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Sharing a penchant for timing and precision, it’s no surprise that watches and musicians go hand in hand. Factor in the live venues and publications many famous musical artists have graced over the past century, and it makes commercial sense that many brands spy an opportunity to utilise an artist’s popularity to boost the profile of their own watches. Of course, there will always be those whose next purchase is informed by the stature of a pop star and an accompanying marketing campaign; but that’s not what Christopher Ward – or this blog – is about.

From our inception, we have always said that if you see somebody wearing a CW, it’s because they liked it enough to buy it themselves. This rule extends to actors, TV presenters, and, appropriately in this case, musicians. A celebration of diversity – in the music they play and where they play it, although the passion they have it for it is universal – we spoke to different musicians to find out more about their experiences with music, CWs and more.

Marquim – Guitarist

Hi Marquim. What musical projects are you involved in?

I’m a guitarist in Raimundos, one of the biggest Brazilian rock bands since 1996 with over 3 million albums sold. I joined the band in 2001 and we’ve made several albums and DVDs, playing hundreds of shows in Brazil and abroad, including opening for Kiss, Guns and Roses and the Foo Fighters.

Marquim (right) with his band Raimundos

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a musician:

I had no interest in music until I was 10 years old, when I damaged my mom’s acoustic guitar – I accidentally poked a hole through it while playing with my toy car! She was really mad, so I promised I’d take guitar classes to appease her. You could say my music career was born out of guilt!

How long have you been interested in horology?

I was born in 1970, so watches were the only gadgets a kid could have. When I joined Raimundos, I bought a nice Swatch Irony chrono to celebrate, the same day I met my future wife in 2001. After that watch was stolen I went years without thinking about watches, but one day I looked at myself in a mirror and thought “wait, something’s missing”.

When did you discover CW, and which watches do you have?

I found out about CW because, like everything I get interested in, I became obsessed with watches. I researched incessantly, and I wanted a beautiful Swiss automatic that wouldn’t break the bank. Someone suggested the C60 Trident and I fell in love with it completely. Just last month I bought a C8 UTC Worldtimer.

Do you wear a CW or any watch when you play live?

Oh yes I do! I charge my Trident’s lume with my guitar tech’s flashlight so I can see the time backstage before the show starts. And it looks great in pictures!

As a musician, do you have more of an appreciation for timing and watches?

Oh I sure do. Either when we’re composing, arranging, recording, when we’re constantly talking about BPM, time signatures, etc, or when we’re on the road and we’re constantly looking at schedules, flights and wake-up calls, a watch can be a very valuable tool and companion. But as a musician too, the whole idea of an intricate mechanism with many different parts playing together in harmony and producing a beautiful sound (hopefully) is just fascinating!

Mike McGibney – Bassist (and more!)

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became a musician;

I was born in Belfast but my family moved to Essex when I was young. I’ve played piano since I was a child, and finally took up the bass guitar when I was about 16. I got into recording and composing, and ended up changing my choice of degree from History to Music Technology.

After uni, I worked for an insurance company during the day and played with various bands in my free time. Eventually I got the opportunity to help teach composition at my old high school, and since then I have been lucky enough to make my living with music – over a decade now. I now teach Music, Music Technology and Composition at a wide variety of schools and colleges, teach privately from my home, and gig all over the UK and abroad with numerous musical projects.

How long have you been interested in horology?

I bought a watch with my first wage packet as a 16yr old – it was maybe £80, which seemed a fortune back then (I think it was quartz Accurist on a bracelet). I ended up not wearing it as I found the bracelet too heavy and would always take it off whenever I was doing other tasks. After that I didn’t wear a watch for years until my parents bought me a lovely Citizen Red Arrows Ecodrive chronograph for my 30th birthday, which kick-started my interest. I started learning about Soviet watches and built a small collection of Vostoks and Komandirskies, as well as AVI-8 watches, which used aviation themes (another passion of mine). Since then I have devoured books, Youtube videos and online forums in pursuit of learning more about this fascinating subject.

When did you discover CW, and which watches do you have?

