Festina watches are often dubbed the ‘Casio of Europe’ – nicely designed, robust, and affordable. How does Festina do it? Why are Festina watches so cheap?
Festina watches are cheap as they manufacture their watches primarily in Asia. Festina also uses materials creatively and adopts third-party movements to cut costs. Festina also targets the price-sensitive budget market segment, meaning it cannot sell its watches expensively.
This article will explore how Festina watches can keep their prices low in further detail. It will also answer some common questions people seem to be asking about Festina watches.
We have also covered how some watch brands such as Citizen and Orient keep their watch prices low, so feel free to check those articles out.
ALSO READ: Is Festina A Luxury Watch?
Why Are Festina Watches Affordable?
Festina watches are kept affordably by manufacturing in Asia, using lower costing materials, and adopting third-party movements. Festina also leverages its partnership within the Festina Group. Festina is affordable since they are not luxury watches in the first place.
Outsourced Movement Development
Many luxury watchmakers prefer to design and develop their own movement. This helps luxury watchmakers to separate themselves from their competition. Plus, in-house movements help luxury watchmakers improve their watches’ performance.
However, developing in-house movements takes a large amount of investment. Luxury watchmakers often can fund such efforts by the large profit margin they generate.
Affordable watch brands often do not have such luxury. Affordable watch markets have small profit margins since price competition is very strong. Most makers focus on squeezing and lowering manufacturing costs.
One of the strategies is to use third-party movements instead of developing their own.
It made sense in many ways. First, it helps lower the cost since they can let the movement makers do the investment and development of movements.
Secondly, affordable watchmakers can also leverage these movement makers’ reputations to help sell their watches. For example, Festina might sell better if people know that they are running a reliable Japanese movement from Citizen inside.
Creative Use Of Materials
Efforts to keep manufacturing costs low are also extended to being more creative in using materials.
Certain watch materials can be expensive but do not contribute much to the watch’s look. For example, sapphire crystal or top-grain leather straps.
These features are often essential to customers who have a more sophisticated taste in watches. Typical consumers that purchase affordable watches usually either do not know or do not notice these subtle differences.
As a result, affordable watchmakers such as Festina substitutes these materials with cheaper alternatives to drive down costs. Sapphire crystals are often replaced with mineral crystals, and top-grain leather straps may be replaced with synthetic leather.
By taking the approach, Festina may lose customers with a more sophisticated taste in watches. But these customers tend to purchase higher-priced watches anyways, so it does not matter too much in the end.
Affordable watchmakers often manufacture their watches in countries with lower labor costs, for example, Asian countries such as China, Thailand, or Vietnam.
However, these low-cost factories may not handle the manufacturing of precise parts well enough. So more expert labor from moderate and high-cost countries such as Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia might be brought in.
Seiko, Invicta, and Citizen are known to make watches in some countries above.
Festina primarily manufactures its watches in China, with Japan and Switzerland playing minor roles. Festina does have a line of Swiss Made watches, so these would be made in Switzerland.
Festina can keep costs low by manufacturing in China, as labor costs are lower. Festina can also place its manufacturing facility close to its other watch parts makers. This approach means savings could be made on delivering these parts to the assembly plant.
Partnership with Sister Brands
Festina can also keep its watch prices low by leveraging its partnership with its sister brands under the Festina Group.
Festina Watch Group owns several watch brands operating within the affordable market segment, such as Lotus, Candino, Jaguar, and Calypso. By being under the same umbrella, they could leverage each other in many areas.
For example, these watch brands can pull their watch movement orders together and negotiate them as a single order. This means the order volume will be much larger, and watch movement makers will be more willing to give better discounts.
The same concept could be applied to the production of watch straps, cases, and many more, allowing more savings and lower production costs.
These brands could also leverage each other’s marketing and after-sales service capacity to further lower costs and deliver better services to customers.
These savings are eventually passed down to you at a lower price tag.
The Marketing Strategy
Finally, Festina watches are cheap since they do not intend to sell them expensively in the first place.
Festina generally operates within the fashion/affordable market segment, similar to brands such as Casio, Swatch, Invicta, and Fossil. Consumers are known to be very sensitive to price differences in this market.
For example, if they can get watches of similar style and features and save $5 by buying a Casio instead of a Festina, they will purchase the Casio.
This means Festina needs to keep watch prices low and offer better features to remain competitive in this segment.
As a result, you do not see Festina embarking on marketing campaigns similar to luxury watch brands. Festina does not sponsor prestigious tennis, golf, or Formula One events. Festina does not aggressively place ads in premium media outlets such as Wall Street Journal.
Instead, Festina focuses more on lowering production costs and offering lower prices to remain competitive.
Are Festina Watches Worth It?
Festina watches are worth it if you look for an affordable, robust watch that lasts long. Festina watches are affordable enough to purchase and subject them to hard use with little care. When it finally breaks down, you simply discard it and purchase another.
There is a reason why Festina watches are dubbed the ‘Casio of Europe.’ It has a similar reputation as Casio – robust, reliable, requires little maintenance, and affordable.
As a result, Festina watches could be treated as beater watches. You wear it daily and care little to ‘protect’ it. You subject it to hard use, expose it to elements, and care little about maintenance.
If the watch stops. Take it to a watchmaker, and change the battery. If it runs, continue to wear it. If it no longer works, simply discard the watch and get another Festina.
What Automatic Movement Does Festina Use?
Festina generally uses Japanese Miyota movements for their automatic watches. However, Festina does have its line of ‘Swiss Made watches, and these watches use Swiss automatic movements.
Festina, in general, makes a lot more quartz than automatic watches. It simply made sense as quartz watches are cheaper to produce. It helps Festina keep its watch prices low enough to remain competitive in the market.
The same approach is also taken for their automatic watches. It would be cheaper to use Japanese automatic movements than the Swiss ones. Miyota is a Japanese movement maker part of the Citizen Group, which means a good reputation for robustness and reliability.