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Jean-Claude Biver wins Red Dot: Personality Prize for revitalising the watchmaking industry


Jean-Claude Biver is one of the most successful managers in the watchmaking industry, and this year he has earned a very special honour. As part of the Red Dot Award: Product Design, he will receive the Red Dot: Personality Prize, which is being awarded in 2020 for the first time. 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. Biver’s wonderful achievement will be recognised as part of the award ceremony in Essen on 22 June 2020.

Time for progress in the competition and the watchmaking industry

This year’s Red Dot Award: Product Design is centred around innovation. With the introduction of the two metacategories “Smart Products” and “Innovative Products”, the competition shifts the focus more toward new developments and their significance for improving quality of life. Consequently, from now on the Red Dot: Personality Prize will be awarded to a creative leader who has succeeded in initiating major change and using opportunities to create something new.

Jean-Claude Biver is the living embodiment of this definition, having revitalised Swiss watchmaking and breathed new life into countless brands in recent years. The timepieces developed under his leadership won over the jury for the Red Dot Award: Product Design numerous times. For example, the luxury smartwatch with tourbillon module “TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Luxury Kit” received the top award in the competition, the Red Dot: Best of the Best, in 2018. “This is a watch designed with the future in mind”. That’s what the Red Dot Jury had to say about the modular design of the timepiece that features interchangeable lugs, strap and clasp.

Congratulations from Red Dot CEO

“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. 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 revolutionising the market for watches and developing brands that are unparalleled in their commitment to quality. My sincere congratulations on this unique accomplishment,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Design Award, about the watchmaking expert.

Icon and driver of the Swiss watchmaking industry

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 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. In 2018, Biver announced that he would step back from operating activities on account of health issues. However, he retains links to the company as a non-executive president. Not only that, he leaves behind a legacy that is virtually unsurpassed in its brilliance: He succeeded in putting a total of five watch brands on the path to international success.

Award ceremony in Essen

The Red Dot: Personality Prize will be bestowed on Jean-Claude Biver at the Red Dot Gala in Essen’s Aalto-Theater on 22 June 2020. His on-stage appearance will be one of the highlights of the evening. In addition, guests can look forward to the official celebration of the Red Dot: Design Team of the Year 2020 as well as the handing over of the trophies to the Red Dot: Best of the Best laureates. The evening will come to a close in the Red Dot Design Museum Essen, where all of the award-winning products will be on show.

Designers and manufacturers from all industries have until 14 February 2020 to register for the world’s most renowned design competition. For further information and to register, go to

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