Jean-Claude Biver wins Red Dot: Personality Prize for revitalising the watchmaking industry
Jean-Claude Biver is one of the most successful managers in the watchmaking industry, and this year he has earned a very special honour. As part of the Red Dot Award: Product Design, he will receive the Red Dot: Personality Prize, which is being awarded in 2020 for the first time. Born in Luxembourg and raised in Switzerland, Biver has had an unmatched lasting impact on the watchmaking industry through his innovative ideas and imaginative concepts. He provided the inspiration for overhauling brands like Blancpain, Hublot and TAG Heuer and thus succeeded in bringing the market for timepieces to a whole new level. Biver’s wonderful achievement will be recognised as part of the award ceremony in Essen on 22 June 2020.
Congratulations from Red Dot CEO
“I have a very personal relationship with the watchmaking industry: Timepieces fascinate me, which is why I have become a real collector. All the more reason why I am delighted to give the award to Jean-Claude in person as part of the Red Dot Gala. After the quartz crisis, he was one of the few to still believe in the mechanical wristwatch and thus provide the impetus for its comeback. With fervent energy, dedication and an exceptionally keen eye for promising opportunities, he succeeded in revolutionising the market for watches and developing brands that are unparalleled in their commitment to quality. My sincere congratulations on this unique accomplishment,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award, about the watchmaking expert.
Icon and driver of the Swiss watchmaking industry
No other businessperson has helped to rejuvenate so many watch brands. Jean-Claude Biver’s success started in 1982 when he purchased the rights to the Blancpain brand, which at the time had been inactive for roughly 20 years. The company blossomed under his leadership and within just a few years became a serious competitor to the big names in the industry. In 1992, Biver sold Blancpain to what is now the Swatch Group and joined the company’s management team. In this new role, he assumed responsibility for marketing and product development for the Omega brand.
Biver’s next big breakthrough was the launch of the “Big Bang” chronograph. The watch expert took over management of Hublot in 2003, and the company recorded rapid growth after the new model was presented at BaselWorld 2005. Thanks to his tireless passion and unique ideas, the company’s sales increased tenfold within four years from 25 million to 200 million Swiss francs. In 2008, the brand was sold to French luxury goods group LVMH.
This marked the beginning of a whole new chapter in Biver’s career, which culminated in heading up the management of LVMH’s watchmaking business in 2014. Since then, he has been responsible for the Hublot, TAG Heuer and Zenith brands. In 2018, Biver announced that he would step back from operating activities on account of health issues. However, he retains links to the company as a non-executive president. Not only that, he leaves behind a legacy that is virtually unsurpassed in its brilliance: He succeeded in putting a total of five watch brands on the path to international success.