The moment that Chris Grainger, IWC’s new CEO, stepped onstage at IWC Gala during the 2017 SIHH to be literally and metaphorically handed over the microphone by Georges Kern, the former CEO who has become Richemont Group’s head of watchmaking, digital and marketing, was a seamless transition from one individual to the next.
Understandably so because the dynamic energy possessed by both men was shaped in the same crucible and in pursuit of the same mission: To conquer new market share through a uniquely narrative-driven message that transforms their ticking works of finery from mere pragmatic tools into global luxury lifestyle symbols and rallying points for all the prevailing themes and collective preoccupations in contemporary culture.
But Chris, or more formally Christoph Grainger-Herr, though he is anything but formal — letting his affable approachable nature belied by his fierce intellect speak for itself, is not one to rest on the laurels of IWC’s past conquests.
Far from it, in my first conversation with him, he has proven to be one of the most insightful, courageous and focused men I’ve ever met in the Swiss watch industry. And listening to his plans for IWC, I am convinced that he will be instrumental in shaping IWC’s ever-increasing relevance to the current and future generations of watch buyers.