Few people better embody the Challenger spirit than
Tom Hicks

A conservationist and explorer, Tom is leading an expedition to the North Pole on behalf of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which funds conservation projects in Asia and Africa.

While the Arctic is half a world away from the tropics, its environment affects conditions in the Earth’s warmer zones, which is why he’ll be measuring snow depths and melt rates on his trek.

“I’m doing this because I believe everyone has the potential to do something positive,” says Tom. “Our individual and collective power to change is greater than we know. The Arctic is the most vulnerable region for climate change. I’ll be sharing Arctic snowmelt data from the expedition to highlight that climate change is real, and it’s happening now.”

And while he’s there, he’ll be wearing the C60 Anthropocene GMT – a watch named after the era in which humankind has influenced the Earth’s environment.

“For me,” says Tom, “this watch triggers a conversation about our species’ impact on the planet. And anything that gets people to look and act can bring about change.”

“I’m doing this because I believe everyone has the potential to do something positive”

Another recent addition to the Challenger line-up is
James Hayden. One of the world’s most respected endurance cyclists, he’s back-to-back winner of the gruelling Transcontinental Race (which goes from the Black Sea to Brittany in France).

James has overcome extreme pain and unimaginable exhaustion all over the world to climb – literally – to the peak of his sport.

He believes the partnership works because his personal philosophy chimes with the ethos of Christopher Ward. “One of the things that attracted me to the Challenger programme was how CW focuses on being the best they can be in an industry with huge players,” he says. “What I do is a challenge and what CW does is a challenge – going up against the big brands as I go up against the establishment of cycling.”

“What I do is a challenge and
what CW does is
a challenge – going up against the
big brands”

As a qualified civil engineer, he appreciates the craftsmanship and accuracy of our watches. Recently he’s been wearing the C63 Sealander Elite.

“I’ve had the watch for several months and, apart from when I’ve moved into a different time zone, I’ve never had to adjust it. I can rely on it absolutely – invaluable when I’m racing. Because of what I do, I appreciate great engineering. And seeing the movement through the exhibition through the case-back reminds me what an incredible piece of kit it is.”

James is an incredibly driven individual, pushing himself to the absolute limit to reach his goal.

“There are two types of feelings – physical and emotional,” he says. “And if you can control your emotions, you can control the physical side. There are highs and lows in every race where everything feels against you, but I’ve done it long enough to know those periods pass. They allow you to access the door to the next level, where you get the super-high highs.”

Will Satch is an Olympic rowing gold and bronze medallist – and is our longest-standing Challenger.

A winner of the bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012, at Rio 2016, he went one better, winning gold as part of the GB men’s ‘eight’ team.

It’s something that’s stayed with him ever since.

“I didn’t sleep a wink because of nerves,” he says. “In the hotel beforehand, I remember looking in the mirror and telling myself, ‘This is it. This is the one that counts and the one that everyone will remember.’ We had to turn up. When we got to the venue, I was playing the goat, but you’re not yourself as you’re full of hormones, and you’ve got a nervous sweat on. You’re right on the edge, but that’s exactly where you need to be.”

“You’re right on the edge, but that’s exactly where you need to be.”

Will grew up In Henley, a few miles from Christopher Ward HQ in Maidenhead. Without family money to support him, he had to work harder than those from more privileged backgrounds. The inner steel that got him to the Olympics helped him when it came to the big day.

“We got on the start line, and the first stroke wasn’t great,” he says. “After that, though, everything began to click, and we had the race of our lives. Everything we’d practised in training came together in every phase.”

Will decided to miss the delayed Tokyo Olympics but will be back for Paris in 2024. You can’t keep a Challenger down!