Only Watch

It is heart moving to see and talk with people who have set up non-profit organizations. The passion and determination of these people is impressive. They have an incredible drive to fight against disease and do everything in their capability to make the life’s of the patients better.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYesterday we were invited by Luc Pettavino, president of the Association Monegasque contre les Myopathie (AMM), who started Only Watch in 2005 a fundraising event for AMM. All the funds raised at Only Watch are used for research to find treatments as fast as possible in order to slow down and eventually heal Duchenne Muscular Dystrophie (DMD). HSH Prins Albert II is supporting him in this activity.

We were shown the new research laboratory on muscle dystrophies and handicaps which has been funded by the Only Watch charity auction. This new laboratory is in partnership with the world known “Centre Scientifique de Monaco” (www.centrescientific.mc) and will be officially opened in a few days.

P9050041This laboratory is in the scientific center in Monaco, which has a world reputation in working on research on Marine Biology specialized in coral, Polar Biology and Medical Biology. After visiting the Centre we were invited by HSH Prins Albert II at the reception offered at the Palace for the occasion of the celebration of 10years of Only Watch and the launch of it’s 6th edition. HSH Prins Albert II gave an opening speech followed by Luc Pettavino.

Luc Pettavino’s son is suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Luc Pettavino is working together with a team, which Ursula Ferreyrolles is part of as Vice president of AMM. Her oldest son is suffering from this disease.  Luc Pettavino launched 10 years ago Only Watch and Ursula Ferreyrolles is working on Monaco’s accessibility and wrote together with Eliane Revel “Toujours un chemin” for Monaco, a touristic guide for people who are less mobile and/or in wheelchairs. She is doing everything to make the daily life of handicapped people easier to move around in Monaco. Which has already resulted in special transport and more accessibility with their wheelchairs so that these people can have a better life. She has been working hard to promote to have a law installed in Monaco for access for the disabled. The Government of Monaco promised to work on this. While speaking with her yesterday, in our Dutch native language, I noticed her determination and perseverance to make a difference, for which I do have great respect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPeter and myself became involved with charity in 2007. At that time we were in the middle to have our watch company grow and conquer a solid place in the Swiss watch market.

Peter and myself were passionately involved in business and watch making by designing and distributing beautiful watches for Frederique Constant. We were very interested to meet other passionate entrepreneurs to share our passions. Therefore we launched the “Passion Awards” and urged people to subscribe themselves or someone they knew for being the most passionate entrepreneur. We advertised in the Financial Times to reach a large international audience and entrepreneurs.  We sat up a jury with Mr. Carlo Lamprecht, who was president of the Canton of Geneva, Dr D. Turpin, director of Business school IMD in Lausanne and editor in Chief of the Financial Times Mr.H. Simonian.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt that time we were thinking about people in the for-profit sector, similar to us. When the application came in, we also received some people who were working in the non-profit.  Only at that moment we realized something. “These people are actually much more passionate!”. Imagine some of these people had next to their job a for non-profit foundation. One of them was doctor W. Novick. For the Passion Awards 2007 we decided to have 2 prices, one for profit and a one for non-profit.

Now we want to contribute for people in need, next to our passion to let more people enjoy a beautiful Swiss watch.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are so many charities and we decided to concentrate on heart and or child related charity. With our Double HeartBeat collection we emphasize partly on the charitable sponsoring to make the end consumer aware as well that they participate and help. We are in the process of setting up our foundation and are very excited to help and support people in need.

We realize each day what an immense gift it is to be healthy and live in a safe place. We want to give something back by more actively sponsoring certain heart and or child related charity.

Since 2007 we donate 50 USD per Double HeartBeat watch sold to heart and or child related charity.




