Coffee with Daniel Niederer Founder & CEO SevenFriday Watches

 

Daniel Niederer is the founder of SevenFriday, his previous work was all about luxury products; bags, clothes but most importantly watches. It was this questioning that sparked some of the inspiration behind, SEVENFRIDAY. After relocating to Zurich he wanted to create a brand of watches that was more along the lines of ‘Affordable Luxury’ sighting that whilst people are interested in buying quality luxury goods the price should match the product.

His vision was to create a watch brand that was exclusive and unique whilst still being accessible and not intimidating like some products directed towards luxury tend to be. More so he wanted to do things his own way working closely with a team of designers and not following marketing and branding strategies.

What the team at SEVENFRIDAY came up with was a very cool selection of designs that are not necessarily pretty, but interesting and a bit different. They are also a type of unisex watch so except for some particularly masculine models in the M-series the design is adaptable for men and women with a style smooth enough to be dressed up or down.

FHM: Your first job was actually in computing at HP rather than luxury watches. Where did your love for watches start?

DN: I like watches but I’m not a watch fanatic; I like cars, food and a lot of other things but what I really adore is branding. Branding is about people, their psychology of decision making fascinates me. The reason I was in IT was because the development in the IT industry really captivated me, it’s fast, innovative and life changing prospects took the world by a jolt, however, I must say that the watch industry has not changed much in the past decade.

FHM: From working for a watch business to owning a watch business, tell us about your journey.

DN: I always wanted to do what I enjoyed. I want to have responsibilities to look forward to, when I reach the office on a Monday morning. I want to work with people I prefer and say “no” to what I feel is not appropriate. I can proudly tell you that most of the time I’m not working, and you may ask why? It is because when you enjoy what you’re doing it’s not work anymore. I’m not running after money, as I believe that when one chases for money then he is not always successful, instead, lives a very depressive life. So basically, I have no lust for money but I’m actually chasing my dream.

FHM: Do you think your time working in Asia, changed your perspective about design ethics?

DN: My time working in Asia has definitely changed my perspective and that too not in one but in many things. Talking specifically about design, I can’t precisely state how much Asia has influenced me, though.

FHM: SevenFriday is known for its square design, what was the inspiration behind it?

DN: When the company was made, we had decided that we will not design basic round watches, although the most sold chronographs are round. The world has a lot of brands and surely a lot of watch brands too, therefore, if one has to stay in the market, one needs to do something unique. Hence, the square design idea was something that no brand had come up with, so we decided to go in this direction of manufacturing. Other than that, it has this element of a TV screen like something in the 50’s, creating a balance between modern and classic.

FHM: Do you think celebrity brand ambassadors play a vital role in making the brand reach its target market?

DN: Apparently it does play a role as a lot of people buy watches when they see some renowned personality wearing that brand and so the people associate themselves with those celebrities. However, on a personal note I don’t understand this, I don’t think I ever bought anything because a celebrity was wearing it, and it’s also not right as everyone knows that the person wearing the watch did not pay for it.

FHM: From all the experience you hold now, what advice would you give yourself as a starter?

DN: I have made plenty of mistakes but, there is not much I regret today. I believe things are going well because I made those mistakes, which actually helped me gather experience before I could start my own company.

FHM: How do you balance your personal and professional life?

DN: I don’t, it’s all the same. I’m working all the time and I enjoy what I do. Usually if I’m travelling somewhere and my wife or kids are free, I take them along. We do this “SevenFriday games” once in a while which is a replacement of the boring conventions, sitting in a hotel for two days in front of a PowerPoint presentation telling you how you should feel about the brand which in my opinion makes no sense. Eventhough I have no interest in attending these conventions, but it is a job requirement. So, every year we visit a new country to get a SevenFriday experience, and I tell everyone to bring their family along. Basically I don’t have to face any issue with balancing my life, either professional or personal.

FHM: How important do you think is a wrist watch in building a personality?

DN: I don’t believe it’s that important, you don’t need an object to build your personality but it’s an expression, like a woman’s handbag reflects her personality but doesn’t build it. Similarly, a watch gives the same impression.

FHM: What is the next big thing we will witness by SevenFriday?

DN: The next big thing will be seen soon. We are opening a restaurant by the name of ‘SevenFriday’, alongside a watch boutique so people can order from a menu of food and a menu of watches. A representative will come to the table explain the brand to you, if you don’t like it then never mind, he will disappear. You don’t need to buy a watch since you’ll be in a restaurant at the same time. We are then also planning a huge punk concert on the 29th of June in London, through which we will launch a limited collection for UK which will reflect punk as a philosophy.

hemani

FHM Pakistan

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