Same old, Same old from CW?

Discuss Christopher Ward watches
johnnyhomersimpson
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:52 pm

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by johnnyhomersimpson »

Lavaine wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 10:43 pm I think one thing this thread has shown, is that CW has some ardent fans that would like to either build an entire collection of varied CW styles, or at least have a collection that includes CW's from a wide range of styles. I think that this is a strong statement about the following that CW has built, and I can certainly appreciate that some of us would love to own a wider range of CW products. They have definitely proven in the past that they CAN produce nice watches in the dress and aviator styles, (and my own C5A is still a favourite). However, I'm going to suggest that maybe we need to look at CW a little differently:
CW can do one of 2 things: They can deliver the best possible watches across a narrower range, or they can invest they same amount of energy into a wider range, with predictably less satisfactory results. Every new model requires a significant investment of both time and money. CW, like all of us, certainly has limited amounts of both.
As a point of comparison: You are a Porsche fan, and have a garage full of them. If you want to buy a pickup truck, do you 1) lament that Porsche doesn't make a pickup, and try and campaign for them to build one, or 2) accept that they are sportscar specialists, and instead seek out the best truck for your needs?
Maybe we need to look at CW the same way?
Re: Porsche - That's an excellent point - and one I hadn't thought of like that, and it makes total sense. Of course, if I wanted a pick-up truck I'd get a Ford or whatever.

However, IF Porsche used to make damn fine pick-up trucks, I'd be sorry that they don't anymore. Maybe the CW brand is moving more into the Diver space and wants to be known as specialists more in that direction. Its going to be an interesting marketing journey for the brand if they can pull it off to change people's perceptions from a brand that did it all to one that has a tighter focus - They're not like a Bell & Ross who firmly nailed their brand to aviation watches when they were born... Let's see what happens!
User avatar
A1soknownas
Senior Expert
Senior Expert
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:40 pm

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by A1soknownas »

johnnyhomersimpson wrote: Thu Sep 02, 2021 10:37 pm what I do care about is the CW brand. I really hope they keep their independence and pioneering spirit alive like they had in the old days, and not sell out... both literally and range -wise.

I really do hope they get out of this rut they seem to be in in my opinion (standard forum disclaimer!) and start doing more entirely new models. Let's see more of the in-house movements like the SH21, more of the single hand jumping hours, different cases and shapes...
I think you make a fair point here about selling out. Whilst that phrase is subjective and I wouldn't say they have in my view. Are CW on a different path to where they were 4-5 years ago? Probably. There will be different opinions on whether that is a good thing or not.

I would describe the approach as more focussed, but with that there may be some sacrifice in pioneering spirit at the expense of a range of products and being all things to all people - which is probably better for business and will mean that the brand is sustainable, profitable in the short term, and deliver better quality single products.

Personally I don't really mind what is in the watch in terms of movement and if it is in-house or not as long as it is reliable and serviceable at a later date. The only additionality I would care for that the SH-21 would bring is the power reserve / accuracy, but it is an expensive option maybe not ready for mass appeal. I think CW should already be looking to have better accuracy in their Selita offerings anyway by either using a higher version or doing in-house regulation etc.

The BGF investment needs to be acknowledged and that was all about growth from what I read and expanding the brand into more markets. I am no marketeer but one way to do that in theory is by being known for a standout product and at the moment that appears to be dive/sports type watches. Maybe further use of the SH-21, jumping hour etc can support the brand from a horological recognition perspective too in new future products, but that could be seen as more of a vanity thing. Such products are more expensive and harder to sell to the mass market so there is a balance to be struck. If they can get that balance right, maybe everyone can be happy.
User avatar
missF
CW Forum Poet Laureate
CW Forum Poet Laureate
Posts: 6841
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:59 pm
CW-watches: 2
Location: Edinburgh

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by missF »

I’m sure that businesses don’t generally grow across their range in a smooth and linear fashion. Perhaps at this stage in the CW journey a deliberate decision has been made to focus for a period of time on their flagship range - to extend the depth of the range that ‘defines’ CW (at the expense, for now, of breadth), and ensure it will become an enduring classic to rival the long-standing classics of other brands.

