“We thought the world needed a luxury Swatch watch.” Explosive Jean-Claude Biver interview tells the Hublot story like never beforeAndrew McUtchen
Jean-Claude Biver and his team bought Hublot 24 years ago. At that time it was a tiny brand, big in Spain, but netting $24-million. But Biver considered that it had reached less than 20% of its potential and could be a mega-brand, with its youthful re-casting of luxury in a more casual, sporty and fun context. In 2019, it made $700m.
In this extraordinary interview – like I said in the Friday Wind Down yesterday, this is a very different conversation to the usual narrative – Biver spells out the 11 keys to his success, and how he still believes he could do it again today, with any brand. It is conducted by our new European Editor, Mike Christensen who did an absolutely sterling job. Much of the credit for Biver’s frankness and full disclosure goes to Mike!
The 11 ways Jean-Claude Biver built Hublot to be a $700m mega-brand
0:26 BY SEEING THE NEED FOR A “LUXURY SWATCH” TO REDEFINE LUXURY
2:33 BY BUYING A ‘WEAK’ BRAND WITH A STRONG CONCEPT FOR A LOW PRICE
4:42 WITH GOOD HEALTH AND HEALTHY DOUBT
6:10 BY GOING AGAINST LUXURY TRADITION AND SHUNNING PRECIOUS METALS
7:44 BY WRITING A SIMPLE STRATEGY THAT COULD FIT ON ONE PAGE!
8:31 BY BEING BIG IN SPAIN
9:15 BY PUTTING THE DREAM TEAM ON IT
10:09 BY USING MULTIPLE AMBASSADORS
11:12 BY STAYING ON MESSAGE
12:22 BY HAVING THE EXCITEMENT FACTOR
13:41 BY NEVER CUTTING SPEND ON R&D
I don’t know if it’s advancing age, the sentimentality of the occasion (Hublot’s 40th Anniversary), or just our European Editor Mike’s interviewing technique, but the video we are to publish tomorrow night — starring Jean-Claude Biver and CEO Ricardo Guadalupe telling the Hublot story, from the day they took over the brand 24 years ago — is a very fresh take indeed. For fans of a man that few would argue has been the driving force behind the industry for at least four decades, this is a must-watch.
I have heard many tellings of Hublot history over the years. Certain myths the brand is founded on, spoken about with gusto by Jean-Claude Biver. Always stirring. Always with the passion that he says is necessary for a team to truly fire, and for great heights to be reached. But the tone of this interview is different. While it contains flashes of that crazy energy, it also has Jean-Claude Biver in a reflective and unflinching mood – he says things I have never heard, and never imagined that he would say.