SEVENFRIDAY: How To Build a 21st Century Lifestyle Brand

If you never take a risk or chance an idea, then the likelihood is that you’ll end up regretting it at some point later in life. SEVENFRIDAY is built on the foundations of taking that leap of faith, challenging the norm and creating a better alternative.

Founder Dan Niederer

Founder Dan Niederer has never looked back on his decision to go all out. Despite the clear nerve-jangling risks of starting a brand in his forties, he quickly realised that his choice allowed him a freedom to realise his own dreams, rather than someone else’s.

The birth of SEVENFRIDAY

Having worked in the watch industry and with the network to help lift his idea off the ground, Niederer, along with co-founder and designer Arnaud Duval, started work on creating SEVENFRIDAY: industrial-inspired designs with craftsmanship and intricate detailing at its heart, starting with watches.

“Work on the project first started back in 2008/2009 while living in Bangkok,” says Niederer “However, it was 2012, after moving back to Switzerland, that we officially started with myself as the only full-timer. We sold our first watch in July that year.”

From Watches to Eyewear

The confidence in the project has never wavered. Conceptually strong and with a 100% belief in the business, the small but equipped SEVENFRIDAY team began life with the launch of their “P Series” watch range. And from 2012 through to the end of 2018, thanks to a steady flow of new watch releases and the recently added eyewear line, sales have increased year-on-year, rising rapidly from 12,000 watches in its opening tenure to a peak of 36,000, all while building an impressive global following.

“We were one of the first ‘watch brands’ on Instagram and wanted to be free of all bullshit and false promises to become a business that interacted with people with-out boundaries,” Niederer says. “We want to interact with people and not with nationalities or religions, which is also the reason I constantly travel the globe,” he adds.

Constant reevaluation

Not flawless and with plenty of learnings along the way, a constant reevaluation of the company became the rule, and as they found with success, aspects of business can become more than a little challenging to manage efficiently.

“For us, making mistakes and learning from them is a perfectly normal part of the business, actually a rather important one to stay focused and keep improving all the time” says Niederer.

Have fun, enjoy life and live every day as if it’s a Friday

The SEVENFRIDAY name captures exactly what the whole lifestyle is about: having fun, enjoying life and living every day as if it’s a Friday. The designs are not short of the odd quirk here and there and wouldn’t look out of place in a stand off between Mad Max and Burning Man festival-goers, but this has been the whole point – to create something independent of influence, to sit happily on its own.

M1B/01 ‘aka’ The Urban Explorer Watch

Of course, there have been the naysayers. SEVENFRIDAY isn’t for everyone and doesn’t profess to be, which is something the team are happy to embrace.

“Criticism and even haters show you that you are progressing, otherwise people wouldn’t care,” says Niederer “If it’s constructive, we’re happy to listen and take it on board, it can help us to evolve and refine what we do. Of course sometimes it can hurt, but again if it didn’t, we’d have to question ourselves,” he adds.


SF-W1/01 ‘aka’ The Blade Watch

Five years ago, following a conversation 10 years prior, Niederer decided to bring together his SEVENFRIDAY network in a non-traditional gathering, and the SEVENFRIDAY Games was born. The objective? To celebrate with like-minded people and to live the brand, rather than just talk about it. The event has proved successful, with the most recent and 5th instalment taking place in January, 2019 in Davos, Switzerland.

“We move The Games around the world in different locations, but it has been hugely popular, despite the odd injury here and there,” says Niederer. “It’s a new way of bringing people together to converse and interact within the lifestyle we all lead. We want to travel the world and experience different cultures together, so that we create unforgettable memories,” he adds.

This outlook has transcended into a growing portfolio of shops and franchises, where the aim is to create an enjoyable space where product is kept to a minimum and people can come together to eat, drink and chat without the traditional pressures of a retail environment.

“It hasn’t harmed us to do it like this. It’s not forced either, it really is who we are,” stresses Niederer. “The hard part is to evolve and maintain that openness that is so important to people. We work extremely hard to make this happen across all territories.”

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