Sensible Prices

During the discussions in the advisory board, we often spoke about what makes FC different and what we see as the purpose of the company. From the beginning, we saw that ‘sensible prices’ were our competitive edge. The attractive prices were essential to reach a younger target group of 30-45 year olds who have limited budgets. Most are business men and women at the beginning of their career, in first management functions, but still at low salaries. At the same time, these people are starting families, which requires funds as well. Still, there is an enthusiasm for Swiss mechanical watches. It is for these persons that Frederique Constant offers beautiful time pieces. We determined that our company produced Accessible Luxury, beautiful Swiss watches from Geneva at sensible prices. We defined our purpose as ‘Let more people enjoy luxury’.

riva_runabout_frederique_constant_experience-days
However, beautiful watches at sensible prices was not enough. We also had to work on the ‘luxury’ part of our purpose ‘Let more people enjoy luxury’. Hence, we started to discuss how to create an image around Frederique Constant. First step was the sponsoring of classic car rallies, the Healey partnership that developed into the Vintage Rally Universe. Then, followed the Runabout, the classic gentlemen’s sports boat. Finally, with the various charity activities, we developed a campaign and purpose for our ladies Double Heart Beat Collection. 

Sponsoring and Charity


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. Read more…

Tom Morris: Live Your Passion

Over twenty five years ago, Peter Stas and his wife Aletta found themselves entranced by the high end Swiss watches they saw in retail shop windows when they were in the country for ski vacations. But, being young people on a tight budget, they couldn’t afford what they were seeing. And yet, it planted in them an idea. Why couldn’t they start their own business and create beautiful luxury watches that would be vastly more affordable than what they had been seeing? 
They had found their passion, and decided to live it. So, when they published a book on their corporate story, they entitled it “Live Your Passion.” From the inception of the company on, the “affordable luxury” watches of Frederique Constant have delighted people around the world. I’ve mentioned Peter before, a couple of months ago, in a blog post about luxury, but it’s this aspect of his story I’d like to highlight today. By living their passion, the good that Peter and Aletta have been able to do has gone far, and probably beyond their youthful dreams.
The power of passion, well directed, is astonishing.
A young attorney told me last week that when she was growing up and her dad loaded up the kids in their car to go anywhere, he’d pull into any used car lots that he might pass along the way, “just to look,” as he would explain to them. At a certain point, it became obvious to the children that their dad’s passion was cars, in all their variety. They encouraged him to change careers and set up his own used car lot, which he did, and truly found his passion at work – a passion that has helped him flourish in his new business throughout the years.
When his daughter was in law school, a man came onto the lot one day to ask the car guy if he would help him to sell his car. He didn’t usually work like that, but he liked the visitor right away, and they got into a great conversation. The man with the car to sell turned out to be a top attorney. And his firm ended up hiring the young lawyer, the car dealer’s daughter, at first as an intern, and then as a full time member of the firm where she is now truly living her own passion, thanks to her dad, who has been living his.
And that’s the way it works. What do you do with your free time? What do you love? How can you integrate that more into your business life? Or, are you one of the lucky ones who are already there? Wherever you may be in life, living your passion will benefit not only you, but many others as well – as the stories of Peter Stas and the young attorney’s father demonstrate.
Live your passion, indeed.

 

Live your passion

If you had three wishes for your future and for the future of Frédérique Constant, what would they be?

  1. That we continue to grow;
  2. that there always be a place for independent, family-run watch manufactures because their existence encourages creativity in general;
  3. and that all people on our planet can enjoy good health. Through our charitable activities, we see time and again that people, especially children, suffer from cardiac insufficiencies. Within our modest means, we want to continue to do all we can to combat that problem.

Frederique Constant Passion Awards – Live your passion!

True passion is the ultimate factor for entrepreneurial business success. Frederique Constant created the Frédérique Constant Passion Awards to celebrate the passion that is fundamental to entrepreneurial success.

