Khimji’s Watches has recently introduced the Swiss ‘affordable luxury’ brand Frederique Constant in Oman. Muhammed Nafie catches up with Regional Sales Director, Sebastian Cretegny on the sidelines of the launch ceremony. Excerpts from the interview:
What are your thoughts on competition in the ‘affordable luxury’ segment?
The competition in the mid segment market is very intense as we are pitted against some of the established players who have been there for many decades, if not for centuries. But within a short span of 25 years we could establish ourselves as a leading player in this segment. The way the brand increased its marketshare testifies to the unique distinctions of our products- better price and nice look.
How do you differentiate yourself from other brands in this segment?
Frederique Constant watches combine luxury and affordability and tradition and contemporariness. High quality, differentiation and precision in design and manufacture are the hallmark of our products. We have a passion for design and our factory in Plan-les-Ouates, Geneva- where most of the world’s best known watch manufacturers are based -offers the best environment for our passionate watchmakers.
Each of our watches is assembled by hand and extensively controlled with latest equipment to ensure maximum quality. We innovate to offer creativity and exceptional value. The brands philosophy is not to restrict the interest in Frederique Constant watches to a limited and elitist circle of connoisseurs but rather to a broader selection of appreciative enthusiasts who want to enjoy high quality classical watches at sensible prices.
How strong is your presence in the Middle East and what is your expectation of the Omani market?
At present the Middle East region represents a bigger market of the total sale in the Asian region. The growth has been phenomenal during the last couple of years. When I came to the region in 2009, Middle East constituted only 2 to 4 per cent of the total global sale; but today it has gone up to close to 12 per cent. The development in the region during the last three years has been phenomenal thanks to our partners.
The business in the region is all about getting good partners. As a family-owned company we have a very good relationship with all our partners in the region. We are here to stay for a long time and I expect our association with Khimji’s to last for a long time. Frederique Constant timepieces are available in a variety of ranges- a mix of classic, fashion, sporty and contemporary watches-starting form RO350 till a luxury segment, a fact which is sure to appeal to the savvy shoppers in Oman.
Can you share details about your retail presence across the world?
We have presence in most of the countries all over the world so that we are looking how to expand the brand locally in all these countries by getting more people informed about the product every day. As a brand every year we keep on growing and we are looking to post a steady and continuous growth in all our markets.