“We’re working on a new caliber for next year, and we’ll continue, if possible, to come up with a new mechanical innovation every year or two”
Also, in certain technologies like solar energy, especially for the connected watches. Citizen is really good at very thin movements. What they produced last year is quite incredible. Their quartz technology is fantastic. But, on the other hand, we brought to the table a lot of Swiss mechanical know-how. Yes, Citizen already has La JouxPerret for Swiss movements, including for Arnold & Son, and we have already collaborated with them. The important point of this acquisition, however, is that the group has a multi-brand strategy, so every brand has a different price segment. DA: How’s the market’s response toward all of these changes? PS: We were quite concerned to see how the market would react. We have, from the beginning, clearly explained why we did it: Our two children, one is in Standford [University] in the U.S. and the other one who wants to go into the medical field, clearly told us they don’t want to go into the watch business. Then, when you’re approached to be acquired—we’re approached by two groups, later even another group also came along— if we say we want to keep it in the family, what’ll happen with the company?
Also, the company has already gone big with Hong Kong, German, Dutch, French subsidiaries and a Swiss company. You can’t simply hand over this company to someone who’s new anymore. It’s too dangerous. So, Citizen came, and they said that we want to have you do what you have done for five years. Other groups wanted to be hands-on from the start. We felt very comfortable, and then we decided to go with them. Frankly speaking, I’m still very happy with the acquisition. DA: What about your market shares in Japan? How does Japan respond to mechanical watches considering Citizen is big on quartz timepieces? PS: The Japanese also like mechanical watches. We’re selling more mechanical watches than quartz in Japan. I think at least 70 percent is mechanical. So, for Swiss watches, it’s mainly mechanical; but, of course, for Citizen, it’s quartz watches. DA: In the long run, will you produce more in-house movements despite the acquisition, considering it has been one of the highlights for Frederique Constant? PS: No change. Now, we have the flyback chronograph. We’re working on a new caliber for next year, and we’ll continue, if possible, to come up with a new mechanical innovation every year or two—if it’s not too complicated. DA: How do you balance the creations of the traditional and the connected timepieces? PS: Both are products of innovation. So, the in-house perpetual calendar we did last year for under €4,000— it’s never done before. Also, what we do represents a new way in creating new mechanical calibers. We tried to make the components so accurate that, when the watchmaker actually assembles the movement, it works