Frédérique Constant introduces a novelty that combines elegance and home made watchmaking technique.
The timepiece with a moonphase complication is available in either a rose gold-plated steel or plain steel 38.8mm case with 60 diamonds (0.5 cts) set around the bezel and with a see-through back case revealing the new FC-701 automatic in-house movement decorated with Perlage and Côtes de Genève.
The new Frédérique Constant in-house FC-701 movement, like all previous FC-7XX caliber series, offers the possibility to regulate all its functions via the crown only.
That´s what I would call an easy adjust setting which will delight their owners.
The sunray night blue or the shiny dark black dial contrast with the sparkling silver or rose gold-colored printed stars.
Since I was in a hurry and I had to leave the Frédérique Constant Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture presentation much too early last week and Aletta Stas was extremely busy giving interviews I did not get the chance to interview her personally this time.
What I can offer you instead are a variety of questions Aletta Stas answered during an extensive Q & A session recently and that have been put together for me…
Even I learned things I did not know from Aletta before 🙂
What inspires you?
Visiting different places in the world. Admiring sceneries with different shapes and colors, meeting people with different cultures and engaging in conversations with them about their lives. This makes me realize how important it is to have a broad view and to be open to new impressions.
What inspired you to create the Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture?
The stars and the sky have always fascinated me. The eternal questions mentioned as early as the Greek philosophers such as is there life on other planets? Where does the sky stop, or will it ever stop? What is eternity? It is a source of inspiration. Watching the stars makes you realize that we are so small and only a very small part of a whole. Watching the stars with your loved ones gives you a moment of peace where time stands still for a little while allowing you to think about what is really important in your life.
What is different about the Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture?
The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture is both a beautiful watch and a jewelry piece which makes you dream. The stars and the moon have always been the perfect source to let your mind wonder. It represents the balanced synergy between beauty and technicity, combining an aesthetically feminine look with an in-house designed, produced and assembled Manufacture movement.
Use three words to describe it?
It is Stunning, a Dream and very Feminine.
What was the biggest challenge while creating the watch?
I had a great feeling from the start about this watch. I had envisioned it very clearly and the first dial prototype came out exactly as I wanted. I also think that the moonphase function at 12 o’clock fits perfect and harmonious with the sky and the stars on the dial.
What was the biggest success?
The dial design on the modified manufacture caliber.
With this launch, Frederique Constant makes a statement in the Ladies’ watch segment! Does this mean the brand is expanding its ladies’ collection?
We are selling 35% to 40% in the Ladies Collection. We feel this is a healthy percentage, of course we would be very happy if this trend continues and we reach the 50% mark.
You’re one of the few empowered women in the watchmaking industry. What would you say to a woman starting out in the business?
Be confident, learn from your mistakes and make your own choices.
What drives you to excel?
I was raised in a competitive environment. I continuously strive to do things flawlessly; because honestly I don’t like the word mediocre. Just the extra mile makes the enormous difference and makes me feel good.
Were you ever discouraged? If so, how did it affect your creativity?
Very little and for a very short period of time because there are always things in life that are beyond your control. You just have to learn how to deal with it.
If you had to start over, would you choose a different path in your career?
I am very happy with my path. If I could start all over, I would probably have chosen to study something else than Law, for the rest I would have done the same.
Who is your greatest influence?
My father, he taught me to be perseverant and hard working. His old-fashioned opinions about women made me strong and convinced to stand up and be independent.
How would you encourage creative thinking?
Let your mind wonder without setting boundaries. This is easier said than done in the fast and busy times we live in. Taking a step back and visit interesting and different places like conferences, museums, other countries but also visit watch stores and other stores and browse on the web for fashion movements.
How would you describe your creative process?
When I have an idea, I brief our graphic designers to set it up on the computer. After receiving a first mock-up, I go back and forth to adapt and adjust the design until it looks good. Sometimes I ask for some feedback of colleagues and sometimes I am immediately convinced to go into prototyping. Then I ask for a technical plan of the dial and case. After thoroughly checking size of printing, positioning of indexes and curves of the case the prototype phase starts. I check hand heights and let our Technical Director check all technical details. When the first prototypes arrive, I check thoroughly if the esthetics are ok. Often a second or sometimes a third prototype round is necessary to perfect the results.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
The most important aspect of the creation process is to allow oneself to create freely. Only ask for a few opinions but one person must be responsible for the decision-making. Creativity stagnation often happens when more people are involved and more opinions are thrown into the mix. This is counterproductive, in my opinion. Feedback from Sales and Marketing regarding new products is good, it allows to give directions and to know what markets are looking for, but ultimately the creativity decision must come from one person.
Do you critique your own work?
Yes I try to. I always ask myself how it can be better or more beautiful but always keeping in my mind that the cost is very important too. It’s important to find the right balance between design and cost.
How do you know when a watch is finished and needs no additional work?
I do have discussions with fellow colleagues and ask their feedback. Aside from this, I really take a lot of time to just look at the watch. I also wear some of the watches for a week to feel and look at it. I always try to look at it as if for the first time and ask myself what I like about it and what I would change. Sometimes I notice some small things, which could be improved, the thickness of the stitching of the leather strap or the length of a hand, for example.
Do you prefer designing ladies or men’s watches?
I like to design both men and ladies watches. However, I find designing men’s watches easier. Partly because the movement itself is a very important part of the design for men’s watches.
What part or component of the watch do you pay most attention to? (case, dial, movement, strap).
I pay attention to all components. The dial has the biggest impact at first sight but the other components are also very important. Paying attention to details is key and makes the difference from a standard watch to an outstanding watch.
What other interests do you have?
Travel, sports and learning. I like to keep learning and evolving. Apart from reading business books I like to read historical books. This fall I will start my third year in philosophy classes.
If you had to wear a watch model for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture of course! It is an elegant watch with diamonds and a Manufacture movement.
Imagine you have all the resources in the world to create your perfect watch, what would it be?
I would create an horological smartwatch that would allow you to travel through time, take you back in time and way into future.
What’s the perfect watch for a night out? And for sports?
For a night out, I would pick the very elegant and sophisticated Slimline Moonphase Stars Manufacture with the black dial. For sports, I would chose the Horological Smartwatch Notify for Ladies with the metal bracelet, the watch checks your physical activity during your workout and the fit is very comfortable.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
The Netherlands since I am Dutch. However, there are many places in the world where I could live for a while because of the beautiful sceneries and because I find it interesting to meet people from other cultures.
What is playing on your iPhone right now?
Different songs from Motown. I have always loved to listen to this music ever since I was a little girl.
You’re hosting a dinner party and you can invite anyone dead or alive, who would you invite?
Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton