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Time to Look to the Future – Not the Past, Says Tag Heuer Magnate


Europe is in a state of flux, what with the oppressive burden of a collapsing Chinese economy and a global commodity price meltdown. That the Chinese are front and centre in this latest round of global economic malaise has sparked discussion in the most unlikely of places, among luxury watchmakers. Leading European businessman and oligarch of Tag Heuer, Jean-Claude Biver, has been one of the most powerful forces in the European and global watch trade. According to many, he single-handedly rescued the mechanical watch from being relegated to the annals of history.

His influence in the Swiss watchmaking industry has been nothing short of astounding, and both admirers and opponents of Biver’s have labelled him a legend in his time. That he is rumoured to be in retirement is as far from reality as possible; Biver is active in all aspects of the luxury watch trade, and he recently weighed in with his thoughts on the role of China’s cultural mindset and its impact on the global luxury watch trade. According to Biver, European watchmakers are turning to regressive styles of design when they should be looking to the future, and it’s largely the upper echelons in China that are driving this sentiment.

At a critical juncture in the global economy, Jean-Claude Biver is looking at cultural trends in China in his attempts to explain how to strategically chart a course for the future in his chosen industry and the economy at large. Biver states that the Chinese are highly conservative in their purchasing behaviour, and the products they are interested in are the ones that are well-known. He believes that the Chinese are lacking in confidence and as a result are resorting to past styles, fashions and consumer behaviour — which is the reason why we’re seeing what we’re seeing in so many sectors. To him, it’s merely a lack of courage that the Chinese have.


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Jean-Claude Biver is one of the most influential men in the timepiece world; he has held the mantle as game-changer extraordinaire at the helm of many European enterprises including Omega, Blancpain, Hublot and Tag Heuer. He even connected with Apple Inc about the prospect of designing a watch before Apple went to independently create and premiere the iWatch. Tag Heuer instead went with Google and Intel, and the upcoming Tag Connected (a fully integrated smartwatch) is due to be released in April in Australia. The new technology that Tag Heuer is about to unveil will change the history of timepieces forever, according to Biver.

The luxury watch will not replace the classical beauty of mechanical timepieces that Tag Heuer has become renowned for; rather it will provide a new product line for a new-age of enthusiasts. The new Tag is being prepared for a new-age generation, and it will be cost-effective and practical. Will the Chinese tag onto the idea? Mr Biver is unsure how they will react since their preferences are leaning towards old-school European designs. But for now, the Chinese have bigger problems to contend with than keeping track of time; their economy is sinking along with their stocks, and if they fail to arrest the declines in a timely fashion the global economy may be staring down the barrel of a recession.

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William R. Feins , freelance journalist from London, UK; he received his B.A. degree in Economics and his Masters in Sociology. William has always been interested in the mechanics of business and the inspiration of original thinkers, and firmly believes that the former can’t succeed without the latter. In his spare time, he enjoys the ridiculous spectacle of watching table tennis on a big screen (preferably at a pub) and reading weighty tomes about World War II.


  1. China’s economic slow down is far worse than the Chinese goverment is saying. Until around 3 years the Chinese governments official GDP growth rate, and outside estimates showed around the same growth rate. 3 year ago it changed, China claims to be growing through a 7% growth rate, while outside estimates put it at anywhere from 3.5% and 2.3%. This is not good news! When America’s economy tanked it sent the world into a recession! China will do the same.

  2. It is exciting to hear that Tag Heuer will be launching a new concept in watches in association with Intel and Google for the new generation. It is interesting note that Chinese have conservative approach to purchasing and lack courage to step into the new era, which reflects in their sinking economy, unless and until they change their perspective.

  3. I believe Mr. Biver is making a positive and bold move in the face of a negative forecast of China’s economy. Despite the negative influence of China’s weakening economy he has chosen to release new innovation in Swiss timepiece industry. His choice to partner with Google and Intel is also a smart move, in my opinion.

  4. This is great! It’s good to see they are moving in a positive direction for a better future! I believe this will bring many positive things to the world !

  5. TAGheuer is one of the leading watchmakers and a sign of style and elegance.It isn’t any wonder that this brand is doing so well in the market and elsewhere.

  6. Very good and encouraging information to read about. The future does indeed look well. Anytime someone chooses over Apple, I think is great. Forget about tradition, it is contrite and overdone.

  7. Not good to keep dwelling on the past. because that can make a person miserable from the times he or she had back then, no matter if they were good or bad. Thinking about the future makes you plan ahead and gives you insight of what you want to do and to be prepared.

  8. It is a great lesson stated here about not following the trends of the past. Although following future trends is just as futile as the present is the only time that exists. Good article!

  9. It’s good that European watchmaker Jean-Claude Biver is looking to the future and planning. They need to move forward. Jean-Claude Biver because he knows what he’s talking about. He knows a lot about watch trade. With the Chinese economy sinking they will have have bigger problems if they don’t do something. Maybe it’s best they chose something other than Apple.

  10. I agree with this headline. If China is looking backwards, that’s totally understandable. But in times of downturns we should be looking for innovation. Innovation brings excitement, hope and consumer confidence. Thanks for that reminder William. Always an interesting read!

  11. The state of the economy is dismal all over the world, not just in China and the UK. It’s good to know that people like Jean-Claude Biver have their head in the right mindset. Diligent planning and and establishing consumer confidence will win the day.

  12. The Prime Minister of the UK keeps boasting loudly about the stability and security of the economy, but the world says differently. I hope he understands what he is playing with. China’s economy is worrying, the future is definitely uncertain there.

  13. As there are more businesses look towards the future and change the vision they have once put into the business. Now, the competition is more than ever, and the growth of other countries’ economy has increases, it’s better to look what they have to look into the future. It’s so much better to pay attention to the market’s economy because that’s important.

  14. I’m so glad they veered away from Apple products. They are so overpriced and Google is the company of the future. I have recently just started getting back into wearing watches. I think they are going to come back in style after they left when everybody got a phone with the time on it. They are still a classy accessory.

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