Day 3 at Red Dot Design Week 2020 was all about Red Dot Personality Prize 2020 winner – Mr. Jean-Claude Biver. Focus was on the details of the entrepreneur’s professional career and recipe for success.
This was followed by Expert discussion: Jean-Claude Biver, Peter Zec and Michael Thomson
Jean-Claude Biver is one of the most successful managers in the watchmaking industry. Blancpain, Omega, Hublot, Zenith and TAG Heuer – he breathed new life into these brands and helped numerous watches to victory in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. As a businessman, he has created a unique legacy over the past 45 years. Born in Luxembourg and raised in Switzerland, the manager received the Red Dot: Personality Prize for his visionary skills, his entrepreneurial courage and his spirit of innovation. Jean-Claude Biver was able to accept the award back in January, and now one whole day of the Red Dot Design Week was dedicated to the creative leader.
Jean-Claude Biver’s success is attributable to many things – his unique ability to recognise the significance of design in the watchmaking industry and to give shape to the ensuing change in the form of first-class products; being one of them.
Speaking with Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of Red Dot, and Michael Thomson from Design Connect London, this is what Biver has to say about this transformation: “For many years, watch brands were making the difference through technology or accuracy. These were very rational elements. In the 80s, when more or less every brand was at the same stage of development, people started to say that maybe we should make the difference between brand A and brand B through the shape. And the shape is a combination of design and technology.”
Jean-Claude Biver highlights the change in the meaning attached to a wristwatch as the reason for this change. He explains that with time, the concept of watches has also changed. These are no longer used for their functionality which is telling time; but watches are more of a fashion statement now-a-days. The kind of watch we wear reflects our personal style.This is reflected in the “Big Bang All Black” model developed by Hublot in 2006: All of the elements are in different shades of black. As a result, the watch can still be used to tell the time, but this is not its primary purpose.
Another pillar of his success is Biver’s faith in the mechanical wristwatch, which has a decisive advantage over electronic watches. He opined that the mechanical watches are for eternity and has have no competition and perhaps that is why he was instrumental in its comeback.
The success of Jean-Claude Biver is manifested in the transformational work he has done by steering a total of five watch brands onto a path of international success. Numerous models from the companies have received awards in the Red Dot Award: Product Design. For example, the TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Luxury Kit was awarded the Red Dot: Best of the Best in 2018. It links the analogue and digital worlds together in an ideal way with a large variety of combinations. 2018 also saw great enthusiasm around the “Defy Lab” watch from Zenith, which won a Red Dot and was based on a whole new way of measuring time. Instead of a spring and a lever, the watch has a kind of oscillator that swings back and forth at high frequency, thus ensuring precise time measurement. In addition, the Big Bang Meca-10 Magic Gold from Hublot won a Red Dot: Best of the Best in 2017. In the same year, the Monaco Calibre 11 and Autavia Calibre Heuer 02 from TAG Heuer also won Red Dots.
So given the background that Jean-Claude Biver has and the kind of contribution he has made to the watchmaking brands and industry as whole; he truly deserved to be recognized the Red Dot: Personality Prize. Biver’s wonderful achievement was recognised as part of the award ceremony in Essen on 22 June 2020.
Jean-Claude Biver, winner of the Red Dot: Personality Prize 2020, and Prof. Dr. Peter Zec, founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award, spoke about design in the watchmaking industry. The discussion was moderated by Michael Thomson, founder and director of Design Connect from London.
We will be back again tomorrow with Day 4 highlights. Till then stay connected!