There is always something special about owning a CW watch, but there’s no doubt that the appeal and pleasure provoked by a numbered Limited Edition watch makes it even better…
For me, the extra appeal of selecting an LE number is the way that it further personalises our choice of a particular watch as being exactly right. Although there are other appealing reasons to buy our LE watches (and I’ll come to those in a moment), I think it is that’ feeling of personalisation and uniqueness that makes a watch truly special to us as individuals.
I absolutely love all our watches; I know they are all technically superb, beautifully designed and we price them to be accessible to as many people as possible – but there is an extra magic about the LEs. One of my all time favourites is the C9 Harrison Blue Automatic. Other than the serial number, all the watches of the edition run of 100 are obviously identical – except for one small, almost hidden detail; the LE number. I find that whenever I pick up this C9 – or indeed any of our LEs – I always have the urge to check the number. It’s such a small factor yet the sight of the number makes a big difference – it’s no longer simply a C9 Harrison Blue (wonderful though that is) it’s specifically, uniquely Number 054/100 of that edition. This adds individuality to the watch in the same way that a numbered print by a great artist does.
Why does the simple engraving of that number have such an effect on us? I think this is all linked to trait of human behaviour whereby we often personalise an inanimate object – we all did it as kids (naming toys, favourite blankets etc) but we also do it as adults – such as the way that so many people give a name to their car, motorbike, guitar, lawnmower… Actually, from those examples, this suddenly sounds more like a male issue but I’m sure that many women do the same (even those women who don’t have a garden shed called ‘Nigel’). And there’s also presumably some link to the fact that many people give names to their body parts or those of their partner… but, even compared to having a lawnmower called ‘Rosie’, that all sounds a bit weird so I’m not even going there…
Psychologists could have a field day in trying to interpret this behaviour, but it clearly is a positive factor for the people who do it. In its many forms, what it adds up to is a way of creating a more personal and unique link to an object and, in a small way – that’s what the LE number on our watches does too.
The most popular LE numbers requested? By far the most popular – and 100% unsuccessful – request is ‘001’. We always keep that number from every LE as part of our company heritage (also known as our pension fund). Close behind in popularity, and perhaps an unexpected contender, is ‘007’. Surprisingly, this isn’t always the result of a buyer with a James Bond complex (or so they claim… but I suppose if they did tell us, they’d then have to kill us?). Whatever the motivation, the fact is that ‘007’ is a very neat number that rolls easily off the tongue – but it is obviously the Bond films that have made this number instantly familiar the world so there clearly has to be some degree of connection. Also, that number isn’t only about Bond. Ian Fleming may have been inspired to use the number from the story of John Dee, who spied for Elizabeth I and used a format of ‘007’ as a secret code (less exciting is a theory that the number 007 bus went past Fleming’s home…). Actually, James Bond wearing a CW would be an interesting (and expensive) development – I wonder which model you think he should go for?
It is said that Ian Fleming chose 007 for his hero James Bond after travelling on the 007 coach service from Victoria to Canterbury. Renamed National Express in 1972, the 007 is still running today.
But the single biggest factor behind specific number requests is the simple truth that the numbers add to the appeal of our watches and a collection that includes a series or repetition of numbers is even more interesting for that fact. It’s also potentially a more effective investment. We do have a number of amazingly committed collectors who have built up extensive collections of CW watches, with a number of them already around the 100 mark, and this is where acquiring the right LE numbers get serious! Devoted collectors clearly love the watches they buy but, for all but the ultra-rich, they also need to keep in mind the scale of the investment they’re making. Even at our prices a collection is a serious investment and we always respect the commitment of our customers.
None of us will be around to celebrate it but part of our commitment is to develop the CW name as a revered brand that will reach its centenary – and by growing and sustaining the quality of the CW brand we also support the investment made by those who collect our watches. These regular buyers often prefer to select the same number from each LE run. Wherever possible, we’re very happy to provide any customer with their choice of number and, once a collector has started collecting a specific number we will always ensure that they can get first option on that number any new LE that interests them.
Interestingly, although the number ‘13’ is perceived as unlucky in so many parts of the world (mostly in the west) it is a very popular request. But only one person can be lucky enough to get it; one of our most dedicated collectors has first option on this number – and already has almost 100 CW watches, with each of the LEs numbered ‘013’. Isn’t it amazing to think of viewing that collection and seeing that same number on the LEs – it adds so much to an already stunning experience!
Among other favourites, some of our Chinese customers love to see the number ‘8’ – perceived as lucky in Chinese culture – in their collection but, interestingly, we don’t actually see much of the supposed patterns of supposed national/regional preferences.
Our LE range currently covers just 12 models and 6 levels of edition size – 100, 200, 250, 300, 500 and 1000 – and a price range that makes collecting a realistic option for many people, especially as the LEs start from just £325. We still have some very appealing numbers available across the LE collections but, as availability can change so quickly, we don’t advertise them – it’s better that you let us know which number you’d like.
The C70 VW4 Chronometer is available in a limited edition of 1957, the year of Vanwall’s British Grand Prix triumph at Aintree.
Please always feel free to contact us if there is a specific number you want from any of our LE watches. Also, if that number hasn’t already been allocated as a first option for an existing collector, you can usually also get first preference for future releases too if you want to develop your own collection. And don’t forget that a CW collection doesn’t need to be 100 strong; a collection of as few as 3 or 6 watches, each with the same LE number, is very appealing and also has the potential for added value as an investment – and we still have some strong numbers available to create an instant mini collection across the LE range.
As to whether any of our loyal customers give names to their watches, well, I’d love to hear from them…