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Shooting an advert for TV is more complicated than you’d imagine. And during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, it goes way beyond that.

But a watch as mould-breaking as the new C60 Sapphire deserves a campaign that takes it to as broad an audience as possible. And that meant creating a TV commercial that’s not only beautiful but also shows the two qualities that make Christopher Ward unique. First: an obsession with creating top-quality watches, and second, not taking ourselves too seriously.

Broadcast across channels including Sky Witness, Sky1 and Sky Atlantic, the ad starts with a close-up of the Sapphire’s mechanical movement Sellita SW200. Then a voiceover begins.

“There’s nothing our Swiss chums enjoy more than being precise,” it says. “So, when we encouraged the Swiss to be more, well, Swiss, we wondered whether we were pushing it a bit too far.”

The voice belongs to TV producer and the man behind QI, John Lloyd. The result of years of exceptionally good living – and perhaps one or two sessions in the pub – his well-worn brogue delivers the script with quintessentially English understatement. When he says “precisely” it sounds like he’s swilling a rare single malt around his mouth.

Martin Galton is Creative Director at Working Beehive, the agency behind the ad. He says John Lloyd was the obvious choice.

“I wrote the script with him in mind,” says Martin. “We were after dry, English wit – and John’s voice captures this perfectly, adding just the right warmth and personality to the brand. I was also looking for a voice for a-long running campaign. A voice that would always be associated with Christopher Ward: one you’d hear, and immediately think ‘Christopher Ward’. It’s one of the memory structures that makes advertising stick in the brain.”

And did John nail it in one take?

“Yes, his first read was superb, but as in any voice recording, we gave ourselves options.

I think it was his fourth read we used. It just had a bit more colour to it.”

The footage is also exceptional, taking us deep into the movement, and showing off the watch’s translucent dial. Something that took a lot of patience, according to Greg Jordan, Producer at Beehive.

“Shooting in macro needs precision equipment, as any shake on the camera is magnified to earthquake proportions,” says Greg. “When we did a take, we all had to stand still, and the DOP (Director of Photography) operating the camera had to hold his breath.”

One piece of equipment was especially useful. “We needed a motion-control rig to move the watches rather than the camera to avoid camera shake,” says Greg. “The motion control rig is computer-operated and works on fine gearing, so there’s no shake. And it can repeat the same move time after time, eliminating human error.”

Another difficulty came from staff shortages caused by the lockdown. Instead of a crew of 20, there were just five people involved.

“It should have been a three-day shoot,” says Greg. “We allowed for six and used them all. Normally we’d check each shot with the creatives and the client. As they couldn’t be present, we uploaded all the shots at the end of the day. They had to take a leap of faith that we wouldn’t balls it up. Thankfully I don’t think we did!”

One final thing was the timing. With the current crisis, is it wise to launch a campaign now? Tim Hollins, Head of Strategy at Beehive, thinks so.

“It’s about building a brand reputation, despite the situation,” he says. “And leveraging a direct-only business model that means people can still buy from CW. The watches haven’t changed, despite the situation we’re in.”

The final word goes to Mike France, CEO and Co-Founder of Christopher Ward. He sees lockdown, not as an obstacle, but an opportunity.

“We’re lucky to be working with a group of independent agencies who not only share our counter-intuitive view that this is the best time to launch our first TV campaign, but have the ability, agility and determination to deliver such an innovative piece of work.”

Could there be a better example of something that sums up the campaign’s tagline: ‘Ingeniously English. Unsurprisingly Swiss’?

Probably not.

The ‘GMT’ function is one of the most popular complications in watchmaking. By using the fourth ‘GMT’ hand – which travels around the dial over 24 hours – it’s possible to tell the time in any timezone around the world accurately. GMTs have always been popular with Christopher Ward customers too, with models like the C60 Trident GMT 600 consistently among our best sellers.

With this, we’ve unveiled two new GMT timepieces – the C65 GMT Worldtimer and the C60 Elite GMT 1000. Both are fantastic watches. But which one is right for you?

This guide will help you make the right decision.

Pro diver or part-time dipper? 

If you want a professional diving tool, the C60 Elite GMT 1000 should be your first choice. Engineered from Grade 2 titanium – which has the highest strength-to-density ratio of any metal – it’s waterproof to 1000m. There’s also a helium release valve which will aid the release of harmful molecules as you ascend from an ultra-deep dive.

While the new C65 GMT Worldtimer isn’t primarily a diving watch, it’s still water-resistant to 150m – easily enough for all but the most ambitious of subaqua expeditions. And perfect if your idea of a dive involves popping into the deep end of your local swimming pool.

Retro chic vs modern tool watch

The inspiration for the C65 GMT Worldtimer’s design is the aeronautical watches of the mid-1960s. From the unfussy dial design to the vintage-style glass box crystal, this is a slim timepiece that will work with any outfit – and at 41mm wide it’ll suit all wrists.

The C60 Elite GMT 1000 is a vehemently modern watch. It’s countdown diving bezel is made of ceramic with Super-LumiNova®-filled numerals to ensure visibility in low light. Built to withstand the incredible pressure found at 1000m, it’s chunkier than the Worldtimer, and also a little larger, at 42mm across.

Battle of the bezels

As a pro-level diving watch, the C60 Elite GMT 1000 boasts a countdown bezel: a vital tool for timing your dive. But as this is a GMT, it also has something else: an inner “bezel” which you use with the fourth GMT hand to tell the time in another part of the world.

The C65 GMT Worldtimer also has two bezels, but the outer one features the names of international cities around the world. Say you’re in London but want to know the time in Tokyo. Line up ‘London’ on the bezel with the current time on the inner 24-hour bezel, and then search out ‘Tokyo’. It’ll correspond to the correct time. If you want to use the GMT to monitor the time in another timezone (say, New York), just set the fourth hand to its time on the inner bezel. It’ll always stay in step.

Different watches – same movement

If you value near-perfect accuracy, the Sellita SW330 GMT movement that powers both watches will be your trusted friend. Not only does it run a GMT function as a certified chronometer, it’s among the top six per cent of movements for accuracy. So wherever you are – or wherever you want to be – you’ll always be on time.