“We are a family concern,” explains Joanne Froideveaux, Vice-President Marketing at Jacques Farel. “We have a passion for what we do and we try to do different things in a different manner. We begin our offer by aiming at the younger generation of consumers who cannot necessarily afford watches from the big brand names.”
Jacques Froideveaux arrived in Hong Kong in 1979 working for a company in the machinery and tool business. In 1984, he decided to branch out on his own and founded Jacques Farel. Today, the Swiss/French Froidevaux family continue to lead the company along its expanding path whereby their price/value ratio makes it an important player in Hong Kong's watch world.
Jacques Froidevaux remains a very hands-on Managing Director, his wife Michele is the Creative Director and his two children Joanne and Elliot, who have been working in the company for eight years and contribute all sorts of new product and marketing ideas, are Vice-President Marketing and Vice-President Merchandising respectively. Given that Jacques Farel is a close-knit family concern, they all have a day-to-day involvement and also keep their fingers on the pulse of influential trends.
With 200 employees in its own factory across the border in mainland China, Jacques Farel offers a generous array of attractive and innovative products in four sectors - Kids, Teens, Sport and the high-end Stainless Steel Swiss Movement Collection. As of 2004 the company will be adding a fifth collection ... Fashion.
The Kids Collection of watches and clocks are genuinely 'fun' items that are designed to appeal to the younger generation with their colourful, easy-to-read dials with matching straps decorated with embossed designs. Prices range from 19.95 to 24 euros and in all
fairness to the manufacturer, photos do not do justice to the charm and quality of the watches, personally examining the models is the best bet.
The Teens Collection is a more sophisticated selection that ranges from 25 to 35 euros. Varicoloured and appealing to today's volatile teenagers, the watches are designed to have a modern trendy appearance, often enhanced by stones, with metal bracelets or straps in a jeans material, leather and polyurethane. The Sport Collection comprises simple or multi-function watches with plain or coloured dials. The cases are metal with Ion-plated steel that are water-resistant to 50 metres and some have tachometer scales. They have a domed mineral glass, easy-to-read dials with luminous hands, a rotating
bezel, and a 3-D rubber, leather or Velcro strap, or a stainless steel bracelet.
Watches in the Stainless Steel Swiss Movement Collection are equipped with either a Ronda or an ETA movement. The Collection comprises a selection of elegant chronographs and some distinctive ladies' and men's dress watches with either leather straps or stainless steel bracelets.
Distribution and the future
Another very important feature of Jacques Farel is the presentation of the watches. Both the packaging and its point of sale material have been carefully designed to offer retailers every chance of attracting customer attention and give consumers an attractive packaging.
Asked about the distribution, Joanne Froide-veaux explained that Jacques Farel watches are now found in some twenty-five countries with the U.K and Germany being the most important in Europe. “For us, it is easiest to enter a market with the Kid's lines since there is far less competition in that sector. Then, when the retailers are happy with the sales and the quality of the products, we have the possibility to show them our other collections.”
Starting in 2004, probably at BaselWorld, Jacques Farel will launch a new Fashion Collection. Based upon the originality of the designs seen recently in Hong Kong, they will certainly turn a few heads and with their competitive price structure the Collection should make the company an important player in the fashion watch market.
“Trends come and go,” Joanne Froidevaux declares, “but if you have an interesting core line with innovative ideas at highly competitive prices, then the company will have a promising future. This is what the Jacques Farel brand has done for years and will continue to do through us, the second generation of the Froidevaux family.”