Sebastien Cretegny, Managing Director, Frederique Constant on the ladies version of Horological Smart watch, its second Manufacture building in Geneva and watches especially made for India which has caught people’s fancy in a chat with Hiren Kumar Bose
2015 was an important year for Frederique Constant as it launched its smart watch and, now, two years later you have launched the ladies version?
We were the first Swiss Watchmaker to develop and introduce a connected timepiece made-in-Switzerland, the Horological Smart watch, which was initially only available for men. We typically see that ladies are much more sensitive to health and well-being related concepts, it was only logical for Frederique Constant to release a product which was finally feminine, elegant embodying the latest technologies ladies are looking for. Specially developed for women, it’s smaller and displays function by hands and vibration. Its main features include ACTIVITY, SLEEP, CALL and MESSAGE NOTIFICATIONS. We at Frederique Constant encourage women to ‘Move More and Sleep Better’.
In what ways is the ladies version different from the one-launched two years back?
The main difference is the CALL and MESSAGE NOTIFICATIONS, which were not available on the first edition of our Horological Smart watch.
What has been the response to the Horological Smart Watch launched in 2015? Which markets have shown its love for the product?
Since the launch of our Horological Smartwatch, we have sold more than 25K pieces, so it is undeniable that a new market has opened up and we are happy to have been a pioneer in developing and contributing to this new category. India has a close relationship with Information Technology, it is therefore only logical that consumers are more attracted by the latest technologies and inclined in adopting them faster than elsewhere. In fact, India has been one of our most successful markets so far for us.
It’s been two years since the Horological Smart watch was launched. Do you have plans for introducing Version 2.0 of the watch? May be adding more apps.
In fact, within two years of launch, we have already launched a second version, which includes now the CALL, and MESSAGE notifications. In parallel to this new Edition, several upgrades have been available to the users through the App such as the Worldtimer function. Of course, we follow an exciting road map of innovative features with extensive updates in the pipeline that will be made available to users regularly without having to change the timepiece but by simply run an update of the App, which will automatically and simultaneously upgrade your watch functions.
Till very recently Frederique Constant was run by the husband-wife team, one-of-its-kind Swiss Watch Company, and is now held by Citizen Holdings of Tokyo. What changes has the new management brought to the brand?
Frederique Constant’s management hasn’t changed at all and all key functions remain in place. In fact, the new shareholders are very keen in maintaining the same leadership to ensure continuity. On the other hand, we have seen rapid changes in implementing and leveraging on synergies in distribution and product development as well as in investment in different fields to strengthen and consolidate Frederique Constant’s position. One illustration of this is the start of the construction of the second Manufacture building in Geneva, which will allow us to double our production capacity in the next two years.
Do tell us about the reach of Frederique Constant? How many point-of-sales does Frederique Constant have presently? Do you have plans for further expansion? Which markets are you looking for expansion?
We have about 3000 point-of-sales worldwide today. Of course, we are looking at expanding our presence in key markets such as the United States, UK or China. More importantly, rather than increase the number of POS, we are concentrating our efforts on accelerating stock rotation and gaining market-share.
What has been the response from the Indian market? Which Collections have caught the fancy of the Indian buyers?
Indian consumers have been mostly enjoying our classic design and refined finishing. They have also been very much impressed by our unique collection designed for India integrating Devanagari script, embodying the Swiss watch culture with the Indian heritage.
Affordable luxury is the Frederique Constant slogan. In the recent edition of BaselWorld we saw many instances of big brands making their watches more affordable. Your comments.
With the recent downturn in the watch industry’s fortunes , t has become necessary for some brands to re-align pricing structures. Frederique Constant has carried on as normal, thanks to the fact that our entire business model and philosophy have been based on offering exceptional value for money from Day One. We have always remained very consistence in providing high-quality timepieces at affordable prices.