Jean-Claude Biver

President of the Watch Division, LVMH Group
CEO, TAG Heuer
Chairman, Hublot

Jean-Claude Biver is one of those rare men who have genuinely left their mark on Swiss watchmaking. Born in Luxembourg on September 20th 1949, his family moved to Switzerland when he was ten years old. He attended the Collège de Morges, obtained his maturité at the Lausanne Business School and completed his studies at the University of Lausanne. Having obtained his HEC (University of Lausanne Business School) diploma, he settled in Le Brassus. His time spent in the Joux Valley, the cradle of fine watchmaking, had a decisive impact on his life. He took up residence next to a farm, which in later years became the headquarters of Blancpain. He seized the unique opportunity of a year's "all-rounder" training offered to him by Audemars Piguet in 1975, after which he concentrated on sales and marketing. During that year, he was immersed in all aspects of the business, which enabled him to acquire a deep knowledge of the watchmaking art. In 1980, he left Audemars Piguet to join Omega as gold products manager. In this position, he learnt the rules and constraints inherent in working for a big international brand. In 1982, nostalgic for the watchmaking culture of the Joux Valley, he and his friend Jacques Piguet bought the Blancpain name which had been dormant since 1961. Using the slogan "Since 1735 there has never been a quartz Blancpain, and there never will be", he quickly revived the company and increased the turnover to 50 million Swiss francs. Within a few years, the brand was competing with the biggest names in watchmaking. However, in 1992 he decided to sell Blancpain to the SMH Group (later to become the Swatch Group) and joined Nicolas G. Hayek’s management team. As a member of the Swatch Group's Management Committee, he was given the task of developing the marketing and products for the Omega brand, a company he had left ten years earlier. The Omega revival was impressive, focusing in particular on the development of new products and the recruitment of famous names such as Cindy Crawford, Michael Schumacher, James Bond - alias 007 etc…

At the end of 2003, he decided to take a year's sabbatical but, he quickly changed his mind in order to take over the leadership of a small business founded in 1980: Hublot Geneva. In 2004, as CEO he decided to focus on Hublot's original product and develop a new concept for the brand: "The Art of Fusion". In fact, in 1980, Hublot was the first watchmaker to create a watch which fused different materials, by combining gold and rubber. By dedicating all of his expertise and marketing talent to the brand, in April 2005 – within a year - he had achieved the tour de force of launching a revolutionary chronograph: the Big Bang. Unveiled at BaselWorld 2005, it was an immediate success. Jean-Claude Biver was truly responsible for the rebirth of this brand. In terms of marketing, Jean Claude Biver's constancy and consistency are just as remarkable as his need to keep turning received ideas on their head, as illustrated by his strategy: "Go where potential customers can be found".

Mr Biver has been appointed President of the Watches Division - LVMH Group in January 2014. He is also CEO of TAG Heuer since December 2014, and overviews Hublot and Zenith companies.

Under Jean-Claude Biver’s impulsion, in 2015 and 2016, the TAG Heuer brand gains a new dynamic with shorter lead times and faster development to better meet evolving market demands.In November 2015, TAG Heuer has successfully introduced the TAG Heuer Connected watch in New York City, developed in partnership with Intel and Google. Jean-Claude Biver says: “Avant-garde is in our culture and philosophy.The brand’s past is marked by numerous inventions and patents in watchmaking and chronometers. Being avant-garde in 2016 also means opening new opportunities, new territories, being a trendsetter in the digital ecosystem and focusing on our new young and dynamic generations.”

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Secretariat of 18th Nikkei Global Management Forum (NGMF2016)