a crest, emblem or even initials at the 12 position on a dial. Some examples: the Rolex crown, the Tudor rose, GS for Grand Seiko, the decorative B for Breitling, the list goes on and on.

It just so happens that the few examples I've given here are high end watches, but there are many examples of more modest brands with great branding. Personally, I can think of two UK web-based brands that have done a great job with their logo/branding; Elliot Brown and Farer. Both have gone for a simple emblem/crest. The design language is incredibly strong and effective, in the manner of the previous high end watch brands I gave. I am a big fan of Elliot Brown, and I think that their crest that sits under the 12 position is pretty much a stroke of genius. For those that don't immediately see it, the crest comprises of the surname initial of the two founders of the company. Simple, brilliant, concise branding.

So, just to make clear, I do like what I see of CW. I am not here to court controversy with this post, as well as stir up old hotbeds of discussion. I just wonder if any of the diehard CW fanbase feel the same. With Christopher Ward himself having left the company, could 2020 be the time to give the branding issue another look over. I can't help thinking that a logo of this type would only go on to serve CW well.
Elliot_Brown_Logo_WHITE_Landscape_220x@2x.png
I'm a tool watch kinda guy; bezels and pushers for me. I used to dive, I used to climb mountains. I spend too much time looking at watches.

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Re: Branding...again

Post by H0rati0 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:08 pm

Many of us feel the same way, some more-so, some less.

I own no LH CWs and probably will not even though there are some candidates in the line-up that I could see myself buying as watches - and if I did it would be in spite of, not because of. Interestingly, the new military range uses central branding and the SH21 pieces have also branched out. I personally suspect a re-branding is lurking, reason: it has been vehemently denied on several occasions and yet the matter will still not lie down.
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Re: Branding...again

Post by Kansas City Milkman » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:07 pm

I can't see a rebranding happening in the short/medium term. A further rebranding would be, ironically given the polarised view of the current branding, more damaging. That would make it 4 changes in 15 years

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Re: Branding...again

Post by timor54 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:28 pm

CW (London) Holdings Ltd. appointed Steve Kershaw, a “marketing consultant”, as a director on the 19th Dec.

There seems to be a gradual restructuring taking place...
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Re: Branding...again

Post by scooter » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:11 pm

I always saw Chris Ward as the partner who seemed to be most passionate about watches and he has now left.

Having followed CW since 2010 it was sometime before I became fully aware of Mike France and Peter Ellis' involvement with the company. They have worked together for a long time. Rightly or wrongly I saw Peter and Mike's interest more in the financial side of the business coming from a highly successful venture involved in the purchasing and subsequently selling of The Early Learning Centre.

There's a very interesting interview between Mike and Nick Martindale from April 2017 which has Mike explaining in depth what makes him tick.

The future of Christopher Ward I'm sure is rosy but these words from the interview drew my attention to what conceivable could be happening at the moment:

"We're building up a really great team beneath us, and at the right point we may exit, but the business won't."

Please take my post in the spirit in which it was written as I am not attempting to be controversial or want to be perceived as stirring the pot.

At the end of the day this is a Forum and one entirely dedicated to the world of Christopher Ward watches.

It should be a place where we can sensibly discuss the implications of the dramatic changes obviously happening behind the scenes at the moment.

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Re: Branding...again

Post by Viognier » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:29 pm

^^ well written scooter
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Re: Branding...again

Post by albionphoto » Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:31 pm

When I visited the showroom in November I was fortunate to have a long conversation with Mike France and Adrian Buchmann about CW, watches and watch design in general. On the basis of this discussion I think that Mike is very passionate about watches, watch design and the future of the Christopher Ward brand.
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Re: Branding...again

Post by nbg » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:25 pm

timor54 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:28 pm
CW (London) Holdings Ltd. appointed Steve Kershaw, a “marketing consultant”, as a director on the 19th Dec.

