Ten Minutes with Peter Stas

A brief interview with the CEO of Frédérique Constant.

By Jonathan Bues

How did you become involved in the watch industry?

I cofounded Frédérique Constant driven by a passion for classic Swiss watches. I then saw opportunity to create our accessible luxury philosophy in the nineties. It actually started as a hobby in the eighties, when my wife and company cofounder, Aletta, and I would design watches, but then it grew into a global brand.

Do you remember your first watch?

It was a Seiko diver. My father bought it while he was on a trip in Asia and he gave it to me as a gift.

What is the one watch you would never part with?

My Frédérique Constant Manufacture Perpetual Calendar.

What is your most memorable experience with a timepiece?

Our first manufacture watch, which we introduced in 2004. It was a Heart Beat Watch we developed over a three-year period in collaboration with watchmaking schools in Geneva and Holland.

What qualities define exceptional watch design?

Classical DNA with maximum attention to detail when finishing the caliber, dial, and case. There should be a balance in design and proportions.

Which watch brand has surprised you the most this year?

Nothing really, I was surprised about the lack of true novelties at SIHH and Baselworld.

If you didn’t work for a watch company, which industry would you like to work in, and for which brand?

Technology, for Apple.

What is the biggest challenge facing the watch industry today?

We have to innovate to incorporate smartwatch functionalities while staying true to our watchmaking DNA.

Who is currently the most influential person in watches?

Jean-Claude Biver.

If your brand did not exist, which watch would you wear?

Patek Philippe.