I was introduced to Christopher Ward by Barrie Cree [more on Barrie later!], a fellow bass player who has an amazing watch (and bass) collection! I was looking for something at a particular price point and he pointed me CW’s way. I started exploring the collection and was impressed by how fantastic the Tridents looked, as well as enjoying the aviation style pieces. Eventually I saw a Trident that I just had to have – GMT, green bezel, black face with guilloche, on a brown leather strap. It looked stunning and I bought it second-hand on eBay. To date it’s pretty much my favourite watch.

I managed to get one of the ‘Submariner’ quartz C60 Tridents, with the twin dolphin submariner logo on the dial. I swapped the rubber strap for a Hirsch Robby sailcloth strap which is black with yellow stitching – it matches it perfectly and I use this as my ‘wet watch’. My great-uncle was a Royal Navy submarine commander during WW2 so I appreciate the historical link with him.

Do you wear a CW or any watch when you play live?

Yes! Generally it will be my C60 Trident GMT with green bezel, but sometimes I will wear the C8 Flyer Mk1 or my Mondaine or Hamilton. Generally one of my top requirements in a watch is excellent legibility, and when getting to a gig, preparing in the dressing room or being back or on-stage, I need to be able to see my watch clearly. The CWs have fantastic lume so that’s always useful too.

What musical projects are you involved in?

I work with lots of different projects! I tour the UK (and sometimes further afield) with ELO Again, who perform a big theatrical tribute show of Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra. I also play with Crocodile Mock, a fantastic 8-piece Elton John Tribute band, who also do a show called ‘I’m Still Standing’. I also play bass guitar for the English Pops Orchestra (EPO) who sometimes play the multi-million selling ‘Hooked on Classics’ show, conducted by ELO’s Louis Clark himself. I have just finished a short UK tour of Tubular Bells Live – playing the music of Mike Oldfield, including all of his eponymous Tubular Bells album, featuring former touring and recording musicians who worked with Mike. I also play with a wide variety of functions bands playing corporate and private events all over the UK, as well as jazz gigs, cruise ship work as far afield as Alaska, Norway and the Mediterranean. It’s pretty busy – lots of music to learn and lots of driving but I love it!

Barrie Cree – Bassist

Tell us a little about yourself and how you became involved in playing music;

I moved to London as a student in 1978 and shared a flat with people who were in a band. I became their roadie as they found some success and subsequently worked with some ‘name’ bands like U2, Eurythmics & Hawkwind. Then moved in with a bass player who taught me an eclectic combination of Thin Lizzy, Chic and Joy Division songs! From there I started playing in a big 13-piece soul band on the London function circuit and played some big Park Lane hotels and once even in the shadow of the T-Rex at the Natural History Museum.

What musical projects are you involved in? Do you have any music, links or photos we could share?

I now only play with one band called Up2NoGood. We’re based fairly local to CW and we all play for the fun of being in a band. All of us has played in gigging bands for something like 25 years and this is by far the most social band I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. I also own a bass guitar retail business – it’s not my main source of income, but it’s definitely the most fun!

Up2NoGood (left to right): Mark – C1000 Typhoon Cockpit, Gary S – Trident Pro red face & bezel, Gary M – Trident GMT green bezel, Barrie – C1 Grand Malvern Power Reserve, Andy – Trident 316L orange

When did you discover CW, and which watches do you have?

With the advent of digital technology I’d slowly stopped wearing watches completely. Then, after a gig, our lead guitarist Andy started telling me about a local brand that made lovely watches with quality manufacturing at really good prices. I thought I had to try one out and now own quite a few! I have some Tridents, a C1 Power Reserve, C9 5 Day, C8 UTC & Regulator, C7 Bluebird & IRR and a little blue C5 Slimline to wear on the odd occasion I’m in a dinner suit!

I’ll leave the last question with the other members in Up2NoGood: do you think you all have more of an appreciation for timing and watches?