There seems to be a gradual restructuring taking place...
I may be wrong, but it looks like it could be this chap.
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/steve-kershaw-4077026
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Re: Branding...again

Post by what-time-is-it » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:29 pm

Likes 'disruptive innovation' :lol:
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Re: Branding...again

Post by Mikkei4 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:29 pm

The OP has hit it on the nail for how I feel about the present general releases from CW.

I’ve never liked the 9o’clock location of the name. I might be able to put up with the names in a centralised location. My eyes and brain (what little remains of it) need symmetry and I can’t cope with or get to like 2 words that are of totally different lengths placed off centre on a watch dial. Some people say that the date at 3 balances the name – not for me as it’s nothing like the name in size or length as I think "How does 1 single small digit balance an 11 letter word and a 4 letter word?"

I have tried. I've handled a few 9o’clock logo models including buying the 2017 LE (sold last year) and more recently a NN 42mm C60 Mk3 blue GMT that I was desperate to like but it had to be returned. There are many models in the CW range that I would have bought but for the 9o’clock name that prevents me doing so. I want a GMT, I want a blue dialled watch. I would love a C65 GMT but guess what !

I aware that CW have had a few logo changes and that IIRC the current logo came from hiring Hello, a marketing agency, to create a “disruptive” new logo. Well they certainly achieved that! So are CW really likely to change the logo yet again?

Personally I’ve always thought that they’d have been better starting off with a short “made-up” name and logo as Bremont did. A single name is so much easier – Rolex, Seiko, Omega, IWC, Farer, Tudor etc etc.

I have no idea regarding the ins and outs of Chris Ward leaving, whether it’s a total clean cut from the company bearing his name or whether his name must stay on the product or whether he wants it off. If legally the company name and logo can or must be changed then IMO they should do it this year, making it a short 1 word name and logo and placing it where convention has shown it should be. But really think about it so it never has to change again.

I know that many won’t agree and that’s fine as the above are just my opinions and my need for perceived symmetry – not necessarily right, not necessarily wrong but they are written with all the best thoughts for CW and I suppose a bit selfishly as I do like the products and would buy more but never with that logo.

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Re: Branding...again

Post by Mikkei4 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:32 pm

what-time-is-it wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:29 pm
Likes 'disruptive innovation' :lol:
OMG not another "disruptive" thinker.

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Re: Branding...again

Post by H0rati0 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:46 pm

Mikkei4 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:29 pm


Personally I’ve always thought that they’d have been better starting off with a short “made-up” name and logo as Bremont did. A single name is so much easier – Rolex, Seiko, Omega, IWC, Farer, Tudor etc etc.

Well, IWC is actually three words but I take your point! Otherwise :thumbup:

There is a churn of board level "activity" going on (from Companies House filings) probably associated with the capital injection. Chris didn't have much of a say (his shareholding was small) so my (cynical from experience) guess is he'd had enough.
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Re: Branding...again

Post by timor54 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:11 pm

H0rati0 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:46 pm

There is a churn of board level "activity" going on (from Companies House filings) probably associated with the capital injection. Chris didn't have much of a say (his shareholding was small) so my (cynical from experience) guess is he'd had enough.
Chris wasn’t a director of the holding company so probably had little influence anyway.

Also the previous three directors are no longer ‘persons of significant control’ this status has now transferred to BGF. It looks like things are going to change...
Tim

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Re: Branding...again

Post by MarkingTime » Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:47 pm

timor54 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:11 pm
H0rati0 wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:46 pm

There is a churn of board level "activity" going on (from Companies House filings) probably associated with the capital injection. Chris didn't have much of a say (his shareholding was small) so my (cynical from experience) guess is he'd had enough.
Chris wasn’t a director of the holding company so probably had little influence anyway.

Also the previous three directors are no longer ‘persons of significant control’ this status has now transferred to BGF. It looks like things are going to change...
If they can muster up a solid brand identity, that would help no end.

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Re: Branding...again

Post by jtc » Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:05 pm

I wasn't aware of this - clever!
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