JEAN-CLAUDE BIVER is the president of LVMH’s watch division and CEO of TAG Heuer. Under him, TAG Heuer— the initials stand for Technique d’Avant Garde— remains focussed on its core business of watches between $1,000 (Rs 63,170) and $3,000, but also offers pieces with high complications priced between $10,000 and $20,000. In India, the brand has 90 points of sale and is growing at 15% a year. Biver spoke to Fortune India about his vision for the brand. Edited excerpts:
You replaced Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan with Ranbir Kapoor three years ago. Why was such a step taken and how has it worked for you?
Shah Rukh Khan was with us for over a decade and is iconic. But the time came for us to look at youthfulness and energy, so we picked a new face–Ranbir Kapoor. It’s worked well for us, given that he’s a football fanatic—we have that association—and one of India’s most sought after actors.
A lot of your watches are driven by the heritage of past success. The Silverstone, the Carrera, and the Autavia are all re-issues. What from the stable is new that will reposition itself as a modern icon?
We repositioned the Link collection for men and ladies and just launched a Link Chronograph. It’s the same with the Carrera collection. We have just launched the Carrera Heuer 02T, which is one of the most affordable tourbillons in the market.
TAG Heuer is one of the few companies to have reacted quickly and launched a flurry of smartwatches. Do you think the category will grow to be a pillar for the business?
I don’t know if the wearable watch will be a pillar, but it will be one of the bases of our collection. We still haven’t seen the potential of connected watches as we are still in the stone age as far as they are concerned.
Your Aquaracer line for women does very well. Do you plan a Carrera or an equivalent sports model for women soon?
Yes, we should plan such a model to enlarge our offer for ladies’ watches.
What’s the bestseller model in India?
The Aquaracer and the Formula 1 families sell the maximum. The sporty Carrera gives us a premium imagery and has been sought after by aficionados. Iconic watch models like the Monza, the Monaco, and the Autavia give us a heritage presence. And the connected watch gives us the cutting-edge technology facet. The top sellers from the bestselling families are the quartz variations of the Aquaracer and the Formula 1.
(The interview was originally published in the November 2017 issue of the magazine.)