The luxury watch industry has been slow to embrace online shopping. The thinking for many of the big-name firms was that spending a large amount of money on a watch is something that needs to happen in person, that the buyer needs to see and feel the watch before committing to a purchase. That view is finally changing, and brands are starting to realise that buying pretty much everything online is where we are heading, whether we like it or not. One company paving the way is the brand Christopher Ward. It was the brainchild of three British businessmen who spotted an opportunity to produce high-quality, Swiss-made watches that would sell at a lower price than the competition by being available online only. Launched in 2005, Christopher Ward has developed a great range, from motor sport-inspired pieces, through to dive and even dress watches. The Christopher Ward C7 Rapide Automatic has a Swiss-made self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve. 42mm steel and aluminium case. Water resistant to 100 metres.
This family-owned company has a history going back almost 150 years, when Robert Mühle started making watches in Glashütte, the Saxony town that remains the heart of German watchmaking. The founder made the firm’s name by producing high-quality nautical instruments. Now on the fifth generation of family ownership, Mühle-Glashütte still makes marine chronometers, as well as a very handsome range of well-made wristwatches. The Mühle-Glashütte 29er Tag/Datum has an automatic movement with day/date indications in a 42mm stainless-steel case. Water resistant to 100 metres.
From £1440, www.muehle-glashuette.de
The Swiss brand Certina was founded in the Swiss town of Grenchen in 1888 and has claims to fame that include ground-breaking watches that were tough enough to take on the Himalayas in the 1950s, and then in the 1970s a Certina adorned the wrist of one Muhammad Ali. The company motto is Reliability, Precision and Innovation and one of the innovations it is known for is the DS (Double Security) system of shock and water-resistance. The Certina DS Action Big Date Automatic has a 41mm stainless steel case with screw-down caseback, housing a Swiss self-winding movement. Water resistant to 200 metres.
From £610, www.certina.com