When looking at Frederique Constant today, it is hard to believe that the brand was born “only” 30 years ago. Since then, it has become one of the major Geneva-based brands and a major actor in the affordable luxury field. In 2006, the brand launched its in-house movement production and moved into a 3,200m2 building in Plan-les-Ouates. Now, the brand announces the official opening of its extended headquarters, almost doubling its production capacities and preparing for the future.
The extended production facilities
The evolution of the watchmaking company founded by Peter and Aletta Stas in 1988 has been pretty impressive. With its focus on classical yet accessible luxury watches, the brand quickly made a name in the industry. After the introduction of the signature Heart-Beat watch in 1994, and the first manufacture movement in 2004, the need to have its own production facilities became apparent. In 2006, Frederique Constant built its own manufacture in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva’s watchmaking hub where big players of the Swiss watch industry had settled. This building, where watches from the group (Frederique Constant, Alpina Watches and Ateliers deMonaco) were partially manufactured and assembled, was running out of space due to its rapid growth and high demand from worldwide markets.
In 2016, the Frederique Constant group and its three brands were acquired by Japanese watchmaker Citizen, thus opening new markets for the Swiss watch brand – relying on Citizen’s impressive distribution network in Asia and US.
In 2019, construction of an additional 3000m2 space was completed, bringing the Frederique Constant Group’s headquarters up to 6200m2 and enabling a complete reorganisation of the different working spaces. The ground floor will be reserved for a Manufacture Experience, to discover heritage timepieces and manufacturing processes of in-house calibres. On the first floor, the whole production workshop from T1 to T4 will be regrouped, optimising watchmaking workflow and logistics.
Building this extension of the manufacture is a very clear signal of what lies ahead. The overall goal, as explained by Niels Eggerding, Managing Director of the brand, in the video interview on top of this article, is to increase the production capacity from 160,000 to 250,000 watches per year within the next five years. Also, the brand now counts on 29 in-house movements and is looking to develop its internal know-how even further, creating more in-house movements for both its mechanical and smartwatch models.
Celebrating with two new versions of the Frederique Constant Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture
To celebrate the opening of its extended facilities in Geneva, Frederique Constant introduces two new limited editions, based on its most complex watch ever, the Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon Manufacture – reviewed here.
The base remains the same, meaning a 42mm stainless steel or 18k rose gold case with an impressively complex in-house movement combining two of the most traditional and respected complications – the one-minute tourbillon and the perpetual calendar. Modernity isn’t forgotten as it features a silicium escapement wheel and anchor. In order to observe these fine mechanics, these two new limited editions are offered with a skeletonised dial, revealing some of the parts of the QP.
For this special occasion, these two watches – 30 pieces in 18k rose gold and 88 pieces in stainless steel – are now offered with specific navy blue sub-dials and outer ring and a navy blue alligator strap. Following the brand’s “affordable luxury” philosophy, the new versions of the Frederique Constant Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture come with an almost “democratic” price tag (at least considering the complexity of the movement), and retail for CHF/EUR 20,995 in steel and CHF/EUR 29,995 in pink gold.
More details at frederiqueconstant.com and in the video interview with Niels Eggerding, Managing Director of Frederique Constant, on top of this article.