Category Archives: Accessible Luxury

Haute de Gamme

Swiss watches can be categorized in three families: LUXE for watches priced over CHF 8000, HAUTE DE GAMME for watches priced CHF 1500-8000, and ENTRY LEVEL for watches below CHF 1500. Typically brands have most of their models in one segment, for Frederique Constant is that the Haute de Gamme segment. In an article by the prestigious newspaper Le Temps, Frederique Constant was ranked 5th place.

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Source Le Temps May 27, 2015

Frederique Constant’s continued growth can be attributed to its long term Accessible Luxury strategy. Frederique Constant offers beautiful watches at an accessible luxury price for younger people and watch enthusiasts who don’t necessarily have thousands of dollars to spend, as well as the more value-conscious customer in all kinds of categories today. The company held this positioning for 25 years and Frederique Constant watches have never deviated from it, so people know what the brand stands for. Unlike some other brands that have changed their strategy or tactics over the years, becoming less credible.

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Slimline Moonphase Manufacture FC-705S4S6 – Public Price CHF 3190

See here the overview for the Luxe segment:

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 09.37.22Source Le Temps May 27, 2015

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’.

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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.

 

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.

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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.

 

Keep it simple

The Wallstreet Journal just published an article on simple automatic watches by Patek Philippe, Frederique Constant, Montblanc, Vacheron Constantin, and Tag Heuer. In Saturday’s Newspaper and Online.

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Patek Philippe, Frederique Constant, Montblanc, Vacheron Constantin, and Tag Heuer in Wallstreet Journal

Complications: Not on my watch

After a decade of muscular dominance, feature-packed sports watches and complication-laden wrist trophies are being put aside in favor of simpler models. Think sleek and elegant timepieces that are smaller than a sundial, and can be operated without a Ph.D.

Elegant dress watches are at the moment coming through a very strong revival. You had a time until 2007, 2008, where a watch couldn’t be bigger. The bigger, the louder, the better. And now we are back to a lot of classic, refined and slim timepieces.

Watch-enthusiasts have been waving the flag of time-only simplicity for the past several months, and a Hondikee post about the Trésor De Ville prompted raves from its readers. “People are still freaking out over it,” said Benjamin Clymer, the site’s founder and executive editor. “They think it’s the most beautiful thing.”

As for the shift from complicated to simple, Mr. Clymer said, “It sort of goes along with the whole vintage revival, which, in many ways, is about the search for pure design.” Indeed, the quest for simplicity and elegance is partly retro-skewed. Certain popular dress watches are slightly tweaked versions of timepieces that were launched decades ago, like Patek Philippe’s Calatrava, based on a design from 1912.

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Clockwise from top left: Patek Philippe,http://www.patek.com,Ref. 5227J Calatrava, $35,400, Patek Philippe at Tiffany & Co., http://www.tiffany.com, 212-605-4036; Antea 365 A10 Watch, $943, stowa.com; Star Classique Date Watch, $2,475, Montblanc, http://www.montblanc.com, 212-223-8888; Frederique Constant Slimline Automatic Watch, $2,495, http://www.frederique-constant.com ; Carrera Calibre 5 Automatic Watch, $2,900, http://www.www.tagheuer.com; Patrimony Platinum Watch, $33,700, Vacheron Constantin, http://www.vacheron-constantin.com, 877-701-1755 F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

The Frederique Constant Slimline Range consists of some of the evergreens in our collection and is exemplary to our Accessible Luxury positioning. These timepieces include latest technology, while maintaining their same successful, stylish and clean designs. The Frederique Constant Slimline is also a tribute to fine Geneva Watchmaking with its uniting style, elegance and high quality.

In past, I have written about Frederique Constant as a Smart Buy View. Modern luxury culture fueled by commercialism seems to advocate purchases of luxury items at very high prices. Some people seem to focus only on how expensive an item is instead of focusing on its value. This unfortunate practice has eroded the true traditions of luxury where price was ultimately the function of the intrinsic value and quality of the item being purchased.

By definition accessible luxury refers to items of luxury which are available at an accessible price, however to some the idea of accessibility seems alien when the subject of luxury is discussed. Take for example the undiscerning buyer who might have the financial wherewithal to purchase an expensive product without understanding the finer details about its intrinsic qualities. This sort of person merely understands luxury products as expensive items which are largely unavailable to most. With this in mind, why should anyone want a luxury item which is available to a greater number of people at an accessible price?

