JCK Asks…Jean-Claude Biver



Take a timeout with the CEO of Hublot

The CEO of the Geneva-based watch company Hublot knows a thing or two about the passage of time. Jean-Claude Biver joined Audemars Piguet in 1975, and by 1981, he and pal Jacques Piguet had bought Blancpain. After being revived by the pair, the brand was picked up by the Swatch Group, where Biver acted as managing director and helped bring Omega back into the spotlight. In 2004, Biver wound up at Hublot facing his greatest challenge yet: how to relaunch the 25-year-old company. In the spring, Hublot became the official timekeeper for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, among other sporting events, and Jamaican sprinter/world’s fastest man Usain Bolt joined Hublot’s already impressive list of ambassadors (which includes fellow Olympic medalist Bode Miller). JCK checked in with Biver to see if the Swiss hills really are alive with the sound of music—or if that’s actually the sound of ticking.
 

Age: 61

Number of years in the biz: 35

Number of employees you oversee: 220

Family/pets: 2 dogs, 100 cows, 300 chickens, and so on

Describe your personal style: Gentleman farmer who is passionate about watches, cheese, wine, and love

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First watch you ever wore: Omega Constellation from my grandfather

Watch you are wearing right now: Hublot Bigger Bang All Black

Any other jewelry of note? No

Best piece of advice you’ve ever received: “Sleep one night before committing to an important decision.”

Worst piece of advice: “Take your time.”

First job ever: Sales rep at AP [Audemars Piguet]

Hublot Bigger Bang All Black

How did you get started in the watch biz? I had a skeleton watch and I fell in love with it. It was like a toy to me.

Five items on your desk right now: Mac, Mont Blanc pen, cup of coffee, eyeglasses, and my documents
 

Five songs on your playlist: “It’s Now or Never,” Elvis Presley; “Please Mr. Postman,” the Marvelettes; “Time Is on My Side,” the Rolling Stones; “Blueberry Hill,” Fats Domino; “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” Evita

 

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Exercise regimen: Cycling

Favorite sport for which Hublot is the official timekeeper: Cycling

What did you have for breakfast today? Peach tea and blackberries

Guilty pleasure: Wine

Drink (daytime and evening): Water and Bordeaux

First website you check every day: FT.com

Scent: Roses

How do you unwind (so to speak)? With a drink in my farmhouse [in ­Switzerland overlooking Lake Geneva]

If you had to pick a favorite Hublot watch: The one I am wearing now

If you couldn’t wear Hublot: Patek Philippe

Superstitious? No

Book you’re reading: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Book you’ve been meaning to get to: The Bible

Preferred news source: Bloomberg

Main means of transportation: Car

Favorite movie: Modern Times with Charlie Chaplin

Who would play you in your life story? My son

Personal motto: “Love is my behavior and my philosophy.”