Photo: Hublot, Red Dot, GPHG, Sandro Baebler
In this issue of our magazine, one of the most influential people in the watchmaking industry talks about the industry’s future, new trends, cheese production and, of course, the sea and boats.
Watchmaking icon, watch industry legend, luxury brand guru, saviour of Swiss watches… Jean-Claude Biver is best described as a superhero of the watchmaking industry.
He started his career at Audemars Piguet and then went to transform Swiss watchmaking giants such as Omega, Blancpain, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Zenith, etc.
As an inspirational manager and creative leader, Jean-Claude Biver pushed the boundaries of marketing and demonstrated how the traditional watch industry can also be taught some new tricks. In this issue of ACI No. 1 magazine, one of the most influential people in the world of watches talks about the future of the watchmaking industry, new trends, cheese production and, of course, the sea and boats.
In an interview, you called yourself a godfather. Can you tell us why?
I meant godfather in the sense that I have been present in the watchmaking business ever since 1975 and that I was at the head of five reputable watch brands (Blancpain, Omega, Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith), two of which I owned (Blancpain and Hublot).
Among these five brands, can you pick one as your favourite ?
This question is too emotional for me. Choosing one brand is too hard. They’re all my babies… There is no mother that could single out one of her five children as her favourite.
Your slogan is First, Different, Unique. It seems to us that these three powerful words contain your philosophy of life. How did you learn to think outside the box?
I’ve always tried to be different than other people. I believe I developed this attitude while actively playing sports like football, skiing and running. Of course, your perception of the world changes with age and experience. And the perception of luxury watches has changed over time. Today’s generations view our world differently. Which is normal. Who wants to look like their mum or dad? Also, over the years I have learned to stay ‘young at heart and in mind’ by listening to and observing younger generations, who have opened new horizons for me. I’ve been to Tokyo over a hundred times to soak up the atmosphere in the streets and try to find out what young people like. I remember how, in 2004, Hublot became the first brand to combine luxury watches with street fashion. We showed then that watches do not have to be boring items intended only for older generations.