Category Archives: Supply Chain

Party of 300 opens 3000 m²

Yesterday, we celebrated the opening of extended facilities of the Frederique Constant Manufacture in Geneva. feca29ef-e0a0-44ea-9a31-5329f7ef07a2

We needed two years to finish the construction of an additional 3000 m² space, bringing the Frederique Constant Group’s headquarters up to 6200 m², enabling to completely re-organise the different working spaces.

On the ground floor, the visitors will find an exclusive dedicated space where guests will have the chance to go through a Manufacture Experience and discover each brand’s universe and history. Amongst many displays and settings, the visitors will be able to discover heritage timepieces, the manufacturing process of the brands’ in-house calibres, details of some of the most iconic watches, innovative savoir-faire, specific watchmaking functions, connected watches and more.

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We are optimistic and continue to implement our sales-focused strategy by defining strong guidelines for the two flagship brands: extending accessible luxury for Frederique Constant, developing key markets and distribution channels while developing growth for Alpina (especially after the huge success of the AlpinerX outdoors smartwatch launched in 2018).

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Frederique Constant has been producing watches in the heart of Plan-les-Ouates since 2006. We continue to innovate in the Swiss watch industry and worldwide thanks to the first Swiss Made Horological Smartwatch and Hybrid Collection. The strong tradition of investing in new technologies, new in-house mechanical movement at an affordable price tag reflects our commitment to Let more people enjoy luxury.

The overall goal is to increase the production capacity from 160,000 to 250,000 watches per year within the next 5 years.

WHEN SWATCH WILL REDUCE MOVEMENTS’ SUPPLY

MaximeFor about 20-30 years, Swatch has been the supplier of mechanical movements and their components for most of the Swiss watch industry. Despite its historical relationship, Swatch would like to reduce deliveries of calibers and assortments.

The watch industry has always been a horizontally organized industry. Also the Swatch Group purchases many parts, caliber anti-shock systems, rubies in calibers, dials, cases, etc from specialized manufacturers. Many factories that produce these components are shared by multiple brands, including Frederique Constant and Swatch Group brands. The horizontal organization of the Swiss watch industry has been one of the key drivers for the comeback after the nearly fatal Quartz Crisis in the 1970-1980’s.

In the Western World, when a monopolistic stakeholder decides to cut supply, antitrust authorities protect smaller players, giving them time to organize themselves. However, in this case, the Comco (the Swiss antitrust governing authority) immediately awarded the Swatch Group an ability to reduce deliveries up to 30%.

So, do independent watchmakers have to give-up? Certainly, a number of smaller manufacturers will be forced out of business. Fortunately, Frederique Constant is large enough to develop its own watch calibers.

Frederique Constant Manufacture Calibers Frederique Constant Manufacture Calibers

In 2001, Frederique Constant began the development of its first manufacture caliber in co-operation with the École d’Horlogerie de Genève, École d’Ingenieurs de Genève and the Horloge Vakschool Zadkine. The Heart Beat Manufacture has the characteristic bridge for the balance wheel on the front side of the caliber. Having the bridge for the balance wheel on the front side of the caliber made it possible to have the spiral and fine regulation on the front side as well, creating a much more appealing Heart Beat design. This construction was new – allowing Frederique Constant to obtain a patent.

In 2008, Frederique Constant introduced its first Tourbillon Manufacture movement with Silicium (Silicon) Escapement Wheel. There are three main advantages compared to a regular escapement wheel:

  • No oiling necessary
  • Surface ultra smooth
  • Weight 1/5 of steel

As a result, the Frederique Constant Tourbillon has an amplitude of over 300 degrees in dial-up and dial-down positions. Even in the crown-down position, the amplitude is over 275

degrees, which is substantially better than the performance of other high-end tourbillons.

Frederique Constant Maxime Caliber

In 2009, Frederique Constant launched its second base manufacture caliber. Component rationalization and assembly efficiency were the top priorities for the development of this caliber. Result was an overall 35% cost saving compared with the earlier Heart Beat Manufacture caliber.  Various new technologies were incorporated. For the first time, a Swiss watch manufacturer introduced a watch with a manufacture caliber below Euro 2000 retail.

Peter Stas
Co-Founder and CEO
Frederique Constant SA
Geneva, December 2011