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If there’s one thing that Christopher Ward champions beyond proving that well-made, well-designed watches don’t have to cost the earth, it’s ensuring the next generation who design, build and maintain these exquisite pieces of engineering receive the nurturing and support they need.

Alexander’s award-winning table clock & separate wristwatch project

One important way CW displays its support of grassroots British watchmaking talent is through its relationship with the Horology BA (Hons) course at Birmingham City University, the only degree course of its kind in the UK. Since 2014, this partnership has ranged from supplying old movements for the students to practice on through to hosting individuals for hands-on work experience; meanwhile, last month saw co-founder Chris Ward and Technical and QC Manager Andrew Henry make the trip up to BCU’s School of Jewellery to attend its annual awards evening, with Chris presenting the prestigious Technical Achievement award to one worthy winner.

This year’s award recipient, Alexander Goodwin, produced a table clock based on Galileo’s Escapement, during which he resolved several technical and design issues. That Alexander was picked for the Technical Achievement award from a number of students gives an inkling of the horological pedigree being developed throughout its workshops. The course’s purpose, after all, is to train and create employable students in horology, and is specifically tailored to meet the growing global demand for watchmakers and clockmakers who are qualified to the industry standard.

Chris Ward [right] shares a celebratory handshake with Alexander Goodwin

As a co-founder of a brand that is proud of its English roots, and conscious of the part British watchmakers have had in the development of such a delicate and detailed technology, Chris recognises the importance of keeping this precise art alive. “As a British brand, I believe it is important for us to help nurture British watchmaking talent in any way we can. Every year, I’m always incredibly impressed with the standard of work produced by BCU’s students and I’m sure that this year’s winner, Alexander Goodwin, has a bright future ahead of him.” And for Alexander, what better way is there – beyond the recognition of his peers and superiors – to celebrate an award than being presented with a brand new C60 Trident Pro 600 by CW himself?

Jeremy Hobbins, Head of Horology at BCU’s School of Jewellery, was reflective after the event. “I’m very grateful to Chris Ward for his continued support of our students. It is always a pleasure when he and Andrew Henry join our annual Industry Awards to celebrate the work of BCU Horology students and there is no doubt that having such generous support is a fantastic motivator for our students and that this year’s recipient, Alex Goodwin, is a very worthy winner of the “Christopher Ward” prize.”

We’re already looking forward to next year.

CW Challenger Will Satch is no stranger to challenging conditions, but rewind just five months and the reigning Olympic champion was preparing for heart surgery. Having staged an incredible return to fitness, this weekend Will will be back in the men’s 8 at his favoured stroke seat at the opening round of the World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia. We grabbed a quick word with him to find out how he’s feeling – and about the prospect of facing an old foe…

How has your season gone so far?

WS: It’s been interesting to say the least… full of firsts! My winter block of training was extremely strong but a huge hurdle was on the horizon. Considering I had a heart ablation procedure and my first DNF at a trial, this season is actually starting to look rather exciting!

How are you feeling about your first international race of the year?

WS: I’m extremely eager to get out amongst it. It’s what I enjoy most and what I do best. The nerves are building but that goes with the territory and I can use it to my advantage.

Does Belgrade hold any good memories for you?

WS: Belgrade was my senior debut in 2012 with George (Nash) in the pair, so I have very fond memories of the place. It’s also a holiday hotspot for the locals and has many bars, which, sadly, we are unable to frequent.

Does the venue make much difference? Is it not just water and a straight line?

WS: Ultimately, it is, yes, and that’s the best way to think about it. I don’t need the fuss and fanfare, I just want to get out there and do the job. Sometimes big, flashy venues can distract from the job in hand.

What is the biggest challenge Belgrade will present?

WS: The most difficult thing is the unknown. We know that the 8 is Germany’s top boat and will never be too shabby. They are the current World Champions and they’ll be hungry. The 8 is the blue riband event and competition will be stiff.

Where does the World Cup stand in terms of your season’s goals?

WS: I’m ultra competitive. This race doesn’t differ from any other – I want to win. If we don’t I won’t be happy.

Having been a big part of the GB setup for a while, how have you dealt with the physical setbacks?

WS: The realisation that I’m fallible doesn’t sit well with me and I have struggled with that. However, I think going through the hard times makes the good times sweeter, and I’m definitely back stronger and hungrier than ever.

You’ve also been in lots of different crews over the years. How do you cope with the change?

WS: A four year cycle allows for strong relationships to be built and the camaraderie is second to none, with everyone pulling towards the same goal day in, day out. Starting again feels like a rebuild and can be initially unnerving, but that challenge is an enormous part of the whole picture.

You always row at stroke in the GB 8. What’s so good about it?

WS: Fundamentally, I don’t enjoy following! I like the feeling of leading and being in control of the rate and rhythm. The 8 is a totally different beast from any other boat type. It’s aggressive, noisy, punchy and very exciting. There is nothing that compares to being in the fastest boat on the water.

Is there anyone, sporting or not, that you admire or are inspired by?

WS: My mother, for being my rock; Tyler Hamilton, for winning at all costs; and David Attenborough, for being an all round good egg.

Finally, which CW watch will be going with you to the World Cup and why?

My Christopher Ward black C1000 Typhoon.