Gary Mills (Rhythm Guitar & Vocals): I see watches as a combination of science and art, where would we be without precise watches? – navigation would be impossible and there would have been no man on the moon! Music is also a mix of science and art, the art of a good song / melody and the science of using our musical instruments and some technology to be able to perform that as best as we can. A world without great watches and great music would be unbearable…

Andy Fergus-Smith (Lead Guitar): As a guitarist, accuracy and timing are essential. There are now many apps and digital metronomes available but I always go back to my old mechanical device. It’s the same with watches for me, my favourites are all mechanical. Guitars are analogue you have to understand their nuances and characteristics. My Stratocaster is a lovely guitar, if I’m playing clean funk and pop it’s a great all rounder. I don’t use it for AC/DC covers however, that requires the depth and sustain of a Les Paul or SG. Watches are like that too, different ones work better in different situations.

Gary Stanton (Drums): I’m a drummer – timing is everything! I sometimes find myself just staring at the second hand and marvelling how it just moves with such perfect precision & timing – a bit like my drumming really!

Mark Davenport (Lead vocals): I think so…and especially as I’m usually the one ‘managing’ our live performances and having to keep an eye on timing to make sure we don’t break any venue curfews!

Earlier this month, CW co-founder Chris Ward visited Thrill on the Hill, an event organised by our partners at the Morgan Motor Company to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of their popular Plus 8 car. So what makes the CW + Morgan relationship such a good one?

The association between watches and motorsport has been around for almost 100 years. Aston Martin had their dashboards designed and peppered with Jaeger-LeCoultre’s instrumentation close to a century ago and in the decades that have followed many collaborations have come to the fore. In Italy, Ferrari have teamed up with Panerai; in Germany, Mercedes and IWC; and in Britain, Morgan and Christopher Ward have formed a partnership.

At the announcement in 2016, MD of the Morgan Motor Company, Steve Morris said “This partnership is founded on a shared passion for craftsmanship, watches and automobiles”, and recently I had the chance to join Steve and his team for a celebration of a special anniversary and to see that passion in the metal.

Chris (pictured right) stood with Steve Morris, Morgan’s Managing Director, in front of the Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition | Photographer: Jamie Sheldrick

On the 11th August, Morgan threw the doors of their famous factory and grounds open to Morgan owners, enthusiasts and the general public alike for ‘Thrill on the Hill’, a special event to celebrate the legendary Plus 8’s 50th anniversary. Morgan had also specially commissioned the building of fifty Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition cars, one of which was on show at their Malvern factory. It provided the perfect photo opportunity for Steve and me to showcase the car alongside the C1 Morgan Plus 8 Limited Edition, a watch designed between our senior designer Adrian Buchmann and his counterpart at Morgan, Head of Design Jon Wells. Adrian and Jon’s approach was a novel one, with the watch’s dial and car’s dashboard designed together at the same time, with the Morgan’s dashboard decorations matching the watch’s dial. With one of these watches supplied with each of the fifty cars created, the Plus 8 project showed the collaboration and detail of our partnership at its best.

The C1 Morgan Plus 8 Limited Edition meets its automotive namesake

The Christopher Ward area in the Morgan shop was very busy throughout the day with plenty of interest from the visiting crowds, some of whom were familiar with the Morgan collaboration watches and some who were seeing them for the first time. It was great to see a number of guests proudly sporting their Morgan x CW watches purchased over the last few years of the partnership.

Thrill on the Hill also gave us the perfect opportunity to show off the latest addition to the Morgan Collection, the C3 Morgan Chronograph; we’ve introduced the C3 to make the British design principles found at the heart of our two companies, along with the Swiss expertise of our Biel-based atelier, accessible to all.

The C3 Morgan Chronograph

While other brands continue to speak of their technological advancements and throw marketing millions at their tie-ups to create synergies in the minds of their prospective customers, our partnership takes a different approach. Both Steve at Morgan and myself are more than content to continue hand-crafting cars and wristwatches for those who appreciate the quintessentially English traits of eccentricity and ingenuity. That’s why we call it a very British partnership!

The interior of the Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition| Photographer: Jamie Sheldrick