A success story par excellence: Frederique Constant celebrates its 30th birthday “There is nothing in the world so powerful as an idea whose time has come,” was the conviction stated by Victor Marie Hugo in 1885.
Almost exactly a hundred years later, Peter C. Stas and Aletta Stas-Bax developed an initial idea, whose time would come in 1988. While on a skiing holiday in the Swiss Alps, they noticed a wristwatch in a shop window that they couldn’t forget. Their intellectual discussion about this model rapidly grew into a full-blown passion for timepieces worn on the wrist. It reached the point where the couple had no choice but to sacrifice their promising careers in multinational companies on the altar of their own watch business.
Rome was not built in a day, and similarly, their journey to chronometrical entrepreneurship was not completed overnight. In the mid-nineteen eighties, the couple went to Hong Kong in the course of their work. As watches were naturally having a moment over there too, Peter Stas set up a small company selling high-quality design software, in parallel with his day-to-day occupation. The ambitious owner also used this company to design his first wristwatches. Because he considered what was produced in China as anything but attractive, he pored over books and relevant catalogs. From this grew the first succession of prototypes, produced from different components on the kitchen table at home. Aletta Stas exhibited some of these at the watch fair in Hong Kong.
Initially they fell flat. But shortly before the end of the fair, a Japanese wholesaler placed an order for 350 watches. These sold with amazing speed. Orders for a further 1,100 watches gave the necessary encouragement for a small prototype collection of just six models altogether. The elegant cases contained electronic quartz movements alone. Because quality then played a vital role, assembly was carried out in Switzerland, using Swiss Made parts. These babies also thrived splendidly. But logic demanded that they should also have a suitable name. In this situation, Frederique Schreiner, Aletta’s great-grandmother, and Constant Stas, Peter’s great-grandfather, entered the scene. The first names of these two ancestors were combined to make Frederique Constant.