Dominique_Turpin_President_IMD

Professor Dominique Turpin from the IMD of Lausanne

The Frerique Constant Passion Awards has been presented previous years to the most passionate entrepreneur at major Awards Ceremonies. The winner’s company was offered a Business Case Study by Professor Dominique Turpin of IMD Lausanne on a strategic issue of choice, as well as a solid gold Frédérique Constant Manufacture wristwatch.

Winners and short listed candidates cited the global recognition and publicity they received as the greatest benefit. Such international exposure validated their work amongst peers and opinion leaders at home and abroad.

The Passion Awards also build a network of passionate entrepreneurs worldwide.
The Financial Times was the Passion Award’s official media partner. Calls for submission where published in worldwide editions of the Financial Times.

Criteria and Process for the Award were clearly outlined on the Frédérique Constant Passion Award website. There were no restrictions of gender, age or nationality of candidates. Submissions from Social Entrepreneurs were also welcome.

Frédérique Constant timepieces are created with passion. Indeed, passion is the driver of our company’s success. With its slogan ‘Live your Passion’, we aim to attract customers who have a passion to succeed. Peter and Aletta Stas, both passionate watch aficionados and entrepreneurs at heart, founded Frédérique Constant in Geneva in 1988.

Record First Half Results

We just announced record first half year results with 26% growth compared to 2013.

We are proud to have realized our best first half year ever, and it clearly proves that our product proposition – Accessible Luxury – continues to have great potential. The initial concept behind the brand was to create Swiss Made, high quality and innovative watches at sensible prices To let more people enjoy luxury. Still today, it is this mission that drives our passion. We would like to take the opportunity to thank our worldwide partners for their continuous support to Frederique Constant.

We have seen a significant increase in activity across most of our regions in 2014. With our Accessible Luxury positioning, we have been gaining market share in the US$ 1,000 to 5,000 segment. Frederique Constant grew strongly in Japan, South Korea, Australia United States and Canada, which is expected to continue in the second half of 2014.

This year, Frederique Constant celebrates its 10th anniversary of its in-house handcrafted movements. Since 2004, Frederique Constant is delivering timepieces with manufacture movements that are in-house developed, in-house manufactured and in-house assembled. The company developed 15 in-house handcrafted calibers, including the last 2014 creation: the Heart Beat Manufacture FC-945 with Silicium Escapement Wheel, Silicium Anker and Silicium Plateau for improved accuracy and reliability.

frederique_constant_hr-01287

Frederique Constant Heart Beat Manufacture Tourbillon FC-980G4S6 with Silicium Escapement Wheel and Silicium Anker. Limited Edition 10 pieces for the 10 Years Anniversary of Heart Manufacture.

In view of a good start in 2014 and our intensive programs of merchandising, training and promotional activities, as well as new product launches, sales growth is expected to be strong for the year as a whole. Over the past 25 years, Frederique Constant has experienced annual growth rates of 15-25%. This year, Swiss watch exports will realistically rise in the single digits, and we will outperform the market.

 

Live your passion

Excerpt from our book on Family and Children

Is it more difficult on the market for family businesses than for big corporations?

Peter: Basically, yes. We primarily work with agents, some of whom are better than others. Our distributors generally work very hard on our brand’s behalf, but we still have to conduct plenty of training sessions to highlight the achievements and remarkable values of Frédérique Constant.

Aletta: The alternative would be to set up our own stores, but we don’t want to go that route because it would be too costly and would entail a much greater investment of managerial effort. We already have three stores and I always emphasize that there won’t be more in the future.

So big corporate groups have an advantage? Read more…

Apple: Keep it simple

Recently, the Wallstreet Journal reported on watches with simple designs. August 10, the NYT reviews how Apple strives for simplification as well. Below is based on article by Brian Chen on the Apple University in the NYT of August 10, 2014.

Apple and Picasso

Apple may well be the only tech company on the planet that would dare compare itself to Picasso. In a class at the company’s internal training program, the so-called Apple University, the instructor likened the 11 lithographs that make up Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art. Read more…

Go to top