May 27, 2016
Swiss watch brand Frédérique Constant acquired by Citizen
May 27, 2016
The Swiss watch brand Frédérique Constant has been sold to Japanese manufacturer Citizen. The amount of the transaction has not been revealed. The objective is to ensure the company's future, since a handover to a second generation was not possible.
The founders, Dutch entrepreneur Peter Stas and his wife Aletta, wished to entrust the company to their children, but the latter chose other careers. The couple explained in a press release how one of their children works in renewable energy, and the other in the medical industry.
To ensure the company's future and a "new expansion phase", they therefore decided to sell to the Japanese group.
Frédérique Constant was founded in 1998 and is based in Plan-les-Ouates, near Geneva, where it employs a staff of 170.
The brand's positioning is that of a classic Swiss watch at accessible prices, between €500 and €3,500, with sales of approximetely 150,000 timepieces per year. At the Baselworld watch-making trade show last year, Frédérique Constant was one of the first Swiss brands to present a connected watch.
Japanese group Citizen already enjoyed a presence in Switzerland. In 2010 it acquired Prothor Holding, owner among others of the La Joux-Perret factory, specialised in mechanical movements for watches.
The sale of Frédérique Constant has come at a troubled time for the Swiss watch-making industry, whose business has slumped after years of strong growth.
Last year, Swiss watch exports declined by 3.3%, for the first time since 2009, after sales in Hong Kong plummeted. Hong Kong was the Swiss watch manufacturers' premier market.
In the first four months of 2016, according to the watch-making industry federation's statistics, exports have continued to fall, by another 9.5%. Sales in Europe have decreased after the Paris terrorist attacks last November.
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