In the watch industry, it’s all about the right claim. Hublot likes football, TAG Heuer the Formula 1 while accessible luxury is the slogan of Geneva based watchmaker Frédérique Constant which next to the design and quality of the timepieces, has quickly earned the brand a healthy slice of the competitive, global luxury watch market.
What started as a hobby for the couple Aletta and Peter Stas 30 years ago, has become a serious business after the Japanese watchmaking giant Citizen acquired Frédérique Constant Holding last year and is pushing its expansion.
Achtung Digital caught up with the Stas during the launch of their novelty Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture last month in Nice. A 24 hours event that started with a terrace lunch at Le Plongeoir, a restaurant located on an iconic pillar of rock overseeing the Mediterranean, and was followed by a presentation at l’Observatoire de Nice built by Charles Garnier in 1879.
The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture is a watch inspired by women for women.
The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture is a watch inspired by women for women. It was designed by Aletta Stas with emphasis on elegance and femininity and includes a moon phase complication exceptionally placed at 12 o’clock. Showcasing intricate finishing and a diamond-set bezel and a new in-house FC-701 movement, the watch is available in either a rose gold-plated steel or plain steel with black or blue shiny alligator straps.
Constant’s bet on a new watch for women is based on statistics: 40% of their sales come from there already and the brand sees no real competition in the sector apart from Cartier and Piaget.
The secret of Frédérique Constant’s success? To create classic watches with Geneva savoir-faire which are affordable for their 30-45 years old core clients, nothing more or less. Case in point: the new Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture is not more than Euro 5,000.
Few questions for Mr. Stas
Achtung Digital: Sounds complicated, a company created and run by a couple?
Peter Stas: We have separated the work. I think this has been the key of our success. Aletta is in charge of the supply chain and design. I am in charge of the marketing strategy. We are a good counterbalance for each other; also in terms of personality.
AD: Smart watches versus luxury watches?
PS: Smart features are not on top of our customer’s demands. They care about beautiful design. Even a person who uses a smart watch while doing exercise might not want to run around all day with a piece of plastic around their waists. I see smart watches as complementary.
AD: Frédérique Constant is whom as an artist?
PS: Isaac Israëls, a Dutch painter who started experimenting with impressionism.
AD: Fashion trends versus classic designs?
PS: Frédérique Constant creates classic watches that remain relevant for years not pieces that follow a season’s trend. However, a classic watch makes a fashion statement as well.
AD: What Frédérique Constant watch do you wear?
PS: The Perpetual Calendar, Slimline Manufacture and Flyback Chronograph.