William Evans Gunmaker Goes Downmarket

Just the other day, gunmaker Peyter Hofer was trying to convince the world that his high-end bespoke shotguns were immune to the laws of physics. I mean, economics. TTAG was having none of it. More proof: London gunmakers William Evans are going downmarket. After describing the history of the venerable English gunmaker, luxist.com advises us to “Fast forward to the present day and straitened economic circumstances have made bespoke guns unaffordable for all but the wealthiest sportsmen. Hence Evans’ firm’s decision to introduce the new lower priced ‘Pall Mall'” gun. Oh dear . . .

The side-by-side shotgun is a about third of the price of the firm’s trademark “best London” bespoke guns and takes much less time to make. Evans was able to reduce the price by having the new guns assembled in Spain and then applying the finishing touches, such as hand engraving and stock fitting, in London. While snobs may turn their noses up, the savings in cost and time – about $23,000 and four months per shotgun as opposed to $70,000 and two years – will no doubt ensure plenty of orders.

Yes, and that’s the problem. As Jaguar’s decline demonstrated, once you go downmarket, you’re done. Even as you receive a surge of new orders, the brand becomes sullied, ruining resale values and making the higher priced version less and less desirable. Eventually, the brand’s cachet is a dim memory.

In this case, William Evans has blended genes Grulla Armas, an arriviste gunmaker (since 1932!) that’s based in Spain (or all places) that makes copies of English guns and dares to use their name in their marketing.

As the Brits say, there will be tears before bedtime.