Of Dutch origin, Niels Eggerding began his watchmaking career in the Swatch Group, most notably at Certina and Longines as Brand Manager. In August 2012, he joined Frederique Constant in sales, a department of which he became Vice President in May 2014.
Since February 2018, he has been the Managing Director of the Maison.
Niels Eggerding © Frederique Constant
What first made you interested in the watchmaking business?
Twenty years ago, I started as a trainee for a distribution watch company in the Netherlands, which was distributing several brands such as Camel Trophy, Zenith and Frederique Constant. During this internship, I discovered the mechanism of these watches, and was really impressed by the pure craftmanship of their movements and all their details. What is inside and behind the watch, which makes it a pure product, has been my trigger.
Then I learnt about the creation process of a watch, from initial design to the production and assembly of a final watch. I even had the chance to assemble one myself. Finally, I went to the filed to understand the sales, the business, and the consumers’ needs.
What unique quality do you think you bring to your brand?
Well, I have a strong sense of business development, but also of people management. I bring people together. What’s more, I would like to bring a younger dynamics into the organisation of the Brand, while keeping a close eye on staying faithful to Frederique Constant’s DNA and listen to the future consumers’ needs and expectations.
Classic Worldtimer Manufacture © Frederique Constant
Tell us about an experience that defines your leadership style.
I believe that my definition of leadership has been illustrated during these past months. Having to deal with a huge crisis like the one we are facing this year requires to stay united as an organisation, focused and flexible. I have been adjusting the planning according to the circumstances and keeping my teams vertically and horizontally completely focused on what needed to be done, along with the support of my management team. Leadership means motivating your teams by staying positive, but also being human. Leadership is not just a concept, there is also a person behind a leader.
Which watch do you wear most often, and why?
The Highlife. I have designed and developed the collection, and have been involved in this project from the early stages as this was really my personal mission to bring back an integrated bracelet to our product range. But before the Highlife collection, I really enjoyed wearing the Classic Worldtimer Manufacture and the Flyback Chronograph Manufacture timepieces, which are very masculine.
Highlife Perpetual Calendar Manufacture © Frederique Constant
What have you achieved as Managing Director that you are most proud of?
The Highlife collection of course. But I was lucky to have such a strong team around me to support this project, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I am leading the Brand but, in a way, I’m in the middle of the people. I collaborate very closely with my teams, I involve them, I engage them and trust them, and this a typical Dutch mentality of leadership. This was a very successful launch into the market. The journalists loved it, but the retailers and consumers also welcomed it very well. This is a very nice addition to our collections.
What is the biggest misconception that people have about Frederique Constant?
I believe that the biggest misconception of the Brand was regarding our manufacture. We struggled a bit as a young watch brand to explain that we were creating our own movements within the price range we were in. We do the conception, we do it in house, we produce the components ourselves and assemble our watches. The whole production line is integrated within our manufacture, and it has been quite difficult for the public to understand and believe that it was possible to buy that kind of product at an accessible price. I believe this has been our biggest challenge.
Flyback Chronograph Manufacture © Frederique Constant
On the other hand, what is one thing about Frederique Constant that is not well known, but super important, in your view?
Every year we innovate and come up with new conceptions, new Manufacture movements, alternatively with our smartwatch technology. Working on all these segments simultaneously is actually very difficult to accomplish and, in my opinion, the public isn’t always aware of that. For instance, we have been nearly the only Swiss brand to develop new technologies within the Swiss connected watches market for the past five years (in a row!). And I believe this has been underestimated. It is hard to constantly push ourselves to innovate and driving innovation year after year brings a lot of pressure to our organisation. I think the public doesn’t always understand how demanding it is.
Smartwatch Vitality © Frederique Constant
Give us a hint about your future plans for the brand.
We will continue to innovate and offer high quality timepieces at an accessible price.