BANG! Just as Richemont’s yearly watch-party, the SIHH, was starting last week, LVMH announced the appointment of Jean-Claude Biver as head of LVMH’s watch department. The timing of this announcement was surely not chosen in vain, perhaps in a slight attempt to upstage the party of the Richemont group and the SIHH brands.

This announcement is significant. Jean-Claude Biver has, in his illustrious career been known for achieving the impossible. Together with Jacques Piguet, director of movement manufacture Frédéric Piguet, he purchased what was left of Blancpain in 1983 and revitalized the brand. Now, it is one of the crown jewels of the Swatch-group. In more recent times, Biver did more or less the same with Hublot. With the “Art of Fusion” he transformed the niche-brand into a powerhouse of unknown proportions, increasing sales ten-fold in only a matter of years.

Jean Claude Biver

In 2008 Hublot was bought by luxury giant LVMH, with Biver remaining at his position as CEO of the brand. LVMH’s watch and jewelry department was run by former-Bulgari CEO Francesco Trapani, since this brand was added to the LVMH-group in 2011. Trapani will remain at LVMH as board member and special advisor to Bernard Arnault, founder and chairman of LVMH. The company also splits the watch and jewelry department with Antonio Belloni, long time Group Managing Director, in charge of the new jewelry department, with Jean0Claude Biver taking on the reins of the watch department.

Hublot1-moThis change also brings brands as Zenith and TAG-Heuer under Biver’s control, although their current CEO’s will most likely stay in place.

So what can we expect from this move by LVMH? Biver has always been able to extract the essence of a brand and intensify it’s appeal, creating unique selling points for their products and added value to the customers. Always done with a healthy dose of flair and coming with a spectacle that many won’t be able to take their eyes off from.

Will he do the same for the LVMH brands, including, Zenith and TAG-Heuer? Who knows? But with the magic that he has brought to Hublot and the relentless effectiveness of what he has achieved with the other brands in the past, one can only bet that the future will take on an almost festive, and exciting sheen.

Congratulations to Biver, and we wish him the best in this new position, and hope for utterly exciting developments with the watch brands of LVMH in the near future!

Martin Green
Eclectic taste in Haute Horlogerie, passion for diamond set watches, loves the classics 

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