British watchmaker Christopher Ward held prices for as long as it could, but bowed to the inevitable today, raising prices across its range by 9%.
It is the last of the major brands to raise prices, after Swatch Group raised its prices in January, joining Rolex, Richemont brands and LVMH brands in hiking UK prices following the post-Brexit fall in the value of the pound.
“After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to raise Christopher Ward prices across the range by on average 9% effective from January 27, 2017. This has been implemented following the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the subsequent decrease in the value of sterling against the Swiss franc, which has in turn increased our cost price,” Mike France, co-founder of Christopher Ward.
The British business makes all its watches in a factory in Bienne, Switzerland, and sells around 50% of the 20,000 watches it makes per year in the UK.
The pound dropped in value against the Swiss franc by around 15% following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, causing a knock on increase in the price of importing Christopher Ward’s finished watches into Britain. The company protected its customers from these inflationary forces for half a year, but had to pass on some of the additional cost from today.
“Since August 2016 we have absorbed the increase in cost prices while the team and I worked to address this change without affecting customers too dramatically. Subsequently our margins have been impacted in a way which we cannot sustain, and therefore the decision to increase the retail price of all products by on average 9% was taken to reflect the changes in the market whilst keeping true to Christopher Ward’s brand values,” Mr France explains.
The price rise takes affect on the day that Christopher Ward launches its new C5 Malvern Automatics and C3 Malvern Chronographs, both of which are in their third generation.
The C5 Malvern Automatic MK III has a domed sunray finish dial with the date at 3 o’clock. The watch uses a Sellita SW200-1 movement, with a bespoke Colimaçoné-finished rotor engraved with the brand’s twin-flag motif visible through the exhibition case back. It is priced at £495 on a leather strap and £580 on a steel Milanese bracelet.
The C3 Malvern Chronograph MK III dress watch uses the same sunray finish dial, but has two azzuré sub dials operated via the piston-inspired pushers, to track both small seconds and a dual 30 minute/ 12 hour counter. It uses a quartz Ronda 3520.D movement. Today’s price is £350 for a leather-strap version, available with blue, black or silver dials. The Milanese bracelet version sells for £435.