It was never a question of being a manufacturer of cheapies, you understand. If you need a new watch and want one for under £100 there are plenty around, and Christopher Ward doesn't make them. Their watches, they told me, used quality components and movements and because there were no middle people they'd sell for around a third, maybe a smaller fraction, of the price charged by the competition.
And now we're into £2450. The reasons are as follows - a spokeswoman explained to LifeOver35 that the single 'pusher' to set the stopwatch etc. is costly and that the watches are hand assembled from start to finish in Switzerland. Johannes Jahnke in CW's Swiss atelier (French for 'workshop' and don't let anyone tell you it's anything posher) builds the watch around the Unitas 6497 calibre.
The single pusher is unusual and makes the watch look a great deal less ungainly than most chronographs on the market. The spokeswoman confirmed that this is the most expensive watch the company makes, and indeed a glance at the website confirms this; however, to get this much accuracy and indeed visibility (the window on the back, pictured left, gives you a really full view of a movement designed to show off the moving parts. Click on it for a larger view, it's gorgeous.
I have no reason to doubt Christopher Ward as a company. I've met them, they're nice guys, and no they haven't bribed me by sending me one of these (I do own a C5 automatic from a press launch a few years back). If they say the price reflects the cost and therefore the quality of the new watch I'm sure that's true.
I just think that if I had £2450 to spend on a watch there's a good chance I'd go for something from Omega, Tissot or one of the bigger names instead.
Christopher Ward of London is taking orders from August for mid-October delivery.