Jean-Claude Biver, who has had a profound impact over the Swiss watch industry.
Known as the man who saved the mechanical watch, Jean-Claude Biver’s philosophical imprint on the Swiss watch industry has been as profound as his business success through the years.
Very few individuals can be said to have truly conquered their chosen arena, and fewer still can boast of having saved it from the brink of collapse and transformed it into an intractable industry, come rain or recession. For these reasons, and many more, Jean-Claude Biver is a living legend, so much so that his name has become synonymous with haute horlogerie. Although in his mid-sixties, and rumored to have considered retirement a couple of years ago, Biver is as prolific as ever; his voice in the market for Swiss watches remains prominent and powerful, perhaps more so than ever before. “His impact on the industry has no limit. He is a big reason why we currently have such a successful industry at all. Without his intervention at that critical crossroads, I would not like to think of where we would be”, said Stephan Heller, CEO and founder of Watchmaster.com, a leading online retailer for Swiss watches.
BORN 1949, Luxembourg
EDUCATION Business, University of Lausanne
1981: Despite the business having lain dormant for two decades, Biver and his friend Jacques Piguet bought the rights to Blancpain for 22,000 Swiss francs.
1992: After selling Blancpain to the Swatch Group for 60m Swiss francs (around $43m), Biver joined its management team, which was led by Nicolas G Hayek at the time.
2008: Following his success at Hublot, which entailed a fivefold increase in sales, Biver sold the brand to luxury goods group LVMH for over €300m
2014: Biver was appointed as President of the Watch Division for LVMH; he now oversees marketing and sales for TAG Heuer, Hublot and Zenith
TAG Heuer in numbers: