Time is such a demanding lover. She waits for no man or woman and does not have any sympathy for cowards. She’s precious, she knows it and she’ll remind you of this any chance she gets. Dan Neiderer and Arnaud Duval, founders of SEVENFRIDAY, charmed time by not only styling her in the most intricate designs, but by also living a life and building a brand where she is absolutely relished. SEVENFRIDAY is not just a dope watch brand; it’s a lifestyle. It’s deciding that Friday doesn’t have to be the only day of the week filled with fun and excitement. It’s challenging the norm and consciously choosing what works best for you. The watches, as exquisite as they are, seem to be an excuse for Dan to frolic with people all over the world. From the SEVENFRIDAY spaces, games and app, to the instagram lives twice a week; Dan has created a community of time enchanters. SEVENFRIDAY is a culture encapsulated by the bezel of embracement. Industry Rules sat down with Dan to learn more about timepieces and the brand that’s mastered them.
RA: How did you come up with the idea of SevenFriday, living everyday like its Friday and to build a brand/lifestyle around that?
DN: It’s a combination of midlife crisis, frustration and stupidity, but that doesn’t sound very sexy right? But it is partially true. We are here in Switzerland and everything is very traditional. You suddenly realize people do things not because they believe it is true, but because they don’t want to think, and they just do what’s always been done. They don’t question, they don’t challenge and it became really frustrating at one point in time, and that’s the moment you tell yourself either you shut up and follow the herd or say “ok no, I want to do something different. I want to leave a mark.” We wanted to enjoy, we wanted to make Mondays feel like a Friday. So we set certain parameters: we tried to avoid working with assholes and we don’t waste time on bullshit, life is too precious. We tried to create something that is meaningful to us.
RA: The designs of your watches are so intricate and avant-garde. What goes into making them?
DN: Well, we started with watches because that’s what we knew. 80% of watches sold are round. So we thought let’s not make a round watch because we don’t want to be like everybody else. In the watch industry there’s a big thing about Swiss made, and they make you believe that’s the only quality you can have. And now I’m Swiss made, but I figure there’s other quality and good people all around the world. We work with people all over the world. I didn’t care about where they’re from or where they are. We wanted to bring a mix between classics and the modernist. So we have these two worlds merging together, which creates a very special and constant journey of recognition of different details. By bringing the past, present and future together it creates a nice interesting universe in the present. That’s why we have the square shape, which is a reference to the classic TV shape. It fits the wrist nicely and the rounded corners give the watch a soft approach, so it’s a soft square. We try to play with different elements and different extremes to bring more play into it.
RA: What should customers look for when on the hunt for a quality watch?
DN: It depends on the price point, certain price points go for what you like. For example, when we started SevenFriday, we decided we wanted top quality of finishing, of the movement and everything. We knew if we just keep the movement as it is, but work mostly on the design, on the dial, the hands and the construction of the case; we could still have a fairly attractive price point and not go all crazy like $20,000 to $30,000. Instead, we have a watch that has a
perceived value, which is much higher. A watch that has a complexity, what we call visual complications. The important thing is the emotion and the connection to the product and to the brand. The life attitude of the brand and the product comes first.
RA: Can you tell us more about the SevenFriday spaces?
DN: In 2016, they wanted to open boutiques in Asia and I seriously do not like boutiques. They’re not welcoming, they’re boring and lack creativity and if you’re lucky there’s a big bouncer outside guarding the place, and it’s like why do I want to get in there? We decided we wanted to convey the message of the brand to our partners and to our customers. So we told everyone we’re going to do SevenFriday Spaces, a place to hang out with people you like and to have a good time. And yea there are watches, but there should be drinks, there should be food and there should be music. It needs to have ambiance. So we opened the first SevenFriday restaurant and you can sit down order food, drinks and watches. We now have 23 spaces. I think this multipurpose usage of space is, first of all, more efficient, and secondly, more interesting and rewarding. You also generate more possible income streams.
RA: Walk me through the day in the life of Dan living everyday like it’s Friday
DN: I get up fairly early, around 5, 5:30 but I do like my 8 to 9 hours of sleep. My secret is in the morning first thing is I watch 15 minutes of Tik Tok because I find it hilarious. The best thing that can happen for the day is to wake up and get a smile on your face. It’s kind of symbolic of the day to come. I get to the office around 6:30 to 7, and I do phone calls to Asia. Office hours start at 9 and people start to come in. I don’t want any day to be the same as the others. We have a lot of meetings, in terms of technical, design and communication. We are a small team working all together and we’re not big on compartmentalization. We really try to build as a team, live it as a team. The thing I really enjoy is we normally have lunch together more or less at the bar, because the most important furniture at our office and our spaces is the bar, not because of the drinks, but because it’s a very interactive and social furniture more than a sit down table and a couch. Then after work I try to do an active sport like thai boxing.