Who knows? I would like to see CW return to their more exploratory nature of a few years ago, because as a young company I think they did that incredibly well, and it was an exciting time. But I don’t think we can judge too much from where we’re standing about where CW may steer things in another 5 or 10 years time.
'The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once'........Albert Einstein
thomcat00
Senior
Senior
Posts: 189
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:14 am
CW-watches: 5
Location: FLX, NY, USA

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by thomcat00 »

This has been a lively discussion. In response to the OP’s observation, how much innovation should there be and over what timeframe within the brand? I don’t have the history with Christopher Ward that many do. I’ve only been aware of the company for a few years. My first purchase was a used C9 only a year ago. Since then I’ve acquired a few other CW watches, mixed new and second hand across lines and styles. Where I see innovation is with the use of sapphire as dial material. It is not of the scale of a new line or collection. To do so is a costly venture which a brand cannot typically afford to develop annually or over even just a couple of years. The concentration on divers doesn’t appeal to me as much, though adding a dive watch or three is not beyond my interest. Another innovation I see is the case design. The Light Catcher is an elegant departure from the general slab-sided cases both of past CWs and some of the tool-ier watches from other brands.

I’d like to see dressier watches developed. That’s what most speaks to me. These days that is not seemingly a growing market segment. I think, though, with so many trends being somewhat cyclical, we may see a return to dressier accessories even as we progress in a more casual, “go anywhere, do anything” direction.
with Kung Fu grip, and life-like hair
johnnyhomersimpson
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2021 12:52 pm

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by johnnyhomersimpson »

Yes - some interesting opinions!

As a long time customer and and admirer of the brand, from the past 14 years or so, we've seen it grow, diversify, open a showroom at the HQ, but stick to their principles of how they sell their product - ie: directly to the customer over the internet.

I don't work at CW, so have no idea really about the company's strategy, but from my observations the range starts to specialise a couple of years ago... The company secures a 6.25 million pound investment from BGF... A new board member joins, and then less than 6 months later one of the founders - Christopher himself (the man with his name above the door) walks away and retains no further interest or share holding in the company... and further focus on one product line continues. Interesting times.
User avatar
Amor Vincit Omnia
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 26006
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:34 pm
CW-watches: 5
Location: Norfolk, UK

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by Amor Vincit Omnia »

johnnyhomersimpson wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 7:38 am
I don't work at CW, so have no idea really about the company's strategy, but from my observations the range starts to specialise a couple of years ago...
I think you probably have to look back a little further than that. My own connection with the brand and the forum dates back to around 2011, a time when the catalogue was still expanding. I remember expressing concern quite early on that the brand was trying to be all things to all men, and indeed all women at the time, without really having a true focus in terms of stylistic integrity.

If you look at the Timeline on the CW Archive you will see a Record number of new models introduced in 2015. If you read the text carefully, you will also see that 2015 marked the end of the women’s collections. The second rebranding followed in 2016, and the introduction of new case styles came pretty soon after.

The narrowing, or focusing if you will, of the emphasis has been reasonably gradual, with what may well be seen as unprofitable lines being retired after a fairly short time in the catalogue (I’m thinking, for example, of the Malvern 595). What may be called dress watches remain, but tend to be dominated now by complications such as the moon phase and the world timer, with special emphasis on the extraordinary lume developments. Motorsports and aviation appear dormant at the moment; whether they will reignite remains to be seen.

I do know that a lot of head searching and examination has gone on in the light of the pandemic and the development of working from home, ergo dressing casually and so on.

When we met with Mike, Adrian and Jörg before Christmas they were very excited to show us the designs for the Sealander collection, making it clear that these were aimed at filling what they perceived as the biggest hole in the catalogue. I think the launch has been pretty successful.

The company has always sought to innovate and experiment. To my mind those first 10 years up to 2015 were a period of finding the feet and discovering what worked. They seem much more sure of that these days, and have had the courage, if you will, to abandon things that clearly haven’t worked instead of sticking to them doggedly.

I have the C5 Mk 1, the little gold dress watch that set things going in the first place. It’s great, but what they are producing now is a whole different ball game. It won’t appeal to everyone, and those seeking certain types of watch will need to look elsewhere, but that’s fine. I think they will continue to produce some exciting things.
Steve
Linguistic sophist; retired teacher; pilgrim; wannabe travel writer

Walk a while in others' shoes...

Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time
User avatar
downer
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 24466
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2008 11:02 pm
CW-watches: 4
Location: UK

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by downer »

^^^ Just to build on that point (and for a bit of brain exercise :)), I analysed the archive data a bit further...