It is also what was picked-up by Tom Moris in his comment:

Peter: I admire so much what you all are doing at FC. With your rare and admirable attitude toward luxury and pricing, you are both returning to and reinventing the great tradition of true luxury. Your perspective captures the ancient and noble approach that luxury is about intrinsic quality and the owner’s experience of use. The contemporary redefinition of luxury in terms of exclusivity through inaccessibly high pricing is just a sad departure from the essence of what luxury is really all about. Your business philosophy is so refreshing. It’s also a return to purity, in my view. I own several watches from makers like Patek, Breguet, and JLC. I always make selections based on aesthetics and functionality and never on the exclusivity criterion. People who chase the highest price models just to set themselves apart are looking in the wrong places for their own self esteem. True self worth is manifested by the pursuit of quality that finds issues of inaccessibility to be utterly irrelevant. I look forward to my first opportunity to wear and enjoy a Frederique Constant. As an author and public philosopher, I appreciate immensely what you are doing, as I view it from afar. Good Wishes, Tom Morris

Ideal Way to Grow Your Business

Maximum growth and high ideals are not incompatible.
They’re inseparable.

jim_Stengel

Grow Your Business

In his book, Grow, Jim Stengel shows how 50 of the highest-performing companies in the world harnessed the power of brand ideals to tower over their competitors – and how your business can, too. Grow presents an actionable framework for developing the roots that are necessary to thrive in the new business climate. Start big or start small, but start by formulating your Core Purpose.

Jim Stengel’s ten-year growth study of more than 50,000 brands reveals the secret: those centering their business on improving people’s lives outperform their competitors.

At Frederique Constant, we do not want to restrict the interest in Frederique Constant watches to a limited and elitist circle of connoisseurs, but rather to open it to a broader selection of appreciative enthusiasts who want to enjoy Swiss high-quality classical watches at sensible prices. We want to Let more people enjoy luxury.

Let us look a little more at the individual elements that make up Let more people enjoy luxury:

More people: Democratize luxury; Make luxury accessible to a broader
group of people; Equality; Not elitist.
Enjoy: Pleasure to own and experience a beautiful and well finished product; Appreciate quality and refinement; Make people feel happy, good; Share passion; Show you have taste; Feel strong, reassured, recognized; Have a memory of a special moment.
Luxury: Beautiful products; Quality of design, materials, and manufacture; Attention to details; Refinement; Craftsmanship; Respectable brand.

Developing your Core Purpose is not an easy task. It took us years and various Off-Sites to determine our Core Purpose Let more people enjoy luxury. Particularly interesting was the outcome of exercises we did during an Off-Site:

1. Mission to Mars
2. Collage Culture
3. Select no more than six values
4. Core Values Exercise
5. Core Purpose Exercise
6. BHAG Exercise

Read more about these in this link.

Coming back to Jim’s book, please check this short video and his book.

 

Sophisticated Ideas. With Power.

Tom at Desk Smile

 

Repost by Tom Morris, Ph.D. (Yale University)
See Tom’s blog article at TomVMorris

 

A Simple Luxury: Everyday Beauty

Every morning, we get these push notifications from social media – this person has requested or accepted a LinkedIn connection, that person has endorsed you, there is a new comment on your post, and you have new followers on Twitter. Going through the first run of emails for the day, I usually brush by these quickly. But today, a name caught my eye. I have a new Twitter follower who is the founder and CEO of one of the world’s most interesting companies, and one that I especially admire.

In 1988, Peter Stas and his wife Aletta Bax launched the Swiss watchmaking firm of Frederique Constant. Their vision was simple and brilliant: craft beautiful, elegant watches that would be useful works of art, and accessible to more people than the already existing high-end timepieces for which Switzerland had long been known.

If you are fortunate enough to have artwork in your home that you love – paintings, drawings, sculpture, beautiful rugs, china, or pottery – I hope you enjoy each piece nearly every time you pass it, or sit near it. And if you have easy access to a great museum, or gallery, you can visit to enjoy whatever is on display, sometimes created by the most talented of artists in history, or perhaps in your region of the world. But what about the rest of your time? Are you in touch with beauty in an ongoing way? I’ve come to believe quite firmly that there is a deep aesthetic dimension to our experience of the world, every day, and that we need frequent contact with beauty, in many of its various forms, in order to be our best, feel our best, and flourish in the most complete ways.

