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Frédérique Constant - Interview with Niels Eggerding, Managing Director

Frédérique Constant Interview with Niels Eggerding, Managing Director

At Baselworld we spoke to Frédérique Constant’s Managing Director about a new watch, a new factory and the state of the watch market.

Tell us the story behind your new Slimline Power Reserve movement…
We always had a focus on innovation. With Peter [Stas, Frédérique Constant’s CEO], we are always looking to create new models and build up a story. We started the development of the Slimline Power Reserve over two years ago. It is based on our existing FC-703 calibre. 

What we always do is start with the dial design to keep things very balanced. We wanted a clear design with the power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock and the date. Adding the power reserve indicator to the movement involves adding 14 new components. We integrated them on the mainplate so that we could keep the same dimensions for the movement. At the same time, we asked the movement construction team to improve the power reserve. Since they were working on an existing base calibre, they couldn’t just change the size of the barrel. So the solution was to use a spring that was thinner but longer, which meant that we were able to increase the power reserve by 20%, from 42 to 50 hours. 

Interview de Niels Eggerding, directeur général

Slimline Power Reserve Manufacture © Frédérique Constant

You will be opening a second factory this year. What does that mean for the company?
Construction on our new factory is now finished and we are finalising the interior decoration. We will be officially inaugurating it on 5th June this year. It will help us to increase our annual production to 350,000 watches. We are currently at 165,000, so we should be safe for the next ten years. We will also have a museum in the building which will be based more on experiences and interaction because we don’t have centuries of history. 

Is it difficult to hire more watchmakers for the new factory?
We are already hiring more watchmakers to start over the summer. It’s easier for us to hire watchmakers compared with other brands, because they are involved in the entire production chain rather than just one element of it. They switch every week or every month from one task to another so they have greater freedom and they gain more experience, which also means that they are more motivated. 

What is selling well from Frédérique Constant?

Overall we see strong sales in the price range between 700 and 2,000 euros. Above 2,000 euros things are more difficult and it is purely a question of price rather than products. We have been lucky to gain market share in the past but last year was very challenging.

The biggest hit to the market in general has been in the very low end, where fashion brands, for example, face much more competition from smartwatches. We should not forget Apple, which is the number one watch brand in the world by sales volume, but Garmin is also very strong in the market. 

Our segment is still struggling because in economic downturns we know that this happens. But we also see that other brands are suffering more, because we have been constantly innovating, which has really helped us. We are strong with our smartwatches and our own complications and these are two strong assets to have now. On the one hand we can eat a little bit into the market share of smartwatches and on the other we continue to build our manufacture story, which other brands in our segment don’t have.

Interview de Niels Eggerding, directeur général

Hybrid Manufacture, new dials launched earlier this year © Frédérique Constant



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Frédérique Constant has made a successful business out of offering affordable luxury, experiencing growth rates well above the industry average. The owners have a clear mission to make fine watchmaking available to the largest possible audience of watch enthusiasts at sensible prices.

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