Christopher Ward’s new partnership with Malvern-based Morgan Motor Company is hugely significant for both brands. With three new watches to come from the collaboration – available initially to Morgan customers – we talk to Morgan’s Managing Director Steve Morris (pictured below), and our own Chris Ward about this very British match.
Hi guys. How did the partnership between Morgan and Christopher Ward happen?
Steve Morris: It was some when some time ago I spoke to Chris [Ward, co-founder]. We’ve been approached a number of times to collaborate with watchmakers, but it was certain things we shared: being British; the small, flexible, personal nature of the business. That was the beginning.
Chris Ward (pictured below): I met Jon Wells, Morgan’s Head of Design, about 18 months ago, before having a conversation with Steve. In the spring of this year, it began to move forward.
Morgan was founded in 1909, whereas Christopher Ward is younger. Was there a common ground?
Steve: Yes: we share a family nature, and a fleet-of-foot as a manufacturer. Age wasn’t an issue; what was important was the shared Britishness, and everything we stand for.
Chris: In our own ways, we’re both quite quirky. Christopher Ward has a different approach to the way we manufacture watches, compared to the usual wholesale model. We do have the flexibility in that we’re able to bespoke our watches in the same way Morgan can with their cars. It may take a little longer – for example, each CW Morgan watch will match the customer’s chassis number – but you get the special product you want.
Where do you see the partnership progressing?
Steve: We’ve started with three watches, but after that, who knows? It’s exciting. It’s not just a badging exercise – it’s much more in-depth than that.
Chris: Once Morgan roll the initial range out to their dealerships, there’ll be an opportunity to reach out to past and future customers. With over a century’s worth of cars sold worldwide, it’ll give CW more of a global reach.
Will designing the watches be a collaborative process?
Steve: That’s the really exciting thing. Jon Wells, our Chief Designer, and Adrian [Buchmann, Senior Designer at CW] put together a range of options, three of which we went for. It’s far more than a sticker on the product: it’s about the materials, the way they’re designed and put together.
Chris: They reflect what we do in terms of watchmaking – they’ll use our in-house Calibre SH21 movement – while conveying the essence of the 3 Wheeler, the Classic and the Aero 8 respectively.
Have you seen the new 3 Wheeler watch?
Steve: I’ve seen detailed sketches – it shares a number of design cues with the 3 Wheeler. I’m anticipating seeing the first sample!
Chris: It’s a little unconventional – but so is the car. The watch is powered by a hand-wound version of Calibre SH21, and includes a small-second complication. The case and movement bridge will be finished in black DLC too – it’ll certainly look the part.
When will be seeing these watches in the metal for the first time?
Chris: All three models will be making their debut at the Geneva Motor Show next March. The countdown starts now…
What’s the Morgan philosophy?
Steve: We were established in 1909. We’ve now been making cars for 107 years; there’s a charming element to what we do. We’ve survived in a very harsh industry – combined with the growing expectations of customers – by staying true to our values, and our belief in the vehicles we make.
What makes Morgan such a great place to visit?
Steve: The amount of manufacture we do here at Pickersleigh Road, Malvern. For visitors to the factory it’s special to see the raw components, right through to the finished vehicle: you can witness all the different elements and facets of the business. With our museum, it’s a really nice visit.
Chris: We visited Malvern when we signed the deal. You could see everything built by hand: they’re still using the original jigs from when they first started! Steve and I went for a spin in the 3 Wheeler. When you turn the key and hear that Morgan sound, the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
To find out more about the Christopher Ward/Morgan collaboration, click on this link: http://bit.ly/2flrP20