Red Dot has named Jean-Claude Biver, one of the most successful managers in the watchmaking industry, as the recipient of the inaugural Red Dot: Personality Prize.
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.
"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," commented Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award. "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 revolutionizing the market for watches and developing brands that are unparalleled in their commitment to quality. My sincere congratulations on this unique accomplishment."
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 the 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.
Photos: Courtesy of Red Dot