WE HAVE OUR CEO TO PRESENT THE 10YEARS MANUFACTURE TO THE BEST PERFORMED RETAILERS FROM AUSTRALIA! Read more…
ACADEMYHILLS LIBRARY CAFE Introducing model:
10th anniversary limited model FC-942ABS4H9 & FC-980DG4S6
GM organized the above event, under the same concept of the event which was held in Switzerland in May. At the beginning of the event, Peter introduced the history of FC and Manufacture. Then, the party stated with the cake cut of a cake imitated heart beat manufacture. Almost all target magazine, web site and etc attended the event and celebrated the anniversary. Our important retailers also visited and they are looking forward to FC’s future success. Out of readers of Japan official mail magazine and follower of facebook, we invited 30 people. They enjoyed so much that they became FC’s royal customer. The event will be on magazine of September and October. Read more…
Sponsoring and charity enjoy high priority at Frédérique Constant. You started with sponsoring, so let’s begin by talking about that.
Peter: In 2004, when our business was still located in Chêne-Bourg, we held a meeting with our advisory board.
Who were the board’s members?
Aletta: Peter, a friend, two employees from McKinsey, a retired businessman and myself. It was a small group and, incidentally, all Dutch.
Peter: We were working at that time to more clearly define the values of our watch brand. What does Frédérique Constant stand for? Where do we want to go? What are our goals? And what makes Frédérique Constant different from other brands? We realized right from the start that market-sensitive prices rank among our most important competitive advantages.
Aletta: Attractive prices were decisive for reaching younger target groups composed of 30- to 45-year-olds with smaller budgets. Most of these potential customers are businesspeople at the beginning of their careers. Many haven’t yet move up the ladder and are still working in lower-tier executive positions. Their incomes are limited and they may also be starting families, which likewise requires funds.
Peter: But these young people are nonetheless enthusiastic about Swiss mechanical watches. They’re precisely the individuals for whom Frédérique Constant offers attractive timepieces. So we decided that our company should produce accessible luxury in the form of beautiful, affordably priced, Swiss watches from Geneva. Our purpose is to enable more people to enjoy luxury.
Aletta: But handsome watches at accessible prices weren’t enough. We also needed to more strongly emphasize the luxury aspect. So our discussion turned to what we could do to give Frédérique Constant the desired image. That’s how we arrived at the idea of sponsoring.
How did you come up with the idea of classic car rallies?
Aletta: A young Dutchman who was working in our communications department at the time and he contributed two good ideas.
Peter: One idea involved balloon flights with a big, dark green balloon prominently labeled “Frédérique Constant.” His other idea had to do with rallies for classic cars.
Aletta: We discussed the suggestions and concluded that car rallies would make sense for us.
Why is that?
Peter: Well, cars and watches simply belong together a priori. Their mechanisms share certain interesting common denominators. That’s particularly true for classic automobiles, which needn’t necessarily be old timers. They clearly reflect our brand’s values.
What did the advisory board decide?
Aletta: We decided to move ahead with the idea. We delegated the tasks and began to explore various options.
Peter: It was in this context that we found Healey.
Aletta: A series of telephone calls led us to a Healey club that organizes a meeting in St. Moritz every two years. But we were disappointed to learn that they already had a sponsor in the watch industry.
Peter: They were nonetheless willing to talk with us because they weren’t entirely satisfied with their existing partnership. That’s how we were able to launch a limited edition of wristwatches for the upcoming event.
Peter: We were also very pleased that we didn’t need to spend a huge sum of money. We very quickly manufactured various watches for the prize conferral.
How many did you make?
Aletta: Not so many. If I remember correctly, we made five timepieces. We also delivered polo shirts and caps. All in all, we supplied articles worth about 50,000 Swiss francs.
So your sponsorship wasn’t purely altruistic?
Peter: Naturally, we talked with the organizers about a license for a series of watches bearing the Healey logo, but tot the Swiss club’s logo because, as I said, they already had a sponsor. In that way, we came into personal contact with the Healey Family, which was much more valuable for us. We and the Healeys arrived at an initial agreement on five-year a license.
Aletta: That agreement enabled us to present our brand at various events and to show our watches in the hotels.
Do you own a Healey?
Peter: No, but Aletta and I participated in a rented car. Our participation was very successful, so we asked ourselves, “What else can we do?”
Aletta: We took part in another Healey event the following year, which coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Dutch Healey club. The festivities took place in a palace. And we were again present there with our watches.
Peter: That’s also true for the planned Healey Museum.
Peter: Yes, absolutely. The next year brought the Healey Challenge in Le Mans. Seventy Healeys rolled up to the starting line in the context of the Le Mans Classic. It was the largest fleet of such automobiles ever assembled.
But everyone knows that other watch brands also serve as sponsors at Le Mans.
