Change is About to Come

After the re­cent Ac­qui­si­tion of fred­erique con­stAnt by the cit­i­zen group, pe­ter stAs re­veAls how things Are now mov­ing At the swiss wAtch brAnd

DA MAN - Caliber - - INSIDERS -

Given the hic­cup in re­tail in re­cent years, it’s no big sur­prise that a few Swiss watch brands fi­nally suc­cumbed to ac­qui­si­tion. Things, how­ever, aren’t that sim­ple for Fred­erique Con­stant. Run by hus­band-wife duo Pe­ter and Aletta Stas, the 29-year-old Swiss com­pany has been rec­og­nized as a strong pro­po­nent of af­ford­able lux­ury. It even of­fers some of the most af­ford­able time­pieces with in-house move­ments in the mar­ket.

That is also the rea­son why the re­cent ac­qui­si­tion of the brand by Ja­panese be­he­moth Cit­i­zen piqued ev­ery­one’s in­ter­est. The Fred­erique Con­stant group alone al­ready com­prises three dis­tinct brands, namely Alpina (for Swiss sport watches), Fred­erique Con­stant (for af­ford­able lux­ury time­pieces) and Ate­liers deMonaco (top-end watch­maker). Com­bin­ing th­ese forces with the va­ri­ety of names un­der the Cit­i­zen group, in­clud­ing Arnold & Son and Bulova, ap­pears to be a very im­pres­sive strat­egy to ex­pand their port­fo­lio.

Fred­erique Con­stant has, in the last cou­ple of years, beefed up its of­fer­ing of in-house move­ments, in­clud­ing this year’s launch of a fly­back chrono­graph fol­low­ing a per­pet­ual cal­en­dar the year be­fore. There are also the con­nected time­pieces. Un­like other brands that dar­ingly put the la­bels of their Sil­i­con Val­ley part­ners, this ag­gres­sive Swiss watch­maker fea­tures noth­ing but their own trade­mark on their time­pieces. That and other sharp strate­gic plays are what made Fred­erique Con­stant one of the hottest brands to watch at Basel­world. DA MAN: Let’s start with the most ob­vi­ous ques­tion. How did the ac­qui­si­tion play out? Pe­ter Stas: The Cit­i­zen group lets my­self and the man­age­ment team carry out our ini­tial plans for five years. Of course, the ob­vi­ous change is that ev­ery month we, the Fred­erique Con­stant group, have to re­port to Cit­i­zen. In ad­di­tion to that, we started work­ing with Cit­i­zen North Amer­ica on the dis­tri­bu­tion of Fred­erique Con­stant watches in the U.S. We used to have a sub­sidiary with 17 peo­ple in the U.S., but they have a dis­tri­bu­tion and or­ga­ni­za­tion in­fra­struc­ture of more than 500 peo­ple. So, you can imag­ine the power that the two of us have, and that’s the rea­son why we’re to­gether. DA: What’s the big­gest les­son to learn from the Cit­i­zen Group? PS: For sure, the dis­tri­bu­tion. For ex­am­ple, we [Fred­erique Con­stant] switched to the Cit­i­zen group’s or­ga­ni­za­tion for Ja­pan and the U.S. start­ing last sum­mer.

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