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Q&AFrederique Constant’s And Alpina’s CEO On The Classics And Creating Real Horological Value

The Classics collection from Frederique Constant has seen a distinct evolution over the last couple of years, as the brand have strategically chosen to treat their manufacture and high-end watches differently. CEO Niels Eggerding elaborates and talks about other developments

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What was the idea behind restoring the movements of the new Alpina Carrée?

We had an opportunity to purchase the old movements that were used in the original historic versions of these watches. They were 50 in number and we took the opportunity to buy all of them. We checked the movements, and we decided to bring back the model. And we presented the classics first in a silver case. It fits in with the heritage editions that we launch for Alpina. They tell the story of the brand’s history. This new Carrée marks the 50th anniversary of the original versions.

Frederique Constant interview niels eggerding accessible luxury watches classics big date power reserve gold watches Swiss
“It’s good to have completed 35 years. We used to be far more under the radar earlier, but now we are owning our space,” says CEO Niels Eggerding on Frederique Constant’s milestone

What does the milestone of Frederique Constant’s 35th anniversary mean to you?

We feel extremely proud, even though there are other brands that celebrate 200 years, and so on. But for us, but it’s about celebrating a milestone that we have achieved. Even looking back at our history, through the videos that we have created using archival footage, makes us emotional and even makes others emotional. And it has helped us over the last several years to make small steps that improve our credibility. It’s good to have completed 35 years. We used to be far more under the radar earlier, but now we are owning our space.

Frederique Constant interview niels eggerding accessible luxury watches classics big date power reserve gold watches Swiss Alpina rectangular Watches
“The new Alpiner Carrée fits in with the heritage editions that we launch for Alpina. They tell the story of the brand’s history. This one marks the 50th anniversary of the original versions”

What were the challenges in developing the movement with the big date display in the Classics Big Date Power Reserve?

They weren’t many challenges per se, but it did take some time because it’s not an easy movement to develop. They had to redesign the composition of the calibre to put the big date and the power reserve indicator together. We had to ensure that it wouldn’t be a bulky watch, so they worked on that and it went very smoothly, but it did take time. And if you look at the big date, it is adjustable very easily with the crown.

The Watch Guide

"In making the Classics Big Date Power Reserve, there weren’t many challenges per se, but it did take some time because it’s not an easy movement to develop"

The Watch Guide

"They had to redesign the composition of the calibre to put the big date and the power reserve indicator together"

The Watch Guide

"We had to ensure that it wouldn’t be a bulky watch, so they worked on that and it went very smoothly, but it did take time. And if you look at the big date, it is adjustable very easily with the crown"

Discontinuing gold plating in manufacture watches gives the brand added credibility. But you as a brand are already in that accessible luxury segment considered to offer value for money. Is the above also to increase the aspirational value of these watches?

Yes, we still have gold-plated watches, but that we keep that to the mainline collections and quartz watches, but not the flagship timepieces, or the manufacture movements, or the limited editions.

The Watch Guide
"We still have gold-plated watches, but not in flagship timepieces, or the manufacture movements, or the limited editions." This here is the Manufacture Classic Heart Beat

How do you achieve balance between offering accessible luxury, but also creating and offering aspirational value through high-complication watches, and in-house movements, etc?

The way to achieve a balance is to ensure that we keep making our profits through the mainline collections. Yes we do have a smaller [profit] margin than higher-end brands, with our high-complication and higher-end watches. The question is what now is accessible luxury? There are brands that do delivery directly from the factory to the consumer. They do not have distributors or retailers. And they are at very high price points. So that is direct accessibility, in a different way. We want to be accessible to more people , even if we are creating aspirational value. We want to focus on the accessible side of things, while continuing to develop and innovate with the more aspirational segment.

The Watch Guide
There is a special edition of the Classics Manufacture Big Date Power Reserve, with a meteorite dial. It is in platinum

Do you have any plans for more hybrid or horological smartwatches?

We’ve discontinued that segment. I’ve taken a firm decision that we will continue to make watches of all kinds, mechanical or quartz. But we are not going to be in that smartwatch segment anymore.

How would you say the new generation of the watches from the Classics collection is different from the Classics that came before?

With the manufacture editions, we had traditional variations with the dials, and you see that kind of design works, particularly well with quartz for us. It started to be difficult in the in the higher end. Because the consumer changed. They want a more modern, cleaner look in smaller case sizes, so we redesigned the case, as well as the dial. This was all a part of the fine-tuning.

According to you, what are the biggest trends that have emerged from the watchmaking industry over the last two years?

I would say smaller diameters has been quite obvious for while now. And of course, there has been growth in the premium segment, which has been happening over the last three years. Although, I see that a lot more changes are taking place.

And what are the sizes that do well for you?

The sizes that do best for us are the 40 and 39mm diameters. This is true even for our tourbillons.

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