We are free of a legacy and that is very liberating: Daniel Niederer, Founder SEVENFRIDAY Watches
Daniel Niederer, the founder of SEVENFRIDAY watches and accessories, has gained popularity in the world of luxury timepieces for creating a successful brand within a short span of time. Riding on the back of fundamental philosophy that “life is to enjoy, not suffer”, Daniel is the poster boy of a new generation of watchmakers who love to challenge stereotypes. He appreciates tradition, but is unapologetic when it comes to writing the brand’s destiny in a new colour. Known for unique eye-catching designs inspired from industrial aesthetics of modern world, SEVENFRIDAY propagates the idea of living each day like it’s Friday!
‘Vishawatch‘ caught up with Dan (as most people call him) during his recent trip to Delhi, followed by Mumbai where the brand has created an experiential zone for watch lovers — The SEVENFRIDAY SPACE. Read on to know more about the brand and the man, who has been visiting India for over 15 years, even before SEVENFRIDAY was born.
Vishawatch: SEVENFRIDAY is doing very well in the world of luxury watches dominated by ‘dinosaurs’, if I may say so in reference to the iconic brands with decades of history behind them. How has the journey been so far?
Daniel: I quite like the brand’s journey and definitely would not want to be a dinosaur because they are extinct! For me this ‘historical’ thing of a brand has never made sense. There are brands that have been dead for fifty years. There are brands which have changed hands several times. So, the history of watchmaking is around for every body. You can read it in books. I have myself worked in the industry for 20 years. One can profit from history, but the big benefit that we have at SevenFriday is that we can form the future more freely. We are free of a legacy and that is very liberating. It’s lot more fun. Life in my opinion is to enjoy, not suffer. So if you can change things, you should. At SEVENFRIDAY, we like to have fun. We take very seriously what we are doing, but at the same time, we want to enjoy.
Vishawatch: How does a SEVENFRIDAY watch change the wearer’s life for good?
Daniel: Oh, it’s magic. You just put it on and whoa! (laughs). See, it is not just about the product. When people buy a watch they don’t just buy a watch, but the philosophy around it. So, it does not mean that just putting the watch on your wrist will make you feel differently, but may be, step by step you try to be more conscious of making life more worthwhile. As a brand we try to live by that philosophy.
Vishawatch: What does time mean to you?
Daniel: Not enough. And that’s because I am a very impatient person. For me there is never enough time to do everything.
Vishawatch: Is it because of this impatience that your brand has become a success in a short span of time?
Daniel: No, I don’t think so. To be very honest, our objective in the beginning in terms of numbers was very modest. The aim was to sell 1,000 watches in the first year and we ended up selling 12,000. We didn’t expect it at all. We only followed a logic that we can stand behind. Everything we do, we are convinced for the right reasons and not just to pretend something we are not. We also used the modern communication channels, well not modern anymore, like Instagram quite effectively to spread our message to the global community.
Vishawatch: How many watches did you sell last year? And is it tough to meet demand with respect to the production capacity?
Daniel: Last year we sold about 25,000 pieces. We plan very tight when it comes to production and try to be a bit short of the demand. It does happen that month after month, some or the other product is always sold out. See, you can always produce more, that’s not the question. But the point is that we do not have investors or debt. We finance everything ourselves. So, I do not want to over produce. We do not want this kind of liquidation.
Vishawatch: What is the average retail price and how many markets in the world are you present in?
Daniel: The average retail price is about 1,250 Euros. We are in 88 countries across the world. In Asia, we are in all the markets except Pakistan, Laos, Cambodia and Bhutan. We always work with local distribution partners and they have their own wholesale or retail stores. Around the globe we have 750 points of sale.
Vishawatch: Tell us more about the SEVENFRIDAY SPACES.
Daniel: Globally we have roughly 20 of these SEVENFRIDAY Spaces. Some are full restaurants and by end of the year we should have about 25. The concept is of ‘shared experience’. You feel like you are coming to have coffee, not to a shop.
Vishawatch: Your brand is very popular in the world of fakes too. Does it bother you?
Daniel: Yes, it does bother me for multiple reasons. One is emotional because you spend so much energy and passion, and then there are opportunist people selling fakes without even considering how much criminal activity goes behind that in terms of child labour and general labour abuse. On the other hand, if you are not copied you are not a brand. I have heard that too! Having said that, it is a problem. Last October, the custom authorities in India confiscated 12,000 fakes coming to the country via the Mundra port and 3,000 straps. And there were only about 600 original watches that were imported into the country last year.
Vishawatch: When are you launching the new T-series watch?
Daniel: It is coming out in September. It will be in the similar shape that we already have, but a different interpretation in terms of construction. It has a new dial concept which has never been done before. It is very interesting, but I can’t tell you right now. All I can say is that the ‘T’ stands for transparency and technicality.
Vishawatch: Tell us about your hobbies and how do you make time for them?
Daniel: My job covers a lot of my hobbies. I love to travel and meet a lot of new people. I love trying different kinds of food. I love to spend a lot of time with family. The great thing is that with SEVENFRIDAY, I don’t really have to worry about work life balancing 🙂
By Vijaya Rathore in April, 2019