A beautiful watch is a small work of art, inside and out, that can go with you nearly everywhere, available throughout the day to add just a spark of the aesthetic to your experience. But the most beautiful watches, for the past half century, have become exorbitantly expensive, and have, in many circles, turned into rare luxuries whose value has subtly shifted, from intrinsically valuable works of art, to often primarily social signifiers – signs that set their wearers apart as members of the cultural elite, the “one percenters” with power, money, and status. Too many people who purchase such amazing, small handmade machines of intricate elegance that sit on the wrist and provide some of the most important information we can gain, do so these days primarily for show, to prove something, to indicate their level of financial attainment and membership in a rarified club of peers. Luxury, in step with this, has become almost synonymous with inaccessibility, the unaffordable and out of reach for the majority of people who could genuinely enjoy that experience of using the goods and services typically thought of as luxuries.

Peter rightly saw that this has gotten all out of joint. Luxury, at its heart, is meant to be primarily about ease and enjoyment, not social display and status achievement. So he and Aletta set out to create beautiful watches, useful works of art that could travel with you throughout your day, and be accessible luxuries, valued primarily for their mastery of craftsmanship and aesthetic qualities, not simply for their brand symbolism, flash, or bling. But of course, beauty has its own flash and bling. And now their brand, Frederique Constant, has become known for its purity of concern with luxury in its original sense, providing ease and enjoyment, which, of course, for most of us must involve reliability, something else they view as of peak importance. They significantly underprice their competition, not by cutting corners on quality, but by focusing on what really matters, and on what they most want to accomplish. And they provide beauty to more of the world, as a result.

Welcome to my little philosophy family, Peter! You believe in the right things!

Read more articles by Tom Morris

 

Let more people enjoy luxury

More people: Democratize luxury; Make luxury accessible to a broader
group of people; Equality; Not elitist.
Enjoy: Pleasure to own and experience a beautiful and well finished product; Appreciate quality and refinement; Make people feel happy, good; Share passion; Show you have taste; Feel strong, reassured, recognized; Have a memory of a special moment.
Luxury: Beautiful products; Quality of design, materials, and manufacture; Attention to details; Refinement; Craftsmanship; Respectable brand.

We do not want to restrict the interest in Frédérique Constant watches to a limited and elitist circle of connoisseurs, but rather to open it to a broader selection of appreciative enthusiasts who want to enjoy Swiss high-quality classical watches at sensible prices. Frédérique Constant offers Accessible Luxury watches with in-house manufacture movements starting at 2000€. In-house developed, In-house manufactured, In-house assembled. We have heavily invested in our manufacture production. With our target to grow production and sales from 125K to 250K in the next 3-5 years, we will let more people enjoy luxury. This core purpose is our reason of being and the driver to live our passion.

A Frédérique Constant watch has all the attributes of a luxury timepiece, but sells for an accessible price. We realize that many potential customers cannot afford to spend 5000-20000 CHF on a watch. Especially younger people at the beginning of their career have other financial obligations. This awareness was the start of our company. Frédérique Constant strives to democratize luxury.

We aim to share our passion for fine watches and let people enjoy the pleasure of owning and experiencing beautiful and well-finished products. Our customers appreciate the quality and refinement of our watches, which make them feel good and happy. Frédérique Constant watches create memories of special moments.

Frédérique Constant watches are defined by their high quality, differentiation and precision in design and manufacture. We have a passion for designing our beautiful watches. Their perceived value — through quality of design, materials, and manufacture — is a key component of our success. Each of our watches is assembled by hand and extensively controlled with the latest equipment to ensure maximum quality. We innovate to offer creativity and exceptional value.

SILICIUM CLASSICAL WATCHES

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Silicium is truly revolutionising traditional watches. At the heart of a mechanical watch is the delicate hairspring, balance-wheel, escapement-wheel and pallet mechanism; in simple terms, these are the elements of the watch that count each second and ensure accuracy. Traditionally, like the rest of a watch’s power train, they are made of metal. This means that they need lubrication, are impaired by magnetism, shock, heat and cold, and wear out.

Silicium solves these problems. Frederique Constant is using a technique known as deep reactive-ion etching, to shape silicum wafers into escapement wheels, pallets, and plateaus. Silicium is lighter, harder and stronger than metal. Etched into tiny skeletal structures that would be impossible to form with metal, it becomes the featherweight heart of a mechanism that can run at a far higher accuracy. The silicium parts are virtually frictionless, so need no lubrication, and are immune to most external forces. And when bonded with a carbon coating, silicium’s only real drawback, brittleness, can also be overcome.

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