British watch brand Christopher Ward’s focus on increasing orders overseas has led to a 58% spike in international sales during the past year, the company has said.
The growth in exports, coupled with an 11% rise in domestic UK sales, means that total turnover for the period between April 2016 and January 2017 increased 29% year-on-year.
Christopher Ward carried out a full-scale rebrand in May 2016, which saw the brand deliver a new logo and modern, minimalist look, while remaining faithful to the spirit of quintessential British craftsmanship.
It has since recorded financial performances in each month between October 2016 and January 2017.
The brand is particularly satisfied at the way it is being received by international customers.
Sales between April 2016 and January 2017 have risen 120% and 125% in Germany and France respectively, and 129% in Scandinavia. In North America, business is up 33% and in Australia the value of orders has grown by 78%. Sales into Asia are up 127%.
The group did not disclose the actual sales figures behind the percentage growth, but financial records from Companies House suggest it had a solid foundation on which to build from.
According to its latest set of company accounts, published in January 2017 and covering the 12-month period to 31 March 2016, the company registered a turnover of £7.7m. It generated a gross profit of £2.5m but overall made a loss of £493,000 for the year.
However, it is important to note that the board committed to an investment of £370,000 on tooling and machinery to enhance its production facility in Switzerland during this period. The benefit of this investment was due to be applied in the current financial year, which hasn’t yet closed. It also spent £95,000 on improving its website.
Mike France, co-founder of Christopher Ward, said he was delighted how much the brand has taken off overseas during the past 12 months: “Our exceptional sales, both domestic and international, are testament to the success of our Spring 2016 rebrand – which has served to extend our quintessentially British brand to new audiences and customers worldwide.
“Despite operating in a difficult and declining market, we’ve bucked the trend with our rebranded product offering, and look forward to further establishing ourselves in target international markets, with the aim of making North America our biggest market by 2020.”
Christopher Ward specialises in mechanical and quartz watches, with its pieces designed in the UK and manufactured in Biel, Switzerland, the home of fine timepieces.
After leaving successful retail careers, the company’s three founders came up with the idea for a watch brand while sitting on Chris Ward’s boat on the River Thames. Three years ago it announced its own in-house movement, called ‘Calibre SH21’.