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Watch > Episode > Jean-Claude Biver - Hublot Trailblazer & CEO: The Wizard Of Swiss Watchmaking

Jean-Claude Biver - Hublot Trailblazer & CEO: The Wizard Of Swiss Watchmaking

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JC's Watch Collection & Cheese Making

Jean-Claude Biver the luxury watchmaker, lecturer, businessman and cheesemaker. Across his 40 year career he has led some of the world’s leading watch brands including Omega, Hublot and Tag Heuer, with many describing him as the man who “single handedly saved the watch industry”.

Currently serving as a non-executive chairman of the LVMH watch division, Jean-Claude is responsible for Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, and now spends his time sharing his wisdom and experience through lectures and interviews, in an attempt to inspire future generations of innovators.

Born on September 20, 1949, in Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Biver’s journey into the world of watches began at an early age. His father’s passion for watchmaking ignited Biver’s own fascination with timepieces. After studying economics at the University of Lausanne, Biver embarked on a career in the watch industry, initially working for Audemars Piguet.

In the 1980s, Biver achieved his first major success by rejuvenating the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Blancpain. At a time when quartz watches dominated the market, Biver took the bold step of reviving mechanical watchmaking. By focusing on craftsmanship, tradition, and exclusivity, he successfully positioned Blancpain as a symbol of luxury and precision.

Biver’s most significant impact on the watchmaking world came during his tenure at Hublot. In 2004, he assumed the role of CEO at the then struggling brand, which had failed to find its niche. Drawing on his entrepreneurial flair and innovative vision, Biver revolutionised Hublot’s identity, introducing the concept of “The Art of Fusion.”

Under Biver’s leadership, Hublot became synonymous with the fusion of materials, combining traditional watchmaking with avant-garde innovation. The introduction of the Big Bang collection marked a turning point, propelling Hublot into the spotlight. Biver’s daring marketing strategies, including high-profile collaborations and limited-edition releases, cemented Hublot’s status as a dynamic and sought-after luxury brand.

Jean-Claude Biver’s influence expanded further when he joined the luxury conglomerate LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) in 2008. As the Head of the Watch Division, he took charge of revitalising TAG Heuer, another iconic Swiss brand within the LVMH portfolio. Biver applied his transformative approach, embracing digital marketing and strengthening TAG Heuer’s position as a leader in precision timekeeping.

Beyond his achievements in watchmaking, Jean-Claude Biver is celebrated for his leadership philosophy. Known for his charismatic and motivational style, Biver emphasises the importance of passion, innovation, and authenticity. His ability to instil a sense of purpose and excitement among his teams has been a driving force behind the success of the brands he has helmed.

Jean-Claude Biver’s impact on the watch industry extends beyond individual brands. His dedication to preserving Swiss watchmaking traditions while embracing innovation has set a standard for the industry. Biver’s influential role has not gone unnoticed, with numerous awards and accolades recognising his contributions, including being named “Man of the Year” by Revolution Magazine in 2014.

Jean-Claude Biver’s journey from revitalising Blancpain to redefining Hublot and energising TAG Heuer showcases his unparalleled impact on the watchmaking world. As a visionary leader, his ability to blend tradition with innovation, passion with business acumen, has left an enduring legacy. Biver’s indomitable spirit and commitment to excellence have not only shaped iconic brands but have also elevated the art of watchmaking to new heights.

Chapters

00:00 | Trailer.
02:40 | Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
03:43 | Brian’s introduction.
04:20 | Jean-Claude’s enthusiasm for the art of watchmaking.
13:32 | The watch is not just a piece of machinery, nor a piece of art, but a connection to eternity.
16:30 | Why Big Bang was the name chosen for the evolutionary watch that changed the fortunes of Hublot.
26:27 | Why Jean-Claude says the 21st Century will not start until 2030 onwards.
30:38 | Be first, be different and be unique.
33:53 | Generational perception of what makes a luxury product.
38:24 | The marketing lessons Jean-Claude learnt from a new marketing idea.
46:46 | The company culture required to encourage innovation.
49:35 | You make your own luck.
51:17 | Don’t let ambition make you impatient and why he makes and gives presents of his own cheese.
56:36 | How Jean-Claude did not see the development of the quartz watch as a threat to watchmaking.
1:04:43 | Why Jean-Claude speaks to the dead and the mountains.
1:14:06 | Jean-Claude’s work ethic.
1:22:22 | How to find your passion.
1:26:17 | Why he is giving back so much now.
1:29:33 | The future of the watchmaking industry.
1:31:08 | Why he collects Patek Phillipe watches.
1:33:44 | His project, hope, plan, vision and doubt for the future.
1:36:01 | The watch he is wearing.
1:39:27 | Jean-Claude’s superpower.
1:40:38 | The best and worst days of his life.
1:43:37 | What scares him.
1:44:09 | What keeps him awake at night.
1:44:50 | What he thinks of the world today.
1:46:13 | Success secrets.
1:49:31 | The best advice he has ever received.
1:50:35 | Advice to the young person listening who will be the future.
1:53:09 | Brian’s summing up.

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