Watch Market Review
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Our Vision - BaselWorld 2018

Time and Tide

TAG HEUER

JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER, CEO, TAG HEUER


What is the growth driver for the watch industry?

The growth drivers will be watches at the higher end. Statistics show that the maximum of Swiss exports turnover comes from the higher end timepieces. Apple is a great promoter of the watch industry. People are now getting convinced about the idea of wearing watches.

Your comments on the smart watch industry.

The smart watch industry will be booming. It is only the beginning. There will be many more innovations to come. But yes, when it comes to very high-end watches, people will not really buy something that will become obsolete in couple of years.

Do you feel that the younger generation is losing interest in mechanical watches?

No. The younger generation needs eternity. They need to connect to something that will last. Art is eternity. It will never disappear. A mechanical watch has a soul. The young generation will discover more and more the values of eternity. This is why mechanical watches will always remain.

Can you talk about tie-up with Brandford?

We are in a world where we tend to be the same. We tend to get uniform! The more we are the same, the more we need to be treated differently. The individualization and personalization is what makes us different. People customize their cars, their phones and what not, in order to be different. For us, the tie-up with Brandford will enable this.

As President of LVMH, how do you ensure integration of the brands within the group, and yet ensure that they retain their individual identity?

It is easy. One needs to respect the character and personality of each individual company. Every brand has a DNA and a message. This DNA can never be copied. But, you can help each other. We share know how and expertise. It is the same as having more than one child. You respect their individuality, and there is a lot of consolidating as well. I was with Hublot and now I am now with TAG Heuer. Of all the brands I have handled which one is the closest to my own taste…I would say it is Hublot.

You have taken tough steps for correcting some issues at Zenith. How do you feel about that?

I see Zenith as my biggest success. It was very challenging. But now we have got it. We have one of the best CEO’s we could find. Zenith has been repeating its tradition. Today, one cannot build on the same thing. One has to be the future of one’s tradition. If you repeat your tradition you don’t progress, you only repeat. So, if El Primero in 1969 had USP of accuracy of one-tenth of a second, what should it be today? What is the future of accuracy? So, we invented a new regulator and a new pendulum that brings greater accuracy. This made us the future of tradition. DEFY will be a strong collection for Zenith for the future.

The complete interview is in Hours & Minutes on pg no. 13 in the BaselWorld 2018 - A Speical Report.