What’s in a name?

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
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What’s in a name?

Post by Mark78 »

I’ve been a fan of CW for a while now, buying my C5A over 12 years ago but in all honesty I’ve never really liked ‘Christopher Ward’ as a brand name. No offence to the great man himself, but it always feels a bit of a tongue twister to say and just sounds a bit, well, ordinary.

When you add to this the fact that Chris has now moved on - ‘who’s Christopher Ward?’ ‘oh, some bloke who used to work there.’ - and the brand’s increasing shift to a younger, fashion-oriented market with a focus on divers, is it time for a re-brand?

Personal view (I have zero qualifications/experience in branding or marketing) is that single named brands are punchier and easier to market - especially when it comes to er, logos - Rolex, Omega, Bremont, Tudor, Fossil, Oris, Casio, Tribus (ahem). ‘Maker’s full name’ brands seem to be clustered at the more horologically serious upper end of the watch brand spectrum, a level that CW doesn’t seemingly aspire to - Patek Phillipe, R.W. Smith, A. Lange, Richard Mille, Roger Dubuis.

What do you think? Is the CW brand now established enough that a rename would be damaging (ain’t broke, don’t fix) or could a change push the company to the next level? Have many brands, watches or otherwise, ever made a successful name change?

As a bit of added fun(?) what would your suggestion for a new name be? Thinking off the top of my head I came up with Aqualux and Aquatis only to discover on Googling that the first is a bath/shower brand and the second, a range of Fortis watches already - feel that I should have known that, oh well.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by stefs »

Personally I think the name is too well established and should be left alone. Cw have had dabblings with rebranding in the past and a change of name / identity would be a step too far and damaging at this stage
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Mikkei4 »

My personal opinion is they should have made up a brand name way back when they started as a company (as Bremont did) instead of using somebody's personal name that consisted of 2 words of totally different numbers of letters, but they had their reasons for doing or not doing so at the time.

Anyway that's history so should they bite the bullet now and change it? Do they have the control of the name to allow them to change it?

When the person Christopher Ward left surely there was some sort of gentlemen's agreement or maybe even a legal contract to allow the continued use of his name as a logo. Maybe he's getting royalties for each watch sold or he has allowed the use of his name for a certain number of years either in good grace or for a price.

IMO I don't think it matters whether the brand name is long or short as there are both in all levels of watch brands.

Again, my personal opinion is that they should change it at some time when any agreements, contract or economic circumstances enable them to do so. If so it has to be something relatively meaningless (i.e. not translatable) and something that doesn't restrict their produce such as Aqualux or Aquatic would do as these sound to relate only to water / diver associated products. If they change it then it should be something short because this would allow better symmetry on any dial as IMO a date square doesn't provide balance to the 2 left-justified double stacked uneven length names.

And obviously, neither would they want to offend the "younger, fashion-oriented market with a focus on divers" :D :shock: of which I obviously don't belong to :D
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by JAFO »

I agree with a lot of what @Mikkel4 just said.

I think CW have a difficult decision. They could just brand the watches as Ward (or C Ward, or Chris Ward, or CWL, or just CW) - well something much shorter than at present - but I am not totally sure. The problem is Christopher Ward is too long. It's the longest watch brand name I can think off. They don't want to be changing the name on the watches time and again though. If they want to keep the long name then a smaller font back at 12. I don't think the brand name should take 2 lines of text at 12, as on the SC. The twin flag logo should be applied, or printed rather than debossed, and maybe lumed, to give it more prominence.

I doubt very much there is anything stopping them changing the brand name from Christopher Ward, although there may be.
They have obviously discussed this many times, as reflected by the changing branding over the years. Changing the watch brand to something other that the CW name could be a good move, but it needs to be the right change.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

JAFO wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:29 pm
The problem is Christopher Ward is too long. It's the longest watch brand name I can think off.
DUBEY SCHALDENBRAND
VACHERON-CONSTANTIN
DANIEL WELLINGTON
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by albionphoto »

Please consider:
Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger LeCoultre, Ten Eleven Nine, Daniel Wellington, etc, etc, etc