Developing Strategy

While Frederique Constant focussed in past on Heart Related Charities, focus in future should be more on Children. The UN declared in 1959 the Rights of Children. It is a beautiful document, see below. We took this to distill four categories:

Survival 4, 5, 8
Development 2, 6, 7
Protection 6, 8, 9, 10
Participation 1, 2, 3

The numbers behind the categories for the rights of children refer to:



Adopted by UN General Assembly Resolution 1386 (XIV) of 10 December 1959

   WHEREAS the peoples of the United Nations have, in the Charter, reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights and in the dignity and worth of the human person, and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
   WHEREAS the United Nations has, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status,
   WHEREAS the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth,
   WHEREAS the need for such special safeguards has been stated in the Geneva Declaration of the Rights of the Child of 1924, and recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the statutes of specialized agencies and international organizations concerned with the welfare of children,
   WHEREAS mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,
   Now, therefore,  Proclaims
THIS DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD to the end that he may have a happy childhood and enjoy for his own good and for the good of society the rights and freedoms herein set forth, and calls upon parents, upon men and women as individuals, and upon voluntary organizations, local authorities and national Governments to recognize these rights and strive for their observance by legislative and other measures progressively taken in accordance with the following principles:
1   The child shall enjoy all the rights set forth in this Declaration. Every child, without any exception whatsoever, shall be entitled to these rights, without distinction or discrimination on account of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, whether of himself or of his family.
2   The child shall enjoy special protection, and shall be given opportunities and facilities, by law and by other means, to enable him to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity. In the enactment of laws for this purpose, the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration.
3   The child shall be entitled from his birth to a name and a nationality.
4   The child shall enjoy the benefits of social security. He shall be entitled to grow and develop in health; to this end, special care and protection shall be provided both to him and to his mother, including adequate pre-natal and post-natal care. The child shall have the right to adequate nutrition, housing, recreation and medical services.
5   The child who is physically, mentally or socially handicapped shall be given the special treatment, education and care required by his particular condition.
6   The child, for the full and harmonious development of his personality, needs love and understanding. He shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security; a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional circumstances, be separated from his mother. Society and the public authorities shall have the duty to extend particular care to children without a family and to those without adequate means of support. Payment of State and other assistance towards the maintenance of children of large families is desirable.
7   The child is entitled to receive education, which shall be free and compulsory, at least in the elementary stages. He shall be given an education which will promote his general culture and enable him, on a basis of equal opportunity, to develop his abilities, his individual judgement, and his sense of moral and social responsibility, and to become a useful member of society.
The best interests of the child shall be the guiding principle of those responsible for his education and guidance; that responsibility lies in the first place with his parents.
The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.
8   The child shall in all circumstances be among the first to receive protection and relief.
9   The child shall be protected against all forms of neglect, cruelty and exploitation. He shall not be the subject of traffic, in any form.
The child shall not be admitted to employment before an appropriate minimum age; he shall in no case be caused or permitted to engage in any occupation or employment which would prejudice his health or education, or interfere with his physical, mental or moral development.
10   The child shall be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.

Laurent Grandidier

LAURENT_GrandidierCEO Laurent Grandidier of Xeltis tentatively accepted a seat on the Board of the Frederique Constant Foundation.

Laurent Grandidier joined Xeltis from medical device company Endosense, where he was vice president in charge of global commercialisation and portfolio management. Mr. Grandidier previously held leadership positions at a number of brand name global medical device companies, including Teleflex Medical, Boston Scientific and Guidant. He started his career at Procter & Gamble. Mr. Grandidier holds an MSC from INSA-Lyon and an MBA from INSEAD. He is a former international rowing athlete who has participated in two world championships. Mr. Grandidier co-founded one of the first social venture capital funds in France, Investir, where he sits on the supervisory board and investment committee.

Xeltis is a privately held medical device company dedicated to transforming standards of care in heart valve replacement and vascular surgery. The company’s proprietary technology combines novel biodegradable biomaterials with sophisticated material processing methods to deliver an implant prosthesis that allows the body to repair itself by growing natural, healthy tissue. Founded in 2006, Xeltis is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, with an R&D facility in Eindhoven, Holland.


1. We are on a mission to improve lives of patients through innovation

2. We are caring and challenging in our communication

3. We are committed to personal development

4. We are flexible, responsible and efficient in executing towards our objectives

5. We are creative in seeking opportunities to have fun and celebrate our successes as a team

Please can you outline Xeltis’ first-in-human feasibility study that has recently been announced?

In Xeltis’ first-in-human feasibility study five children who were born with only one instead of two heart ventricles were enrolled. In order to restore the appropriate circulation of blood, they are implanted an artificial connecting tube which is built from Xeltis technology to enable Endogenous Tissue Growth.

The feasibility study is led by the renowned cardiac surgeon Dr. Leo Bockeria at the Bakoulev Center for Cardiac Surgery of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow, one of the largest and most experienced hospitals in the world for the treatment of complex congenital heart diseases in children.

