Yesterday there was a huge tsunami sweeping watch blogs and the specialized media in general. The epicenter was in Japan, more specifically at the headquarters of Citizen Watch Co., with the announcement of their agreement to acquire Frederique Constant Holding SA and its subsidiary brands: FC, Alpina, and Ateliers DeMonaco.
In the press release, it is stated that the “present management personnel and staff will continue to hold the same positions after this acquisition”. And James Henderson, from Tempus Fugit brings us more details about this aspect of the deal:
Ultimately, it should be about people. No one individual builds a brand, a brand is built by a group of people working together towards a common goal. And this came up in my conversation with Yasmina. Peter and Aletta Stas wanted to be certain that in selling the company, they would not simply be leaving their team high and dry. There is no shortage of people with money out there who want to own a watch brand, so the challenge really became finding a buyer who valued the same things that they did. And in Citizen, they found the right fit.
And he continues:
At a time where brands are laying off staff then spending millions on America’s Cup sponsorships and the inevitable wining, dining and gifting that go along with it to keep the retailers and press members purring, this is a completely different approach. This is a brand that put its PEOPLE above its own vanity. Moreover, they put their people above making a fast sale. For this alone, they should be commended and frankly, they should be seen as the example for how this type of thing should be handled.
Here is what the founders of Frederique Constant Holding had to say:
As we feel a tremendous commitment to the Frederique Constant Group and its people, we started to explore a potential collaboration to secure the company beyond ourselves. We have become increasingly impressed by the innovative technologies of the Citizen Group. We see the opportunity of Swiss-Japanese partnership to develop and market Accessible Luxury watches for the 21st century and beyond.
Following this deal, Frederique Constant will have access to Citizen’s distribution channels, especially in Japan and North America.
It is not the first time that Citizen is buying Swiss brands. In 2012, they acquired the movement and module manufacturer, La Joux-Perret and the deal included the component parts maker, Prototec, and the high-end watch brand, Arnold & Son. Since then, Citizen has launched a mechanical Campanola collection powered by LA Joux-Perret movement.
It will be interesting to follow the fruits of this latest deal of Citizen.