Jean-Claude Biver

Chairman of Hublot's Administrative Board


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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. This is how he developed his passion for watchmaking and watchmakers. 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, feeling 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 - and Pierce Brosnan.

At the end of 2003, he decided to take a year's sabbatical but, ever the man of action, 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. The awards came thick and fast. Hublot was injected with an extraordinary dynamism, guaranteeing exceptional growth. Jean-Claude Biver was truly responsible for the rebirth of this brand, and perhaps even for its birth, if we consider today, in 2012, the path it has travelled in just seven years. The company owes its impressive growth to the boundless energy of its unique owner: firstly, the company's economic growth, with turnover increasing in 4 years from 25 million to more than 200 million Swiss francs in 2008, when the brand was sold to LVMH.

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