Günter Blümlein, luxury watch leader, dies

Günter Blümlein, the former head of the prestigious LMH watch group and chief of the watch division of Richemont AG, the Swiss luxury goods conglomerate, died on Oct. 1. He was 58.

There was no word from Richemont at press time who will replace him as boss of Richemont’s watch division.

Blümlein was a well-known and respected figure in the international luxury watch business. Born in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1943, he was at one time managing director for marketing and sales of Junghans, the well-known German watch brand. After 1981, he worked with the Swiss luxury brands Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC. In 1987, he became chairman of the board of directors of Jaeger-LeCoultre, and in 1990, also chairman of IWC.

In 1990, after Germany’s unification, Blümlein also joined Walter Lange as co-managing director of A. Lange & Sohne, another of Europe’s historic luxury watch brands. He was instrumental in restoring it as a major competitor in the very top luxury timepiece markets.

In 1991, Blümlein became chairman and chief executive officer of Les Manufactures Horologie (LMH), which owed Lange & Sohne, IWC, and Jaeger LeCoultre (all sold in the United States).

After Richemont purchased LMH in 2000, Blümlein remained in charge of it. In March of this year, he was named chief executive of Richemont’s new watch division, which included not only Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC and Lange & Sohne, but also the major top watch brands Piaget, Baume & Mercier, Vacheron Constantine, and Officine Panerai.