As a blogger myself, I frequent a number of other watch blogs and websites, one of my favorites is Hodinkee. They have a beautiful site (check it out), and do an excellent job of covering the watch industry as a whole, from top to bottom and everything in between. They have a reoccurring feature that I really enjoy called “Talking Watches”, where they interview some famous collectors and see their collections. I typically view, enjoy and move on, but this episode really caught my attention. It featured a titan in the watch industry, one Mr. Jean-Claude Biver.
Mr. Biver is the current director of timepieces for the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH) group. At LVMH he oversees not only Hublot, which he bought, built, sold, and worked as CEO until early 2012, but also Zenith, and mega-brand TAG Heuer. In his Career he started at Audemars Piguet as european sales director and was part of the delivery of the very first Royal Oaks, as well as competing with Patek Phillippe. He worked along with none other than Gerald Genta , the famous designer of the Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Omega’s modern Constellation, The Bvlgari Bvlgari, and the IWC Ingenieur.
After AP Biver moved to Omega and spent a few years as the head of their gold watches division, before Leaving to Re introduce Blancpain to the world. It was at Omega he learned that they owned Blancpain, a name that had been dormant since 1961. He and a friend invested 22,000 CHF to buy the Blancpain name, and built it into something great. Blancpain left the starting gate as a manufacture of true haute horology. Biver insisted that instead of building inexpensive quartz watches, he was going to design elegant, almost “vintage” looking wristwatches with traditional complications. He later sold his stake in Blancpain for a handsome profit, which (through a series of additional adventures) brings him to where he is today.
So sit back and enjoy this clip of Ben Clymer of Hodinkee interview Mr. Biver. They are both fascinating people in the watch world, and are punctually swell!
We are breaking our own rule with this one. When we launched “Talking Watches” last September, we did so with the express desire to bring you, our readers, the true collections of true watch lovers. That meant we would never feature anyone who has ever been paid by a watch manufacturer in any capacity – essentially, no ambassadors, no matter how big of a celebrity they might be. And as the following for TW has grown, so has the level of interest from those who would benefit from a mention in this series. But we’ve remained pure, showing you only real collectors, who truly love the watches they buy – and the man you’ll meet today is no exception. But, there’s a twist.