Jean-Claude Biver Announces His Retirement: The BIG Interview (Video)
Jean-Claude Biver may be the most influential individual in contemporary watchmaking after Nicolas G. Hayek (1928-2010). The definitive answer is probably best left to history, but seeing as Biver has had the benefit of more advanced technology and social media, this is not a statement outside the realm of reality.
And now the 69-year-old, who can look back on a 43-year career in watches, has announced his retirement.
Or has he?
Jean-Claude Biver: a brief biography in key words
Biver was born in Luxembourg, but his family moved to Switzerland when he was 10 years old in 1959. He studied economics at the University of Lausanne (HEC) and then moved to the Vallée de Joux in 1975, where he was inspired by its nature. And it was here that he not only began his watch career at Audemars Piguet, but also started making cheese.
In a nutshell, this has been Biver’s outstanding career:
1975-1979: worked at Audemars Piguet in sales
1979-1980: worked at Omega in sales and marketing
1980: hatched plan with Jacques Piguet for Blancpain; bought the rights to the Blancpain name for CHF 22,000
1983: launched Blancpain
1992: Swatch Group (at that time SMH) purchased Blancpain for CHF 60 million, Biver became CEO of Blancpain and director of international marketing for Omega
1996: became seriously ill with a form of Legionnaire’s disease and almost died
1999: remarried and resigned from Swatch Group at the end of the year
2000: came back to Swatch Group with undefined role of troubleshooter and consultant
June 2004: searched for a new brand to lead and decided on Hublot
Baselworld 2005: introduction of Hublot Big Bang
April 2008: Hublot owner Carlo Crocco sold the brand to LVMH; turnover had risen from CHF 20 million to CHF 195 million since Biver’s arrival
2014: became head of LVMH watch division (TAG Heuer, Hublot, Zenith)
2015 (65 years old): named himself interim CEO of TAG Heuer
2018: announces retirement . . . or . . . not?
This two-part video by TheWatchesTV is likely to have the answers to every question you may ever have had about Jean-Claude Biver.
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