Aletta: Right. But we focused on the Healey group. A solution could be found.
Peter: We were at the Healey meeting in Heidelberg the next year. The USA and Canada came after that.
And how did it evolve?
Peter: After five genuinely successful years with Healey, we wanted to expand our sponsoring. In the course of our search, we found the Peking to Paris classic car rally, which is staged every three years…
Aletta: … and for which we served as sponsor and official timekeeper.
What benefits ensued for the Frédérique Constant watch brand?
Aletta: First, there’s the prestige, and then there’s the Vintage Racing collection, which was derived from this challenging event.
Peter: When we showed the watches in Basel, a lawyer from Chopard very pointedly called our attention to the already existent Classic Racing collection. For the sake of peaceful coexistence, we renamed our collection “Vintage Rally.”
Aletta: In the future, this name will not only cover our commitment to Healey, but also every other type of rally that we support.
The Carrera Panamericana has numbered among them since 2011.
Peter: Our Mexican distributor suggested a prestigious rally in his country. I contacted the responsible individuals and we reached an agreement.
In what form?
Aletta: We became the sponsor and we manufactured a special watch that we could sell for two years.
What will the future bring with Healey?
Peter: Our agreement comes to an end in 2012. The situation hasn’t yet been clarified. We’re holding discussions with the family, but thus far nothing essential has been decided about renewing the agreement. It’s quite possible that we won’t be allowed to sell any more Healy chronographs after 2013. The situation isn’t simple, so we we’re also supporting other rally events.
Do you want to expand your sponsorship activities?
Peter: We’re considering that option. For example, we signed an agreement with Rallye des Alpes…
Aletta: … which was cancelled in 2012, although we had already made a watch for it. Now we’re hoping the Rallye des Alpes will take place in 2013.
What else can you report?
Peter: In England, we’re cooperating with the Grand Prix, a rally for classic automobiles. We’ll serve as sponsor and official timekeeper.
Aletta: In a nutshell, our focus is shifting away from Healey and toward other rallies for which we’ll release watches in limited editions.
Will you continue your involvement with the Peking to Paris rally?
Aletta: That rally will recur in 2013 and we’re currently in the negotiating phase.
Peter: I should explain here that the first time is always the most productive. We can manufacture at significantly lower costs afterwards.
Aletta: Sometimes we agree to that, but the pleasure isn’t the same.
What about antique aircraft? They would be a very good match for Alpina.
Peter: We’ve thought about it, but other brands are already strongly represented there. That’s why I believe we should concentrate on what we’ve already achieved…
Aletta: … which not only includes rallies and runabouts, but also our manufacture work, a ladies’ automatic and our classics. These five areas are really enough for us right now.
A watch manufacture must first dream up the idea for runabouts.
Peter: That had to do with our own boat, a 1980 Boesch Cabriolet. We belong to a yacht club and we were asked if we could sponsor an event on Lake Geneva. Without our sponsorship, they said, it wouldn’t be feasible. So we agreed.
Aletta: It was essentially just a small, regional event and it wasn’t very expensive.
Peter: Our boat is too young for genuine old-timer regattas. If you want to participate in one of them, you have to own a runabout that was built before 1960, for example, a Chris-Craft, a Garwood or a Hacker. So we capriciously imagined ourselves aboard a fantasy boat – and derived our Runabout collection from that vision.
But that’s something truly elite for extremely wealthy people. Can a watch brand succeed there?
Peter: Oh, yes. Surprisingly, our Runabout watches are more successful than our Vintage Rallies.
So this would seem to have a bright future?
Aletta: Definitely. We’re also continuing our work on the Vintage Rally collection. The etuis now also include an additional stopwatch. The addition of an automobile was warmly received, but has since been copied by others. The exclusivity naturally suffers when imitators appear on the scene.
Do you dream up these attractive extras on your own or do you collaborate with a team?
Peter: Both. Sometimes our sales personnel contribute ideas that we consider and ultimately implement. We’ve also received some valuable suggestions from retail customers.
Aletta: Our advantage in all this is our office in Hong Kong, where our staff can take care of creating and manufacturing these extras onsite in the Far East. We never buy anything that already exists. Instead, we arrange to have the items produced exclusively for us.
Peter: It may be hard to believe, but those are genuinely serious projects. We have to finance the tools for them. We have to take care of the finish for the products. We strongly prioritize worth and preciousness.
How long does something like that usually take?
Peter: Sometimes creating such a box can take as just long as manufacturing the watch itself. One mustn’t underestimate the work involved.
Is there already a collector’s market, for example, for the early Healey collections?
Peter: Definitely. Some of those watches have already been sold at Antiquorum and Sotheby’s. Naturally, we’re proud of that.
Aletta: But it’s also interesting to note that we sell only ten to twelve watches during the events.