The patients will be followed up on as part of the clinical trial every three months for one year. Longer-term, these children will typically require only a yearly visit to their hospital.

Why is this study focussing on pediatric patients?

Children are an especially vulnerable population that deserves every chance to live long, healthy and carefree lives. The clinical limitations of currently available products, which are made of non-resorbable plastics or of animal tissues, are particularly serious for children.

The fact that they live their whole lives with these implants in their body unfortunately means that they will have to undergo several surgeries over time to replace the implants, and will often be on medication for their entire lives.

If our technology is proven feasible, safe and effective, it could eliminate the need for repeat procedures, as well as the use of life-long medication, which is a physical, emotional and often financial drain on these children and their families.

What is endogenous tissue growth (ETG)?

ETG or Endogenous Tissue Growth is a new therapeutic category in which surgeons use implants designed to allow the body to repair itself by spontaneously growing natural, healthy tissue from the inside without the use of stem cells or animal-derived products.

Why has ETG previously not been possible?

Xeltis’ proprietary technology holds the promise to enable ETG for the first time. While it is true that there are other implants that can help the body grow tissue, they use animal-based tissue to accomplish this, or stem cells or growth factors at a more research stage, which can bring a host of complications.

Xeltis’ implants require no stem cells, growth factors or animal-based tissue and leave no foreign material behind.

How many children are born with single-ventricle heart physiology each year and how many operations on average do they currently require?

Single-ventricle physiology is fortunately a relatively rare heart malformation. Xeltis’ first product will be a replacement valve for children born with a congenital heart malformation requiring replacement of their pulmonary valve. Nearly 100,000 children are born every year with such a medical condition.

However millions of people of any age around the world suffer from congenital heart defects, degenerative heart damage and vascular diseases and could benefit from ETG.

Xeltis’ technology is said to be based on ‘Nobel prize-winning science’. Please can you tell us more about this?

The Nobel prize-winning science that builds the foundation of Xeltis’ technology is “supramolecular chemistry,” or the chemistry of assembled molecules, which is inspired by biological systems such as the double helix of DNA. Prof. Jean Marie-Lehn shared the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1987 with two other chemists for their pioneering work in the field.

Using this technology, Xeltis produces synthetic matrices designed to stimulate and guide the body’s natural healing response without the need for stem cells, growth factors or animal tissue. Xeltis’ products are also intended to biodegrade as the natural and functioning tissue grows, leaving no foreign material behind.

What are the matrices made from?

The synthetic matrices that are produced with Xeltis’ technology are made of a novel biodegradable supramolecular polymer. They are designed to stimulate and guide the body’s natural healing response without the need for stem cells, growth factors or animal tissue.

Xeltis’ products are also intended to biodegrade as the natural and functioning tissue grows, leaving no foreign material behind.

How do the matrices work in the body?

Once implanted in the patient, the Xeltis matrix is designed to attract proteins and cells that trigger a cascade of physiological events leading to natural tissue growth.

As it biodegrades over time, components of native tissue, including collagen, endothelial lining and capillary blood vessels, develop and organize themselves into natural functioning tissue.

When the matrix has completely biodegraded, the intended end result is a fully functional heart valve or blood vessel.

By Geography

Our donations by Geography:

Diagnostic  WHF SH WHF WHF, HKHA
Capacity Building AHA WHF WHF ICHF ICHF

ICHF = International Children’s Heart Foundation AHA = American Heart Association PAINT = Paint a Smile Foundation FUDAN = Fudan University Pediatrics Department SH = Swiss Heart Association WHF = World Heart Federation HKHA = Hong Kong Heart Association

Categorizing Projects

While formulating a strategy for the Frederique Constant Charity Foundation, we have been analyzing our prior donations:

Diagnostic WHF, HKHA SH SH
Surgery ICHF, HKHA
Capacity Building ICHF, FUDAN WHF WHF
Research WHF, AHA, SH WHF, AHA, SH

ICHF = International Children’s Heart Foundation AHA = American Heart Association PAINT = Paint a Smile Foundation FUDAN = Fudan University Pediatrics Department SH = Swiss Heart Association WHF = World Heart Federation HKHA = Hong Kong Heart Association