This is model launches by year and category (categorised by CW).

modelsbyyearandcat.jpg

Seems there was a push on Women's models in 2011-13 before defeat was admitted and then a push on Dress/Classic in 2015, followed by a focus on Motorsport in 2017/18 . It's also clear that the main focus of the last few years has been on Dive/Sport (something we all recognise).

Perhaps this chart demonstrates that with limited resources, CW cannot focus on everything all the time but the nature of the focus is cyclical?

In other words, patience is required. :D
Richard
User avatar
A1soknownas
Senior Expert
Senior Expert
Posts: 295
Joined: Sat Jun 22, 2019 7:40 pm

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by A1soknownas »

downer wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 9:26 am ^^^ Just to build on that point (and for a bit of brain exercise :)), I analysed the archive data a bit further...
Good work and interesting insight :clap:
User avatar
nbg
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 9951
Joined: Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:43 pm
CW-watches: 12
Location: UK

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by nbg »

I bought my first CW watches in 2013 and by the summer of 2015 had acquired a range of styles, including a few dive watches. Many of those models were different, however if I pick up a CW to wear the odds are it will be one of the Divers.

I take the view that a company best knows it’s products and what sells. As a consumer my view on what I would like a brand to produce may be fundamentally different to what the brand knows it needs to concentrate on to increase the breadth of the customer base and increase profitability.

At this stage I reckon that breadth of customer base is more important than depth. There are numerous potential customers to go for, without risking a lack of focus by a scattergun approach.

When a major brand invests in developing new models they are to a certain extent spreading the risk. After all it’s not as if an AD can just order the watches they want. They need to take stock across the range, even if they think some are dogs and will be slow sellers. The brand has already made its margin at that point. The risk of being able to shift the watch now sits with the AD.

With a brand like CW developing new product, the risk is all theirs.

Neil
Other watch forums of interest:
TZ-UK
User avatar
Caller
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 1958
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:44 pm
CW-watches: 2
Location: Hua Hin, Thailand

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by Caller »

nbg wrote: Fri Sep 03, 2021 2:48 pm With a brand like CW developing new product, the risk is all theirs.
In fairness, that was/is their choice. It works both ways.

I haven't read though the whole thread recently, so apologies if this has already been mentioned. But covid would have had an impact on the availability of supplies and that may have focused business decisions. I wasn't surprised to see more of the same, but was a little surprised to see a new, if limited range, introduced.

Even very small companies like Schofield have been affected, with their German case maker not surviving Covid. And considering the small size of their orders and unique case design, that must have been a real headache.

But another bottom line is that the new investment, as mentioned above, demands a return and that does focus attention, especially at this time.
'Tis me
Jkpa
Senior
Senior
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:08 pm
CW-watches: 5
Location: NJ USA

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by Jkpa »

I love divers and chronograph as is evident from my collection having these types of watches almost exclusively, but I’m not sure where CW could go now to make me buy their new models. I already prefer the older divers to the new ones and will they come up with a chronograph as cool and with as great a movement as the Beast? I’m guessing no. I’m also not a fan of Selitta movements in general (nothing wrong with them per se and my Bronze has it) and will choose ETA when I can and since that’s not happening anymore, I don’t see myself buying the new stuff. Maybe something with the SH21 movement but I have that already so that’s not a huge draw in a new watch for me. I’ll keep their secondary market strong by buying the used models but that’s not helping them very much I guess.
C1 Grand Malvern Small Second SH21
C60 MK2 Trident Pro 7750 Chronograph
C60 MK2 Trident Pro Bronze
C60 MK2 Trident Pro White
C60 MK2 Trident Pro Yellow 316 LE
User avatar
H0rati0
Senior Forumgod
Senior Forumgod
Posts: 2232
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:49 am
CW-watches: 4
Location: Alpenvorland

Re: Same old, Same old from CW?

Post by H0rati0 »

Jkpa wrote: Mon Sep 06, 2021 1:55 am I’ll keep their secondary market strong by buying the used models but that’s not helping them very much I guess.
Actually, I think it does and is very important. Strong SH values definitely reflect desirability which feeds directly into brand equity and new sales.
"There is no beginning to enlightenment and no end to training" - Dogen Zenji (1200-1253)
Post Reply