Frederique Constant, a well-known Swiss watch brand owned by Japan’s Citizen Watch Co, is bracing itself for a 25% decrease in sales this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the entire watch industry, but Frederique Constant is determined to minimize the impact and keep the sales drop to a maximum of 25%. September has shown some signs of recovery, giving the company hope for the future, as stated by Niels Eggerding, CEO of Frederique Constant, in a recent interview in Zurich.

Swiss watchmakers have been hit hard by the pandemic, with stores being forced to close for weeks during the lockdowns. This has resulted in significant declines in sales for industry giants like Swatch Group and Richemont during the first half of 2020. Although there have been no recent updates from these companies, industry experts and watch export data indicate a slow recovery for the industry as a whole.

Eggerding shed light on Frederique Constant’s sales performance, revealing that April witnessed a drastic 80% decrease in sales. May still saw a decline of around 50%, June showed signs of improvement, and July and August experienced further declines. However, September brought rays of hope for the brand, with a return to normalcy. The UK market performed well, while China posed challenges for Frederique Constant, which had sold 160,000 watches last year.

In response to the difficulties faced amidst the challenging market conditions, Frederique Constant has made some job cuts. However, thanks to a Swiss state-backed program aimed at preventing layoffs, many employees are still able to work reduced hours.

Frederique Constant, along with its sister brand Alpina, was one of the early adopters of smartwatches in the Swiss watch industry. While other brands initially overlooked the competition from smartwatches, it has become evident that these devices have had a significant impact on sales in the entry-price segment of Swiss watches. Frederique Constant’s new Vitality Gents smartwatch, priced at just under 1,000 Swiss francs, presents tough competition to brands like Apple, whose latest watch starts at 419 francs on their website. Presently, smartwatch sales contribute to approximately 10% of Frederique Constant’s overall sales.

Useful links:
1. Frederique Constant Official Website
2. Citizen Watch Co Official Website