Peter: Afterwards, when the edition of 1,888 watches is on the market, we don’t necessarily sell every one of them.
In such circumstances, it would seem illogical to immediately manufacture all 1,888 pieces.
Peter: That’s right. We usually start with a batch of 1,000. Whether or not we later manufacture the remaining 888 watches depends on the order situation.
In other words, sometimes you don’t produce all of the watches in the originally planned edition.
Aletta: Yes, and that’s good for customers who have acquired the watches.
Why did you choose the number 1,888?
Peter: That’s very simple. We began with 888 pieces because the Chinese believe that 888 is a lucky number. But that number very quickly turned out to be too few watches. So we simply added a 1 and a comma at the far left!
Aletta: Alpina sometimes produces limited series that run for three years. Each is produced in an edition of 8,888 units.
You’re successful and you allow others to share in that success…
Peter: … about which we have something very new to report. We’ll support the World Heart Federation during the next three years. The contracts have already been written and we donated the first check in mid 2012, but the official announcement won’t be made until September.
Aletta: There’ll be a limited watch edition in 2013. Then we’ll start a collaborative campaign focusing on women’s cardiac insufficiencies. With that campaign, we want to heighten women’s awareness of how important it is that they stay healthy, also for the sake of their children.
You’ve also participated in “Only Watch”…
Peter: … and we’ll again donate a watch to that good cause in 2012. Incidentally, we’re also planning to make something unique for the World Heart Federation.
But those are follow-up projects.
Aletta: No, we’ve already contributed to the International Children‘s Heart Foundation, the American Heart Association and the cardiology department at the children’s hospital in Peking.
Peter: But the World Heart Federation is much more broadly positioned. It’s represented in over 100 countries. There’s a foundation in each nation. It’s a worthy cause, so we’ll provide watches that can be auctioned onsite to raise money for local projects.
Aletta: We mustn’t forget to mention the most recent Passion Award, which was conferred on the “Paint a Smile” charitable foundation. For us, it’s really very important not merely to earn money, but also to spend part of it to support worthy causes.
Peter: Our commitment to charity began with the Passion Award. It resulted from our motto, which is “Live Your Passion.” An award for impassioned commitment fits that perfectly.
Aletta: We published our intentions in the “Herald Tribune” and other newspapers. The jury, which includes Peter and me, chose the winners from among the suggested candidates.
Peter: The first winner was Peter-Frans Pauwels, who invented the TomTom navigational system.
Aletta: After the award’s conferral, someone called our attention to nonprofit and charitable organizations. He said that this was another field in which people are passionately involved. I must admit that we hadn’t thought about that at first, although far greater passions are often involved there.
Peter: Dr. Bill Novick is a wonderful example. Alongside his professional career as a physician, he’s also passionately involved in the International Children’s Heart Foundation.
Aletta: In our opinion, this professor definitely deserves an award for his dedication. So we’re turning in the direction of charity and we’re very happy about that. We sometimes need suggestions and impulses because they open our eyes. That’s how we learn. After all, so many people on this planet desperately need help.
But you also donate profits from sales of your watches.
Peter: Motivated by our experiences with the Passion Award, fifty Swiss francs of the revenue earned from the sale of each Double Heartbeat watch are donated to charity. Dr. Novick received one check and a second one was donated to “Paint a Smile.”
Aletta: One day we noticed that many famous people are also active philanthropists. When we developed the Chinese market, we became aware that we urgently needed a brand ambassador. That’s not absolutely necessary here in Europe, but it’s tremendously helpful in the Far East.
Peter: We contacted Shu Qi and an agreement ensued. She’s a very well known and extremely popular actress in China and she was personally present when we gave our donation check to the “Paint a Smile” foundation.
Aletta: She joined us on a visit to young patients in the cardiology department of the children’s hospital in Peking. We’re very happy with Shu Qi and she seems equally happy with us because she recently renewed her ambassadorial contract. It suppose it’s important to Shu Qi because alongside her luxurious world, our support enables her to become involved in another, less glamorous side of human life.
Peter: It’s simply different when you can personally experience things and see how much joy you can bring to people who are less fortunate.
Would you care to sum things up?
Aletta: Collaboration helps both sides. That much is clear to me. I almost forgot to mention Nicole Faria, Miss Earth and Miss India. She also assists us as brand ambassador and accompanies our campaigns to help children with cardiac insufficiencies.More in our book Live your passion
On Friday-evening the September 12, 2014 the fashion-house Mode Reischmann in Memmingen Germany invite his clients for an special event with fashion-show and lucky draw. In cooperation with jeweller Ebenhoch-Honner, Angelika and Klaus Honner presented the whole collection off Frédérique Constant Watches. Uwe Geisser Area and Key Account Manager of Frédérique Constant in South Germany: “It was extremely impressive, that so many people visiting this very nice and professional event”. Read more…