CW say that their sales increase every time the change the logo/wodmark. As a brand which has been selling watches since 2005 they perhaps have time to change their name. As a brand with sales of 30,000 + watches a year (best estimate) they may not have room to change their name. At this point changing the name entirely to something like... I don't know Tribus... would lose an awful lot of brand equity. And let's face it people like the OP seem to buy the watches whether or not they like the name.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by JAFO »

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:42 pm
DUBEY SCHALDENBRAND
VACHERON-CONSTANTIN
DANIEL WELLINGTON

Thanks for these. Interesting to see what they do.
(also I see @albionphoto has mentioned some longer brand names as well. Now I think about it, Frederique Constant comes to mind also)

DW have the stylised D in the DW logo, and a much smaller font. I think this idea would work well for CW. Twin flags, with a smaller font brand name underneath.
Vacheron-Constantin do have a large presence at 12 o'clock, don't they?
Dubey Schaldenbrand, I'd never heard off, but they seem to place their brand in a variety of locations also.

Maybe CW sales increase because of brand longevity, better brand awareness, and improved/new designs, rather than as a result of just changed branding. Personally, I have no problem with the 9 o'clock brand name, and I do like the designs, especially the C65. I would have a C60, but I really don't need another diver.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Dilbert »

The company should have used a shorter name in the first place. But it may be too late to change?

Not only is "Christopher Ward" too long, but the rhythm of these words isn't quite right for a prestige watch. There's more to it than the number of letters in the name. It's also about the rhythm of these words (even when, while reading, you say them in your head silently). Cadence matters. It's one factor in why there are innumerable complaints about the logo: these complaints aren't solely down to the logo's position on the watch face. (Although the font and logo’s position both matter too.)

But I'm uncertain if I'd be brave enough to change the name now.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by jkbarnes »

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 1:42 pm
DUBEY SCHALDENBRAND



On a more serious note, this thread raises some interesting and complex questions - who owns the name “Christopher Ward,” and what is the extent of the ownership? To what extent can Christopher Ward, the man, use his own name commercially? On a related topic, is there a non-compete clause with which he has to contend? (Tribus belongs to and is under the control of his sons, correct?)

I know nothing of marketing and branding or business in general, so I won’t weigh in with an opinion beyond raising some questions.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

Dilbert wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:30 pm

Not only is "Christopher Ward" too long, but the rhythm of these words isn't quite right for a prestige watch. There's more to it than the number of letters in the name. It's also about the rhythm of these words (even when, while reading, you say them in your head silently). Cadence matters.
It does indeed. Probably one reason why something very similar to this cadence became so important during World War II. Three dots and a dash? V for Victory? Beethoven’s fifth symphony? Just musing... :D

Just my humble opinion, of course, but I say leave it. It’s fine.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by welshlad »

Cadence is an interesting idea with brands. Fortunately, saying "Christopher Ward" has exactly the same cadence/rhythm as saying "Patek-Phillippe", so I reckon they are ok. Three triplets followed by a dotted crotchet in 6/8 time in my drummer's head. Beethoven's 5th works too, but possibly with too much aggression to the cadence?
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

welshlad wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:45 pm
Beethoven's 5th works too, but possibly with too much aggression to the cadence?
Addams Family?
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by exHowfener »

who owns the name “Christopher Ward,”
I would expect that it is the company. I remember reading years ago that Ron Hill (the runner) having sold his company no longer had the right to use his name commercially and so set up as "Hilly" when he re-entered the market.
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by Mark78 »

Wonder if they considered Wardy before settling on Tribus? 😂
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Re: What’s in a name?

Post by welshlad »

Amor Vincit Omnia wrote:
Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:48 pm
Addams Family?
Haha, could be. I've now got that earworm in my head!

A lot of this comes down to which syllable we each emphasise when we say "Christopher Ward". When I say it, the syllables are fairly uniform with a slight emphasis on both the initial "Chris" bit and "Ward". So three triplets followed by a single beat in 6/8 time. If you emphasise the "Ward" then the Addam's Family rhythm fits better. If you emphasise and stretch the "Ward" then you're back to Beethoven's 5th.
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