Mr. Niels Eggerding, Managing Director of Frederique Constant SA, answers an exclusive interview of Lifetime Magazine about this challenging time and how they face it.

1. How are you working in these days of lockdown or restrictions?                                                                                                            Well, our Management reacted quite quickly against the Covid-19 situation, by beginning of March. People who could work remotely were sent back home and are still working from there. We have scheduled a strong meeting agenda including daily calls, in order to discuss all the ongoing projects in real time. This way, we can maintain a certain rhythm, and this allows our collaborators not to feel too isolated. Regarding our artisans, they have been split into groups of 5 people to enter the production workshops at the same time, in order to protect them and respect security distances. Their temperature was measured every morning. We reduced our production activity from 100 to 40%, to avoid any evolution of the virus into the Manufacture. Moreover, we decided to close the whole Manufacture, offices and workshops for two weeks, from April 6th to April 20th, in order to sanitize all the working areas. Since April 20th, the workshops are slowly reopening, under the same conditions. However, we will wear masks and have created walking safety rules with certain flows to secure distance and preserve their security.

2. The COVID-19 epidemy has shattered the ways of presenting the watch novelties: fairs, conferences, meetings. How are you choosing to present your new launches these days?
Well, a life with face to face meetings is quite difficult right now, obviously. We are lucky we have presented all Frederique Constant 2020 collections in October 2019 to our affiliates and subsidiaries. These meetings have been followed by several “pre-Basel” sessions across the world, to share our 2020 novelties with our retailers. Hopefully, this has helped us face the current global situation.
Moving forward, we are going to launch our 2020 novelties through potential webinar sessions. This way we will invite all journalists and clients interested in our products to discover our novelties through detailed live presentations.

3. How do you see the future for your brand and for the watch industry? Production, distribution, promotion.
Well, I think that this global situation will have a drastic impact on the Swiss watchmaking industry. Even though this universe has always faced ups and downs, I believe that the Covid-19 crisis will reinforce the weaknesses and strengths of this industry, which has been struggling since 2015 already. I assume the well-established brands or groups will become stronger while smaller companies will face major difficulties, as well as some retailers. Moreover, some brands or groups might want to rethink their supply chain organization, along with their distribution. I also think that this experience will have a huge impact on e-commerce strategies, which will be intensified within the next years.
We are happy to be part of a strong group such as Citizen and being able to benefit from its support to move forward and survive this situation. I see a bright future for Frederique Constant, which will keep on developing new in-house calibers equipped with major complications, as well as its smartwatch product range, in order to offer inventive and qualitative watches to its end customers.
Finally, the Brand will also progressively develop its e-commerce platform worldwide, in collaboration with its retailers across the world.

4. What is the best thing that will come out of this crisis, in your opinion?
This sanitary crisis has reminded us all the importance of being in good health, along with the importance of family and entourage. The human being is fragile, and we mustn’t forget that. On a professional point of view, this situation has taught us to be even more flexible and optimize our resources in the best way.

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