Williams Besse, Business Development Director, Frederique Constant, on factors behind the brand’s success, its mission, innovation, customer loyalty, 10 years of the Worldtimer and much more
Q: Are there any new releases you are excited about?
A: This year, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture timepiece first launched in 2012. And to celebrate this milestone, we launched three special editions in tribute to the FC-718 Worldtimer Manufacture caliber: the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture Native Edition, the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture Vintage Edition and the Classics Worldtimer Manufacture Globetrotter Edition, limited to 300 pieces maximum.
Q: What has been a significant factor in Frederique Constant’s success?
A: Innovation. Frederique Constant does things differently, and truly pushes the boundaries. We have serious conception done in-house. The brand was able to develop smartwatches, but also in-house calibres such as a perpetual calendar, a flyback chronograph, and a tourbillon, each one of them being easy to use and available at a very accessible price. Last but not least, the monolithic oscillator was introduced last year, which was revolutionary. And most of all, Frederique Constant differentiates itself by offering all of this in the volume price segment between 1000 to 5000 Euros.
Q: What sets apart Frederique Constant watches from the rest of the competition?
A: Frederique Constant’s mission is to offer high-quality Swiss Made timepieces to watch afficionados who would like to enjoy classical luxury products, at reasonable prices. Our purpose is to offer young upcoming businesswomen and men, who can’t afford expensive watches from high-end brands, the opportunity to buy luxury watches featuring a comparable look and feeling when wearing them, at a much more accessible price.
Q: How has Frederique Constant built up loyalty amongst its customers?
A: Since the very beginning, Frederique Constant’s mission has always been to offer luxury products at a reasonable price. The brand has never deviated from it and has always put a lot of efforts to maintain high-quality products by innovating and investing in its production facilities, therefore reassuring customers on the fact that the brand would never lose its essence and core values.
Q: How would you describe the watch market in 2023?
A: Frederique Constant gained a lot of market share in 2022 thanks to our positioning, our reactivity, but also by bringing the Manufacture at the core of our collections. The year 2023 promises to be full of challenges in terms of supply chain, as lead times will be considerably extended within the industry. However, we do see this with a positive eye. Even though the production of final timepieces might be delayed, we have never encountered so many forecast orders.
Q: What is your favourite part of your job?
A: I love the challenge of creating new special editions inspired by various cultures, the fact that I am always discovering and taking inspiration new traditions. I am deeply interested in the cultural exchange.
Q: How has the pandemic affected the sales and marketing strategy of Frederique Constant?
A: The pandemic helped us in many ways after all, whether regarding the supply chain organization, our digital presence and e-commerce, as well as our ability to listen even more to what our customers have to say. We developed new strategic approaches to connect with them, we listen to their needs, we think more creatively and come up with new concepts and products to innovate even faster to meet a host of new consumer demands and channel constraints.
Q: Do you have a personal favourite collection?
A: My favourite is the Highlife collection. It presents a modern yet elegant and sports chic appearance, true to the brand’s DNA, advocating a case designed to integrate an interchangeable bracelet. Each watch comes with an extra rubber and suede strap, so one could get one watch with two or three looks, starting around $1600. Thanks to its interchangeable bracelet, these watches can adapt to any culture, to all countries, and even seas and oceans thanks to a 10 ATM water-resistance. And I must say, my favourite models are the Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture and the Highlife Worldtimer Manufacture, equipped with in-house calibers.
Q: Which timepiece has had the most significant impact in Frederique Constant’s journey?
A: I’d start with the Heart Beat Manufacture, as it hosted the first in-house caliber of Frederique Constant, in 2004. Plus, it featured the famous Hear Beat aperture, the brand’s signature. Besides embodying all the brand’s values (traditional and classic lines, elegant aesthetic, accessible price point, Heart Beat aperture, in-house movement) this timepiece has been one of Frederique Constant best sellers since it was launched. We even redesigned it to introduce two new variations of this iconic timepiece in 2022.
The second one would be the Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture, as it illustrates our watchmaking expertise but also our accessible luxury motto. First, our technical and R&D teams were able to develop the most affordable perpetual calendar watch within the industry, but then they added a tourbillon to it, staying the most affordable perpetual calendar tourbillon timepiece.
Lead Image: Frederique Constant