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
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.