The only place to view the entire CW Collection ‘in the metal’, the showroom at our 1 Park Street HQ is overseen by Showroom Manager Declan Strange. Mild-mannered, attentive and always ready to impart his horological knowledge, we caught up with Declan as preparations begin to ensure each of his customers leaves satisfied in the build up to this Christmas.
Hi Declan, tell us about yourself.
Declan: I joined Christopher Ward back in 2013, and became Showroom Manager a couple of years later. When the showroom initially opened, it was almost as if we were testing the water to see if anybody would be interested in visiting us here in Maidenhead; it’s blossomed into something pretty special, with people making the journey from all over the UK. Due to being near Heathrow Airport, we also welcome many international customers on their way to and from business trips, or who are here visiting family – especially over the Christmas period.
You mentioned Christmas. What are the showroom’s opening times over the festive period?
Declan: The showroom gets very busy during the week, and we do appreciate that many of our customers can’t attend the showroom during normal working hours, so our opening times have been extended. We’ll be open until 8pm on Thursdays (last appointment at 7pm), and also on Saturdays, from 10am til 4pm (the last appointment being at 3pm).
For anybody who is yet to visit, could you talk them through the whole showroom experience?
Declan: Our customers can book online using the form on our website. Located in the heart of Maidenhead’s town centre, you can’t miss No.1 Park Street: it’s a grey slate building with a yellow front door.
Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed in by a member of staff and offered refreshments. Our Collection will be displayed in front of you, with the intention that you can try on as many as you like. It’s a very relaxed environment, and I’ll be on hand to answer any questions you may have. Appointments generally last about 45 minutes, although there is a 15 minute grace period in case things take a little longer! A new service we offer to our UK customers is the option of a finance plan on orders over £500, meaning you can take your new Christopher Ward away on the day and pay it off in installments over 6 months.
Does it help the customer to know what they’re looking for before they arrive?
Declan: Absolutely. In the booking form, they can include details – the particular watches they’re interested in, or the purpose of their visit – which mean I can fine tailor the appointment to their needs. In some cases, customers know exactly which watch they want, allowing us to focus on picking the exact strap they’d like; however, it’s not uncommon for customers to be pleasantly surprised by our new releases, and end up leaving with a different watch to the one they intended!
Speaking of which… which new releases have customers responded to most?
Declan: The Trident 316Ls have been extremely popular, in both their orange and blue dial varieties. Plus everybody is dying to see the Bronze Pro 600! (We do have a sample version to show showroom customers.) The photos on the website are excellent, but it really does need to be seen in person – ours is yet to truly start developing its own patina, which is when the fun really starts! And that’s before any mention of the Rapide Collection… It’s interesting telling customers how the new releases fit into the direction where Christopher Ward is headed. That’s ultimately what the showroom is about: it’s not just about customers discovering the Christopher Ward story, but also starting their own.
For the perfect gift this Christmas (for somebody else or yourself), book your personal appointment at 1 Park Street here.