- Could you start by giving us your name and your occupation?
My name is Niels Eggerding and I’m the commercial director of Frederique Constant and Alpina watches.
- Have you always been passionate about watches? Where do you think this passion comes from?
I started to work 15 years ago in the watch industry as a trainee for a distribution watch company, which was working for different brands like Zenith and Frederique Constant. At that time I was working part-time because I was still studying in Eindhoven business School. I think that my passion for watches started then and it never disappeared!
- How long have you been in the watch industry? Where did you work before?
As I just said, it’s been 15 years since I started to work in the watch industry. Before Alpina, I worked, eleven years for the Swatch Group in Benelux, especially for Rado, Certina and Longines. I started as a sales manager and then I became a brand manager. Working for the Swatch Group was a great experience and I’ve learned a lot.
- Why did you want to work for Alpina?
I met Peter Stas at Baselworld. I was immediately caught by his passion and his motivation. After Baselworld, Peter invited me to talk at Alpina’s headquarters in Geneva, so I decided to go.
We had a really long conversation; I liked his clear vision of what he wanted to do with the company and my involvement in it. Finally after several meeting I was convinced to work for him and move to Geneva.
- What do you do exactly at Alpina?
I’m responsible for the global revenue for Alpina and Frederique Constant. So I manage a direct sales force of 10 people and indirect 20 sales people working in our subsidiaries. I visit and motivate sales staff globally and I lead the different teams of sale forces by training them to be top performing. I’m travelling half of the month in different parts of the globe, which permits me to never get bored in my work.
- What is your favourite thing when you work?
My favourite thing is to work with people, communicate and exchange with them. I like to help them in their work and help them grow into the company. I couldn’t be happy, if I was working all day on my own without exchanging with people.
- What evolution do you see for Alpina?
We want to focus on the countries in which Alpina is already established, mainly Europe and USA. We see opportunities in South-East-Asia and Australia. We are willing to increase our sales and the notoriety of the brand and we want to develop and strengthen the countries where the brand is present today. Our objective is to improve visibility of both brands globally, train the sales staff regularly and grow the sales to 250 000 pieces in the upcoming 3 years.
- What is the secret of the success of Alpina ?
The secret of the success of Alpina is the high quality of the watches in combination of the accessible price. Also the fact that the brand is still family owned, independent and our own manufacture, this contributes to the success of Alpina.
- What do you think about the smart watch? Is it a threat?
I don’t think the smart watch is really a threat. It’s a different target group today. The square design of a smart watch is what we have seen not really successful. Also you have to reload your watch every day, which can be a real constraint for the consumer. However, I think that it’s an evolution that we should still follow closely.
- Which Alpina watch is your favourite?
My favourite Alpina watch is the Alpina Pilote Manufacture Worldtimer, it’s really useful when you travel a lot like me!
- Thank you so much for sitting down with us. We appreciate your time. One last question: which watch are you wearing today?
Today I’m wearing my favourite watch, the Alpina Worldtimer.